Why Brands Create Sounds for AR & VR

Spatial Audio offers users the opportunity to accurately experience the sounds of three-dimensional spaces - mimicking the way we hear sounds in the real world. In the era of augmented and virtual realities, the importance of spatial audio cannot be overstated. Human ears are precise instruments which provide the brain with a sense of balance and position in addition to the sense of sound we all know and love. If the eyes are the first step to creating an immersive digital experience, then the ears are the second. 

Why is immersion important for brands? Marketing success boils down to how well you can relate to, engage with, and delight your audiences. AR and VR in marketing can offer users the novel experiences consumers are craving in 2023, giving them new ways to understand your products, new reasons to interact with your brand, and a newfound appreciation for your unique value proposition. The more connected your audiences are able to feel with that experience, the more effective it’ll be in getting your points across. Immersion is the key to helping users get lost in your brand. Spatial Audio technology has already begun to add additional layers of immersion for users in virtual environments, but its journey to widespread adoption has only just begun. 

To understand Spatial Audio, it's important we take a look into how it's produced. Where regular audio is captured via microphone, Spatial Audio, historically, is best captured via microphone arrays. Microphone arrays typically range from a few dozen to several hundred mics. This allows the array to capture the sound field from a variety of angles, which is necessary for creating realistic spatial audio. This geometric component of Spatial Audio is in full display in the construction of these arrays. Spatial audio arrays are typically arranged in a spherical or hemi-spherical pattern, aiding in the creation of a full 360-degree spatial experience. Some arrays utilize advanced signal processing algorithms to stitch inputs from its constituent mics together to create the final product. The Soundfield SPS200 is one such example of a microphone array, featuring 24-channels designed for professional spatial audio recording and production, and used in a variety of applications.

As adoption of Spatial Audio becomes more commonplace, new technologies continue to make it more accessible to record and produce. These include 3D microphones such as the Voyage Audio Spatial Mic that enables Spatial Audio recording in a far smaller and cost effective package. Advances in signal processing algorithms are also paving the way for a lower barrier of entry to Spatial Audio, as producers are able to leverage AI to enhance the depth of a recording in post-production, and are even able to run such programs entirely on the cloud, further diminishing the need for expensive equipment. 

Now that Spatial Audio production is more accessible than ever, Spatial Audio speakers and devices are also proliferating on the consumer market. One such example are the NuraLoop headphones, which combine in-ear speakers with bone conduction speakers to envelop the user’s head in a 3D sound field. Advancements in AI and cloud-based processing are also starting to enable larger swathes of the mobile device market to handle Spatial Audio processing by reducing how much processing power an end-user has to have on hand to take advantage of it. These innovations are bringing immersive audio into the hands of everyday users, and will soon allow brands to deploy Spatial Audio experiences with an expectation of widespread use and adoption. 

Although leaps in the visuals of AR and VR often receive the most attention, the development of more immersive audio promises to play a significant role in tearing down the walls between the physical and digital worlds. By creating an avenue for audiences to get closer to your brand than ever before, Spatial Audio is a powerful tool for brands to leverage when deploying virtual experiences.