Thursday, January 28, 2016

Binaural Audio

Sound is extremely interesting when you sit down and think about it. From the volatility of its nature to the seemingly endless uses and applications for it, sound is all around us on a day to day basis. However, very little thought goes into how that sound is received in various situations. Since the inception of speakers and headphones, sound has been received more or less as it was given, head on. That was until the inception of Binaural Audio; audio recorded on microphones designed to mimic human ears. I could attempt to explain this more in detail, but I figured the guys who are pioneering this technology, 3Dio, could do a better job...

Binaural recording is the process of capturing audio using two microphones that are shaped like human ears. When audio is recorded using a conventional microphone, sound is typically captured without any physical obstructions blocking incoming audio waves, other than the body of the microphone itself. Binaural microphones capture audio the same way your real ears hear sounds.  The ears (pinnae) dramatically alter the incoming sound waves, but our brains understand these alterations as directional cues.  In addition, the time delay between the ears gives us proper left/right directional cues.  When you listen to binaural recordings using headphones, the result is natural "human" three-dimensional sound that gives the listener the sensation of being in the space where the audio was recorded.

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