You want to kick back and relax while someone prepares a virtual feast just for you, with all the juicy wrinkles, scrapes, and cuts that might entail (peeling potatoes, sharpening knives, turning on the stove, munching on some leftover veggies), while you pour yourself a nice drink. of wine (although also virtual)? How about strolling through London's Borough Market, dodging the traffic as merchants on both sides of the street try to sell you their wares?
Or how about escaping to a cabin in the woods only to realize you're not alone, and your extra guest upstairs might not be human? Or (and this is perhaps the scariest thing) have you ever wondered what it would be like to be buried alive, while the earth piles up around you? Well, imagine no more: Ammersive is here.
Unlike major music streaming services, Ammersive's spatial audio content (opens in a new tab) doesn't include songs, tracks, and albums, but unique immersive audio curation from sound engineers, music producers, and artists. of voice, all of which lead listeners to various listening experiences. trips to different fields, ideas and concepts.
Ammersive co-founders Jamie Bell and Sam Addadahine fell in love with 3D/8D music one night on YouTube, listening to Virtual Barber Shop (opens in a new tab), sound curation (made in 1996) that they both believe follows being one of the most amazing audio experiences ever created.
What is 8D sound? It's basically a collection of effects applied to a stereo recording, including spatial reverb and mixing, to make the audio appear to move in a spherical space around your head.
Sam searched for an app that offered a similar variety of immersive sounds, and while many apps seemed to offer soundscapes and experiential sound, nothing really hit that virtual hair salon vibe, so he decided to give it a try.
Having studied music technology in college, Jamie discovered a plugin called Dear VR Pro that could integrate with the software of his choice (Ableton) and allow him to manipulate sounds in 360 space. Using Splice samples and a speech by Alan Watts, the duo created their first experience. Not his best work, Sam says, but a start.
Sure, ideas are cheap and execution is everything, but luckily Sam is an extremely talented software developer.
Ammersive is a project of true passion and it shows. I've been listening to it all morning, on my Sonic Lamb headphones (you really have to listen with headphones, ideally a set of the best headphones, but the app is platform and headphone agnostic) and it's soothing, textured, outrageously immersive or downright terrifying, depending on what you're listening to.
Review: It's great, but don't listen to Buried Alive before bed...
Jamie explains that the most basic level of creating immersive sound is to simply move sounds from left to right (pan) to make the sound appear alive and the listener to be in the center of the movement. .
Next, you can vary the distance of said sounds from the listener's ears (a whisper in the left ear, a distant gunshot in the right), and third, add sound rotation, where sound elements of different volumes are no more symmetrical on the left. and to the right of the listener, but can appear in front of, behind, and above him.
Finally, the Ammersive release adds a story or narrative. It is something the listener should be able to identify with: a physical or fantasy story. The duo say this is the hardest part to do and I for one think they broke it.
Most experiences are around five minutes long with more being added every day.
How does Buried Alive sound? He closes his eyes and it's terrifying. Think of a heavy, shallow breath, desperately scraping the wood of your coffin from the inside, a racing heartbeat, and descending into something that must be Twilight Zone madness, until it was all just a bad dream…or was it?
Sam tells me that they have some really exciting ideas in the works, including a 10-minute WWII D-Day experience that they plan to launch on Remembrance Sunday in November of this year, as well as a podcast to support the app called Experience Sound, that they are starting to record this week.
How much does Ammersive cost? Well, there is a free plan that allows you to listen to any sound in the app, but only 15-30 second previews.
The Premium plan gives you access to everything and lets you subscribe to your favorite creators, download for offline listening, and even suggest ideas for future sounds. It costs €5,49 / €4,99 / AU$8,49 per month or €44,99 / €39,99 / AU$68,99 per year (a savings of 33% or so).
Don't listen to Cabin in the Woods if you're easily scared...