In a statement audio-only chat app Clubhouse said, it will launch a spatial audio feature to make voices sound as if they’re coming from different directions, in efforts aimed at making virtual conversations and performances feel more life-like.
Backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz Clubhouse, jumpstarted the social audio trend last year and became known for chatrooms of thousands that included celebrities and CEOs. It now faces increased competition from Spotify, Twitter and Facebook, which have introduced their own social audio chat features.
Depending on the number of speakers in its chat room, as well as a variety of other factors, the app’s technology will assign users a spatial positioning, so that the listener will hear the voices surround them in their headphones, said Justin Uberti, Clubhouse’s head of streaming technology.
Case in point: 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, said Uberti.
“I could hear people laughing and the room erupts around me,” said Uberti. “You can imagine in music … there’s a lot of potential.”
He went on to add, 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.
The app, which initially started as an invite-only app has recently opened up to all users. More than 700,000 rooms are now created each day, up from 300,000 in May.
The spatial audio feature will first roll out for iOS users and then for Android users, said Clubhouse.