As a “Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording“, REAPER is used in a lots of different cases: music, post-production, audio fiction etc… Thanks to its scripting possibilities, it is also used in scientific research!
Interested by the possibility offers by REAPER flexible routing and by JSFX, a REAPER way to script Audio/MIDI Effects, T. Lossius (from EK – Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts at that time) & J. Anderson (DXARTS, University of Washington) choose this system to prototype a set Ambisonic effects, for use in surround, binaural, 360° and 3D audio kind of stuffs. It has been a very active field of research this past decade and their work at the time (2014-2015) was definitely on point. This article isn’t meant to be a tutorial about Ambisonic, you will find a lots of great resources online about this, including this SoundParticles and this Rode article.
The ATK pack includes JSFX (and also SuperCollider) Ambisonic encoder/decoders, but also more fancy stuffs like transform tools. Take a look at the advanced GUI screenshots below!
If you want to know more about this pack, you can take a look at the dedicated website below, watch a Lossius conference (there was also one at Ircam but it doesnt seems to be available in its integrity now), ask for support in the Cockos Forum thread, watch Lossius video tutorials on Vimeo, take a look at other people tutorial on YouTube (more recent and for more casual users), or even, if you are brave enough, take a look at the scientific paper directly (ATK Reaper: The Ambisonic Toolkit as JSFX plugins, T. Lossius & J. Anderson (2014)).
It is very nice to see research teams investing the possibility offered by REAPER, pushing the limits, documenting all this in academic field and releasing all this for free afterwards. The pack didn’t get a lot of update since v1.0 release, and there are open tickets on it’s GitHub repo, so I am not sure how solid it is for current Ambisonic production. It is only First Order (FOA), so if you want more, and that you can’t mod it yourself (I suppose this would be extremely difficult, as it required a research team to make this already), you might take a look at other solutions, like the free VST pack Blue Ripple O3A Core, or the open source IEM Plug-in Suite. You can even take a look at commercial solutions like Flux Spat, but this will be for another article (there are some REAPER related news about this!).
Happy Panning! 😎