If you regularly hunt through YouTube for remixes and twists on well-known songs, you may have encountered tunes rendered in “8D” audio. But what is 8D music? Where can you find it? And, most importantly, is it actually good?
What is 8D music?
In essence, 8D (or “eight-dimension” – a term that doesn’t actually mean anything) audio makes the music “swirl” around your head, giving the impression that the sound is coming from multiple different directions at once. The effect is uncanny and people have described it as “like being at a gig or in the recording studio with the band”.
The proof, they say, is in the pudding. So, before we continue, put on your headphones and listen to 8D music in all of its glory…
YouTube commenter Bren Sin sums up the video above nicely: “Kinda sounds like Gorillaz rented beneath you and are having band practice”. It’s certainly different and comes into its own in the “trippy” part of the song (2.18).
That said, it’s confession time: the 8D technique makes me feel seasick and, personally, gives the impression of someone fiddling with the fade tools on Audacity – but I’m clearly in the minority. For example, this video of Imagine Dragons’ Believer has nearly 24 million views. That’s close to the population of Australia.
Where can I find 8D songs?
So, if you’re intrigued by the technique, YouTube is the best place to get your fix: the site contains dozens of songs in 8D, but the quality varies wildly. 8D particularly complements synth-heavy electronic tracks so those should be your first port of call. Just don’t be tempted by any classical music in 8D – unless you want to feel instantly queasy.
This is one of the least distracting, most immersive examples. A
There are also numerous playlists on Spotify that claim to be 8D, but are actually just the standard version of the song (any user-generated remix would infringe copyright) so we’d recommend giving them a wide berth.
So is 8D the future of music? Absolutely not. But, like “4D” cinema (where the seat rumbles and water squirts in your face), it’s an interesting technique that might have real-world applications in virtual reality games and films. Might.
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