Clubhouse will launch surround sound feature to make chats more realistic


The Clubhouse audio-only chat platform has revealed plans to launch a spatial audio feature that will make voices sound as though they are coming from different directions, giving a realistic quality to virtual conversations and performances.

This new surround sound-like feature will complement the show and entertainment venues on the chat app.

Clubhouse, backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, highlighted the audio chat room trend last year. The app now has business leaders and celebrities among its users. However, it faces growing competition from big tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify, all of which have introduced their own social audio chat features.

Taking into account the number of speakers present in a Clubhouse room and several other aspects, the application will assign users a spatial positioning. This technology will allow the listener to hear voices in a surround sound-like environment on their headphones, said Justin Uberti, Head of Streaming Technology at Clubhouse.

For example, in comedy rooms, Clubhouse’s technology will detect the comedian on stage and put his voice “up front,” while others’ laughter might appear to be coming from the left and right sides of a listener, said Uberti.

“I could hear people laughing and the room erupted around me,” Uberti said. “You can imagine that in music … there is a lot of potential.”

Space technology also makes it easier to detect when different users are speaking, whereas people previously had to pay attention to the cadence and vocal timbre of speakers, he added.

Clubhouse, which started as an invitation-only app and was recently opened to all users, said more than 700,000 rooms are now created every day, up from 300,000 in May.

Spatial audio will be offered to iOS users first and then Android users shortly thereafter, Clubhouse said.

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