Making Of: The Sound of the Virgin Hyperloop

We had our team answer some questions on what it was like to design the sonic identity and passenger experience sounds of the Virgin Hyperloop. Read on to find out how this special project came to life!

 

The Setup

For the past year and a half, global sonic studio Made Music Studio has been collaborating with Virgin Hyperloop and its partners to create the transformational, defining sounds of the Virgin Hyperloop brand and its passenger experience – one that lives up to their ambition to revolutionize mass transit, delivered from a “Humanity Forward” perspective.

All sounds within the Virgin Hyperloop sonic ecosystem were created to humanize the cutting-edge technology, putting the passenger at the center of a frictionless experience.

As the first new mode of transportation in 100 years that will redefine travel as we know it, this was a rare creative opportunity to bring forward our research-backed sonic design to improve many traditional travel stressors and challenges.

 

What was the process like?

Along with our research partner, Sentient Decision Science, our research into subconscious emotional response to sonic stimuli has shown that the right sound can solve for a myriad of design issues, from privacy to reducing claustrophobia and evoking a sense of safety, calm, confidence, and clarity. This research helped inform our creative approach to the Virgin Hyperloop Sonic Identity and User Interface Sounds.

Some of our initial considerations were:

  • How can we ease any potential anxiety from traveling up to 670 miles per hour?
  • Can we reinvent the sounds typically heard in mass transit, while still keeping them intuitive and familiar?
  • How can we design for a touchless future, where music and sound will play an important role in connecting passengers to the experience?

How did it come to life?

The sonic journey for Hyperloop begins with the unique and intuitive sounds you hear as you book your travel in the app. As you arrive at the departing station, subtle calming ambiences set an emotional tone and mask extraneous crowd and mechanical noise, giving a frictionless feeling of ease. As you make your way into the pod, relatable sounds signify closing doors, and cues like ‘lights down’ help you settle in for your journey, and ‘lights up’ accompanied by an arrival sound energizes you for your final destination.

The identity work also includes a field recording of the actual Virgin Hyperloop in motion, which no amount of studio magic could replace. This is sonic equity they’ll carry forward forever. Listen below!

 

 

Why is this work meaningful?

Imagine a future of transportation that is contactless and anxiety-free, or as close to it as we can get. Music and sound are a critical component of making this a reality, from both brand love and functionality standpoints.

The strategic use of sound is imperative. Subtle sonic gestures can assist with ease-of-use, wayfinding, confirmation of booking, stages of the journey itself, etc…. And full sonic identity systems can build confidence, trust, and emotional connections between a brand and its customers.

We know from our research studies and our work over the last two+ decades that sound has an enormous impact on how people experience the world around them. This is the right time to invest in and embrace the power of sound.

 

Who worked on it?

Brian Scherman – Creative Lead
Nikhil Koparkar – Production Coordinator
Justine Ryan – Client Experience Lead
Genna Ribak – Account Executive
Joel Douek – Creative Director / Sound Design / Spatial Audio
Michael MacAllister – Theme Composer
Mickey Alexander – UI Sound Design
Alex Siesse – Sound Design / Creative Production
Ben Arons – Mixing / Sound Design
Dennis Wall – Mastering

Special shoutout to vendor partners, B.I.G., TEAGUE, SeeThree, and 12.29

 

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