Whether it’s trips to the theater without having to leave your home or field trips abroad from the comfort of a classroom, virtual reality opens up some fascinating possibilities. The latest one? VR developer Logan Olson’s plan to eliminate the need for musicians to spend their hard-earned money renting out recording studios — or even having to buy instruments, for that matter.
That’s thanks to Olson’s SoundStage app, a new VR music tool for the HTC Vive headset, which takes the concept of bedroom producer to the next level.
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“As far as I’m aware, this is the first music-creation app for the Vive,” Olson tells Digital Trends. “It seemed there was a gap in the market to get a product out there and see whether people liked it — and what they liked about it — compared to using music apps on an iPad or a desktop. That’s what got me really excited: to find out the unique properties of Vive which make it a good platform for music creation.”
SoundStage is Olson’s first independent project after having previously built room-scale VR at the Institute for Creative Technologies, as well as for theme parks. He describes it as an attempt to combine his love of synthesizers with VR. “You can hook up your sounds to the electro-maracas or drive your keyboard with a 3D theremin,” he notes in the materials accompanying the app’s launch. “All in a world inspired by the airbrush paintings and computer graphics of the ’80s. When I was a kid during that time, this is how I’d imagine making music would look in the 21st century.”
As you can see from the above video, SoundStage isn’t so much a serious music tool like Pro Tools as it is a kind of trippy, synesthesia experience. Describing it as a musical “sandbox,” Olson says the direction of the app in the future — either as a tool aimed at pros or something wackier and more experimental — will depend largely on the response SoundStage receives. Either way, it looks like a fascinating new frontier for musical creativity, offering limitless samples and synths, plus effects and parameters.
“I feel like music in VR is a market that’s going to grow,” Olson tells Digital Trends. “I’m excited to be a part of it.”
SoundStage is available on Steam for $9.99.