We’re different and proud of it.
It’s not a shop as you’d expect to find on the high street.
We’re on a journey of audio discovery and we are sharing what we have found with you.
A little backstory.
“In my early teens I was into cycling, but not being able to find a bike that I liked in the shops, I built one to my own specification travelling far and wide for the parts. Looking back, that approach has shaped what I do now with 8th Dimension Audio.
For me, aesthetics is just as important as the quality of sound. Having worked with architects and interior designers throughout my business career, I’ve always been inspired by design that both breaks the mould and stands the test of time.”
My personal sources of inspiration include:
Buildings: Sydney Opera House; The Burj Khalifa
Architects: Frank Gehry; Zaha Hadid;
Furniture Designers: Charles & Ray Eames; Eero Saarinen; Arne Jacobsen
A daily diet of my favourite coffee and BBC Radio 6 Music
Richard James. Founder.
Our aim is to focus on natural and organic in both sound and product. Where possible we provide components from companies with high ethical and environmental standards.
You may not have heard of the audio brands we promote, or find our products on the high street. We invest time and effort in sourcing, then building relationships with specialist designers, rather than simply being a sales conduit for big brands.
We choose manufacturers who are passionate about sound, who invest in their products as a first priority, and are true artisans in their respective fields.
Defining 8 Dimensions of Sound
If what you hear is ‘small’, flat and a bit tinny, and in very basic terms ‘mono’ where everything is in one small space, your musical experience can be limited.
We can relate this to listening to an MP3 file on your phone through freebie headphones, or for those of us that remember, AM radio on a portable transistor radio. The term ‘compressed music’ like MP3, is just as it states – squashed. We are now in a world of high-res audio and that’s a much bigger space.
When playing higher quality music breadth can be increased and a ‘soundstage’ created. Musicians don’t record into a single microphone these days, that would be like listening through a long tube. By creating an audio soundstage, instruments are separated and can be heard individually as part of a ‘live’ musical experience.
Adding height allows more information, or musical data to be heard. Think of a dripping pipe as opposed to one flowing at full bore. You’ll be familiar with litres per second, well with audio data it’s bits per second (kbps), the higher, the better*.
(* higher numbers are generally but not always better, remember that we are reliant on the skills of the musicians and the recording engineers in the first instance and the ‘rubbish in, rubbish out’ principle can apply.)
The table can be extended further (24-bit/384kHz PCM and beyond as well as DSD and other formats) but does explain the basics in terms that we are generally familiar with; MP3, CDs and the relatively new idea of High-res Audio. It’s not too dissimilar to DVD and Blu-ray for movies and Standard Definition or HD televisions which have progressed to UHD and 4K- more data, better quality.
Now that you have your musicians and instruments nicely spread out across the stage, and you can hear them individually as well as collectively, we can add an additional dimension of depth.
Ideally, with a good stereo based system, the lead vocalist will ‘appear’ centrally and slightly forward, the drums at the rear, and instruments either side. Essentially what we look for is the speakers actually ‘disappearing’ altogether, and creating an audible illusion not unlike 3D cinema.
With a really good system you can almost hear ‘around the musician’ and then we are into virtual holographic sound – hard to believe from just two speakers when home cinema has gone from 5.1 to 9.2 speakers and now Atmos etc. but with good recordings matched to high quality components it’s not impossible.
3 dimensions are relatively straightforward to explain in both scientific and audio terms, but when moving beyond this, the answers are less apparent to us and more hypothetical so what we’ll describe from here in audio terms is more of an association between science and our own audio point of view.
There is a widely used expression in audio – Pace, Rhythm & Timing (PRaT). We can find plenty of discussion and opinion on what this means and it varies from person to person so we’ll just describe what it means to us – musicality and tap-ability. Essentially it’s when music has your foot tapping or gets your wiggle on, and that varies widely on many levels, but you sure as heck know it when it’s there, and that’s what we look for when putting together our audio systems.
“The fifth dimension is a world slightly different than ours, from which we could measure similarities and differences to our own world” Ultraculture
This dimension then is where we introduce interior design, form and function, and sound & colour. If you take most people’s listening environment it’s a room in their house which has other functions, rather than a dedicated listening room, so the selection of equipment needs to fit within those home and lifestyles choices for that room.
To embrace the theory of ‘all possible worlds’ we won’t look at audio solutions in isolation, but will aim to complement them with other aspects that feature in your listening space.
We no longer have to warm up the radiogram to hear the news or gather round the television at a certain time to catch a particular programme as technology has brought us multiple choices for how and when we watch and listen.
We can still have our preferred source or ‘start point’ and CD or vinyl are fine, but listening to music that suits where we are and what we are doing is now the norm, so let’s move onwards and into the 7th Dimension.
What are the choices for listening to music today? Phones, iPods, tablets, computers, hi-fi, with CD, vinyl, internet radio, and streaming music services like Tidal and Spotify there are now multiple choices, or shall we say start points.
Change is certainly a constant and planting our flag in any one place isn’t how we do things. So we have selected products that work well with today’s technology, and more importantly those that are upgradeable via software so you are virtually future proofed.
We’ve also found that, quite often, people find choosing equipment from the many different products that are available somewhat perplexing. Factor in the speed of change, and people often end up buying the first thing they find, or a product they’ve seen elsewhere just to get something that does the job, sort of, maybe…
To help with this we have created a consultancy based service to guide you through the maze. We’re here to help.
The first seven dimensions are all well and good, but we’re not planning on standing still. That just won’t do, so what’s next? Branching out infinitely of course.
Not satisfied with just blending great audio with lovely furniture, we have started to explore a further aspect of this process which is integral to the musical experience – emotional engagement.
Listening to music through a good quality system can enhance emotions appreciably. When an artist records a song they convey their emotion so we aim to select products that deliver, emotionally, and in doing so, we allow emotion into the process of everything we do.
How the brain interprets sound and light in relation to our emotions, and music or light therapy in the field of medicine is also something we find very interesting, and are subjects we are starting to explore further.
For now though all we are looking to do is bring that thinking into our process of finding your ideal solution so you get the most from your audio system, but look out for forthcoming blogs where we’ll discuss our findings in more depth.