You’ve heard of mono and stereo. You’ve heard of 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos. But, have you heard of spatial audio in VR?
A VR application by Volta VR is putting sound producers into the music itself. How exactly, you may ask?
Volta is a “spatial audio production platform that you use in virtual reality,” says Alexander Kane, the young man behind Volta VR, in an interview with architecture and design magazine Dezeen. The project formed his graduation submission at London’s Royal College of Art, from which he has now graduated.
In essence, the Volta VR app places the user in a virtual space that is the audio mixer in all but name. It’s quite the relief for the audio producer bored of the endless hours spent behind their mixers.
At once, the sound producer becomes both the creator and the listener, putting them in the shoes (almost literally) of the person who will be experiencing the audio mix.
In this VR space, the sound producer can interact with spherical objects that represent things like the vocal back track, piano instrumental, guitar riff, and more individually, adding a hands-on approach to the experience of audio mixing in a virtual 3D space. They can place these tracks in the 360-degree virtual space with their hands at whichever height, distance and amplification desired, across the X, Y, and Z position spectrum.
Volta discards two-dimensional grids & sound panners for something newer and more intuitive. A train audio track can whizz by from behind while wind SFX can project from the respective side the train is supposed to travel from. The technology opens up endless opportunities for audio innovation and creativity.
Moreover, the app allows for automation functions which further streamline the audio design experience.
“The future of music is continuous, spatial and immersive,” Kane says. “No longer will music exist on linear continuums like left to right, and starting and ending. Compositions will play forever, and wherever a listener physically is in space will determine where they are in the composition.”
“What stereo was to mono, spatial will be to stereo,” Kane muses.
If Kane succeeds in building Volta into the business he is envisioning, with the right financial backing, he could well and truly transform the audio production process.
Watch below for a demonstration of the software: