Albert Leusink is a sound engineer and musician. Originally hailing from the Netherlands, Albert has been based in NYC for the past 20 years. He has extensive music and post-production experience in both film and TV, and he has earned numerous Grammy nominations and Clios along the way.

Albert has worked for a number of industry giants including Sony Music, RCA, Def Jam, AOL, JWT, 7, and BBDO. In 2015 he discovered 360 video and spatial audio and he’s never looked back. He even launched Tumble + Yaw, a company specializing in spatial audio engineering services for VR and spherical content and VR/AR/MR consulting. To hear and see their spatial audio work, visit www.tumbleandyaw.com.

Albert explained, “Working with spatial audio is very different from your standard horizontal-only formats. You’re not only dealing with regular mono and stereo sources that need to be incorporated into the spherical soundfield, but also with multi-channel B-format sources from Tetrahedral microphones, such as Soundfield or Tetramic. There are a lot of possibilities for phase cancellations between these different sources when folded down to binaural, so a highly accurate listening setup is even more critical than with legacy formats.”

Dissatisfied with the front-back confusion and spectral coloring or generic HRTF (Head-Related Transfer Function: a response that determines how an ear receives a sound from a point in space) filters, which to Albert would equate to mixing an album on a pair of Apple EarPods. Fortunately, he discovered IDA in 2016 and he has been a satisfied user ever since, employing his tailor-made HRTF whenever he can.

“It’s as if the back 180º finally opened up.”

Speaking about IDA’s spherical soundfield capability, Albert says, “It’s as if the back 180º finally opened up. With the generic filters, I had to rely on visual cues to tell me if the sound was coming from in front or behind or from above or below. But now I can just close my eyes and pinpoint exactly where the different sources are located.

“IDA also lets me make placement and frequency decisions, knowing that they will translate accurately to the different platforms, the filters I listen to throughout the rendering stage to be able to make small adjustments for each respective platform.”

Albert also noted, “What’s interesting, even in 2017, is that although most Virtual Reality (VR) headsets have some type of focus adjustment mechanism that lets each person optimize their visual experience, the same adjustment is not provided for the audio side. That means we are all listening through the same generic set of ears, ears that we know are not the same shape and size as yours or mine.”

Speaking more about 3-D sound for music, film, gaming, and Virtual Reality, Albert explained, “When I originally started working with first-order Ambisonics (a full-sphere surround sound technique), it opened up a whole new world of listening. However, I quickly realized it had shortcomings in spatial accuracy. That’s when I switched my entire setup to third-order Ambisonics, using Blue Ripple Sound plug-ins and Reaper as a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).

“To use the IDA custom HRTF, I use the SOFA (Spatially Oriented Format for Acoustics) import function in either Blue Ripple Sound’s Rapture3D or NoiseMakers’ Ambi Head.

“To me, this is the most essential tool in my workflow chain, I need to hear what I’m doing when I use compression, panning, reverb and equalization – as accurately as possible, which is what IDA now finally allows – highly recommended!”