Spatial audio processing refers to the plethora of signal processing and audio reproduction techniques that allow the perception of audio content in space and thus in context.
The quest for increased auditory realism has been going on for a long time starting as early as Alan D. Blumlein’s invention of stereophonic sound reproduction in the first half of 1930s. Stereophony, having the additional convenience of using only two channels of audio has defined the standard in spatial audio for a long time despite all of its disadvantages such as a limited optimal listening area and lack of spatial immersion. Quadrophony and other four channel systems have followed course but despite providing better realism and immersion than stereophony, did not attract great commercial and consumer interest. The following spatial audio concepts such as binaural and transaural audio, multichannel audio, Ambisonics, WFS, and hybrids of those systems have been actively researched to this time. These systems are used in a variety of contexts from home entertainment systems, movie theatres, acoustic design, virtual and augmented reality applications, computer games etc. A fair categorisation of existing spatial audio systems is not possible as each system has its own merits.