As much as speaker technology has progressed in the years since music became amplified, the way in which we listen to music hasn’t changed very much. The majority of people will only listen to sound in around two to seven channels, depending on their set-up. This can range from desktop speakers or headphones to IMAX theater systems.
When you compare this to the way in which we experience sound in real life, there is really no comparison. And it’s not like we can blame anyone for that — the human ears are designed to react to sound in a 360° space and pick up noises from all around us: above, below, behind, side-to-side, etc. Paul Oomen is looking to change that.
4D sound adds an extra dimension to the way we listen to music, specifically along the Z axis. It adds depth to the way we hear sounds. However, Oomen didn’t just stop there. He developed an entire system built around this 4D sound. The system allows for 16 columns of omnidirectional speakers, each with three speakers apiece, and nine subwoofers under the floor, for a total 57 separate channels of audio. Apps on an iPad and proprietary software allow a user to manipulate the way the sound is transmitted from any space within the confines of the columns. However, even adding reverb can make it appear to those inside the area that sounds are coming from all around.
4D sound will undoubtedly revolutionize the way that music is listened to. It is the next frontier – a fully immersive music experience. Watch the video below of Hamburg artist Stimming trying his hand at the set-up. Keep in mind, we can only imagine what the actual experience is like through crappy laptop speakers. Only by being there can we truly appreciate the incredible leap that this technology has taken in the music listening experience. It’s time we listen to music the same way we listen to the world.
H/T: Dancing Astronaut