3D Spatial Audio
Founder and Creative Partner, Ad van Dongen, wrote a piece on 3D Spatial Audio — an exciting technology changing the face of audio storytelling.
All brands need to pay attention.
What is it like to experience 3D Spatial Audio?
Imagine… you’re riding the subway. Behind you, two guys have a strange conversation about the dubious nature of two security guards who stand watch at City Hall. You can hear just enough disturbing words if you concentrate well. Meanwhile, two seats in front of you, a woman is having a sneezing fit. People around her, with the pandemic fresh on their minds, start moving out of her direction. Above you, the intercom plays intoxicating, slow music that makes you feel…dizzy.
What if these detailed images were brought to you by the sound from your EarPods? What if the visuals that you just imagined were generated because of a special kind of audio activating this fantasy?
Podcasts, games, radio plays, audio tours, the row of possibilities for spatial audio is endless. The number of available 3D Spatial productions is growing rapidly, for both public and commercial projects. You might have heard of Marvel’s 3D podcast Wolverine, winner of a Webby Award in 2019 and nominee in 2020. A fiction podcast that feels like a Netflix series… in 3D audio.
Or the Xbox campaign Walking in Steve’s dreams, another Webby Award nominee in 2021 and winner of a D&DA pencil. It’s a 3D audio experience on YouTube where you are put in #blindgamersteve’s head and become part of his fascinating dream world.
Why is 3D Spatial Audio suddenly popular?
- Because it feels innovative and makes you smile. It’s like listening to stereo after mono.
- It engages with your audience for longer. It connects them to the story because it’s more realistic. Think of virtual reality versus television.
- You have the equipment. We already use EarPods on our phones. You can use those same EarPods or headphones to hear the 3D spatial dimension.
- And of course, it hitchhikes on the popularity of podcasting.
What can 3D spatial audio do for brands?
For a start, because it’s more immersive, it gets people listening. And once they listen, they stay throughout the show, whether it’s a podcast or a special audio experience.
Second, narrative storytelling is already a fast-growing marketing channel. As brands have discovered a sympathetic way to communicate with their audience, 3D audio offers a new way for a brand to differentiate itself.
And finally, the feeling of joy and innovation sticks to the brand, increasing brand affinity and engagement.
Who is investing in Spatial Audio?
Networks like iHeart Media, Paragon Collective, and QCODE have been firmly investing in 3D Spatial Audio and are now bringing 3D audio shows to their audience.
“Creating these environments and this experience is going to be a really new thing and a really positive one for this type of storytelling.”
- Rob Herting, CEO at QCODE to The Verge.
And big brands like Disney and Microsoft have embraced the medium.
The 3D audio trend
Will 3D audio storytelling be the next trend in podcasting? We think it’s possible.
Will it be the next standard for audio production? Probably not.
It takes a significant amount of work to make a 3D audio experience instead of traditional stereo. Because of this, few brands will take on these projects. But for those that do, it will be a great way for them to stand out. The innovative nature of Spatial is a differentiator.
What about podcasting?
If you are considering starting a podcast for your brand, is it worth taking the extra mile and making it 3D?
We suggest you follow this rule of thumb…
Decide whether your podcast will be the conversational kind or if it will be a narrative storytelling podcast. If it’s conversational, then 3D audio will not contribute much to the show. But if it’s a narrative storytelling podcast (especially if it contains different places and characters, and it’s told from a first-person that the listener will identify with) 3D Spatial Audio could dramatically raise the engagement of your audience. Certainly, fictional storytelling podcasts with multiple scenes and actors contain these elements. But also the right non-fictional storytelling podcasts can be tremendously elevated by this spatial technique. With Spatial Audio, your podcast can become an immersive audio experience.
Want your brand to stand out with 3D spatial audio? Learn more about 3D spatial audio by contacting us or jump right in and request a quote. The team at Big Orange is happy to answer any of your questions.
- Ad van Dongen, Founder and Creative Partner, Big Orange
About Big Orange — The Audio Agency
Big Orange is an Audio Agency where inspiring stories in audio are created for ambitious brands and international museums.
Big Orange now has four 3D Spatial Audio-equipped studios.