New audio formats always present a “chicken or the egg” conundrum, you can’t have content without the format but you can’t have a successful format without content. In recent years 3D immersive sound has emerged as the most exciting development in audio, with arch-competitors Dolby Atmos and DTS:X doing battle. And while DTS:X has been slower out of the gate, the news that Abbey Road Studios has adopted and implemented DTS:X mixing tools at its Mix Stage facility is a sure sign the format is maturing.
The new DTS:X mixing tools are fully operational and allow Abbey Road Studios to offer a world-class production environment to content creators in the feature film and music industries. For example, uses of the facility can take a film score and render an immersive mix for commercial cinema presentation as well as one for the home release. It’s also possible to create DTS Headphone X content with the new mixing tools.
MDA Tools are the foundation of DTS, allowing content creators to work with DTS:X, an object-based audio format. Notably, MDA is “a royalty-free, open standard audio technology,” unlike the competing Dolby Atmos format. The bottom line is it costs less to produce 3D immersive audio content in DTS:X than it does in Dolby Atmos.
DTS: Encoder Suite is the tool that lets users encode mixes for delivery to the consumer market. It can render mixes in DTS:X for Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and other formats.
DTS Headphone:X Monitor – Home Video allows content creators to mix 3D immersive sound without having to rely on height speakers. This feature is for creating discreet 3D immersive mixes for headphones, which may then be included on Ultra HD Blu-ray or standard Blu-ray.
“We are excited to have DTS:X mixing tools a part of our facility and provide our customers with the latest tools to create and deliver compelling immersive audio experiences,” said Fiona Gillott, the Studios Manager at Abbey Road Studios. “As a one-stop shop for all DTS:X services, the mixing suite ensures an efficient, reliable and consistent production workflow.”
Given that Abbey Road is now involved with some of the highest-profile projects in Hollywood, thanks to the new Mix Stage facility, it’s reasonable to expect some top notch DTS:X mixes to start flowing out of the studio. I’m especially curious whether the technology will be used with music, and not just for movies. Thanks to developments like this, it looks like the 3D immersive audio egg has hatched.