You might remember hearing about the Calrec Soundfield microphone - though most of us have probably never even seen one, they were really expensive technology. The ambisonic SoundField mic had an array of capsules with multiple outputs, which when processed allowed you to select the polar pattern of the mic after the recording - basically you could aurally zoom around the sound stage wherever you wanted. Powerful stuff indeed, but limited to those with deep pockets.
So it was big news when Aussie mic experts RODE bought the company - and the first product has just been released; the RODE SoundField NT-SF1. This uses 4 brand new capsules (with a noise floor of just 9dB, btw) in a tetrahedral array, and comes with windscreen and custom made Mogami 4-way cable. But the biggest news is that the new SoundField comes in at under $1000 - which is insane(!)
The ambisonic SoundField idea was great anyway, but it makes so much more sense now in a world of VR and 360 degree content - for example, a 360 sound recording can be now easily made and combined with VR content such that the focus of the sound environment follows the viewers head direction.
The new NT-SF1 was announced at NAB a few days ago, and we were lucky to get a look today, as Ryan Burke had literally just got off the plane from Las Vegas with it.
More info at Rode Mics