8D audio: What is it and why it called so?

8D audio has taken off on YouTube in recent months, seemingly out of nowhere. Here we go to the subject to understand what this technology really is, and what it has to do with the holophonic sound created in the ’80s.

Have you ever heard of “advanced audio technology” called 8D audio? But what would that be? Are these audios better or more advanced than 3D audios? Of course we will think so, right? After all, 3D = 3 dimensions, then 8D would be 8 dimensions, but does this really exist, or is it pure advertising strategy?

What is 8D audio?

8D audio covers the sound sources above and below the listener, providing an immersive experience. The technology was developed in the 80’s by psychedelic rock groups such as Pink Floyd, who released albums with this technique, such as “The Final Cut” (1983).
Although no one knows for sure where it comes the accompanying ‘D’ 8, the letter is short for dimension, and there are several theories: Some believe that it is simply an advertising mechanism to make this audio more attractive, technologically speaking. Others argue that 8D audio is indeed differentiated. Be that as it may, we know that this is the result of the blending of current technology with existing sound techniques from the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Is 8D audio the same as holophonic sound?

To explain 8D sound, we must first talk about Zuccarelli, the creator of holophonic sound and also 3D sound. Just as an image can be holographic (in several dimensions), the sound also imitates this technique. Zuccarelli realized and, after several experiments with his wife, developed the Ringo, a model of a human head that reproduces the acoustic processes that occur between the ear and the brain when hearing a sound.

There is some controversy surrounding the figure of Zuccarelli since his detractors accuse him of plagiarizing the techniques used to record binaural sounds, where it is also necessary to reproduce the audio within the model of a human head. For this, it is necessary to have two microphones (one in each ear) and send the audio track through each earphone.

Holophony came out by chance when this Argentine scientist decided to apply the concept of a hologram to sound. In this almost hypnotic effect, fictitious heads are used, which try to simulate the auditory conditions of a human head. 

Technically, this sound modifies some classic parameters of the recording systems.  Instead of using two microphones, one for the left channel and one for the right – as in the case of stereo,  use a model of an artificial head. The goal is to get microphones to record the sound that goes through a person’s ears and skull in a show. And what many in fact feel, is that they are in a live performance when they hear this sound.

But why 8D?

To better understand what 8D audio is, we need to understand the environment in which we live. We live in a three-dimensional world, and that means that any object in our environment can be referenced through 3 axes in space. They are the axes X = length, Y = height and Z = depth.

There are other theories that represent the 4 dimensions, in which this fourth dimension would be time. But how can we reveal the other 4 dimensions to say what an 8D audio is? We say that we produce 3D audio only because we can move the audio across the 3 axes in space. But how is it possible to move the sound through the 3 axes in space?
To say that an object is in motion, we need a reference. For example: We say that a car is moving in relation to an outside observer, but not in relation to the driver of the car.

The fact is that we can produce 3D sounds in relation to the listener. This is the main reason to use headphones. In this way, all movement of sound in the 3 axes in space will have as a reference the listener himself, which will be anchored to the headphones.

In a simpler way, we can say that we all have the property of seeing in 3 dimensions because we have 2 eyes. And we all have the property of hearing sounds coming from all directions because we have 2 ears. But mainly because we have two ears specially designed to distort the sound (through external ears) before reaching our inner ears.

Thus, our brain can distinguish correct positioning of sound through the difference in speed of sound between one ear and another, and the type of distortion that sound has undergone.

Knowing this, today engineers and scientists around the world are studying this subject in order to digitally process this distortion, which was previously only produced by microphone techniques in binaural mode or Ambisonics, and thus create tools for more producers to use this technology.

So, why is it called 8D audio? Name is an advertising strategy. But the technique makes the sound actually different from the stereo. 8D sound is the same as holophonic sound, and also to binaural audio.

Audio 8D currently

Well, as people are calling 8D audio, we will continue to use this nomenclature, although now you already know it is the same as binaural, holophonic or 3D sound.

8D sound has become fashionable lately. This technology was introduced initially to increase the realism of virtual reality in videogames (VR) and was also implemented in music. The experience is incredibly real.

In addition, like 3D audio, it works by grouping a series of sound effects that locate the original audio in a three-dimensional configuration, and manipulate them in such a way that when played, there is an effect that the audio comes from different directions.

The 8D audio effects turned out to allow musicians to deliver a three-dimensional, immersive live experience. Is it the future of video games? Or just the success of the few 8D songs that are currently on YouTube will lead the way.

If you need help, have doubts or concerns, do not hesitate to leave a comment in the comment box below and we will try to help you as soon as possible!

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