The popular voice-based social networking app, Clubhouse has revealed its plans to launch a spatial audio feature that will make voices sound as if they’re coming from different directions, giving a life-like quality to conversations and virtual performances.
Clubhouse, backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, brought to fore the audio chatrooms trend last year. The application now counts chief executives and celebrities among its users.
However, the app has been facing increasing competition from larger tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Spotify, which have all introduced their own social audio chat features. This new surround-sound-like feature will complement performance and entertainment rooms on the chat application.
The app’s technology will assign users a spatial positioning, depending on how many speakers are in a Clubhouse room and a variety of other factors. This technology will allow the listener to hear the voices in a surround-sound-like environment on their headphones, said Mr. Justin Uberti, Clubhouse’s head of streaming technology.
For example, in comedy rooms, Clubhouse’s technology will detect the main speaker and place that person’s voice in the “front,” while the laughter of other people could sound as if they’re coming from a listener’s left and right sides, Mr. Uberti added, “I could hear people laughing and the room erupts around me. You can imagine in music there’s a lot of potentials.”
The spatial technology also makes it easier to detect when different users are speaking, whereas people previously might have to pay attention to the speakers’ cadence and vocal timbre, he added.
Clubhouse, which started as an invite-only app and recently was opened to all users, said more than 700,000 rooms are now created each day, up from 300,000 in May. Spatial audio will roll out first to iOS users and then Android users soon after.