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Philosophical Notes: Computational Audio Update

Philosophical Notes: Computational Audio Update

I have noted that there is likely to be a parallel between photography and audio, in which the movement we are seeing toward computational photography (the use of software to do what lenses and sensors and controls were needed for in past technological approaches) also becomes a movement in audio. There have of course been attempts at this previously, e.g. by Dolby and by some headphone makers. David Chesky is working on this now, as are a handful of others. The crossover point for audiophiles is when the computational approach makes it so much easier to get good results that computational audio is simply a more reliable way to achieve the end of reproducing “the absolute sound”. Computational audio may not be at odds with traditional high end as much as we think, but, as in photography, the main players need to allow for it.

Just as some fleshing out of this point, Apple announced “personalized spatial audio” as an upcoming feature of iOS16. What is particularly interesting is Apple’s use of a camera to photograph your outer ear and predict how that affects spatial perception over headphones. We’ll see how it works. Prediction: we will dismiss this trend at the peril of the high-end.

 

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