What Is 8D Audio?

8D Audio: It’s the hottest new buzz word in audio technology, but what is 8D audio?

Essentially, 8D audio sounds like it’s coming from all different directions and distances when you listen to it on normal stereo headphones. You’ll have the sensation that you are in the room with the performers.

Don’t confuse this with surround sound that requires multiple tracks coming out of speakers placed around the room. 8D audio will sound multidimensional on any set of headphones.

Hear The Difference

Check out the two examples below to hear the difference. Wear headphones and make sure you have the volume turned up to a decent level.

This first link is Beach House by The Chainsmokers recorded in Normal Stereo Audio:

Now listen to the same song recorded in 8D Audio (YOU MUST USE HEADPHONES):

Now that you’ve heard the difference, let’s look at how we can record in 8D.

Producing 8D Audio

8D audio is produced through a process called binaural recording. This is a method of recording audio that mimics the way we perceive sound with our ears. In binaural recording, a mannequin head is outfitted with microphones in each ear. These two microphones detect sounds differently because of their placement within the head.

Sound travels at 343 meters per second through air. Since the distance from the source to each microphone is usually different, a delay is produced. This delay, along with some shielding of the microphones within the head, creates a multidimensional sound.

Another process that can create 8D audio involves using software to convert pre-recorded stereo audio into 8D audio. Check out this post on El Reloj Del Sol for a review on using the free software combination of Audacity and the Ambeo Orbit plugin. The sennheiser website has a tutorial about creating 8D audio using this software as well. 

So what do you think? Is 8D audio a legitimately useful new technology, or just another marketing ploy? Leave a comment below!

If you’re a musician, we’d love your input as we develop our automatic mixing and mastering software. Answer a couple questions below and enter for a chance to win unlimited mixing and mastering for 1 year when we launch in 2019!

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If you’re interested in learning more about stereo audio production, check out these tutorials:

Beginners Guide To Mastering

The Top 7 Tips for Mixing and Mastering your own Hip Hop Track