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by Jay Garrett

2nd April, 2019


Genelec has announced Aural ID as a significant first step in improving the trustworthiness of headphone listening.

Aural ID works by acquiring your exclusive acoustic attributes to create a detailed modelling of your anatomical features that affect hearing. From there, compensations can be made and so enable the delivery of a more honest and reliable sound when using headphones for reproduction.

Genelec Aural ID

Starting from the standpoint that traditional ‘one size fits all’ headphone reproduction fails to yield a proper reliable reference for audio professionals, Aural ID calculates your personal Head Related Transfer Function (HRTF).

The HRTF describes the acoustical properties of the head, upper torso and external ear: elements that interact in complex ways to affect sounds reaching the eardrums. Aural ID then computes all these elements and creates a personal data file characterising the modification to sound arriving from any azimuth and elevation. This file consequently enables an audio engine to precisely render stereo or immersive content via headphones.

Until now, the gathering of personal HRTF information has been a complex and time-consuming process that requires an anechoic room, placement of measurement microphones at the entry to the user’s ear canals, and careful attention to setup and procedure details with multiple measurements. Genelec states that “even after these steps have been taken, the data gathered is less comprehensive than that available using Aural ID, and can still be prone to errors”.

Genelec Aural ID

Alternatively, Genelec Aural ID software only requires a 360-degree video of your head and shoulder region which can be captured using a decent mobile phone camera.

Once the video is uploaded to the Genelec web-based calculation service, the calculation process first builds an accurate and detailed 3D model scaled to exactly the correct dimensions of the head and upper torso, with particular attention paid to modelling of the external ears. Then, acoustic fields are analysed and calculated numerically with a full-wave method to capture detailed acoustic phenomena.

The acoustic fields are computed for hundreds of different orientations of audio approaching the head, after which the HRTFs are formed, and the data is finally compiled into a downloadable SOFA file - a format which has been defined and standardised by the Audio Engineering Society (AES). Using the SOFA format maximises the technical compatibility of the HRTF data file as plenty of virtual reality (VR), and game audio rendering engines support SOFA.

Indeed, Genelec sees those working in academic research, immersive audio monitoring, VR and games development as likely early adopters of the new Aural ID technology.

Genelec Managing Director Siamak Naghian told StereoNET:

In the same way that our monitor loudspeakers established the sonic reference for professional audio monitoring, and GLM calibration software revolutionised the way studio monitors could be optimised for any acoustic space, we are determined to help bring standards of sonic truthfulness to headphone reproduction. With an increasing number of audio professionals relying on both in-room monitors and headphones, Genelec Aural ID is a significant first step towards the use of headphones for actual reference audio monitoring and listening.

The Genelec Aural ID service will become available for purchase online via the Genelec Community website during Q2 of this year.


Jay Garrett's avatar

Written by:

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Posted in: Headphones Technology
Tags: genelec