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What are Binaural albums?

Discussion in 'Music' started by juanseamador, Dec 29, 2012.
  1. JuanseAmador
    I've been seeing threads about this. What are they?
  2. MagnaCumLaude
    Look it up on you tube...It is basically 3D sound using 2 mics.  I like it a lot because some of the recordings make you feel like you are actually there! This one is cool too!   I have heard some piano binaural recordings and it sounds like you are playing the piano because the high notes are on the right and the low notes are on the left.  Highly enjoyable!
  3. JuanseAmador

    Cool! and how to I know if it's binaural or not?
  4. MagnaCumLaude
    You know, I don't really have a good answer for that.  I know that Chesky Records record in binaural, just like the homepage says.  This idea hasn't really been popular enough for artists to switch over.  Head-fi forums have some examples of binaural albums. I also know that many video games record in binaural.  If you listened to the Russian interrogation room video, I think that is a good example of how a video game could be binaural.  I don't play much video games so I couldn't give you any ideas of an actual game.
  5. LFF
    Binaural Audio is simply audio recorded by two microphones and has become a blanket term of sorts.
    True binaural audio, at least as it was originally defined, is simple a stereo recording made by using two omni microphones and an acoustic shadow. This was invented by the great electrical engineer Alan Blumlein.
    These days, binaural audio tends to refer to dummy head recordings or holophonic recordings.
    Dummy head recordings are stereo recordings made utilizing a replica of the human head and human ears, with or without the auditory meatus.
    A holophonic recording, is a stereo recording made utilizing an object simulating a human head but without using human ears (pinna).
    Both dummy head recordings and holophonic recordings reproduce a realistic "you are there" soundstage when played back on headphones. The biggest advantage to the dummy head vs. the holophone is that the dummy head does better with maintaining certain auditory cues more precisely, like front to back and up and down positions.
    Both dummy head recordings and holophonic recordings are popular in recording ambiance. This is where they are most used in film, music production and video games. This recorded audio is then mixed in with other recordings to provide the desired effect.
    They are rarely used as a sole medium because they allow very little leeway in the area of post-production tinkering. If an artist can't sing or perform properly, these recording techniques will spotlight it and this is a major reason why it's not popular. It's also a minimalist recording technique and these techniques don't always allow producers to use all their associated toys (limiters, pre-amps, EQ, more microphones, etc etc) for better post-production control. Dummy head recordings and holophonic recordings are essentially as good as the recording engineer and artists and the placement of the microphone is critical as is accurate monitoring. Poor choice in position and poor monitoring lead many dummy head recordings and holophonic recordings to be speaker incompatible. Many also feel that the inherent cross-talk in speaker playback produces a flawed reproduction (although I feel it's quite adequate when done right).
    How do you know if it's a dummy head recording or holophonic recording? Most clearly state it. Sometimes, you can simply tell by listening or reading the accompanied booklet and seeing what microphone was used.
    Hope that helps.

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