Envelop aims to bring audio-based virtual reality to life with high-definition, 3-D sound

futuristic nightclub for audiophiles envelop speaker layout
Imagine stepping into a nightclub built for high definition, 3-D sound, where music doesn’t just surround you puts you in the middle of a sort of virtual reality based on sound. Envelop, a San Francisco open-source sound engineering project, plans on meticulously placing 24 speakers and four subwoofers in a 75-person capacity room to deliver just such an experience

Envelop, which is in the midst of a Kickstarter project to install the sound system, has both the infrastructure and the software to make this a reality.

“If you’re a performer and you’re using Ableton Live with a multi-track composition, you can take an track and place it anywhere in the space, and apply special effects to it,” said co-developer (and Facebook data scientist) Roddy Lindsay (via TechCrunch).

envelop-2

The foundation of the project is Ambisonics, “a proven open source sound mapping technology that has flourished in academic settings (such as Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics),” according to the statement on their Kickstarter.

“With Ambisonics, artists determine a virtual location in space where they want to place a sound source, and the source is then rendered within a spherical array of speakers. Rather than positioning sounds to different locations around the room based on speaker locations (as with conventional surround sound techniques), sounds are digitally mapped to different locations using x,y,z coordinates.”

The nightclub prototype, which will be housed inside a new San Francisco entertainment complex called The Midway, hopes to open this summer. They anticipate using the space not just as a performance venue (for electronic music performances and independent film screenings) but also for educational workshops and music psychology-related research.

In short, this futuristic sound engineering gives artists the ability to create an immersive ‘audio virtual reality’ where they can control not just the sounds being played, but where they’re being heard in the room. It sounds like an audio geek’s dream venue to us, and for that we’re excited.

envelop-room
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (March 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Home Theater

Pandora Stories let artists take fans on a guided audio tour

Blending podcasts with playlists, Pandora's new format, Pandora Stories, lets artists mix their music with narrated voice tracks, creating a personalized tour of their music, or any other topic they want to discuss.
Home Theater

Rock out, dance, or just nod along with the best Bluetooth speakers

The market is saturated with wireless audio solutions fit for any and all circumstances. Check out our picks for the best Bluetooth speakers available, whether you'll be listening in the kitchen or on a mountaintop.
Home Theater

SoundCloud hopes to add listeners with 50 percent discount for students

SoundCloud launched a student discount for it's top-tier SoundCloud Go+ membership, dropping the price to just $5 a month. It's a good deal for students, but will it be enough to keep the music platform from going under?
Computing

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.
Home Theater

Get loud with the best outdoor speakers to rock your party in any weather

From rugged, solar-powered backwoods listening companions to floating pool party jam boxes, the best outdoor speakers partner with your lifestyle to let you listen to your favorite tunes wherever you go.
Music

Apple Music offers a few subscription options. We break them down here

Competition for music streaming apps is quickly dwindling with giants like Apple Music and Spotify dominating most of the market? But how much does Apple Music cost and what does a subscription to the music-streaming platform entail?
Home Theater

iPhone owners can finally hear the highest-quality streaming music on Tidal

If you're an iPhone owner who is after the highest possible audio quality from your streaming library, you now have the best option out there: Tidal's Masters Quality Audio (MQA) is now available on iOS.
Home Theater

If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, you now get Hulu for free

Spotify Premium subscribers have yet another reason to love the Swedish streaming service, with the company now offering ad-free Hulu accounts to all premium users at no additional cost.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.