Why Do Instagram, Facebook 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. Hear for yourself:

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.

Why Twitter Cares More About Audio than Facebook


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

No one cares about it.

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.
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.

Dear Facebook: If You Want To Beat Twitter In Streaming, Support Stereo Audio


In 2015 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.

Dear Instagram Stories, Add Audio Filters And Beat Snapchat Once And For All

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.

What is Vero? A Stereo Audio Supporting Instagram Killer


Founder and CEO, Hooke Audio

  • 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

  • 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.
    Anthony, founder

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • I am a musician and I cannot post my videos in stereo. I found this link and not understand.
    I am following this conversation. Thank you.

    • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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

    • 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 🙂

  • I’ve been on Instagram for six years and every stereo video I’ve ever posted, even if it started with pristine audio quality, ended up having horribly compressed mono audio. I was convinced that Instagram always summed to mono, until I found this:

    Listen with headphones and you can clearly hear L-R panning. I found the original track on YouTube and it sounds exactly the same.

    Another example of stereo audio – listen to the wind noise:

    A couple more examples from a different account:

    The first one especially is clearly in stereo, and the audio on both is orders of magnitude better than anything I’ve ever posted.

    I asked the owner of the first account I mentioned above, and he said he uses the Instagram app to post the videos as usual, nothing special about it. But he did say that he posts from a Samsung phone. I’ve only ever used various generations of the iPhone. I wonder if that’s what makes the difference. The Instagram app launched on Android long after iOS. It seems that stereo support was added on the back-end at some point, but the video handling code in the iOS version of the app simply hasn’t been updated to support it. Or maybe it’s some other platform-specific issue that they haven’t dealt with.

    If anyone reading this has an iPhone and an Android-based phone and could try posting the same stereo video from both, it would be interesting to know the results.

    • Alex, thanks so much for providing this! I too noticed this and am attempting to reach out to some contacts of mine at Facebook to see if they can shed any insight. I’ll keep you updated, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Same here! I’m a sound designer and musician, my videos are secondary (which I had enough trouble with making it look sharp!!). I airdrop my MPEG H.264 video file with Stereo AAC 128kbps audio file to my phone from my mac. I open up the video and listen on my phone separate from instagram and it is in stereo, upload to instagram and it’s absolutely mono. I tested using a ‘stereo grain delay’ in ableton so I could make sure. Is there a way around this??!?!?!

  • ive expirenced this a bit though.
    i can never publish a video in stereo on my phone, and as an ig editor thats something i definately want.
    but there are a whole bunch of ig editor who do post in stereo. and ive been asking all over how they did it and they said it only works from an android. i used an android and it did work but the video quality glitched. :\ i tried this last mont so i dunno if it was ever fixed.

  • So today I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, and it’s confirmed… video posted with the Android version of the Instagram app has stereo sound. The exact same video file posted from the iPhone app ends up downconverted to mono.

    • Wow, thanks for heckling it out. This sucks big time! I’m not gonna switch platforms as I’m very happy with iOS, this is something Instagram needs to fix ASAP. So stupid to have overlooked this bug.

    • Thank you sooo much Alex! I`ve struggled with this issue for months. I was using an iPhone 6. Now I´ve used a Galaxy Tablet to upload the video to Instagram. And it has stereo sound 🙂 Thanks mate!

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