Audio within video games is likely one of the most important parts of the game itself. Games now days such as Fortnite or any other battle royale type game, really force you need to hear each and every sound as distinctly as possible. Game audio isn’t just limited to the headphones you are using. Your OS can play a part in it as well as other software such as Embody’s new Immerse HIVE that allows you to experience spatial audio with your favorite pair of headphones.
HIVE offers a bunch of cool features that most gamers are going to utilize in just about every title they play. It’s $15 annually for a key and it will grant you access to all of the above features available. The thing that stands out the most though and is what Embody describes as the secret sauce is the HRTF profile that you’ll upload using your phone. All you have to do is snap a pic of your ear and upload it. Once you’re done, it changes the software’s sound specs specifically to match your ear’s profile. It’s a really cool feature that does its job very well.
The software allows you to choose between 3 preset profiles that range from Racing and RPG titles to FPS and MOBAs. The software even has some profiles that are tuned specifically for certain headsets. It’s all pretty great stuff and they even add more headsets as time goes on. If you don’t see your headset now though, don’t worry. You can choose from a set of different universal profiles to suit your needs until then.
There are three different modes meant for specific types of games. Close Combat Mode is designed with RPG and racing games in mind, with Immerse covering first-person shooters, with Awaken covering MMORPGs and MOBA. These settings are not absolutes, using Awaken won’t ruin a shooter, nor will Close Combat Mode destroy an MMO, though I found they generally worked best with the intended genre.
Finally, getting Immerse HIVE to work is relatively easy. The actual steps to make it work will vary, though there are a number of helpful guides that the app itself links you to that show how to get it to work with popular games and the best settings for those games. That being said, none of it matters if Immerse HIVE fails to deliver an immersive experience.
Immerse HIVE isn’t tricky to get it to deliver a difference as it did absolutely that, it’s all about how much of a difference it will make. Certain games add more to the overall sound, where some games HIVE fine tunes things a bit more than the game already offers.
Examples here are the new Resident Evil: Village and Fortnite. With RE: Village, it’s all about fine tuning what the game itself already provides which is top quality audio in most every way imaginable. Because of that, Immerse HIVE just fine tunes those sounds and makes the game play a bit more immersive and enjoyable. I personally feel this is because RE: Village is a very new game, so there’s different audio tech used within the game.
Fortnite for example, which does good at sounds to a degree, Immerse HIVE really helps here. It’s very important in Fortnite, or any battle royale game that you know where sounds are coming from so you know where your enemy is. Be it just on the other side of the wall or several blocks away hiding in a house or a bush. HIVE enhances that spatial audio that Fortnite delivers and has worked hard on for years to make it their audio that much more amazing.
I did a lot of switching between my desktop audio and the HIVE software while playing Fortnite. Through this, I found that the software really improved on making sounds more impactful. Shotguns had a deeper blast to them and vehicles sounded a bit more like you were using a car in a racing game. I noticed that while the desktop audio may have given off a clearer sound it was not as meaty or immersive as what HIVE brought to the table.
Spatial sounds are fantastic and even without the Sonar Map, it allows you to see where sounds are coming from. It creates a very open space as compared to the flatness that comes with using desktop audio. The software does allow you to change the channel type as well or have it auto-detect it. There’s Stereo+, 5.1, and 7.1 as well as the choice to choose your distance from what you’re looking at.
A notably cool feature is the Sonar Map. This allows you to see on-screen where sounds are coming from. While playing a game, you’ll see points of the on-screen circle fill in. You can drag this bubble to any part of the screen and lock it into place so that it doesn’t go anywhere. You can even double-click it so that it changes presets.
The one thing I did have an issue with is the fact that there’s little to no mention or instructions with regards to the Sonar Map and how to bring it up on the screen. Once you figure this part out, the rest is super simple to deal with. I feel Embody needs to focus a bit more on how to get the Sonar Map on your screen as this feature is quite important to the overall use of the software. While it’s not mandatory to use the Sonar Map, I feel it enhances it greatly and should be something Embody talks more about.
As mentioned, Immerse HIVE is only $15 a year, so I feel it’s something certainly worth checking out to see if you enjoy it without having to spend a lot of money just to find out that you don’t. Though I don’t think that will be the case. I think most anyone will and should enjoy HIVE as it’s just super simple to setup and use and adds plenty to your audio experience within your video games.
If you’re not quite sure about it yet, Embody does allow you to test it for free for 14 days. This allows you to dive in and see what it’s all about. At that point, I feel most everyone will agree that the $15 yearly charge is certainly worth it.
Throw in the fact that you can use your favorite pair of headphones with HIVE. If your headphones aren’t listed, Embody states that you can contact them, give them the make and model of your headphones, and they will go buy them and get them to work with your headphones. Mind blowing if you ask me and all of that for the cheap price of just $15 per year.