Red Bull has released the first episode in its new Sound of Sport series, featuring pro motorcycle stunt rider Aaron Colton. Unlike traditional action sports videos, Sound of Sport is all about the, well, sound. The series is a partnership with DTS, designed to show off the prowess of the audio company’s Headphone:X technology, which simulates a surround-sound environment through a pair of standard headphones.
Headphone:X is built to make movies, music, and games more immersive for all consumers, not just those with perfectly calibrated home theater systems. It allows sound designers to place specific sounds exactly where they want them in three-dimensional space, and the sounds are then faithfully reproduced on headphones — even if those headphones offer just stereo sound.
In writing about the project for Red Bull, Colton said sound is the most overlooked aspect of action sports videos. “I watch so many motorsports videos where sound is nothing more than an afterthought,” he said. “That’s just not okay.”
Each sport has its own unique sounds, but when it comes to motorsports, Colton says it’s all about the engine. Sound of Speed is a mechanical symphony of engine sounds. From the scream of revving pistons to the rush of the chain moving over the gears, even the sloshing of fuel in the tank, every sonic detail pulls the viewer closer to the action.
Even when listening with the default Apple iPhone earbuds, we found the Headphone:X audio made for a visceral, punchy experience.
The entire video, while expertly photographed, is clearly shot for the purpose of providing an exciting audio experience. The most intriguing moments are not when Colton pulls off the biggest stunts, but rather when he simply drives circles around the camera, the audio following him as he does, making him sound like he’s either right in front of your face or directly behind your back.
You can watch the video on Red Bull’s website now. As exciting as this first episode of Sound of Sport is, it may serve only to whet your appetite for more. Also, if it sounded this good on lousy earbuds, we can only imagine what it sounds like on a decent pair of headphones.