The wonders of new ‘8D sound’ design

Source: StockSnap (via Pixabay)

By Elie Gould | Technology Editor

If you have ever heard a soundtrack that feels like the music is warping around you, then that means you’ve come across 8D music. 

It’s a phenomenon that has been going crazy in the YouTube communities recently and for good reason. So what is 8D sound design, what are the health effects, and what does this mean for gameplay?

What is 8D Sound Design?

8D sound design or music is technically known as 8th dimensional music. Honestly, I don’t even know how you achieve anything that is 8th dimensional so it is important to know that practically this music isn’t.

What it is though is using a number of different techniques, like equalising, panning, and effects to trick your brain into thinking that the music is coming from several different positions. 

First off, equalising is the process of changing the balance of a number of frequencies. While panning, is the use of different audio channels. These combined manage to trick your brain that the music is coming from inside your head. 

It really is a crazy feeling, that is hard to define without hearing it for yourself.

What are the Health Effects?

As you’d know after listening to an 8D soundtrack, it gives off really foreign vibes. I’ll admit that at first it made me feel slightly uncomfortable, because it was just that unique. Many equate it to the feeling of sea sickness at first. But it’s something I soon got used to. 

In fact, many have found that listening to 8D can have positive effects on your health. Some compare it to binaural beats, the act of listening to different sounds with slightly different frequencies in each ear. 

Binaural beats claim to activate a sense of meditation within your brain quicker than without any sound. While it is also extremely helpful for calming anxiety. 

What does this mean for Gameplay? 

On one hand 8D sound design is like an anti-anxiety pill, but on the other it can be creepy as hell if used in the right way. 

Imagine playing a horror game and you suddenly start thinking that the sounds are coming from inside your head. What about if that creepy noise actually starts to move around the room just as it would in real life. Yeah, that’s a quick no from me. This feature will quickly change the way games are developed and experienced. No doubt it will provide greater immersion for technology such as the Oculus. 

Despite all the potential terror, it’s an exciting idea to think about. Especially, as game design as a whole is becoming more and more life-like. First with graphics, then with the development of UE5, and now with sound design. 

It does seem like we are getting the full package, and 8D sound design may be the final cherry on the cake. Just make sure you wear your headphones.

Science and Technology

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