Spatial Audio Micro-credential


Organisation profile

Trinity College Dublin is Ireland's leading University, which has been inspiring generations of brilliant thinkers for over 400 years.

Training aim

This micro-credential will allow audio practitioners to upskill to new audio formats and standards used in media such as VR, AR, and 360 video, new spatial audio streaming formats such as Dolby Atmos, and utilizing spatial audio recording and analysis techniques for acoustic engineering and analysis.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

• Compose, produce and design original spatial content for fixed and interactive media, live performance, and interactive installations.

• Produce and engineer spatial recordings using binaural and surround microphone techniques, and setup and configure spatial audio software and hardware.

• Characterise the strengths and weaknesses of different spatialization methods, and understand the pyschoacoustic principles underlying different approaches to spatial audio.

• Analyse, describe and identify techniques and methods used by spatial music composers, sound designers, and acousticians.

Course outline

Spatial audio has seen renewed interest in recent years due to its critical importance in new immersive media such as VR, AR, and 360 video. New immersive cinema surround sound formats such as Dolby Atmos have also recently been adopted by streaming media platforms such as Apple Music, Netflix, among others. The recording, production, and formatting of spatial audio for these different platforms and applications involve a range of different audio techniques such as binaural and Ambisonics, which are significantly more complex and fundamentally different from standard two-channel stereo. 

This course addresses the fundamental psychoacoustics behind techniques such as stereophony, Ambisonics, and binaural to reveal how they function, and importantly their relative strengths and limitations. In addition, the practical production of audio content using these techniques will be addressed using a variety of different tools and applications. Finally, the use of spatial audio techniques for acoustics analysis and engineering will also be examined using a variety of practical examples. 

Trainer's profile

Enda Bates is a composer, musician, producer and academic based in Dublin, Ireland, and an Assistant Professor and deputy director of the Music and Media Technologies programme in Trinity College Dublin. In 2010 he completed a PhD entitled The Composition & Performance of Spatial Music, while current research interests include spatial music, spatial audio for VR, the aesthetics of electroacoustic music, and the Augmented Electric Guitar. He is an active composer of acoustic and electroacoustic contemporary music and scores and other material are available from his page at the Irish Contemporary Music Centre. His music has been performed by, among others, the Crash Ensemble, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Choir Ireland, Anne La Berge, Concorde, Trio Scordatura, Darragh Morgan, the Doelen Quartet, and New Dublin Voices. He has received various commissions and awards including the 37th Florilege Vocal de Tours, the 2008 Irish National Choir of the Year competition, the 2009 Gaudeamus Music Prize shortlist and the 2010 Música Viva Competition. He is a founder member of the Spatial Music Collective and is an active performer, both of his own work and with The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, Miriam Ingram, Nina Hynes/Dancing Suns, amongst others. He has also worked as a producer/engineer for a variety of artists and groups such as the Crash Ensemble, Mumbling Deaf Ro, Somadrone, and Conor Walsh.

Course duration

12 weeks

Assessment & certification

It will be assessed through two practical assignments, and one in-class MCQ test in Week 8 of the course. The first assignment is in the first half of the course and concentrates on binaural audio. The second, larger assignment is due c. 2 weeks after the final lecture and students can select one of three projects.

• Option A: 5.1 Location Music Recording

Object: Produce a location music recording for 5.1 using various multichannel microphone techniques.

• Option B: Spatial Music Composition

Object: Compose an original work of spatial music for 7.1 using Higher Order Ambisonics, B-format recordings, Stereophony and Parameter Modulation in Reaper.

• Option C: Acoustics Survey and FOA IR capture

Object: Perform an on location acoustic survey using monophonic and first order Ambisonic (FOA) microphones and prepare FOA spatial IRs and example binaural audio files.

A Micro-credential certificate worth 5 credits on the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and 125 hours CPD credit.

Who should attend

The games industry in Ireland is also growing, with several start-ups and AAA game developers setting up base in Ireland. Spatial audio is a critical component of both gaming, and new mediums such as VR/AR. The needs therefore addressed by this micro-credential include:

• Upskilling to adapt to new audio formats and standards used in media such as VR, AR, and 360 video, or new spatial audio streaming formats such as Dolby Atmos.

• Utilizing spatial audio recording and analysis techniques for acoustic engineering and analysis.