At the moment, the music industry is just getting the first taste of immersive spatial audio. The dominant players like Spotify are still providing heavily compressed flat stereo audio, and only Apple has embraced spatial. While AirPods have immersive audio and capture your head position, as Paul says, they have way too much latency to give the user a sense of immersion. "It's tough being years ahead of everybody understanding," he smiles, and I hear the melancholy in his voice. "We have dozens of patents, but we're taking the long road."
Because compression is a palpable impediment in spatial audio as it takes away half of the experience (the current codec assumes that the sound it is tossing out is unnecessary), Immersion Networks built its own pipeline. "We put all the pieces of the puzzle to complete the experience," Hubert continues. Having an entire spatial toolbox, the company can create better Dolby Atmos mixes from mono, stereo, or multitrack sources. Moreover, Immersion Networks has collaborated with large catalogs and brought companies to "further their catalogs into the future." For instance, the company recently remixed
the iconic Johnny Cash's debut album with its process.
The founder and his team are particularly excited about the metaverse since it lets one capture the experience and transmit it or have it bottled forever. Even though the metaverse is scheduled for sometime in the near future, Immersion Networks already has the necessary audio infrastructure to have it up and running. "We have these technologies and [now] it's just finding licensing opportunities for strategic partnerships," he conveys.
Concluding our almost two-hour conversation, we talk about the future of audio and the mission of improving the music listening experience. It's a long road, but a rewarding one. "We are here to create experiences, whether it's providing tools or a system for delivery … and this is just the tip of the iceberg," Paul concludes, smiling.