APL VIRTUOSO

The Ultimate Binaural Translator for Mixing on Headphones

Mix on headphones with confidence wherever you are

Best New Plugin of 2023 chosen by

APL VIRTUOSO is a cutting-edge binaural audio renderer that virtualises stereo or immersive loudspeaker setups and listening rooms for headphone listening, with an unprecedented level of tonal/spatial fidelity and a highly accurate translation to real loudspeakers.

$149.00 exc. VAT

    A 14-day free trial is available for download. You need an iLok account to activate it. Download links for the MacOS and Windows versions will be sent to your email. Please note that it may occasionally take a few minutes to 20 minutes for the email to be delivered. If you still haven't received it, please check the spam folder.

    Includes AAX, VST3, AU and Standalone App

    Educational Discount Programme

    Special discounts are available for students and faculty. See details here.

    Current version: v1.3.1, updated 7 Mar 2024
    New:
    – Ability to load custom headphone filter .WAV files.
    Fixed:
    – SOFA file path is now saved with your sessions.
    – Fixed issue where Pro Tools would display unsupported layout options when inserting Virtuoso onto a track/bus.

    KEY BENEFITS:

    • Realistic virtual immersive mix/listening rooms, which can be customised acoustically for your own or other rooms.
    • Effective externalisation and accurate localisation of virtual loudspeakers – essential for making correct mix decisions on headphones.
    • Excellent tonal naturalness – just like listening to premium loudspeakers in real life.
    • Highly accurate translation to real loudspeakers.
    • Less headphone listening fatigue.

    MAIN FEATURES:

    • Available as AAX, VST3, AU and Standalone app.
    • 53 loudspeaker configurations from mono to 26 channels, including all popular immersive audio formats, e.g. ITU-R, Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, MPEG-H and regular arrays for Ambisonics).
    • Seven presets of scientifically tuned virtual rooms.
    • Customisable acoustic parameters.
    • Built-in and custom (SOFA) HRTFs.
    • Head tracking (OSC and manual).
    • Routing matrix with solo, mute and level controls.
    • Downmix options.
    • Headphone compensation EQ (98 models + Custom filter .wav file loading feature).
    • Loudspeaker on-axis response modelling EQ (11 models).

    Experts say

    Virtual loudspeaker setups for binaural listening

    VIRTUOSO currently supports 53 input configurations of up to 26 channels for all popular loudspeaker formats from mono to 3D, including ITU-R, Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, MPEG-H, NHK and various regular arrays ideal for Ambisonics (e.g., Quad, Cube, Octagonal, Lebedev grid). VIRTUOSO enables you to accurately localise sound images all around you as if they are presented over real loudspeakers placed at a certain distance from you rather than inside the head. Even if you don’t have lots of loudspeakers, you can now start your immersive audio adventure with VIRTUOSO. All you need is a pair of headphones.

    Virtual room presets

    VIRTUOSO provides seven presets of virtual listening rooms that have been scientifically designed with ASPEN™’s 3D geometric acoustic simulation and carefully tuned by Tonmeister ears. They sound highly realistic and natural without introducing any negative tonal colouration. In the VIRTUOSO rooms, you can be confident about what you are hearing on headphones – it will translate to real loudspeakers in similar environments thanks to the accurate imaging that VIRTUOSO offers. If you ever struggle with any room acoustic issues in your studio, then transport yourself into the APL’s ITU-R BS.1116-compliant reference listening room in VIRTUOSO, which will help you make correct decisions more easily and confidently.

    Customisable virtual room acoustics

    The room presets give you great starting points. But depending on the acoustic condition of the physical room you are in, you may need to customise the acoustic characteristics of the virtual room to maximise the sense of being there. VIRTUOSO provides you with full control over the important acoustic parameters; room dimensions, room damping, reverb time, reverb liveliness, listening distance as well as overall ambience level. Note VIRTUOSO does not use a conventional stereo reverb, but renders three-dimensional early reflections and diffuse reverb signals based on the defined room dimensions and acoustic characteristics.

    Built-in and custom HRTFs

    VIRTUOSO not only provides three sets of carefully selected and tuned built-in HRTFs but also supports the import of custom HRTFs in SOFA (Spatially Oriented Format for Acoustics).

    Head tracking

    The OSC (Open Sound Control) and manual sound field rotation enable smooth and low-latency head tracking. Currently, three OSC message formats are supported: APL, IEM, and Nxosc.

    Routing and downmix matrix

    Each loudspeaker configuration has its own standard channel order. With the routing matrix, however, it is possible to flexibly assign any input signal to any virtual loudspeaker within the selected input loudspeaker configuration. You can also solo, mute or change the level of each virtual loudspeaker. The routing matrix also allows for passive downmix. Various downmix algorithms are provided as presets in the Settings tab. For a given input configuration, one or more downmix configurations can be selected (e.g. Atmos 7.1.4 to Atmos 5.1.2, ITU 7.1 or 5.1), with variable downmix gain for each loudspeaker signal. This is useful for checking how your 3D mix would be translated with a smaller number of loudspeakers.

    Headphone compensation (HPC) EQ and loudspeaker (SPK) EQ

    For the most accurate presentation of head-related transfer function (HRTF) in binaural audio rendering, it is often necessary to make the frequency response of the headphones perceptually flat. For this purpose, VIRTUOSO currently provides HPC EQ filters for 98 popular models and also allows you to load a custom headphone EQ .wav file (e.g. from the popular AutoEQ library). Also provided are the SPK EQ filters that model the on-axis frequency responses of 11 popular loudspeaker models. These EQs allow you to choose virtual loudspeakers with different spectral balances for monitoring purposes, but also can be used to add a unique tonal colour to your binaural mix. More headphones and loudspeaker EQs will be added in future updates.

    Examples of immersive and stereo recordings binauralised using VIRTUOSO

      Please use headphones.

    Below is a Samply playlist of Virtuoso binaural samples. For streaming quality, you can select between 48kHz/24bits Lossless (recommended) and Adaptive in the Audio Controls at the bottom of the player, depending on your internet bandwidth.

    Authorisation Method

    PACE iLok (dongle gen. 2 or 3 or machine-base)

    Formats

    VST3
    Audio Units (AU)
    Standalone macOS Application
    Standalone Windows Application
    AAX (arriving in Q2 2023)

    Operating Systems

    Apple macOS 10.14 through 12.6.2

    Microsoft Windows 10 and 11

    Mac Requirements

    Apple M1 and M2

    Intel 64-bit CPU with SSE3 (minimum Core i5 at 2 GHz)
    – We recommend using a Mac from at least 2015. Core 2 Duo is not supported.

    PC Requirements

    Intel 64-bit or compatible CPU with SSE3 instruction set (minimum Core i5 at 2 GHz)
    – We recommend using a PC from at least 2016.

    Memory

    4 GB minimum, 8 GB recommended.

    DAW

    We tested on the following DAWS:
    Pro Tools 2023.3
    Reaper 7
    Logic Pro 10.7
    Nuendo 12
    Cubase 12
    Studio One 6
    Pyramix 14
    Sequoia Pro 16
    Samplitude Pro X7
    Audition CC
    Ableton Live 12

    * JRiver is currently not supported.

    Sample Rates

    44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz

    Quick Demonstration of APL VIRTUOSO

    Using VIRTUOSO with Dolby Atmos External Renderer

    This video demonstrates how to use APL VIRTUOSO to binaurally monitor 7.1.4 output from Dolby Atmos External Renderer. Use headphones for a binaural demo at the end.

    Sam Hocking explores Atmos 9.1.6 playback using VIRTUOSO alongside the Supperware headtracker within a VR desktop setup. Achieving an ambiance level that matches the virtual cinema acoustics delivers a highly realistic and impactful externalisation.

    Michael G Wagner introduces new features of Virtuoso v1.1.0 and demonstrates Dolby Atmos Renderer (7.1.4) + VIRTUOSO (binaural) + Bridgehead (Headtracking) on Windows via Dante VIA (ASIO).

    Bob Katz’s demonstration of VIRTUOSO

    The legendary mastering engineer and author Bob Katz gave a talk and demo on Binaural Translation of Immersive Music using Virtuoso on February 7th, 2023, as part of AES San Francisco’s Audio Education Series.

    Headtracked binaural with VIRTUOSO

    Dr Michael G Wagner of Drexel University thinks that VIRTUOSO and Bridgehead headtracker are a killer combination for delivering a truly immersive binaural listening experience.

    Virtuoso review by Production Expert

    Click below to read.

    Testimonials from Experts

    I thought I was listening to my speakers! Virtuoso fooled me. Amazing recreation. We finally have a convincing tool for binaural translation.

    Bob Katz
    Mastering and mixing engineer, Author
    APL’s Virtuoso Binaural Renderer is simply astounding. I was able to arrive at settings where listening over headphones in my studio is eerily similar to listening over my immersive speaker layout. Virtuoso gives me confidence that I can make decisions on headphones and not be disappointed when I get back to my studio.
    Mark Willsher
    Score mixer & Music editor

    Virtuoso has been absolutely invaluable to me mixing my last batch of EPs for Dolby Atmos. I don’t have an Atmos setup, so I used Virtuoso for monitoring while I was creating the mix on my home setup, then checked the final tweaks mixes on a friend’s setup. I actually changed very little from the Virtuoso mixes.

    Peter Chilvers
    Composer, musician and engineer
    Virtuoso is the best binaural monitoring tool I’ve used. The records that I have mixed using Virtuoso have translated exceptionally well to speakers and radio, while the score I mixed translated flawlessly to the dub stage.
    Michael Patterson
    Mixer/Producer
    Virtuoso is an unprecedented solution to the challenge of finding reliable, accurate software-based binaural monitoring for working on spatial mixes when away from the studio. APL have made it very straightforward to model a familiar space or experiment with new environments. Highly recommended.
    Emre Ramazanoglu
    Mixer/Producer/Songwriter
    We used APL Virtuoso for approval playbacks on Halo Season 2. We found Virtuoso to have the most convincing immersive/spatial rendering of any plugins we had tested. You truly feel as though the sound is moving around you.
    Matthew Chan
    Re-recording mixer

    Virtuoso is the most realistic binaural renderer I have used and I am happy to have found a reliable tool I can turn to that accurately translates immersive room environments over headphones. I recommend every engineer include it as part of their immersive mixing workflow.

    Christal Jerez
    Mixing and mastering engineer
    Virtuoso is phenomenal. The imaging of multichannel mixes on headphones is truly immersive. The translation of  Atmos on headphones literally had me check that the monitors weren’t on a few times. I also used it in conjunction with some delays and verbs to create textures and atmospheres that turned out great. I love it.
    Dror Mohar
    Sound designer/Re-recording mixer

    Never before have I heard such amazing binaural detail from behind and above. I was blown away by how moving an object around my head was translating binaurally on headphones. Mixing through Virtuoso really does give the impression of mixing through speakers in a room.

    Mark Gittins
    Broadcast mix engineer

    As a mastering engineer I have found Virtuoso invaluable in allowing me to recreate the conditions in my control room when I am on the move. The accuracy with which Virtuoso replicates my room is uncanny – on several occasions I have been fooled into thinking I had left my monitors on. All my listening on headphones goes through Virtuoso now.

    Sam Proctor
    Mastering engineer
    Virtuoso is the first binaural monitoring tool that I found to reproduce the nuances and immersive sensory fields of high-resolution audio masters I produced. I wholeheartedly welcome the release of Virtuoso.
    Mick Sawaguchi
    High-resolution recording engineer/producer

    Virtuoso produces a convincing and trustworthy binaural 3D sound experience, empowering the artist to continue working on their spatial audio materials outside the studio. The many virtual space parameters also allow creative exploration of binaural mastering to bring forth qualities in the source.

    Natasha Barrett
    Electroacoustic and acusmatic music composer

    Virtuoso is a top class binauralizer! I’m very impressed by the degree of externalization and the naturalness of the virtual room sound. Virtuoso makes my recordings sound like convincing dummy head recordings – that’s very impressive!

    Lasse Nipkow
    3D audio recording/mixing engineer

    Virtuoso is a game changer for my binaural adventures. Finally I have a reliable immersive monitoring setup to go, and all I have to think about is making music for it.

    Hans-Martin Buff
    Recording and mixing engineer/producer

    Virtuoso is the first binaural software I used which replicates speaker monitoring close to a real speaker setup. It’s not only very accurate in terms of localization and frequency response, but also very musical-sounding.

    Felix Krückels
    Tonmeister/Professor of broadcast production

    Virtuoso provides an unprecedented level of accuracy in spatialisation while preserving the naturalness and integrity of the source. It’s an integral part of my immersive audio workflow.

    Katia Sochaczewska
    Immersive sound designer/producer

    What a special binaural experience! I had to take off my headphones and make sure the speakers were off. With Virtuoso, I can see myself genuinely being able to create music in spatial audio with accuracy and confidence.

    Justin Gray
    Mastering and mixing engineer

    Finally, a binauralizer that I can trust! With Virtuoso, I feel more confident in my mixing of immersive audio using headphones. I am impressed by its ability to create enveloping and externalised sounds without compromising the punch and clarity.

    Martin Rieger
    3D sound designer

    User Manual

    The user manual can be accessed by clicking the i button in the top right corner of the plugin/app.

    Or click here to download the user manual.

    Loudspeaker Layouts

    The list of loudspeaker layouts currently supported by Virtuoso can be accessed by clicking the i button in the top right corner of the plugin/app.

    Or click here to download the list of loudspeaker layouts.

    FAQs

    Click here to find answers to frequently asked questions.

    Contact Us

    If you have any questions, please email us at support@apl-hud.com

    If you found a bug, please report it here.