Use spatial audio in 360-degree and VR videos

You can experience a video's sound in all directions, just like real life, with YouTube spatial audio. Use it to take your spherical (360° and virtual reality) videos to the next level so that viewers can immerse themselves in your content.
You can only use spatial audio for 360-degree and virtual reality (VR) videos.

Learn how to upload 360-degree videos and virtual reality videos on YouTube.

Spatial audio listening experience

  • Viewers using Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Edge desktop browsers can listen to spatial audio on headphones (recommended) or speakers.
  • Viewers who use the Safari desktop browser will hear stereo audio instead of spatial audio.

Video upload requirements for spatial audio

You can see the full YouTube’s spatial audio spec to learn all supported layouts and orderings, but make sure you follow these minimum requirements when using spatial audio:

  • Content you upload should follow YouTube specifications, including the use of: 
    • First Order Ambisonic (FOA) audio channel layouts 
    • ACN channel ordering
    • SN3D normalization
    • FOA components W, Y, Z, X should have channel map indexes 0, 1, 2, 3, respectively. The channel_map sequence should be specified as 0, 1, 2, 3.
    • Use the metadata tool to insert Spatial Audio metadata. If your post-production tools already mark metadata per the YouTube spec, you don't need to use the metadata tool.
  • MP4 files require AAC encoding with 4.0 layout
  • MOV files require either AAC encoding with 4.0 layout or PCM encoding with 4.0 or unspecified layout
  • AAC sample rates and bitrates should use YouTube encoding recommendations. AAC sample rates should be 96 khz or 48 khz and bitrates should be 512 kbps. For best quality, we recommend that you use an uncompressed PCM audio format.
  • Only one audio track is supported. Multiple audio tracks, such as tracks with spatial and stereo/mono in the same file, are not supported.

Upload videos with spatial audio 

  1. Create a 360-degree video with spatial audio following the video requirements. Learn how to upload 360-degree videos.
  2. Run the metadata tool on the video.
  3. Upload the video to YouTube.

Note: Don't use the YouTube video editor since it's not yet supported on 360-degree and VR videos.

Preview spatial audio on VR videos

You can use Jump Inspector, a system for creating and viewing VR videos, to preview the spatial audio your VR videos before uploading them. Jump supports MOV files with first-order ambisonics with uncompressed 16-bit PCM audio. It also supports audio-only preview for 16-bit WAV files. Learn more about using Jump.

Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?