Award-Winning Immersive VR Audio Work
SAE student collaborates with Sennheiser and Dear Reality on project.
Music producer, DJ, and SAE Creative Media Institute student, Marcos Micozzi has been honoured for his immersive audio virtual reality (VR) project in partnership with industry heavyweights Sennheiser and Dear Reality. The collaboration recently won Best Audio Project at the SAE International Awards — which recognises the outstanding work of students from 48 campuses worldwide.
“It was such an honour to be a finalist at the SAE International Awards in Berlin. To win meant so much,” Marcos said. “Going to Germany gave me the confidence I needed to take the project to the next level. It was really inspiring to connect with fellow creatives, SAE students and alumni,” Marcos added. “I also had the chance to meet the teams from Sennheiser and Dear Reality, who made my project possible.”
At SAE Byron Bay, Marcos has been able to build on his craft as a DJ from the past three years, and develop his production skills, as part of his studies for the Bachelor of Audio. “I really enjoy the holistic learning style at SAE, where we are encouraged to come up with solutions to challenges,” Marcos said. “Lecturers will provide guidance if needed, but it’s all about giving us confidence to be independent once we graduate.”
Keeping at the forefront of technology is a major passion of Marcos’. This led him to explore VR as a platform for his performances in the future, and ended up being his major project for his degree at SAE. “I really admire how VR has been used in so many different industries, but I feel it hasn’t been examined extensively from an audio perspective. I started exploring VR at SAE, when I was looking at 3D and quadraphonic sound, but I found expression through a mouse and a computer to be too restrictive,” he said.
“I worked in partnership with the teams from Sennheiser and Dear Reality, where we put together a simulated environment art exhibition that examined the relationship between gesture and sound. In it, I utilised Dear Reality Spatial Connect to bridge the gap between analogue gear and VR. The audio signals from the synthesisers and drum machines were set up to feed into a headset where I manipulated the sound in this virtual world.”
Marcos added that the power of VR has enabled electronic musicians to truly express their work. “Since the birth of electronic music, artists have been looking at laptops, instead of the audience. The relationship between gesture — which is expression and sound — has been broken. I believe that for the first time VR is able to bridge this relationship, and provide a more complete experience for artists and audiences.”
The origins of Marcos’ passion for VR and its power to bring new experiences to music was founded at a masterclass by SAE Melbourne Senior Lecturer, Nick Harrison. “A few years ago, I enrolled in a masterclass at SAE, which was presented by Nick Harrison. In the session he utilised the Dear Reality platform to manipulate sound. Nick’s masterclass just opened my eyes up to the endless possibilities available as an audio and music engineer,” Marcos expressed.
“Music has always been about technology. Brian Eno’s concept of using the recording studio as an instrument continues to be a fascinating idea to me, it just opens up a world of endless possibilities. I often ask myself ‘what would these artists do in my position right now?’ I believe the future of the music industry goes hand in hand with these emerging technologies.”