My first fully immersive music track. It was meant as a proof of concept piece produced for Facebook 360 or any VR system that supports spatialized together with head locked audio. If the video below does not play correctly, it is also available on Facebook directly.

In order to experience the spatialized sound you need to play this on a system or browser that can handle the audio format. On a PC or Mac it will work in Chrome or Firefox. It should also work on mobile devices (I tested it in the iPhone Facebook app) and it works particularly well on an Oculus Go. It does not work in Safari (which renders a simple head locked stereo mixdown) and I have not tested it with IE or Edge. You should use headphones if you listen through a browser or a mobile device.

Facebook 360 audio has 10 channels. Two of these channels are head locked and move with the viewer, the remaining 8 channels provide the spatialized part of the music. These channels have been converted from a 9 channel 2nd order Ambisonics audio file with the tools Facebook provides. I am not quite sure how the Facebook 360 encoder makes this conversion, but I am assuming it is simply dropping the 7th Ambisonics channel which mainly contains second level vertical as well as ambient information and is not critical since humans are bad in identifying vertical information in spatial sound anyway.

I used the head locked channels for parts of the melody and the spatialized channels for the rest of the track. My objective was to create something that sounds good regardless of the direction the viewer is looking at. This made the 3D effects rather subdued. The spatialization of stationary directional sounds (in particular the kick) are most noticeable. Other effects are only really noticeable once you know where they are. I might try something that is a bit more “in your face” in the future.

The video consists of a couple of motion loops I threw together in After Effects. If the audio goes out of sync it is a sign that the browser has troubles keeping up with rendering the 360 video. I got the best results by viewing it through Chrome. I am planning on creating a tutorial video that explains how this all was done but that will have to wait until later this year.