Clubhouse Introduces Spatial Audio to Social Audio Rooms
Clubhouse has begun adding spatial audio as a feature to its social audio app. The new addition simulates being in a physical space, with voices seeming to come from distinct locations in a room, instead of sounding the same regardless of who is talking.
Spatial audio mimics the way sound works in the real world by augmenting the sound of each speaker with cues to suggest a certain distance and direction from your head. Every person with a speaking role in the room is assigned a ‘location’ around the room, with each user made the ‘center’ of the room from their perspective. Though it can function from speakers, it’s really designed for those wearing headphones or earbuds of some kind. The idea is to not just make the experience of a Clubhouse room like being in a shared space but to make it easier to distinguish voices if they might sound similar otherwise. Spatial audio is the new default for Clubhouse on iOS and coming for Android devices soon. In both cases, the user can turn off spatial audio and go back to the previous sound system whenever they want.
“We always say conversations on Clubhouse are like being at a great dinner or cocktail party — where you hear amazing people all around you, with new people dropping in and out and interesting ideas coming from all sides,” Clubhouse explained in a blog post. “When you’re in the audience, you’ll now hear the people around you in 3D, which makes the experience a bit more lifelike and human. It’s also easier for your brain to track who is talking, thanks to subtle spatial cues. Spatial audio works best with headphones, wired or otherwise!”
Clubhouse Comes Along
Clubhouse has been releasing new features at an accelerating clip for the last few months as it has moved from invite-only to a publicly accessible service. Most recently, the audio conversations gained a textual addition in the form of the Backchannel feature. The direct messaging service enables users to text with each other while on the app, either one-to-one or in a group chat, without interrupting the audio discussion or requiring a different communications tool. The text option came in the wake of notable new partnerships with TED Talks and the NHL, plus a growing number of Creator First programs and hitting new records for installations. The new features and partnerships are also how Clubhouse is trying to maintain an edge against the mushrooming competitors like Twitter Spaces, Discord’s Stage Channels, or Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms. The startup has plans for more new features soon, possibly designed to up the social element of Clubhouse for its next revamp.