02023-04-19 | Recording, Sound | 5 comments

I saw this new offering from Ableton: SPAT

Use SPAT’s audio localization technology to transform your mixes into binaural and transaural soundscapes. Create realistic-sounding spaces for your sounds to inhabit, or experiment endlessly with advanced panning algorithms and convincing psychoacoustic parameters.

SPAT Stereo | Ableton

On their website they have a couple of impressive examples of mixing with SPAT – always seems like the past tense of spit to me – India Song and En Mis Recuerdos. Have a listen! The sound stage is pretty amazing, especially on headphones. To me it sounds more immersive than my experience with Dolby Atmos on headphones. 

The SPAT software was developed at IRCAM, the famous French institute dedicated to the research of music and sound.

While I sometimes use Ableton Live I don’t ever mix with it, so I looked for a SPAT plugin for ProTools, which is my platform of choice. I found a website called Flux Audio that offered such a plugin. SPAT Revolution Essential looks like it could work for me. Have you had any experience with either the Ableton pack by Music Unit or the plugin by Flux?

I see there is a thirty day trial offer. That’s what I should do. 

Let me know if you have a bad reaction to the two song examples I linked to above. Some humans can’t stand Noise-Cancelling headphones, for example, and these convincing psychoacoustic sound spaces are no less head-tripping algorithms than noise-cancellation is.

I am listening to En Mis Recuerdos again in the morning, with fresh ears. I remember how awful some of the earliest algorithmic processes sounded. At least, I assume that’s what they were. Those buttons on a Sony boom box with a cassette player that would say Space or some such. Late Eighties, early Nineties, if I remember correctly. Sounded truly awful. This SPAT sounds different, much more interesting. 


  1. James

    I looked into SPAT Revolution a few months ago. It is very flexible and powerful. And the IRCAM reverb is very good.
    Another solution might be Fiedler Audio spacestation. Similar in concept except it runs entirely within the DAW as plugins, whereas SPAT Revolution is a standalone app which receives its inputs via a sending plugin inserted on each track to spatialize and the output is routed back to the DAW via a receiving plugin..
    I ended up buying DearVR Pro, which I think sounds great. It is simpler than the others above but for the task of spatializing a small number of objects, I think it does a very good job.

    The sound examples sounded fine to me on my AirPods. Although at first they sounded quite weird until I realized that Apple’s spatial audio was turned on and I promptly switched it off.

    • ottmar

      Thanks for the info. Do you mean the Fiedler Audio Spacelab Interstellar or Spacelab Ignintion? I don’t see Spacestation on their list.

      • James

        I was thinking the Spacelab Ignition, which is a somewhat pared down version of Spacelab Interstellar. For instance, it supports up to 24 input objects vs 256 at the Interstellar level. They have a comparison chart on the “Features” tab of either product.

  2. Steve

    >Have you had any experience with either the Ableton pack by Music Unit or the plugin by Flux?

    I have: however, only in demo mode … I decided to not purchase any Flux plugins at the time. Probably this summer.

    I did listen to the samples you linked to, and it certainly seems to my ears that the “immersive” processing that SPAT produces is more convincing than Dolby Atmos. That is a subjective evaluation admittedly, but I have been … I dunno … “disappointed” is too strong of a word … less than satisfied with the audio that Atmos produces. SPAT was very impressive though, and the imaging provided played back over a modest setup.

    ** From 1999 – 2009 I was heavily involved in DSP research, development and education. I have often mentioned to my students what excellent work IRCAM is doing in this area.

  3. ottmar

    Thank you both for your comments. I agree with Steve, I also found Dolby Atmos disappointing, at least on headphones. I haven’t heard it on a big Atmos array of speakers and don’t plan on buying one.
    I think I will test Fiedler Spacelab Ignition ($250) and SPAT Revolution Essential ($360 at BH), as both offer trial/demo periods.


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