How To Make 3D Audio More Than Just a Party Trick

This week’s guest article comes from Chicago based 3D Audio mixer Joe Guarini. Joe is founder of Sozo 3D Sound Design, the first post production sound studio to focus exclusively on content creation and engineering of Virtual Reality audio. Enjoy! -Anthony


Those who haven’t heard good 3D content say that binaural is a solution in search of a problem. Yet, everyone vividly remembers being absorbed in hearing their first well-made binaural track – the chills! The literal chills that can run down your spine because of ASMR, and that feeling of being totally encompassed by the sounds around you, how they transport you and make you really feel like you are somewhere else.

Without quality content, binaural 3D sound is just another cool idea – a party trick; akin to watching a bad magician. Oftentimes, people will not see the potential in a tool until they see it used in a new way.  But when that happens, the industry will change. Especially when they see what it can do for the viewers and how it changes their perspective. When people create new things in this new form of sound, not only will it show everyone what cool advancements have been made, but it will show the range of possibilities that come along with binaural audio.

2016 was the greatest year yet for the audio illusionist, producing content so good that movie & game studios are now sitting up and paying attention.

But oftentimes, people will not see the potential in a tool until they can use it themselves.

For over 50 years, 3D audio microphones have captured everything from the deepest thunderclap to the most tantalizing, saliva-smacking ASMR artist.  However, horizons keep expanding with diversity of content.

In addition, playback tools are producing a whole new realm of binaural content by converting 2D sound to 3D using post-production software.

Imagine listening to your favorite stereo rock songs from the 70’s and 80’s re-rendered in 3D sound.  The leap from stereo to binaural is even more stunning than going from mono to stereo.

Today, it would be unheard of to see the newest Coldplay album released in only mono. Beck, Björk, and others are already releasing binaural tracks.

2D stereo was knocking on the door to the deeper part of our brains, which binaural just kicked down while screaming Booya! It’s the newest way to feel like you are really present in the recording, whether done in pre- or post-production. Either way, it sounds pretty dang cool.

It’s Already Starting With The Little Guys

Filmmakers know they cannot record every sound they need in the field in order to make their films seem real.  They use things like foley and ADR to add sound effects and cleaner dialogue afterwards to complete the illusion.

Using these post-prod 3D audio rendering tools, binaural artists can now be filmmakers like the pros.

Big movie studios are historically not big risk takers.  When they see someone else taking a risk, trying something new, they will dive in head first when they smell green paper, but not until there is that definite chance of making a profit from it.

As always, it starts with the little guy doing it first. Thankfully, the sun is slowly rising on the revolution.

3D Audio Starts With YOU!

Armed with the greatest camera in the world, if you are only into still-life subjects, the result will be the most amazing pictures you’ve ever seen…of an apple and some grapes.

That’s not too impressive to a world that wants to experience an adventure and travel the universe.  People are now thinking beyond what they’ve been shown.

With every million-dollar idea that appeared before Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank, there’s a person watching it on the TV saying, “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?!

The next generation of genius recording artists and oscar-winning filmmakers is reading this now with an idea.  Our excuse can no longer be that we didn’t have the means or the tools.  All it takes is for someone to take the time to blow the world’s mind. And then what? We have no more excuses, no more ways or reasons to escape it. There are so many opportunities out there to be explored and created, and we no longer have anything holding us back! There is an endless possibility for creation, collaboration, everything of the sort!

It is no longer restricted to those with lots of money or knowledge on the subject. The average Joe himself can get hooked (pun intended) on creating binaural audio. Whether it’s in pre- or post-production, binaural audio is bringing a whole new sound to listener’s ears.

This is what Hooke is all about – let’s make it happen!

From One Ear To Another,
Joe Guarini, Sozo 3D

  • So many great points:


    People are still waiting…


    There are a lot of people that want to make it happen, but with the lack of company communications and updates, I have a feeling that it won’t happen.

    I am curious to know how you are explaining the delays to the people that have "pre-ordered" it. The kickstarter backers have already been told they are out luck, but for everyone that has pre-ordered them from the site directly, how are you communicating with them? What are they being told?

    I sure hope it is more than what the people that help "kickstart" your dream…

  • Hi AnAngrySupporter,

    It is very much happening, just taking a bit longer than we all initially anticipated. This is groundbreaking technology, what we are doing is very hard but we very much appreciate your patience! We are working with Apple to receive an MFI certification. We are working with Apple and it is a thorough process. There is nothing else to update on, there is nothing we are keeping from you. Thank you for supporting Hooke Audio!

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