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AES Inside Track

Each month an industry expert highlights a topic of importance to the AES community.
Listen, Learn, and Connect with advances in technology and best practices in audio.

Spatial Audio

The past decade saw substantial advancements in various areas of spatial audio. First of all, new surround sound formats employing so-called “height” loudspeakers have been introduced, aiming to provide the audience with three-dimensional (3D) listening experiences. This has led to active research on the perceptual mechanism of vertical stereophony as well as the development of new recording and mixing techniques for such formats.

Object-based audio (OBA) is a new approach for producing and delivering spatial audio content, which is being rapidly adopted by the film and broadcast industries. OBA utilizes metadata for each audio object in order to flexibly render spatial audio to best suit the user’s playback system, as opposed to conventional channel-based audio (CBA) that relies on a specific loudspeaker configuration.

Furthermore, a scene-based audio (SBA) format has also been advanced, benefiting from higher-order Ambisonics (HOA) technology matured over the years. It offers a flexible rendering of the sound field and is widely used in interactive audio and electroacoustic music applications. The recently standardized MPEG-H 3D audio supports all of the CBA, OBA and SBA formats, allowing efficient storage and transmission of a large number of audio signals.

Below is my collection of some of the AES papers from the past 10 years and other useful materials to help you catch up with the state-of-the-art of research and development in spatial audio.

Hyunkook Lee

Curator: Hyunkook Lee

Hyunkook Lee is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Music Technology and the leader of the Applied Psychoacoustics Lab (APL) at the University of Huddersfield, UK. His research mainly focuses on the perception, capturing and rendering of spatial audio. He is also an experienced recording engineer. From 2006 to 2010, he was Senior Research Engineer in Audio R&D at LG Electronics, South Korea. He received a BMus (Hons) degree in music and sound recording (Tonmeister) in 2002, and a PhD degree in sound recording and psychoacoustics in 2006, both from the University of Surrey, UK.


Spatial Audio Resources


Perception of Height

3D Audio Recording

3D Audio Processing

Object Based Audio

Higher-Order Ambisonics and Wave Field Synthesis

3D Audio Coding

Feature Articles

Relevant Technical Committee

AES Journal Spotlight Interview

This month Francis Rumsey interviews Leo McCormack, winner of the best peer-reviewed paper award at the 144th Convention in Milan. Leo’s paper was titled "Real-Time Conversion of Sensor Array Signals into Spherical Harmonic Signals with Applications to Spatially Localized Sub-Band Sound-Field Analysis” and looks at the creation of a pair of plug-ins for analyzing and visualizing sound fields. If you want to try them for yourself, download the plug-ins from


AES - Audio Engineering Society