Thursday, January 12, 2006

3D surround sound theatres are on me; transform your crummy £1.99 earphones!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mooching around the net today I stumbled across a curious MP3 file. This wasn't any old crackley rip of a cheesy pop tune; it was lauded as a demonstration of holophonic sound technology - a binaural recording technique designed to reproduce 3D sound using ordinary headphones.

Sounds like unadulterated hyperbole, doesn't it? Actually I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it really does live up to the marketing blurb. In this sample you will experience several vehicles approach the periphery of your auditory consciousness, grow louder as they speed towards you, perilously roar past your nose and then fade into the distance. Another highlight is the highly authentic recreation of a helicopter swooping by overhead, lingering momentarily, and then apparently morphing into an ear-splitting, supersonic jet plane.

A less dramatic, though still impressive sound sample of a lunatic shaking a box of matches in your left lug-hole, right lug-hole, under your nose, overhead and all locations in between can be found here.

Oi! Stop looking at me as though I've been smoking crack. I promise you'll be blown away as long as you listen to the samples through your headphones. The effect will be totally lost on you if you pump them out through your desktop speakers, even if you got those from the £1.99 bargain bin too.

It would appear that 'binaural recording' technology has been around since the 80s - not the 1980s mind you, the 1880s! As this is the first I've heard of it, maybe it's time to get my ears syringed.

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