8D Music - Simple Hype or The Future?

I have seen a constant stream of “listen to this, but remember to listen on good headphones”, and it’s some music that is produced in “8D Audio”. To me it sounds more like a simple autopanning effect with some added reverb on some on the sounds. Sure it sounds immersive, but I don’t really see the technological leap here. Am I missing something? :stuck_out_tongue:


Apparently just some really annoying abuse of some generic psychoacoustic “surround” algorithm. Doesn’t even sound particularly convincing to me, at least. Sideways pan works as intended (?), but the front/back axis is rubbish. I can just about tell front from back from the high end roll-off, but it’s really shallow. Guess their parameters don’t fit my head/ears/headphones, or whatever… Maybe it relies on “consumer hi-fi” frequency response. (It actually does seem to work slightly better if I disable the calibration on the headphones.)

And that brings us to the “technological leap” part: No, there really isn’t much to this, and no matter how sophisticated the algorithms, it will never be more than a “cool effect” that sort of works for most listeners.

To actually place sounds in 3D through standard stereo headphones, the audio needs to be processed based on a model of the specific listener’s head and ears. Without that, it will just be an approximation, and the more your shape and measurements differ from the model used, the worse the results. You could even make this work with speakers, but then you also need to bring the speaker placement, room etc into the model.

Just do proper 5.1/7.1/whatever surround mixes. That actually works for all listeners who have adequate equipment - which could actually be stereo heaphones with a personalized HRTF encoder. :slight_smile:

On that note, here’s a demo of generic HRTF that sounds a lot more convincing to me. (First search hit.) Front/back is obvious, and I can even tell if the sound is coming from above or below.


Nothing but a combination of plugins, reverb and panpot give the illusion of a multi-dimensional false listening but sitting still and listening to the music that revolves around me makes me sick from motion sickness and I personally think it is a momentary fashion, like a shooting star, it amazes you in a flash but soon you forget it (without offending the stars)

I can understand an application in VR technologies in which the sound changes size based on the movement of the head or video, like this awesome Audio Ease plug-in

Jurij Ricotti of JGR Studio in Rome, author of an album with Andrea Bocelli, exhibited this Italian project with an apparatus that captures sound in 6 dimensions: front, rear, right to left, above and below.
Here is the link, unfortunately the site is in Italian


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So basically implementing some kind of gyroscope and accelerometer into the headphones would be required, right?


I agree with you that is probably a moment of fame for this 8D thing. I feel that it is similar to the early 3D-movies which made you sea sick as well, especially since they overdid fast panoramic “glides” just to push the 3D effect more.


Yes, if you want the “VR” part of the experience as well. There are a bunch of tools that simulate speakers through headphones, and some of them have head tracking like that.

It still works without head tracking, though. The sound stage will of course be locked to your head, but the point is that the sounds will actually appear to come from the exact directions intended, rather than just sounding weird and diffuse.


for me personally, i like to sit and enjoy music, listening concentrate on it.
These kind of effects could be great for movies or video games, but it is another example for, not everything what is possible, is really needed :smiley: