8ball: a microphone system to record 360-degree spatialized sound

Who I am
Tom Chatfield
@tomchatfield
Author and references

Summary

  • 8ball: a professional solution for spatialized sound in VR
  • 8ball is reserved for professionals and semi-professionals

As we know, for a successful immersion in virtual reality or in a 360-degree video, the quality of the sound environment is just as important as the images. When recording 360-degree videos, the sound pickup is often problematic. The classic solution with a microphone does not make it possible to render spatialized sound and when the user moves or turns his head, the sound is no longer suited to the scene and the atmosphere. 8ball is a microphone system for professionals that allows you to bypass this difficulty and offer real spatialized sound for a successful auditory immersion.



8ball: a professional solution for spatialized sound in VR

8ball was launched very recently by the American start-up Hear360, specializing in spatialized sound recording solutions. Concretely, the product is in the form of a sphere which integrates 8 microphones for omni-directional sound recording.. Easy to assemble and install, the system enables particularly immersive spatialized sound recordings. It sits close to the 360-degree camera to capture sound from all directions. The perception of sound is then perfectly reproduced according to the orientation of the viewer's head.

Concretely, it is the human perception of sound which is reproduced as if the user were immersed in the heart of the scene and which adapts to his behavior. The 8ball system comes with plugins as well as a software suite that then allows you to easily recreate a realistic soundscape. The sound will thus correctly relay distance and direction in an immersive 360-degree experience.


8ball is reserved for professionals and semi-professionals

Marketed at a price of 2.500 dollars, the device is clearly oriented towards professionals. The complete kit includes the sphere containing the 8 microphones, a set of cables for the connections, a wind protection, the Pro Tools AAX and VST Audio suite. Note that theHeart360 audio software suite is in beta and is licensed free for one year. The software requires an iLok for authorization.



On the technical side, the frequency response of the microphones extends over the frequency band from 20 Hertz to 20 Kilohertz. The pickups peak SPL is 130 decibels. 48 Volt phantom power is required. Note that it is possible to order outside the United States but that shipping and customs costs will be added to the total amount of the invoice.. Accessories compatible with the 8ball are available such as a recorder, a transport case or even a set of 8 12 decibel attenuators.




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