Audio-capturing and -playback technology is evolving to match the nuance of human perception, and some of the field’s leading research is happening right now at the University of Washington. For the last 15 or so years, a small cadre of psychoacoustic explorers from around the world—composers who are engineers who are metaphysicists who are musicians—have been investigating a 40-year-old technology known as ambisonics. The word is a portmanteau of ambient sonics, sound in a space. Alternately referred to as 3D, spatial or holographic sound, the form is to hearing what virtual reality is to seeing. But with a twist. Because if seeing is believing, then hearing is…something else.