Who Is Embody Immerse Gaming HIVE for?

  • Embody's Immerse Gaming HIVE software provides a sonar for gaming, allowing players to see what direction enemies are coming from
  • The HIVE software is compatible with any game and any headset
  • HIVE also provides spatial audio to make games sound more immersive and lifelike
Embody's Immerse Gaming HIVE software pairs spatial audio with an on-screen sonar to really pinpoint where audio is coming from in online games.

Gamers are always looking for an advantage over the competition, and more and more they're finding it with high-end audio thanks to headphones and audio processing software. Spatial audio, especially, is a huge advantage as it offers gamers the ability to pinpoint where sound is coming from with only their ears. The audio experts over at Embody have taken this a step further with Immerse Gaming HIVE, which is software for PCs that not only provides great spatial audio, it also puts a sonar right on the screen for gamers to also quickly see what direction that audio is coming from.

A Gaming Sonar

The biggest hook for HIVE is that it adds a sonar overlay to a computer screen. When audio is detected, the sonar will light up in the direction the sound came from. This is an obviously huge advantage when playing a game, and especially when playing a competitive online game. When playing something like Apex Legends, I could both easily hear footsteps and gunshots in the distance, and see what direction they were coming from thanks to the sonar.

How the sonar appears on a screen

However, there were some issues with the HIVE sonar. The biggest is that the sonar shows the direction of all audio, not just game audio. This means my friends talking to me through the in-game communications made the sonar go wild with every word. Thankfully the sonar indicator doesn't stay on the screen for very long, but if my friend yells that he is getting shot at, it all but eliminates the ability to see where those shots are coming from, as chat audio isn't directional like in-game audio is.

The sonar is compatible with any game and any game mode. That said, it's only really useful in a handful of games. Shooters and battle royale games seem the most obvious, especially since opposing players can come from any direction in those games. Sports, racing and fighting games aren't really going to see a big advantage from using HIVE for its sonar.

HIVE shows that there are sounds coming from ahead of me in this game of Apex Legends

The HIVE sonar is fairly small and translucent, meaning it isn't going to dominate the screen when in use. The sonar can also be put anywhere on the screen, making it easy to reposition if switching from one game to another. There is also a locking function so that the sonar stays put and can't be clicked on, which means it isn't going to interfere with a game when playing.

Those who are hard of hearing should definitely be interested in HIVE. The sonar provides most of the benefits of spatial audio, but in a visual way. This allows those who wouldn't be able to gain an advantage from improved audio to still remain competitive.

Great Spatial Audio

HIVE is more than just the sonar, as it also offers improved spatial audio. By running audio through the HIVE software before it comes out of headphones, the software juices it up. This is just like using Dolby Atmos, DTS Headphone:X, Windows Sonic or something similar. Unlike those other offerings, HIVE attempts to be more personalized with its spatial audio output.

Looks like I have a lot of trouble behind me

When setting up the HIVE software, users need to take a photo of their ear to submit to Embody. This photo is used to create a unique profile based on ear shape. Does it work? I don't really know, but it's at least easy to do. Additionally, the software has settings specifically for most major gaming headsets including options for SteelSeries, Audeze, HyperX and more. There are also a few generic options if a user has a headset that isn't specifically supported, making HIVE compatible with anything out there.

Audio sounds fantastic when listening with HIVE. I was provided a pair of Beyerdynamic MMX 300 headphones to test HIVE with, but also used a number of other headsets I had laying around as well. Audio sounded lighter and more clear when listening through HIVE, no matter the headset I was using. HIVE even made listening with earbuds a better experience.

There are three main listening modes when using HIVE. The one I used most is called "Immerse" mode and is designed for first-person shooters. Immerse mode focuses on the sounds directly around the player, providing more spatial direction to sounds that are further away. An "Awaken" mode is designed for MOBA and MMO games, and widens the audio range to include sounds coming from off-screen. The last mode is called "Close Combat" mode, and is designed to give extra impact to fighting games and more intensity to racing games.

A Bummer of a Subscription

We live in a world where we're subscribed to everything from streaming services to weekly food delivery, and in an odd twist, players will need yet another subscription to use HIVE. The software cannot be bought outright. While this subscription isn't very expensive, it's still kind of a bummer.

How the HIVE software looks when not in sonar mode

This is made more painful when considering getting something like a DTS Headphone:X license is not only a permanent purchase for whatever hardware it is paired with, it's also around the same price as a year of HIVE. Granted, Headphone:X doesn't include the sonar, but that's still yet another thing users will need to shell out yearly for. HIVE also offers a five-year subscription, which does save a little bit of money and reduces the payment cycle load a little bit.

Final Thoughts

Embody's Immerse Gaming HIVE software is a really neat idea and it works well enough. While it is only helpful with certain games, it is very beneficial with helping players be on top of the competition in those games. The improved audio is noticeable, and the sonar comes in surprisingly handy. For those who are hard of hearing, HIVE is a no-brainer just for that sonar.

It's annoying that HIVE is only available on Windows 10 PCs and also can only be used with a subscription plan. If this were just a product that could be purchased, I would be much more open to suggesting everyone give it a try. That said, there is a free trial available for HIVE, so anyone can see if they'll gain an advantage over the competition before making a purchase.

HIVE is available to download on the Embody website. One year of service is $15, while a five-year subscription can be purchased for $40.