Home / Technology / App News /  Clubhouse to launch surround-sound feature to make chats more life-like

Audio-only chat platform Clubhouse revealed 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.

This new surround-sound-like feature will complement performance and entertainment rooms on the chat application.

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, it has been facing increasing competition from larger tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Spotify, which have all introduced their own social audio chat features.

Factoring in the number of speakers present in a Clubhouse room and a several other aspects, the app will assign users a spatial positioning. This technology will allow the listener to hear the voices in a surround-sound-like environment on their headphones, said Justin Uberti, Clubhouse's head of streaming technology.

For example, in comedy rooms, Clubhouse's technology will detect the performing comedian and place their 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, Uberti said.

"I could hear people laughing and the room erupts around me," Uberti said. "You can imagine in music ... there's a lot of potential."

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, Clubhouse said.

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