‘The Music Room’ Mixed Reality Video Shows the Power of VR Musicianship


Rhythm action games build around virtual reality are already a thing, but what about immersive music making? The Music Room launches in July and this impressive mixed reality demonstration shows how powerful immersive musicianship might be in virtual reality.

Launching on July 24th, The Music Room from Melbourne-based developer Chroma Coda is pitching itself as a serious music creation package for budding and professional musicians that allows artists to play instruments inside VR and sequence them to release as bonafide works of art.

As you can see in the video embedded at the top of the page, The Music Room leverages the power of hands presence through motion controllers to sit musicians in front of an array of virtual instruments, ranging from a full VR drum-kit to virtual laser harps. Built for the HTC Vive, the new package launched on Steam July 24th and is the first truly ‘serious’ immersive music creation package we’ve come across.

We say ‘serious’ as, not only will The Music Room allow artist to strum and beat non-existent instruments and produce tunes, it also ships with a copy of Bitwig, a full featured DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to sequence any tracks created by the virtual jam sessions.

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“We’ve been working on The Music Room since we first got the prototypes of the Vive and contemplating it since we got the early Morpheus prototype,” says Choma Coda Director Loki Davison, “I’ve been making synth, samplers and instruments in general for 16 years now. Once tracked controllers became available we realised we could use them to make in instrument more expressive than traditional keyboards or MPC style drum pads.”

But why VR music? Turns out there Davison has both technical and artistic limitations he’s looking to address with The Music room. “Expressive is the important word to us,” says Davison, “Traditional high end midi keyboards provide one continuous parameter per note (poly after touch ) and most provide zero. We have 6 plus note on and off velocity. What this means is that you can do vibrato, tremolo, bends and other techniques easily. This opens up new genres to electronic sounds. Want to play a blues style lead on a synth? Now you can with accurate bending and great latency and accuracy. Walk on the wild side’s distinctive bass part is easy on our laser harp.”

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Putting those technical and artistic benefits aside, Davison maintains that The Music Room delivers something to musicians who don’t necessarily have access or space to play the instruments they want. “A big part of my personal reason for being excited about The Music Room is that it makes electronic instruments feel like instruments,” he says, “I like the sounds available with synths but often found playing then was more like programming than playing. I play guitar, double bass and sing and wanted that kind of feel to electronic instruments. I’m very happy that we achieve that with The Music Room.

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The excellent demonstration video certainly does a great job of bringing home how effectively artists might well just lose themselves in VR and the music thanks to the tools Chroma Coda are developing here. Thankfully the company is also aiming to package that artistic freedom with ways to actually be productive too. “We’re focusing on musicians,” Davison says, “We’re very happy to be partnering with the very best companies in the industry such as FXpansion and Bitwig. The Music Room is designed for both studio and live use.”

The Music Room will be on sale in July for $129, the price includes a copy of Bitwig.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • Steve Biegun

    I can think of a lot of questions that would need answering before throwing down $129 on this program. What sort of latency issues would be inherent to using VR? Is there any way for a user to drum with more than just their two hands? How far can instruments be customized?

    Maybe we’ll see more of a tech demo or hands-on preview. Either way, I’m very glad to see a new type of program being made for VR!

    • George Isaacs

      Latency is a good question I’d like answered as well. But the ability to access the kick via midi or analog (as suggested on their web page) may answer the more than two hands bit. I plan on using the kick pedal and perhaps the rest of the Rock Band drum kit with this the same way I use a Thrustmaster wheel in Project Cars (in VR mode). And the ability to use your DAW of choice (if I understand correctly, also from the website) makes customization limited only by your own resources.

      • loki42

        We are very focused on making sure latency is as low as possible. At 90 fps worst case latency in theory is 1 frame. We get around that so latency is lower. As far as kick trigger goes, we use the yamaha kp65 which works well.

  • DiGiCT Ltd

    Looks funny, although its hard to imagine pressure hits on instruments with a VR controller as you could easy hit trough it.
    It a nice concept, just a little over priced for something that cant be accurate in creating music.
    It can never replace real intruments, just like a synthesizer does not sound the same as a real instrument, its a nice VR toy but far away from playing a real instrument.

    • George Isaacs

      For those of us who already create music via PC and various interfaces from qwerty keys, various midi instruments and Xbox controllers (including Rock Band Drums), replacing “real instruments” aren’t gonna be an issue. The main thing, as brought up below, is latency. That and the possibility, whether with this prog or another, to do something not normally done in the traditional realm.

    • VR Geek

      I tried the little xylophone on the Waltz of the Wizard Demo and was totally shocked as to how real it feels. Yes, you can stick a note and technically go straight through it, and maybe I did, but it did not feel like it. It felt so real, I was caught off guard and at the same time totally excited about the future possibilities. The instrument is on the right side of the desk in the demo.

    • Raphael

      I hate this snobbish attitude. It’s not trying to replace real instruments. A synthesiser IS a REAL INSTRUMENT. As others have explained… it’s viability depends on whether or not the latency is low enough. If the latency is low then it can be used to create REAL MUSIC.

  • traschcanman

    No bounce off the drums makes it off beat & amateurish .

    Fun for the novice is about all it’s good for .

  • PianoMan

    As a songwriter/musician and user of Protools for years, I was curious and was willing to give it a go until i saw the price. Most users I would imagine would already have a DAW and Bitwig is a rather crappy one.

  • seems like a natural fit for a Leap Motion application, since it can track individual fingers better than commercial vr headset motion controllers (and works in tandem with it)