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8D Audio: What Is It and What’s the Hype All About?

8D Audio: What Is It and What’s the Hype All About?

Have you ever heard a piece of music that made you feel like you were in a different dimension? Chances are it was an 8D audio song. Today, we’re going to unravel what 8D audio is, how it works, why it’s so damn cool, if it’s dangerous, and where you can find 8D audio songs.

What is 8D audio?

If you spend a lot of time on YouTube, you might have stumbled across videos with titles including ‘8D audio.’ It makes for a unique listening experience, and the next time you see those magic words, you might want to click.

You’ve probably heard of spatial audio, 3D audio – heck, even 4D. But 8D? Is there actually such a thing as audio possessing eight dimensions?

No, there isn’t. Audio doesn’t really have dimensions at all. 8D music is, essentially, a subcategory of music that 'tricks' your brain into thinking you're in a bigger space. Artists and producers manipulate the stereo sections of a track, making you feel like the sounds are coming from different directions.

Some say it gives you the impression of listening to live music. Others even suggest it makes you listen to music 'with your brain' instead of your ears. Pretty neat, if you ask us!

How does 8D audio work?

How does 8D audio work?

8D audio is created by combining equalization techniques, panning and effects. Equalization is the process of changing the balance of different frequencies in audio. Panning, in short, is the technique of distributing sound on various audio channels. Combined, these components give the listener a sensation of having the music playing 'inside' their head.

Do you need headphones to listen to 8D audio?

Headphones are a must if you want to try out this supersonic experience – without them, you won’t get the 360 illusion.

If you listen to music through speakers, you’ll hear something called ‘crossover.’ The sound from one speaker bleeds into the other and is received by both ears at the same time. This means your brain can’t figure out exactly where each noise is coming from.

You could perhaps create an accurate 8D experience with speakers if you sat in a room with incredible acoustics, a 7.1 surround-sound speaker system and too much time on your hands – you’d have to carefully mix and figure out which sounds come from each speaker, when and where. With headphones, the audio is controlled. It’s going directly into your ears and can’t be misinterpreted before it gets there.

The health effects of binaural beats

Binaural beats – meaning, when you hear tones in each ear with slightly different frequencies – are essentially the same thing as 8D audio. What’s interesting is that it’s proven to have positive effects on your health. Binaural beats are claimed to activate the same mental state associated with meditation, but much quicker.

For the brain to detect the binaural beat and react to it, the frequencies should be lower than 1,000 hertz. Working this out is fairly simple: you just measure the difference in frequency between the waves entering the right and left ear.

For example, if the left ear registers a 200 hertz tone while the right ear registers one at 210 hertz, the binaural beat is the difference between 200 and 210. So, the binaural beat is 10 hertz. Pretty straightforward, right?

What are the health effects of 8D audio?

Is 8D audio good for neurodivergent people?

Since 2020, 8D audio’s positive impact on neurodivergent people has become more recognized. This is thanks to several trending TikTok videos, which helped hammer the point home. Reported positive effects include:

  • Relaxation
  • De-stressing
  • A more positive mood
  • Full-body shivers – the good kind!

What does 8D audio do for ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) makes it difficult to concentrate. People with ADHD have said 8D audio helps them focus, especially if they’re working on tasks for a longer amount of time.

Does 8D audio help with anxiety?

Advocates of binaural therapy usually recommend it for treating anxiety, stress, and other related disorders. Although some academic articles seem to confirm this hypothesis, the amount of research that actually supports it is still relatively weak. But if you’re feeling stressed, why not give it a go? In the meantime, check out our relaxing ASMR tracks, these 5.1 surround sound effects, or other high-quality, royalty-free music at Epidemic Sound for a similar effect.

Is 8D audio bad for you?

Let’s once and for all debunk the rumor suggesting that 8D audio might be harmful. Just like any sound, listening too loudly could cause damage, like tinnitus, in the long run. But as long as you keep it around 85dB, you should be fine. In short, listening to 8D audio at a reasonable level is not dangerous.

However, while there are no serious, super common negative effects associated with 8D audio, it’s not all roses. Some short-term effects people have cited include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sensory overload – this is more common for listeners with autism or Asperger’s syndrome

These symptoms are extremely rare, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. If you start to feel unwell while listening to 8D audio, take a break. The effects aren’t long-term and will vanish once you stop. If you come back to your 8D audio and still don’t feel great, you’ll know it wasn’t a one-off!

'Is all of this really a new thing?' you might ask. And the answer is no – this 8D effect has been around since the 1970s. But even though it’s not new, it’s still a cool experience. So if you haven’t already, check out the video below, where Epidemic Sound artist Ooyy’s song has been transformed into an 8D track.

Where can I find 8D audio songs?

Some companies specialize in 8D audio, going above and beyond to transport listeners into a new place. Take Dolby Atmos, for example. It’s an audio format that produces sound based on your speaker set-up and where the noise comes from within the content, rather than ‘left/right speaker.’ It turns your room into a sound bubble, which is as futuristic as it sounds.

The catch is, Dolby Atmos requires compatible audio or video files, a Dolby Atmos-enabled player and… you guessed it, a Dolby Atmos soundbar or speaker system. It gets pricey.

YouTube is the go-to place for most free 8D audio songs currently on the market, with millions upon millions of matches.

However, it's unclear if all this music on YouTube is licensed and respects copyright law, given most of the 8D audio songs featured on the platform are renditions or remixes of famous tracks. Official 8D versions of original songs will only be made available on YouTube and streaming platforms if the rights holders – usually the artist, songwriter or record label – have authorized its creation.

If you look at this Epidemic Sound playlist, it uses the same techniques and production methods that characterize 8D audio.

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8D Audio: What Is It and What’s the Hype All About?
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