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Michael Jackson & Binaural Audio...interesting info!

Discussion in 'Archived Blogs' started by lff, Sep 24, 2010.
  1. LFF
    Apparently Michael Jackson had his bit of fun with "holophonics" on the album "BAD". I had already heard about this but never noticed any binaural effects on the album except for 1 - the intro to "Speed Demon". I knew about this for a long, long time.
    Today however, I learned that more than that 1 song had binaural effects on them. Unfortunately, these effects had been removed due to a fall out with the binaural microphone maker. Apparently, Michael wanted to buy the microphone and all associated rights but the owner refused. As a result, the album was remixed without the binaural effects and re-released. That's right....re-released - not remastered, re-released. That means that there were some albums released with these binaural effects intact. How many original binaural effects albums were released? Well, estimates put it at the first 2 million copies. But how do you know if you have one of these original binaural albums? Easy! The first 2 million copies were released in Japan!!!! So, if you happen to have the Japanese 1st pressing with the catalog number of 32-8P-200 then you have one of the original binaural albums. How cool is that!!!!
    What parts are binaural? Nobody really knows but judging from the dispute and the differences between the original and the immediate re-releases and future re-masters it seems ok to make the following educated guesses:
    "The Way You Make Me Feel" [Album Version #2] replaced the original album version on all later pressings of the Bad album. It is the full-length version of the single remix without the finger snap (binaural effect?) after the second verse.

    "Smooth Criminal" [Album Version #2] replaced the original album version on all later pressings of the Bad album. It omits the dramatic breathing within the intro which sounds like a binaural recording.

    "Bad" [7" Single Edit] replaced the original album version on all later pressings of the Bad album. Horns are removed throughout the earlier choruses - maybe because they were recorded with binaural sound.

    "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" [7" Single Edit] replaced the original version on the later releases of Bad. Originally, the album version featured a spoken intro by Jackson backed with a longer version of the opening music. This intro was mixed out on future releases of the album probably because the entire intro is recorded in binaural audio.

    "Dirty Diana" [7" SIngle Edit] replaced the original version on later Bad releases also possibly due to binaural effects.
    Have fun tracking the original binaural version down and enjoying those cool binaural recording tidbits!
    EDIT: I was contacted by a fellow music fan who told me that my article was wrong in that not only the "Made in Japan" discs have the original mix. Apparently there are some other discs, like the Australian release and a "Made In Austria" disc that contain the original mixes. Unfortunately, there is no sure fire way to know which disc will have the original mix. Sucks...I know. However, the earlier the pressing, the more likely it is to have it. [​IMG] Search for one with the pressing numbers I listed above and you'll be fine.
  2. KingStyles Contributor
    Very cool. I wonder how much it is going to set me back trying to find one.
  3. n3rdling
    Thanks for the info Luis! 
  4. renegg
    I didn't know this album was recorded in binaural, and I have that exact pressing. I guess I didn't pay enough attention when I was listening to how it was recorded, I will give it a listen at night to check that out. 
  5. s0lar
    His album Dangerous has qsound, another 3d sound technique.
  6. gzone3lement
    Edit: blank
  7. gzone3lement


    So does all of his albums ending to "Dangerous" have holophonics?
  8. gzone3lement
    Edit: Blank
  9. s0lar
    As far as I know, it's only 3:
    Bad (holophonics), Dangerous (qsound) and History (spatializer).
    I haven't taken the time to really listen where it's noticable.
  10. LFF

    Only "Bad" used actual holophonics. The other albums didn't use anything like holophonics or binaural. Qsound and spatializer are different post-production tricks.
  11. sml1226
    What about the old LPs and Cassettes? Were they ever binaural? Were they rereleased if so?
  12. LFF


    AFAIK, the old original LP's and cassettes of "Bad" do contain the binaural effects.
  13. s0lar
    I have found a copy of the "Made in Austria" disk and it hasn't got the binaural effects. I don't know about earlier or other releases.
  14. Mython Contributor
    Well, that's funny.
    I have the 'good' version of the CD album 'Bad', and never realised that it was a relative rarity, or that there were sections removed in later pressings.
    I am a long-time meditator and use a binaural product called 'Holosync'. This has nothing to do with Hugo Zuccarelli's 'Holophonics', per se, but, purely by coincidence happens to use a similar technology for the audible masking sound (rain falling). The formal (barely audible) binaural aspect of Holosync is actually not intended to be overtly audible - it simply has the effect of entraining one's brain to a desired pattern of brainwave frequencies (primarly alpha and delta, with a bit of theta along the way). The overtly audible portion - the rain falling, does not actually sound particularly 3-dimensional, in spite of the expensive 3D-style sound treatment (Chris Currell's 'Virtual Audio'). It's important to clarify that 'binaural' means 2 very different things, in the context of 'Holosync', which is a unique hybrid of 2 different binaural technologies, neither of which has any influence upon, or relation to, the function of the other. The 'Virtual Audio' binaural aspect is simply to make the sound of rain sound less fatiguing and 'within one's head', and instead more natural, realistic, and 'around one's head', as per ordinary reality. The other binaural aspect relates to deliberate entrainment of the brain to brainwave frequencies correlating with a deeply meditative state. This is only audible as a deep throbbing rumble sound, the actual conscious audibility of which is totally irrelevant to it's function.
    To be honest, the boundaries have always seemed to me to be rather blurred between each of the competing audible binaural virtual surround technologies, and, indeed, the inventorship/authorship/ownership/scientific credibility  of each of them.
    Anyway, until I read this thread, I had never heard ANYONE mention audible binaural sound effects in relation to Jackon's 'Bad', but have always considered that the beginning of 'I Just Can't Stop Loving You'  (his spoken narrative introduction) sounds blatantly binaural to me. I later noticed that in spite of there being no mention, in the liner notes, of any connection to 'Virtual Audio', Chris Currell contributed rhythm arrangements and performed the Synthesizer, synclavier keyboards, Digital Guitar, and rubboard. He is also credited, on Wikipedia, as having been involved in certain 'sound effects' on the album.
    I've always thought definitely no coincidence, but I've never been able to actually prove that Currell had anything to do with any binaural effects on the album. I still can't!
    Is Chris Currell's 'Virtual Audio' the same technology as Hugo Zuccarelli's 'Holophonics'? Probably similar, but either way, my reason for contibuting this post is that I was interested to see mention of Holophonics in relation to Jackson's 'Bad', when, for reasons I have described above, I had always considered it most likely to have been Currell's Virutal Audio. Who knows, maybe it was Holophonics and perhaps that inspired Currell to go off, after his involvement in making 'Bad',  research and create 'Virtual Audio' as his own binaural technology.
    I really don't know, but I'd be interested if anyone can offer any clarification.
    I also just found this old SoundOnSound forum thread, via Google (please note that the remarks about Holosync, within that thread, are a totally inaccurate assumption; Holosync is absolutely not another name for Holophonics. It never was, never will be, and was never intended to be):
    On a related note, this may be of interest (Holophonics technology apparently used):

  15. LFF
    There tends to be a lot of confusion regarding binaural, holophonics, dummy head recordings, hrtf processed recordings, impulse recordings, convolution, etc...
    Holophonics (as named by Zuccarelli) is nothing more than a dummy head recording using a custom Head And Torso Simulator (HATS). This is NOTHING unique about Zuccarelli's dummy. HATS are known to produce very accurate 3D recordings and depending on the companies algorithms, can be EXTREMELY realistic.
    Virtual Audio is encoding audio in three dimensions, passively or interactively. It essentially involves sending a mono audio source through a channel of a computer and then positioning the sound in a 360 degree space. Instead of the traditional panning of the left/right stereo field, Virtual Audio allows a 360 degree panning capability. It also allows the construction of each wall of a Virtual Room as well as the ability to locate those walls anywhere in a 360 degree space. This is the description the creator himself wrote about Virtual Audio.

    To me, Virtual Audio sounds like a modern day Binaural Panning VST. Depending on the algorithm, these VST's can sound VERY convincing.
    However, to me, nothing beats a true binaural recording from a dummy head.

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