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Will 3D audio be the next big thing in podcasts?

iHeartMedia announces 3D audio podcasts
(Image credit: iHeartMedia)

iHeartMedia, said to be the "No.1 podcast publisher globally", is preparing to launch a host of 3D audio podcasts. 

A series of upcoming iHeart 3D Audio podcasts will use binaural sound to place listeners in the centre of the sound stage, "immersing them in the story like never before".

iHeartMedia launched its first binaural audio series last year – 13 Days of Halloween, which clocked up 2.8 million listens. 

That success seems to have paved the way for a full slate of 3D audio podcasts. There are a dozen in the works, apparently, including supernatural horror series The Mantawauk Caves, a 13 Days sequel, and 3D episodes of hit shows such as The Ron Burgundy Podcast.

Binaural audio is recorded using two microphones that record from separate positions simultaneously. The recordings create the perception of distance, tricking your brain into thinking a sound is coming from a particular spot above, below or around you. 

Unlike some other 3D audio formats, you don't need to do any decoding. You'll be able to experience the effects across all headphone style and types, from a simple pair of AirPods to a premium pair of Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling headphones.

With most live entertainment on hold, podcasts are growing in popularity (here's our pick of the 10 best podcasts for music lovers). Indeed, iHeartRadio hopes its spiffy new 3D audio podcasts will help it reach 30 million listeners each year by 2023.

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