Why Do Instagram and Vine Not Support Stereo Audio?

Let’s figure out why:

First, let’s define stereo and mono audio.
Stereo audio: two channel audio, meaning it designates two independent sources to playback sound. Ever heard a piece of music where you can tell the drums are in the right speaker and guitar in the left? That’s stereo.
Mono audio: the drums and the guitar are in both speakers. Everything is even.

Hooke records stereo audio wirelessly, which means it records two channels.
The 3D effect Hooke produces is because of the specific placement of the two microphones inside the earbuds.

Cool? Cool.

Today I was capturing video via Instagram on my smartphone and pairing it with Hooke in order to get 3D audio.
Before you upload a video to Instagram or Vine, you’re able to preview your video right before hitting the “next” button which in turn publishes the video.
I noticed when previewing the post that the audio of the video was playing back in stereo. In this case, 3D. Awesome, perfect. 3D Audio on Instagram.

However, when I went to playback my video after publis this was not the case.

For some reason, both Instagram and Vine are compressing the 3D audio (or stereo audio) captured with Hooke into mono (1 channel) audio. So when you listen back to your video the audio is flat, as if you had captured it via your phone.

Why would Instagram and Vine want to do this? 
Because of size and data limitations? No way. Video is unbelievably more data intensive than audio. Changing the audio codec upload standards from mono to stereo would be changing the file size of every video by a minuscule amount. Nothing to sound any alarms.

Because it’s not possible? Nope. If the smartphone is able to recognize a stereo mic and capture 2 channels of audio, all apps working on the phone should do the same.

I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find some one else that’s having this issue. To my surprise, no one seems to be noticing that all audio on vine and instagram videos are mono. More importantly, no one seems to care.
WE’VE NEVER HEARD AN INSTAGRAM OR VINE VIDEO IN STEREO SOUND.

This goes back to the original Hooke mission: get people to care about sound.

No one cares about it.
Why?

Because we don’t have any control.
And apps like instagram and vine aren’t helping the situation.

Let’s talk about the technical things consumers DO care about:
Color, lighting and scenery are just a few.
Why?
Because we’ve had the ability to control these parameters in our lives. We all have dimmers in our homes, auto stabilization on our cameras and filters on our instagrams. It’s made us feel like pros, which has allowed us to talk like pros (for better or for worse). Regardless, the important thing is that we’re talking about them and have opinions on them, even though most consumers opinions on lighting and color are ill informed.

HERE’S A GOOD EXAMPLE:
This year the Tony Committee for Broadway Theater removed the Tony awards for sound design because they felt no one on the committee knew enough about sound to be able to accurately judge one design over the other.
People know nothing about sound. They have no control.

With Hooke, we’re giving you some control so that you can be informed. With the control comes attention and inspiration. When we’re inspired we’ll form opinions.

Everytime I have some one hear 3D audio with Hooke, they say “Wow! Why aren’t we capturing all sound on our smartphones like that?”

Because apps like Instagram and Vine aren’t letting you. 
It’s time to change that. It’s time to start caring about sound and giving everyone some control.

Anthony

Hooke Founder.

Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • Kevin Connor says:

    Hi,
    Do you have a list of apps that DO support stereo mic input? I’d imagine that simple video/audio capture apps like Vine, etc. might be relatively common (sad to hear that’s not case for Vine), compared to full-duplex, realtime communications apps like Skype or Webex. I don’t know of ANY realtime voice app that supports a stereo path yet, do you guys? Thanks, KevinC

  • Anthony Mattana says:

    Hey Kevin,

    I’ve only done research into the main social media apps: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and Tumblr. At the moment, only Facebook and Tumblr are supporting stereo. It’s not difficult to adjust and I’m confident we can make a big enough splash to convince these guys to incorporate stereo input.
    Best,
    Anthony, founder

  • Nick Bertke says:

    I’ve just noticed this. I posted excerpts of my own music to Instagram yesterday. While mixing your tracks in Mono is actually a good rule of thumb, sharing them that way hasn’t been done since the 30’s. The fact Instagram converts to Mono makes no sense in this day and age.

  • Grant says:

    Somehow, the audio in one of my posts did get saved as stereo. I think it might work if you place a #stereo hashtag in the description prior to uploading.

  • Anthony Mattana says:

    Hmm, no luck for us! Strange, that worked for you on instagram? Can you tag us (hooke3d) in the vid for us to hear? Thanks!

    • Hooke Audio says:

      Tony, I don’t think those are in stereo. There seems to be a lot of artifacts due to compression in those videos which almost give an illusion to stereo. But there aren’t enough moments of direct sound sources to establish a stereo image…We can assure you, if you attempt to import a video captured in stereo into Instagram, it will convert to mono (a/o Sept. 12, 2017)

  • David Olarte says:

    I was trying to find why instagram is always compressing my tracks to mono and with a very bad codec. I hate it! I’m music composer and I like to expose my work just a little bit closer how I created it. Thats our mission as audio quality lovers. To preserve the good work even if no body cares.

  • Fatih says:

    This is my friend and i didn’t ask him how to load it but; https://www.instagram.com/p/BAmz6IhnklFK2Szu-xRLIanJ34yEvMZCHA89r40/?taken-by=burakkaratay
    It’s incredible …

  • Ahhhhh!!! Why is there not more about this?! I’m also a film composer and this is driving me nuts lol

    • Hooke Audio says:

      I know right?! And you’d think now that all iPhones come with stereo speakers that Instagram and Facebook would catch up.

  • Hector says:

    I hate that instagram sums your audio to mono! It’s been driving me insane. I post animations with original compositions to instagram, that I spend hours and hours putting panorama and beautiful stereo imaging effects for nothing, and it’s squashed

    • Hooke Audio says:

      Completely agree Hector. The only thing we can do is prove to Facebook that there are enough people out there who want stereo audio! Tweet, message, call. That’s what we do 🙂

Leave a Reply