"8D Audio" - a psycho-acoustic gimmick or a fascinating trend?

There is no other topic that audiophiles, sound experts, musicians, youtubers and consumers are talking about as much as the current surround sound trend "8D Audio".

8D Audio - What is it about?

Like many new things in the past, e.g. ASMR or binaural beats, 8D Audio also polarises. 8D Audio is not - as one might initially assume - about an 8-dimensional audio technology (in reference to three-dimensionality), but rather about an 8-directional appearance in the sound image, which can only be experienced through headphones. This gives the listener the immersive impression that music and sounds are moving around him or her, or in other words, that he or she is in the middle of a sound event such as a concert.

Psychoacoustic area of application

Psychoacoustics, which at first sounds like an entertaining gimmick here, has a high value in some areas of application: from medical practice (e.g. intelligent hearing aids, hearing tests, therapeutic use cases) to auditory consumer electronics and general scientific use cases, such as the sonification of very large amounts of data for interactive, auditory-explorative data analysis through sonification.

Psychoacoustic techniques

Psychoacoustic techniques make it possible to modify surrounding, virtual sounds in such a way that they come close to a real sound event and can therefore make it easier for us to hear, localise and classify them. These techniques generate, for example, time differences of an acoustic signal in the stereo panorama and level differences between the human auditory channels for sound localisation and simulate reverberation components. In psychoacoustics, it is such techniques and many others (e.g. resonance analysis, recognition of reflection patterns and timbres) that the human auditory system has learned over thousands of years, thus enabling three-dimensional sound localisation along the horizontal, median/sagittal and frontal planes.

Lars Niessen

Consultant l acoustic science & design

"Is 8D audio just one psychoacoustic trend of many? Some voices will call it that, others consider it beyond entertaining applications. It is an opportunity to make the fascination for psychoacoustic technologies and phenomena accessible to a broad audience."

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