Sennheiser has released a public beta version of AMBEO Orbit, a freeware binaural panner in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin formats for DAW applications on PC and Mac.
AMBEO Orbit is a free binaural panning utility developed by Sennheiser, using the Neumann KU100 binaural microphone as a reference. The plugin is capable of placing any mono or stereo audio recording in the 3D sound field without a negative impact on sound quality. Apart from being used as a specialized tool for binaural audio, AMBEO Orbit can also work as an advanced panning utility for use in stereo projects.
The user interface is conveniently laid out, with the most important panning controls placed on top and the additional room simulation tools located at the bottom. The horizontal positioning of the audio source can be adjusted using the Azimuth wheel controller on the right, whereas the Elevation slider on the left controls the vertical placement. The Azimuth can be altered by dragging the wheel controller or by typing in the exact angle. The value of the Clarity knob determines the amount of binaural coloration applied to the signal (lower values result in more obvious coloration) and the Width knob controls the stereo width of the processed audio.
The plugin also features a simple room reverb module which simulates the early reflections of different material types (glass, drapes, curtains, brick wall, and drywall). The built-in reverb effect sounds fine, although it isn’t very versatile. Thankfully, it can be bypassed completely in case the user wants to use a third-party solution. Even without the room simulation, the 3D positioning of the audio sounds very convincing.
You can check out my quick video demonstration of AMBEO Orbit at the top of this page and decide if it’s something you’d be interested in adding to your digital audio workstation. There are just a few free binaural panner plugins out there, most notably Panagement (linked above) and GFM Psypan which is a rather old and now discontinued tool. AMBEO Orbit seems to be the best sounding among the three, although Panagement is definitely worth checking out as well.
AMBEO Orbit is available for direct free download from Sennheiser’s website (21.1 MB download size, ZIP archive containing EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/VST3/AU/AAX plugin formats for Windows & macOS).