Clubhouse begins rolling out spatial audio feature for enhanced audio-chat experience

By: |
August 31, 2021 12:58 PM

The iOS update containing this feature has been rolled out on Sunday, while the Android update is yet to be released.

This feature has the potential to greatly enhance the user experience on the app.

Clubhouse: Drop-in audio chat platform Clubhouse has been a rage ever since it was popularised at the beginning of the year by tech mogul Elon Musk, and it has steadily grown, and even released an Android app. But that is not where it ends. Clubhouse has now introduced a spatial audio feature. That’s right! The iOS update containing this feature has been rolled out on Sunday, while the Android update is yet to be released. With the spatial audio feature, the speakers on a Clubhouse audio call would be positioned in a way that would take the user to a three-dimensional space around their head. This feature has the potential to greatly enhance the user experience on the app.

The feature would make the user feel like they are in a room full of people as they listen to the audio chats remotely, and the feature would work best on headphones, regardless of whether they are wired or bluetooth, the company said.

Also read | Apple acquires music streaming platform Primephonic, to launch dedicated classical music app in 2022

In fact, the official Twitter handle of Clubhouse even tweeted out a demo video to give the users a glimpse of what it could be like listening to the chats using spatial audio feature.

The feature is being implemented by first assigning a specific position to each speaker and then evenly distributing them around a “room”. Then, head related transfer functions or HRTFs are applied, much like the ones that Microsoft used with HoloLens. The implementation of spatial audio on Clubhouse does not include headtracking like that by Apple, which makes audio from Netflix and Apple TV Plus shows sound like it is coming from the playback device as the user moves their head.

Notably, in its blog post announcing the feature, Clubhouse said that the feature would be the default experience in the new iOS update that has been released, as well as the yet-to-be-released Android update. However, in case a user did not want the spatial audio feature, they would have the option to simply turn it off anytime they wanted by going to settings.

2021 is a great year for spatial audio as Apple implemented the feature across its product lines, while Sony added 3D audio to its PS5.

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