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Binaural for Headphones: Your thoughts and votes please… - Page 3

post #31 of 63
Thread Starter 
Wow rickcr42,

Must thank you for the excellent posts and the links! Lots of good reading I'm so far behind!

64 votes in total... Getting good for an analysis...
post #32 of 63
I decided to "stick" this thread but just for a very short time.I am not always remembering things,call it old age or too much partying in my youth,but if i don't see this thread i will not remember to add to it after the already posted links are digested somewhat.too much information can be overwhelming an in my experience needs to be taken in bites or nothing is learned or retained.

so even though not really my forum of responsibility I am sticking this poll and along with the other threrad on a similiar topic i "stuck" should provide astimulous to get conversation going on what is to me personally a facsinating field and the only true frontier left in headphone audio-the recreation of the time and space of the live event even if it is a simulatiuon

P.S. : If this is a problem in any way I have zero persperation with its being "un" stuck.

Put up your hands ! You are surounded by Rick !
post #33 of 63
Thread Starter 

SIA: Offering Dolby Headphone on select movies.

Thanks rickcr42,

I have just reached Singapore from Perth and am suddenly feeling increased optimism. I was flying Quantas all year and did not know that Singapore Airlines had some movies with 'DOLBY HEADPHONE!'

Out of the 30 popular main-stream movies listed for viewing, 5 offered Dolby headphone. Happily, I plugged in my 280 but wasn't too impressed with its effects in 'The Last Samurai'. However, sounds were still 'out-of-my-head' and with large soundstage.

Now 'Master & Commander: Far side of....' was brilliant. The sea could be heard all around me and creeking wood from the ship's deck was left and right. I hope this is a good sign for binaural equipment/effects becoming more main stream. Headphones will benefit too. No one should give up hope. Things are on the up...



rickcr42, do you think it would be more beneficial to have this (Dolby headphone) topic started as a new thread or has someone already done so?
post #34 of 63
Quote:
rickcr42, do you think it would be more beneficial to have this (Dolby headphone) topic started as a new thread or has someone already done so?
yeah,gets kinda confusing and unfocused if too many technologies are discussed in one thread and you can lose the audience.
But here are my thoughts on this subject,just my opinion (but one coming from a perspective of from Hafler Ambience in the late sixties ,quadraphonics in the seventies,Audio Delay based ambience extraction in the eighties and finally Dolby Surround sound from ProLogic onwards plus the Binaural experiments and Dolby Headphone dabbling I have done) :

Dolby Headphone has the potential for great things but it is implemented as an afterthought and not taken seriously but the powers that be.Just like headphones as a serious high fidelity medium took years of banging the drum by Headroom and later Headwize until where we are now :

Quote:
Head-Fidelity as the main thrust pushing the manufacturers to take us seriously and because of this,offering serious high fidelity products specifically aimed at the headphone listener at all price points up to and including the high end.
So like many other good ideas never realised Dolby Headphone may NEVER become the standard bearer for headphone ambience/creation of the live event/movie FX.Why ?Because until someone that is into headphones takes control of the implementation of the gear and those at the other end ,the audio engineer laying down the track.mix the sound for SUPERIOR imaging with cans and not as it is now an afterthought this medium will be considered a "gadget" by the mainstream instead of a required feature.Something must be 1-easy to use by even the audio inept,2-easily heard as an improvement and something you must have,3-widely available so it can have the widest audience to show off the possibilities and get the discussion going among "common" folk instead of just audio geeks who as we all know are friggin weirdos
My first exposure to Dolby Headphone was at the N.Y. Hilton during the Stereophile Home Entertainment Show.While there were many cool exibits and the sound in some rooms to die for it was the Headroom exibit that kept drawing me back and where the REAL action was.
1-Grado cans specifically geared to the movie viewing experience.something i labelled in my Headwize show report the "Big Muffs" because of the size of the ear pads
2-Pete Millett showing off the first to my knowledge combination USB DAC/Headphone Amp which went on to become a headroom product and something i immediately went home and "cloned" for my own use.
3-Dolby Headphone Demonstration
There were far many other interseting and cool things in the Headroom area (which BTW was a big draw to even the non Headfier) such as The Wall Of Cans and the most extensive collection of headphone amplifiers on the planet assembled in one place ! Takes a lot of guts to put your products up against the competition head-to-head ,even products you do not carry,and allow direct comparison.The Max won over all to my ears BTW.
But it was the Wheatfield DAC/Grado Theater cans connected to a laptop which was playing a dolby Headphone Demonstration disc that impressed me most out of everything at the show and to say i was blown away would be an understatement !
The future was here and the future was sweeeet !
Multichannel audio/video from a laptop was for me the logical evolution of headphone audio and when demonstrated on high end gear all together in one place something you just KNEW would be mainstream in a very short time !
Well here it is four years later and it is still nothing special and same old.
the demo was of a race track and formula one car and the viewer was placed right there in the drivers seat or at the event accrding to the perspective, and the results were uncanny in the ability to position you wherever the mixdown engineer wanted you to be.The little hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I had to step back and go "WHOAH ! THIS IS SERIOUSLY GOOD DAMMIT !WHERE DO I SIGN UP !"
When i got back to Connecticut that evening from The Show I immediately logged in to Headwize and gushed about my findings .the discussion of Dolby Headphone was ON and no going back but.......????????????
Nothing .Little blips here and there but really not a damn thing new and anything "new" has been just a weak attempt at capturing what i personally heard in the Headroom exibit which initially blew me out of the water and brought a silly smile to my face-an uncommon event with anything audio related unless i build it myself
where are the DVD players with Dolby Headphone ? Where are the Surround Sound Receivers with Dolby Headphone ? Where are the Dolby Headphone encoded discs ? Where are the sound cards with Dolby Headphone ?
There are here and there examples but mainstreamed it is not ! And only when a technology is mainstream does it mature and become what it was initially envisioned to be.
Over time i have come to the conclusion that while DH would be a good thing for sound cards for gaming and what not it would be a BAD choice as a DSP imple,mentation in receivers or surround sound integrated amps.Just too many ways for the manufacturer to screw it up,something they seem to relish.no way they are so damn retarded they do these things by accident !
But encoded on the DVD where there is PLENTY of room if you eliminate all the garbage added now just to fill up leftover space is the way to go.Just like i always choose the letterbox edition of a movie and the directors cut i should be offered the option of "filler" or "Dolby Surround".Hell,i would even pay extra as long as it was only a couple of bucks.Dolby Labs must be payed their cut too !
But I do not see it happening.If the technology were new and there was a clamor for it yes,but being that it has been out there for some time and it is beneath the radar screen of the audiophile AND average consumer i just do not see DH becoming the standard bearer like Dolby Surround has in the surround sound area.
Damn shame really.Only widespread acceptance of a standard allows a technology to be mainstreamed and once it is the more "out there" designers will find ways to improve upon the original but..........

So where do we go from here ? You got me man.I personally use a device i designed myself and use it for late night viewing or for music with live events.It does not have the WOW factor of DH but neither does it have the potential for music butchering.More it is a "add something good,do nothing bad" kinda add-on and since in my world there is no "one size fits all" flexability and choice rule the day.One mode for movies but add what you want or take it out,one for music-again : add/remove as you wish,and the main signal is left untouched while "passing through" my Frankenstein's Monster As Audio Device.
Being impatient I wait for no one and i want my,i want my,i want my "surround" Tee Veee (money for nothing and my chicks for free !)
so i went to the bench and made my "gadget" and stopped worrying about "if" and "when" multichannel headphone will arrive.Screw it.I'll take mine less but I'll take it NOW dammit !

Like I intially said,DH can potentially sound great but as you have reported in your post and others have also reported it is very "iffy" and does not produce universally good results.It CAN but often falls short.Is that a problem with the technolgy ? The realisation of it ? The Hardware ? The choices made by the engineer during mixdown and positioning ?
I don't have those answers but these problems do exist and until worked out DH is toast.Plus music reproduction is NOT a strong suit of DH.Instead of the recreation of the "space" of an event it tries to "surround sound" it and that is just not what you hear if you are there.

That is where DH falls short and Binaural whips major BUTT (betcha were wondering just when i would weasle that in and get back on topic huh ? ).
Binaural has the uncanny ability to not add anything to the sound other than SPACE and TIME !
Listen to a real binaural recording,not a hardware/software/HRTF simulation but an actual binaural recording done with a dummy head and two omnidirectional mics positioned at the "ears" and over headphones and with your eyes closed to eliminate the visual cues you are there man !!!!

You have just been transported out of your listening room and to the actual "space" where the recording was made ! Every sound will come from the direction it was in when the recording was made and something that would startle you if you did not hear it coming from behind until it was too late will ALSO startle you in the reproduction of it !
Each sound event will be recreated exactly where it was positioned at the actual location of the recording.Damn impressive the first time you hear it and still impresses each time as the years pass.No "gimmick" but a recording technique used to realise a desired end result-speakers need not apply !
so this is what a True Binaural Recording will sound like but what about studio recordings ? what about recordings that never were and never will be a "live" event Rick ?

AHAAA !

Binaural simulation dammit ! the work being done in this field is AMAZING and will hopefully trickle down form the University and Government Audio Labs and down to the end consumer (you listening BIG company dudes and dudettes ?).THIS is where the action will come from on the "ambient music reproduction" and movie FX front.It may well be that some "bastard" step child of DH/Binaural simulation may in the end become the standard but DH alone is not cutting it and Binauaral is still too "out there" for the average consumer to grasp.It will take the maturity of head tracking in combination with "accurate" reproduction of the time and space of the event to become something on the "must have" list but where else is there to go in the field of headphone audio ?
more amps ? More headphones ? a couple of more switching devices ?
No-IMAGING is where the action will be for my money,and the money of others if the technology ever gets moving

Just my opinion guys but damn,it IS time !(double meaning )

Surrounded By Ricks

post #35 of 63
Why the hell is this poll stickied?
post #36 of 63
It is stickied because Rick is old!
post #37 of 63
Quote:
I decided to "stick" this thread but just for a very short time.I am not always remembering things,call it old age or too much partying in my youth,but if i don't see this thread i will not remember to add to it after the already posted links are digested somewhat.too much information can be overwhelming an in my experience needs to be taken in bites or nothing is learned or retained.
From post #32 in response to :

Quote:
Why the hell is this poll stickied?

and pretty much answered correctly here :
Quote:
It is stickied because Rick is old!
cheers and continue on topic please

You are surrounded and they are all ME !


post #38 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by null
Why the hell is this poll stickied?
I don't buy this "Rick is old" reasoning.His thoughtful writings look more like the reflection of a young and curious mind, no matter how old the bones are.
It's a good idea to sticky it in order to draw attention to the exciting realm of totally immersing sound.
It could make a difference like the transition from mono to stereo.
We could be part of the forces which will push these technologies into reality.
We and the gamers.
Don't laugh, the gaming market is a main driving force for the advancement of affordable video technologies, this could happen again even though Creative Labs owns the game audio market.
Creative also owns EMU, and the EMU souncards are decent for stereo.
In the end there could be the "Virtua Blaster"-system for gamers.
And the corresponding overpriced gear for audiophiles.

Pfhhh, that was a lot of blah for a bump.
Please look at Rick's linklist a few posts above.
post #39 of 63
hehe,nice bump man

I had to re-visit the thrread myself just to see if there was anty real movement but alas..............

But not all for nothing boys and girls ! As usual ,late ,I have actually only just today read my own post.

and again as usual I need to go back and correct some miskeying and some "......." missing words/letters

I am beginning to beleive there is a gremlin hiding out in my keyboard and when i am looking the other way

WHAMMO ! Unrecognizable english and incoherent thoughts !

heh,actually I just think a sentance ahead and in the rush to get it out so the "flow" of my own thoughts remain in context with the moment I "skip" over the details at times.Details like spelling,grammer,punctuation,word spacing......you know,the stuff they marked you down for in school if not up to some standards !

and oh yeah,the word "Binaural".

I know the meaning of the "Bi" and that is "2" which is representitive of the precise positioning of the microphones for the pickup of the sound .And once played back with headphones in the position formerly occupied by the microphones should be and exact duplicate in the time and space domain.And I realise the "aural" is the sound event itself.But just what the heck is the "N" doing in there and who put it there anyway ?

hehe,this is not a timed test but something to get you maybe thinking again,just in case the links were not enough to swell your brain until it hit skull
post #40 of 63
and if i were to be cloned but one copy was out of phase with the original and then a second clone were to be made but he had only one eye and just one ear and they were in the same room with the opriginal ME would we be able to sing in harmony and have the end sound be a spacious one ?

Or would all these ricks need to add some FX electronically in the studio for the event to be reproduced as "we" ?
All the ricks in unison visualised as the event in our imagination.


Surrounded by ricks but just which is the original and which a pale imitation ?

Hmmm,we may never know the answer to THAT mystery.......................

***edit***

unstuck the S.L.A.B. thread and added the link here..

http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=96085
post #41 of 63
Thread Starter 
Hey rickcr42,

Sorry for my temporary departure from this thread. I was really busy and zoomed in and out of the forums but never had the time to post a reply until now.

By the way, let me just say that you type really well – very interesting reading your posts. It just flowed really well like a magazine article.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rickcr42
Dolby Headphone has the potential for great things but it is implemented as an afterthought and not taken seriously but the powers that be.Just like headphones as a serious high fidelity medium took years of banging the drum by Headroom and later Headwize until where we are now
I hope Dolby Headphone isn’t quite as small as you make it sound. The company who made it for Dolby - Lake Technologies, appears to be very serious about its dedicated spatial simulator component ‘TheaterPhone’ to engineers who are looking for a serious alternative to speaker-based room acoustic simulation, although we must keep in mind that ‘TheaterPhone’ offers a lot more features than just the standard Dolby Headphone package supplied in the typical integrated amp. On the other hand, I guess you’re right when it comes to the type of people they expect to sell to – most certainly directed towards professionals and not serious listeners like us and I think they are not expecting to sell a large quantity of those things judging on how little advertising they’re doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickcr42
When i got back to Connecticut that evening from The Show I immediately logged in to Headwize and gushed about my findings .the discussion of Dolby Headphone was ON and no going back but.......????????????
Nothing.
I’ve got to admit that I won’t be expecting Headphones, binaural equipment or even Dolby Headphone itself to explode in popularity following my discovery of it on some Singapore Airlines movies, but you’ve got to admit that this is yet one of the largest and most significant step of awareness for the general public. The publicity from a show (which is probably filled with audio freaks anyway) doesn’t compare to having it available in an Airline. However, what is lacking is a good half-page/column explanation or introduction to Dolby Headphone. I’m guessing the show explained the technology very well and this is where the Airline Movie guide missed out. All it showed was the Dolby Headphone logo on the right of the heading and at the bottom of the movie review; ‘This screening is available with Dolby Headphone’ or something to that effect.

Still, binaural post-processing equipment like Dolby Headphone and similar miscellaneous processes are growing more and more common in integrated amps and source components. Some comfort given that binaural has been around for decades already! I still think it’s picking up, although at a slow rate. Do you feel that way?

I totally agree that Dolby headphone will probably not be the standard bearer even in the future as it is just the best compromise for most of the optimal HRTFs. I believe a certain feature found in an integrated/headamp would be the trick. I forgot where exactly but someone in our forums recently said that a company made a component which would determine the optimal HRTF of the user and then save these settings to be used in future. It was even supposed to have some sort of sensor on the headphone which would know the position of the user’s head and adjust the sound to accommodate the movement. This is the dream component you and I are waiting for.

Years ago, before binaural, I always thought that speakers and headphones could not produce life-like sound because the diaphragms/drivers were just not good/sharp enough but now I know it’s all about the HRTF!
post #42 of 63
Thread Starter 
Oh and I'll be flying off to Hong Kong in a few hours for a food frenzy. I'll be back in four days and will discuss the results of the poll and probably start another thread related to binaural stuff again.

Won't have much time to listen to music but still bringing with me the iPod and my 280s...
post #43 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flea Bag
I forgot where exactly but someone in our forums recently said that a company made a component which would determine the optimal HRTF of the user and then save these settings to be used in future. It was even supposed to have some sort of sensor on the headphone which would know the position of the user’s head and adjust the sound to accommodate the movement. This is the dream component you and I are waiting for.
Look here.
post #44 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmopragma
Look here.
Brilliant! Thanks. I'll read more about it later. Got to fly to Hong Kong but without Singapore Airlines... (no Dolby Headphone movies)
post #45 of 63
Quote:
By the way, let me just say that you type really well – very interesting reading your posts. It just flowed really well like a magazine article.
first time for everything i guess

Quote:
I hope Dolby Headphone isn’t quite as small as you make it sound. The company who made it for Dolby - Lake Technologies, appears to be very serious about its dedicated spatial simulator component ‘TheaterPhone’ to engineers who are looking for a serious alternative to speaker-based room acoustic simulation, although we must keep in mind that ‘TheaterPhone’ offers a lot more features than just the standard Dolby Headphone package supplied in the typical integrated amp. On the other hand, I guess you’re right when it comes to the type of people they expect to sell to – most certainly directed towards professionals and not serious listeners like us and I think they are not expecting to sell a large quantity of those things judging on how little advertising they’re doing.
it has been my observation that even a good idea if not pushed until it is not just the audiophile but the average consumer that knows of it will eventually just fade away and become a footnote.This is not a new technology and should not only be commonplace but should have already evolved into V2 (Dolby Headphone 2) as most things evolve once established.Prologic is a perfect example of a format evolving over time into something else.
But anything that remains obscure will be overtaken at some point by a new thing even if that new thing is sonically inferior.It is not always the best that wins or we would have been using Betamax machines for twenty years instead of VHS.

Quote:
I’ve got to admit that I won’t be expecting Headphones, binaural equipment or even Dolby Headphone itself to explode in popularity following my discovery of it on some Singapore Airlines movies, but you’ve got to admit that this is yet one of the largest and most significant step of awareness for the general public. The publicity from a show (which is probably filled with audio freaks anyway) doesn’t compare to having it available in an Airline. However, what is lacking is a good half-page/column explanation or introduction to Dolby Headphone. I’m guessing the show explained the technology very well and this is where the Airline Movie guide missed out. All it showed was the Dolby Headphone logo on the right of the heading and at the bottom of the movie review; ‘This screening is available with Dolby Headphone’ or something to that effect.
all we need is a standard that is included in all equipment and then the process of maturing that technology will begin.
All Dolby Surround sound receivers and integrated amps use a DSP chip to perform processing duties so why not just throw in Dolby Headphone ?
The increase in cost will be very small and once the public gets used to the idea of simulated multichannel headphone listening it will be a required addition and demanded by the public.Failing that what is the holdup with just adding it to all DVD soundtracks ?
There is plenty enough room for the extra audio channel and the reason why you see so much nonsense on a DVD is because there is so much leftover space they need to fill the blanks in.

Quote:
Years ago, before binaural, I always thought that speakers and headphones could not produce life-like sound because the diaphragms/drivers were just not good/sharp enough but now I know it’s all about the HRTF!
I think we pretty much have the whole timbral and dynamic range area of music reproduction whipped.We may never be able to reproduce the bass energy of a live event in the home realistically due to simple physics and how a room size/bass freq interaction just can't be faked,especailly with headpones, but as far as tonal accuracy and the "essence' of the music we are already there.
So for my money all that is left is the reacreation of the "space" of the event.the actual venue or a simulation of one if the recording is all done in the studio.

Right now for me it comes down to :

Live event recordings with speakers : L-R Hafler matrix for extraction of the out of phase signal inadvetantly picked up by the microphones

Live event over headphones : nothing beats a true binaural recording for realism but the illusion is blown by visual cues so a dark room or closed eyes are a must unless you lock your head in one position.For music only the same L-R extraction mixed back to the main signal works for me along with some frequency manipulation

Studio music : The above L-R matrix but with added delay to simulate the space absent from the recording studio.The above is ambience extraction,added delay is ambience simulation.Dolby Headphone does not do it for me with music

Movie Effects : Dolby Headphone hands down at this point in time.Nothing sounds better or is as consistant.Again not for music but rules the roost if done right for making the small inimate image of the headphone experience seem to be a larger bolder more lifelike event,even though agian all recorded in the studio and is an added effect

but this is just one mans opinion and one i have come to from playing around with every kind of goofy to great image manipulation device i could either audition or build myself.
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