Dr. Chesky's Sensational, Fantastic, And Simply Amazing Binaural Sound Show! That's the name of the latest binaural album from Chesky Records (made especially for Head-Fi'ers), and that title describes exactly what this album is. Using Chesky's new "Binaural+" technology, this is the first-ever album of its kind--a binaural album that can be played on loudspeakers. It's the ultimate binaural trip, with incredible binaural tracks that include surround imaging tests, bass tests (that include deep bass extension), fun demonstrations of the realistic out-of-head placement possible with binaural, and, most importantly, great music (in several genres) presented with unprecedented immersion and sense of space--and a feeling of being there, live. For headphone audio enthusiasts, this album ushers in what I hope is a new era in recording and audio.
A little over a year ago, Chesky Records released its first binaural album, Explorations In Space And Time (which was also made for Head-Fi'ers). If you're wondering what a "binaural recording" is, and why it's so significant for headphone audio enthusiasts, let me re-post this bit from the article I posted last year about that first binaural album from Chesky:
Having been there for the recording of that first album, I can say that through headphones the binaural version of Explorations In Space And Time was a fantastic capture of not just the music that was played, but also the space it was played in. Listening to that album continues to thrill me to this day (over a year later), vividly bringing me back to the Hirsch Center for those exciting days of recording.
Since then, David Chesky has redoubled his commitment to the science and art of binaural recording. Working with his team, Chesky Records has come up with something called "Binaural+." With Explorations In Space And Time, Chesky included two different versions of each track on the album--a soundfield version for playback on loudspeakers, and a binaural version for headphone listening--doubling the number of tracks on each album. With Binaural+, Chesky has developed filtering techniques that allow the binaural recordings to also be played back through loudspeakers, eliminating the need to have two versions of each track.
(video) David Chesky introduces Dr. Chesky's Sensational, Fantastic, And Simply Amazing Binaural Sound Show! and Binaural+.
The second binaural album from Chesky--and the first to use the new Binaural+--is the just-released Dr. Chesky's Sensational, Fantastic, And Simply Amazing Binaural Sound Show!, and it's outstanding! After the release of the first binaural album (which was almost entirely percussion music), the request we received the most was to offer binaural recordings with a greater variety of music. After hearing so much rhythm in binaural, listeners were ready for Chesky to expand to something more melodic done binaurally. With Dr. Chesky's Sensational, Fantastic, And Simply Amazing Binaural Sound Show!, music from several genres--folk, jazz, Arabic, classical (including some deeeeeep bass organ work), rock, percussion (including a couple of tracks from Explorations), choral, funk, and New Orleans--is combined with binaural test tracks and fun binaural demonstration tracks.
I love the whole album, but do have a few particular favorites:
- Track 1, Amber Rubarth singing "Storms are On The Ocean." From the gentle guitar, to the ethereal, airy string accompaniment, to Amber's serenely sung vocal (intimately placed at center front), this track is representative of my hopes for the future of binaurally recorded music. I usually listen to this track not just once, but a few times each time. It is entirely immersive, simple, beautiful.
- Track 4, The Brooklyn Funk Band playing "Pamafunk." Okay, I'm partial to a funky groove. One that surrounds you thoroughly, completely and charges every molecule of air in the venue...well, that I'm even more partial to.
- Track 11, The Manhattan Chamber Ensemble playing "Mozart Divertemento in D Mov 1." You're a VIP. The Ensemble has come to your home or office, and opens up with some lighthearted Mozart--all just for you, front and center. That's what this one is.
- Track 12, Sukoon playing "Raqs el-hawanim." Close your eyes, and you're completely surrounded by a place that is likely very far from home (unless you live in the Middle East). If your head isn't bobbing, your feet not tapping, have someone check your pulse.
- Track 14, Choir of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament performing "Bach Jesu Joy Of Man's Desiring." This one was performed and recorded in the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City, the beautiful voices of the choir atop the deep, gentle, cascading accompaniment of the church's sonorous organ.
(video) David introduces Lars (the dummy head), and Nick Prout and Alex Sterling explain the setup used to record Amber Rubarth.
Again, I love the whole album. And the test tracks are a blast! Hear David Chesky walk to you and whisper in your ear. Have the barber give you a virtual haircut with scissors--or have David give you a virtual buzzcut. Deeeeeeep bass down to 16.35Hz? Do you want that via acoustic bass or organ? And there's more in this album.
The liner notes by Steve Guttenberg and Chesky are also awesome (and fun).
I so wish I could have been there for the recordings for Dr. Chesky's Sensational, Fantastic, And Simply Amazing Binaural Sound Show! Though I was invited to attend the recording sessions that made up the bulk of this new album, scheduling conflicts prevented me from being there. I'll attend as many future Chesky binaural recording sessions as I can, but I know from my experience with Explorations that David and his team have the ability to transport me to the sessions via the resulting albums even when I can't physically be there for the recording of them. As David said in the new album's liner notes:
Dr. Chesky's Sensational, Fantastic, And Simply Amazing Binaural Sound Show! is an exciting hint of where we can go from here, and I hope for more binaural albums (from Chesky and other labels) in the future.
Dr. Chesky's Sensational, Fantastic, And Simply Amazing Binaural Sound Show! is available in CD-quality 16/44.1, and better-than-CD-quality 24/96, and master-tape-quality 24/192. The regular price of these albums is $11.98, $17.98, and $24.98, respectively. For a limited time, Head-Fi'ers can get the album for 20% off by using the coupon code drcheskyhf20
CLICK HERE to pick which version of the album you want, and to listen to sample tracks!
An Important Note:
What we're working toward is very regular releases of binaural albums by Chesky, spanning virtually all genres. Every time David thinks of binaural recordings, he thinks of the Head-Fi community. But this is not an inexpensive endeavor (and David and his team are always working to improve binaural techniques and technology), so it requires our support. If you listen to some of the demo tracks on HDtracks.com and you like what you hear, please support our goal of seeing several new binaural releases from Chesky every year by buying Dr. Chesky's Sensational, Fantastic, And Simply Amazing Binaural Sound Show! and future Chesky binaural releases that are already being worked on.