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Intro to 3D sound

Intro to 3D sound

In the previous post, I argued that XR experiences cannot exist without sound, and more precisely – 3D sound. Today I will give a brief introduction to 3D sound.

Imagine yourself standing in the forest. You hear a gentle noise coming from the tree leaves above you, and a singing bird on the branch beside you. Suddenly, a fly appears and starts to circle around your head, very close to your ear. Annoying, right?

Now, think about your sound experiences in the movie theater. Have you ever felt as if you were truly inside the sound scene? Irritated by the mosquito flying around the actors? Probably not. Why? Because it is very difficult or impossible, to play a sound which appears to be closer to you than the speakers. In movie theaters, the speakers are hanging on the walls and behind the screen and that’s the closest impression of sound you can get. But we are never bothered by this because the movie is happening on the limited space in front of us and as long as most of the sound is coming from there – our brain is able to connect the visual and audio layers seamlessly.

XR experiences are very different. They surround the observer, forcing us to be inside the virtual world both visually and sonically. This is why we need 3D sound. It allows us to position sounds in any location around the listener – to create the impression of sounds being very close to our ears or very far away – to be above, below or beside us.

But how do we achieve that technically? Is it really possible?

More on that in the future posts.

Marta Gospodarek (Olko)
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