Have you ever been to a concert that was so good you never wanted to leave? Many recordings just aren't the same as the live sound you hear at a concert. But 3D music is here to change that.
With 3D music and 3D audio, music listeners can get that concert experience at home. Musicians can create 3D audio recordings or virtual concerts. And music listeners can feel as if a concert is happening right in their living room.
What Is 3D Music?
More than surround sound
Movie theatres use surround sound to fill the room with sound. That means you can hear a movie's audio from all over. You'll hear it come from speakers in front of you, behind you, and on both sides.
To understand how 3D audio works, we need to understand how regular speakers work. Depending on where the speaker is, one ear might pick up the sound slightly sooner.
If a speaker is on the left, your left ear will hear it before your right ear. That's not necessarily a bad thing. However, it's not the most immersive way to listen to audio.
3D audio aims to recreate sound naturally. It lets you hear the audio as if it was happening live rather than through speakers.
So 3D music can make it sound like you're listening to live music.
In the middle of it
If you've ever been to a live concert, you know that most recordings don't come close to the experience of listening to live music. Listening to 3D music can be an affordable way to get that concert experience every day.
When you listen to 3D music, you can feel like the music is happening then and there. Regular speakers make the source of sound very clear. It's easy to determine where the speaker is located.
However, 3D music doesn't have those same constraints on sound.
Because of this, artists can share their music with more people through virtual live concerts. You don't have to be at a venue to get the amazing experience of live music.
Thank the internet
The rise of virtual reality and the concept of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) has helped fuel the growth of 3D music.
Even though artists aren't creating 3D music themselves, YouTube content creators are taking songs and making them 3D. Just listening to some of these 3D renditions, you can hear the difference.
The experience is best with a pair of headphones, but computer speakers work just fine. No matter how you listen, 3D music takes you on an adventure that can't happen with 2D music.
All of these changes probably wouldn't have happened without the internet. Just as virtual reality turns images into three dimensions, 3D music does the same with audio.
After you listen to 3D music, you won't hear music the same again.
The Future Of Music
The music world is always changing, and musicians have to adapt to new forms of technology. The use of 3D music is no exception.
Musicians can use streaming sites and digital downloads to share their music with more people. However, the limitations of live concerts still exist.
But 3D music could change that, too. It used to be that you could only listen to recordings on a CD or (before that) vinyl. Now you can search for just about any song and find a recording. The same should be true for concerts.
Innovation is necessary
If musicians want to keep advancing their careers, they have to be flexible in how their career unfolds. Gone are the days of just recording and touring.
Today, musicians need to have an active presence online. And musicians have to get creative with how they write and record their music.
Once 3D music starts to catch on with mainstream artists, the immersive experience will become expected. Any artist who resists the change to 3D music could face some major repercussions.
Tech isn't enough
These days, it seems like most musicians have dabbled in music technology. While there are new technologies to experiment with, it's not always enough.
Musicians have to find other ways to innovate and bring new music to their audience.
Of course, 3D music is a type of technology. However, it combines the benefits of technology with the feeling of hearing live music. If musicians want to stay on top of new trends, they should embrace the rise of 3D music.
The rising cost of concert tickets makes 3D music a fantastic way for musicians to bring the concert to their audience. People can listen to music at home and feel like their in a venue with the musician.
Our new reality
Another use of 3D music is with virtual reality. Virtual reality has changed the way people play games or watch videos. So it only makes sense that those changes would also occur with music and audio.
By combining virtual reality with 3D audio, we can experience almost anything in a new and exciting way.
Why musicians aren't making the change
It seems like 3D music should be all the rage, but a lot of musicians haven't started using it. There are a few reasons that might be keeping musicians from exploring 3D audio.
First, users really should use headphones to listen to 3D music. While it's not a necessity, headphones further elevate the sound of 3D audio.
Second, it changes the way we make music. In this case, that change could be a good thing. 3D audio gives music producers more speakers to use.
However, it can be difficult to make those changes after years of working in two dimensions.
Another reason for the hesitation could be from the cost and popularity of sound systems. A new Dolby Atmos sound system isn't cheap. However, users can upgrade from certain older versions of Dolby.
Lastly, 3D audio still makes some assumptions about the listener. A popular method for recording 3D audio is called binaural recording. This method places microphones on either side of a dummy head.
Plenty of musicians have used binaural recording, but it doesn't give the full immersion of 3D audio. And it assumes listeners use headphones. However, as we said, 3D audio shouldn't require headphones to give you that immersion.
Listen In 3D
If you want to listen to 3D audio, you don't need much. Some songs have 3D versions on YouTube (sometimes called 8D). However, there are a few things you can get to make 3D music even more immersive.
Once you get into 3D audio, you'll probably want some tools to heighten your experience. Here's what you should consider getting to really make listening to 3D music a great experience.
What you need
We think that 3D music shouldn't require anything special. However, 3D music has some limitations that make certain accessories very helpful.
Just as you would want a virtual reality headset, you should consider a pair of 3D audio headphones. You can use earbud-like headphones or over the ear headphones to listen to 3D music.
If you have a favorite pair of headphones, you can also use a special device to bring 3D audio to what you already have.
No matter which style you choose, 3D audio headphones help make audio sound like it's happening in that room rather than over a recording.
If you want to listen to 3D audio with your computer or phone speakers, you can also use a 3D audio app. These apps work with or without headphones. An app can measure your head so that it plays music specifically for you.
These apps can also use your camera to track your head movements. That means you can move around and still hear 3D audio.
If you're a musician looking to record 3D audio, you're in luck. You can use binaural recording. If you already have a dummy head, that's probably your cheapest option. However, you can also buy a 3D professional microphone.
While these microphones aren't cheap, they're a great way to get into creating 3D music. These microphones pair well with virtual reality video so you can create a fully immersive experience for your audience.
You can use the microphone for virtual concerts or 3D audio recordings.
Where to buy them
You can buy 3D audio headphones at most audio and technology stores. Online retailers like Amazon have a few options, but you can also buy directly from the manufacturer. Of course, you can also shop in stores for a pair of 3D audio headphones.
Waves Audio is the company behind the unique 3D audio accessory as well as the app. You can get the headphones add-on from their page on Kickstarter. If you want to try the 3D audio app, you can get it on your device's app store.
While you don't need any special gear to listen to 3D music, it can be helpful. However, those useful gadgets come with a hefty price tag.
A good pair 3D audio headphones cost $ to $$$. If you have headphones and just want the device to turn them into 3D headphones, that will cost you about $ to $$.
If you're on a stricter budget, you can get an app for free or $ to $$.
Musicians looking for a 3D audio microphone will need to save a little more. 3D audio microphones start at around $ to $$.
A Natural Progression
Like it or not, the music world is changing. Everything is becoming more digital from books to music recordings to live concerts.
As more and more musicians start to offer virtual live concerts, they need a way to make the experience as natural as possible. When you're at a venue, you hear music all over.
But at home, it can be hard to recreate that feeling. That's where 3D music can really shine. If you want the experience of being at a concert but from the comforts of home, 3D audio is the perfect solution. It works similarly to surround sound, so you hear music from all angles.
The future of music is here, and 3D music is essential to the development of music.
Have you heard of 3D music before? Have you ever experienced it? Let us know what you think in the comments!