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What is your favorite binaural recording?
Old 28th January 2009
  #1
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bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Talking What is your favorite binaural recording?

The name of the thread says it all. I'm interested in hearing what your all-time favorite binaural recordings are. I know that many will be symphonic but I'm curious if anyone knows of any pop or acoustic albums that where recorded primarily with a binaraul head. I'm thinking of doing this for my own material, making an album completely with my binaural head and nothing else.
Old 29th January 2009
  #2
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🎧 10 years
Can't say I've heard a ton, but this is great cause it captures very 'real' spaces... small rooms, city streets, etc.

Tchad Blake
Document: Zimbabwe
Womad Shop | Document: Zimbabwe by Tchad Blake


s
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 15 years
I'm listening to the clips right now. Very cool, I'm digging it.

Lush what about the binarual stuff you've recorded? Which do you consider your best? (He probably won't even read this ; )
Old 26th March 2010 | Show parent
  #4
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Mark A. Jay's Avatar
Favorite Binaural Recordings?

Hmmm...probably the ones that I have done. I know that sounds egotistical, but for me, like the rest of us, there are memories associated with the recordings that we make that make them more 'personal' and 'meaningful' to us.

Having said that, I would have to say that my binaural work with the Cowboy Junkies and Lee Harvey Osmond are some of my personal favorites, for the resaons cited above, but also, for their utter realism and dynamic range. I recorded both of these artists at The Ark in Ann Arbor (in the case of Lee Harvey Osmond, I recorded that band twice there, albeit with different band members).

I may be posting the Cowboy Junkies gig (recorded October 5, 2009) to a forum here shortly. If anyone's interested in hearintg it, by all means, drop me a line.

Mark
Old 27th March 2010 | Show parent
  #5
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
this one.

recorded by our own Plush

MSO Download Store: GRIEG: Suite No. 1 from Peer Gynt, Op. 46
Old 27th March 2010 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 15 years
Pink Floyd's "The final Cut" is incredible!. The bar scene with the pool table, the opening scene and the bunkers and explosion in the field. It really puts you at those locations. Also, the string quartet recording is one of the coolest chamber recordings ever. Like the group is playing in the best sounding parlors right in front of you. The dynamics give you chills, and Damn David Gilmore is the Miles Davis of the electric guitar. Every note is perfect with the juiciest of tone. It has a full Wind Ensemble and Orchestra that are beautifully recorded and the all of the ensembles are melded together perfectly into one sonic masterpiece. Each ensemble recorded on this record I would put against any other individual recording of another ensemble recording of the same type. The only caveat is the snare drum is a bit wimpy for my taste.

Cameron
Old 28th March 2010 | Show parent
  #7
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bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binaural_Mark ➑️
Hmmm...probably the ones that I have done. I know that sounds egotistical, but for me, like the rest of us, there are memories associated with the recordings that we make that make them more 'personal' and 'meaningful' to us.

Having said that, I would have to say that my binaural work with the Cowboy Junkies and Lee Harvey Osmond are some of my personal favorites, for the resaons cited above, but also, for their utter realism and dynamic range. I recorded both of these artists at The Ark in Ann Arbor (in the case of Lee Harvey Osmond, I recorded that band twice there, albeit with different band members).

I may be posting the Cowboy Junkies gig (recorded October 5, 2009) to a forum here shortly. If anyone's interested in hearintg it, by all means, drop me a line.

Mark
Very cool Mark, I have The Cowboy Junkies, Trinity Session cd and absolutely love that recording. I would love to hear your recording. PM or start a thread or of course, feel free to post it in this one.
Old 28th March 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddy Ray ➑️
I really like this recording to. I downloaded it and have in my music library on my computer. This recording does sound great and definitely puts you in the room, great stuff!
Old 28th March 2010 | Show parent
  #9
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Mark A. Jay's Avatar
Trinity, The Ark, and so forth

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood ➑️
Very cool Mark, I have The Cowboy Junkies, Trinity Session cd and absolutely love that recording. I would love to hear your recording. PM or start a thread or of course, feel free to post it in this one.
Yeah, me too - it's how I got turned on to the Cowboy Junkies. I was working with binaural gear back in those days, and had heard a few close friends rave about the 'stark' and 'hoest' quality of the recording. Of course, my interest was further piqued when I had heard that an R-DAT (remember those?) was used to record it, and an Ambisonics microphone used as the transducer.

So "Trinity Session" was not really binaural, but it sounded (in my opinion) pretty freakin' great. Micahel Timmins is rather serious about sound, and he's worked with / produced another musically talented guy (Tom Wilson) formerly of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings but now in a band called Lee Harvey Osmond (I recoded LHO as well, binaurally, at the Ark in Ann Arbor when they opened for the Cowboy Junkies, and then again in january of this year). While I didn't record the LHO studio CD, I think it's a really nice bit of work, and well-recorded (it's called "A Quiet Evil"; some of the tumes feature guest vocalists, one of whom is non other than Margo Timmins.

Sorry, I rambled...as I often do (just ask my girlfriend about that). Should I post a few tracks at a time? Does posting here rely upon FTP or...? Anyway, I'll look into it and hopefully take your advice and post the concert here.

Mark
Old 28th March 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 15 years
Lol ramble on Mark, I tend to ramble on to. I think it's an engineering thing being detailed oriented perhaps? Who knows... heh

Anyways, if you know how to convert the wave files to 256 kbps mp3s you can post them as an attachment here as long as the files are under six megs. The nice thing about that is people can just click play and listen to them immediately since GS has that nice player feature now.
Old 29th March 2010 | Show parent
  #11
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Michaelrophone's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I would also be very interested in hearing these tracks!
Old 29th March 2010 | Show parent
  #12
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Mark A. Jay's Avatar
Binaural Postings (Cowboy Junkies) - FTP

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood ➑️
Lol ramble on Mark, I tend to ramble on to. I think it's an engineering thing being detailed oriented perhaps? Who knows... heh

Anyways, if you know how to convert the wave files to 256 kbps mp3s you can post them as an attachment here as long as the files are under six megs. The nice thing about that is people can just click play and listen to them immediately since GS has that nice player feature now.
Ah, therein lies the problem...most of the files (which, even if written at 192 kbps still sound very clean) are greater than 6 MB, and I certainly don't want to go any lower than 192 kbps.

I'm working on getting my FTP client working - it's a little quirky right now (and seems to work for me, but not others).

However, with a little bit of luck I should soon be able to post the (fully functional) FTP log-in, and then anyone who wants to download the mp3's (I will post only 192 and 320 kbps) that I write up there is welcome to do so.

I know it's not as convenient as having access to the built-in player here, but I really don't want to compromise the fidelity any more than necessary, and I don't feel like re-editing tracks for length to fit the 6 MB window.

Give me some time, and I'll start writing my samples up to my site in FLAC, but that's not yet underway.

Mark
Old 29th March 2010
  #13
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Mark A. Jay's Avatar
Favorite Binaural Recordings (Cowboy Junkies - Posted) via FTP

OK, so far I have uploaded three binaural tracks from the Cowboy Junkies October 5, 2009 performance at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I know that others were in the audience recording, so I am sure that you can find alternate (stereo) versions out there on various forums.

So, if you are interested in listening, just post the following into your browser:

ftp://client1.immersifi.com:[email protected]

That string front-loads the broswer with the user name and password, so once you are there, just right-click on the file and you should be all set.

I wrote the files at 320 kbps from the .wav parent files. As I said, some day I might write them in FLAC, but I think these do sound quite good as they are.

Enjoy...and remember...these are binaural, so headphones really should be used to get the best effect.

Mark
PS: I will probably paste the entire show. Note that the edits on these tracks are 'hard', there is no fade in/out, so sequential tracks will play gap-free.
Old 29th March 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 15 years
The only one I own is Lou Reed's Street Hassle. Love the record. I'll have to break it out tonight and put the headphones on!
Jonathan
Old 30th March 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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bcgood's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binaural_Mark ➑️
OK, so far I have uploaded three binaural tracks from the Cowboy Junkies October 5, 2009 performance at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I know that others were in the audience recording, so I am sure that you can find alternate (stereo) versions out there on various forums.

So, if you are interested in listening, just post the following into your browser:

ftp://client1.immersifi.com:[email protected]

That string front-loads the broswer with the user name and password, so once you are there, just right-click on the file and you should be all set.

I wrote the files at 320 kbps from the .wav parent files. As I said, some day I might write them in FLAC, but I think these do sound quite good as they are.

Enjoy...and remember...these are binaural, so headphones really should be used to get the best effect.

Mark
PS: I will probably paste the entire show. Note that the edits on these tracks are 'hard', there is no fade in/out, so sequential tracks will play gap-free.
I just got through listening to Don't Let It Bring You Down. Thanks, I really enjoyed listening to it. Great band, cool song and nice recording. The loud parts seem to get a little distorted but overall I really enjoyed the recording and think that it is a great recording overall, good job!
Old 30th March 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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Mark A. Jay's Avatar
Cowboy Junkies mp3 posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood ➑️
I just got through listening to Don't Let It Bring You Down. Thanks, I really enjoyed listening to it. Great band, cool song and nice recording. The loud parts seem to get a little distorted but overall I really enjoyed the recording and think that it is a great recording overall, good job!
Thanks - glad you liked it. Check out some of the quieter tunes as well. They did one that I put up there that is just Margo and Michael that illustrates a very soft and delicate recording (I think I called it TBD II as it was like the other new tune in that I could not ascertain the titles anywhere, thus the TBD - but they should end up on the 'next' CJ CD - not my versions, but likely studio versions).

As far as distortion goes, I can assure you that this is truly a WYHIWTW (what you hear is what there was) and that the first stage / electronics were not at overload at any time during the gig (and the Neumann has a THD onset of around 135 dB) as we took care of levels during sound check (then I backed them off before the show to combat the adrenalie factor of the players on stage). However, remember that this recording is also a recording of the acoustic portion and the amplified portion, so if you hear distortion, then chances are it's in the PA chain.

You should have a listen to 'shining moon' - when Margo builds up to a point, and then she and band have a well-timed rest, and the tune begins again; very cool walking bass line in that one.

I will (sooner or later) post the other tracks so that for those interested, the whole gig can be downloaded.

Also, I have some other material that I am targeting for upload - some are symphonic (in a very small hall), some in a larger hall, and some rock and pop performances as well (both in clubs and large auditoriums)... sooner or later, I'll add some more folders and put some more sampes up there.

Thanks for listening...
Old 30th March 2010 | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 10 years
Wow Mark, these are really fantastic! Thank you!

What really jumped out at me was that I really felt like I was sitting in the room. I've listened to a lot of live records and they never seem to have the same feeling as actually being there. I also work a ton of live shows, so I know what a live show feels like. These recordings really had the feel that is missing from the bulk of live records I come across. I even turned up the headphones louder than I usually do, since shows are generally louder than they have to be, ha ha! Great work!

So, were these tracks recorded solely with the Neumann head?

Anyways, thanks again Mark,
-Michael
Old 30th March 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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Mark A. Jay's Avatar
Thanks Mike...to answer your question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelrophone ➑️
Wow Mark, these are really fantastic! Thank you!

What really jumped out at me was that I really felt like I was sitting in the room. I've listened to a lot of live records and they never seem to have the same feeling as actually being there. I also work a ton of live shows, so I know what a live show feels like. These recordings really had the feel that is missing from the bulk of live records I come across. I even turned up the headphones louder than I usually do, since shows are generally louder than they have to be, ha ha! Great work!

So, were these tracks recorded solely with the Neumann head?

Anyways, thanks again Mark,
-Michael
I'm really happy that the live feel (as you say, you 'felt like you were sitting in the room') came across - that was really the artistic intent. No kidding - that makes me very happy that it affected you as it did, because that was what I was trying to achieve from the start (I have some other material by Lee Harvey Osmond recorded that night and later, in January 2010 that is also a kissin' cousin of these tracks, sonically-speaking).

Anyway, about the 'being in the room quality'...I got a similar comment from another musician that wanted me to record his band this way for exactly the same reason. In fact, his comments were almost identical to yours. I'm paraphrasing his words here, but in essence as we chatted before the show / recording back in November he told me "I don't like live recordings that don't really convey the fan experience and that's why I don't like using a live recording as the springboard for overdubbing - I'm very excited about using this, because it captures the space and the performance, and the performance as heard by the fans - warts and all".

I would like to make his live shows (along with the band that opened) available as well, but I was told by the entertainer in question that they wanted to maintain exclusive rights to the tracks, but maybe I can get authorization to cull one of the tracks from those two bands and post them up there as well. No promises, but I will ping on their managers about the idea (I know their FOH engineer loved the tracks from the November show - you can find his 'props' on my site). Anyway, I know the band's auditioning the tracks, but whether they decide to make them a CD, or a download, or do nothing with them remains to be seen.

NOTE: I'm not sure how much longer I will keep the Cowboy Junkies tracks up there - and I am debating whether or not to post the last (i.e. missing) track (track 05 in the list), because there's a FOH mixing faux-pas right towards the end of the track that causes the gain to jump by about 10 dB. I know it was the FOH mix because not only that mannequin head signal, but the other one I used and the other mics that were recorded all show this level jump and all at the exact same moment in time. A pity really, because it was a stellar cover of the Stones' "Moonlight Mile". I have toyed with the idea of trying to fix that, but I have not attempted it...why exactly, I can't say.

Anyway, you asked if this was recorded solely with the Neumann head, and as I said, I recorded more (mostly to compare the non-binaural to the binaural and see which I preferred), but yes, what you heard in those tracks is 100% binaural; none of those additional mics were incorporated into the files posted.

I do have one asterisk to add to that statement; I did have to employ some very high-Q notch filters to the final version, but only on the bottom end; the room had some horrific low-end modes (which the bass player discovered and then fought during sound check and into the night) and as it was my first time recording in the venue, I chose (mic locations) based on my best guess of the acoustics and decay times, but I did not count on the room modes at those locations - and I never, ever EQ as I record - I just don't believe in that.

So, when all was said and done, I listened and looked at a lot of spectra as well as sonograms to define the filters to have the greatest effect while remaining the least obtrusive to the timbre. Apart from the notch filters that I used to clean up the bottom end, I didn't do any further equalization - I owe a lot to the FOH engineer for his work, even if there was that gain faux pas in track 05. Apart from that, I thought he did a bang-up job.

Thanks again for listening. Be sure to check out some of the more 'sedate' tracks as well as the 'rockers'; there are some very gentle moments as well as some rather raucous ones. Let me know if you have any favorites from the gig.

I would be remiss were I not to thank Emily at The Ark for making the gig go as smoothly as it did, and also, the crowd that night - it's so rare to have a crowd that actually listens (actively) like this.

Last edited by Mark A. Jay; 31st March 2010 at 01:15 AM.. Reason: Fixed both instances where I typed track '08' and meant track '05'.
Old 31st March 2010 | Show parent
  #19
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Red face Problems with FTP Download of Binaural Cowboy Junkies Files

A few of you out there sent word that for whatever reason, clicking on the files doesn't necessarily allow the file transfer to start.

However, if you use the link (this one):

ftp://client1.immersifi.com:[email protected]

Once you see the list, if you right-click on the file and then do a "Save Target As" command, you will be able to download the files right away.

I suppose if you use an FTP client like FileZilla et al you won't have any issues. I've tried it that way, and it works like a charm.

So if you prefer to use an FTP client, here are the particulars you will need:

Host: immersifi.com
Username: client1.immersifi.com
Password: binaural

Sorry about that...

Mark
Old 7th April 2010 | Show parent
  #20
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Mark A. Jay's Avatar
"Moonlight Mile" posted to FTP link

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelrophone ➑️
Wow Mark, these are really fantastic! Thank you!

What really jumped out at me was that I really felt like I was sitting in the room. I've listened to a lot of live records and they never seem to have the same feeling as actually being there. I also work a ton of live shows, so I know what a live show feels like. These recordings really had the feel that is missing from the bulk of live records I come across. I even turned up the headphones louder than I usually do, since shows are generally louder than they have to be, ha ha! Great work!

So, were these tracks recorded solely with the Neumann head?

Anyways, thanks again Mark,
-Michael
Michael et al: OK, I decided to post the sole remaining track AS IS on the FTP path that I gave previously.

Again, this is the track that at 6:21 into the track, the FOH mix gain shifts - you'll hear it.

I decided that to alter the track and try to fix it was just not in keeping with the 'truth' of the recording; what you hear in the tracks is essentially (when wearing headphones) what those at front row, center heard that night.

Hope you all like the completed concert...I'll probably pull the files this week, so there you go.

Mark
Old 11th April 2010 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 15 years
I was listening to the samples on your website Mark. I'm really into thunderstorms and love the sound of rain so I really liked those samples that you had up, also liked the orchestral stuff.
Old 11th April 2010 | Show parent
  #22
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Mark A. Jay's Avatar
Samples on my site

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood ➑️
I was listening to the samples on your website Mark. I'm really into thunderstorms and love the sound of rain so I really liked those samples that you had up, also liked the orchestral stuff.
BC: Thanks for the compliments. I have more of those recordings...I may post them (or extended excerpts) in the coming future. I have a recording of a Shostakovich piece that is really, really nice (just the 2nd and 3rd movements only; alas, a hard drive failure coupled with a computer theft two years ago ensured that I lost some of my most-prized recordings, possibly to some ne'er do-well / miscreant who, worst of all, could have cared less about the recordings).

Anyway, if so moved, I'll create another folder on the FTP path and start putting some other extended excerpts there. Folders will be self-titled.

Oh yes, I have not forgotten about the binaural vs ORFT comparison files...I will dig those out soon. Promise.

Mark

Last edited by Mark A. Jay; 11th April 2010 at 07:06 PM.. Reason: As always, to correct my typos...
Old 14th April 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Binaural Recordings - outdoor acoustic guitar

Hi, just found this thread - great to see some interst in binaural. I've been a binaural sound artist and professional binaural recordist for many years. Here is an outdoor recording of solo guitar by a stream from an experimental album I recorded a few years ago:

Live At Ambergate, Gordon Giltrap, LCVP156CD, track 4 'At Giltrap's Bar' (extract).

The tonality is quite bright to preserve the maximum spatial definition.
Headphones essential and keep the volume low - the playing and ambience volume level was quite quiet. If you listen too loud the tonality becomes too 'clacky'.

Extract courtesy of Voiceprint Ltd.

Enjoy,
dallas simpson
Attached Files
Old 14th April 2010 | Show parent
  #24
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Mark A. Jay's Avatar
Very nice indeed

Quote:
Originally Posted by dallas simpson ➑️
Hi, just found this thread - great to see some interst in binaural. I've been a binaural sound artist and professional binaural recordist for many years. Here is an outdoor recording of solo guitar by a stream from an experimental album I recorded a few years ago:

Live At Ambergate, Gordon Giltrap, LCVP156CD, track 4 'At Giltrap's Bar' (extract).

The tonality is quite bright to preserve the maximum spatial definition.
Headphones essential and keep the volume low - the playing and ambience volume level was quite quiet. If you listen too loud the tonality becomes too 'clacky'.

Extract courtesy of Voiceprint Ltd.

Enjoy,
dallas simpson
Thanks for that Dallas...Can you tell us what gear was used?

Mark
Old 15th April 2010 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Equipment used

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your interst and response.

Live at Ambergate was recorded in 2002 using custom modified DPA4060 microphones direct into a prototype Nagra V (courtesy of Ken Fooks at Nagra) at 24/96.

EQ and mastering using SADiE 2496 DAW, tc electronics M5000.

For examples of environmental binaural sound art see my personal website:
Dallas Simpson - Binaural Sound Art

And my professional Mastering Studio:
Dallas Masters - Audio Mastering Studios
Old 15th April 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
custom modified DPA4060 / general info

Just to clarify - the two custom modified DPA4060's were used inserted into the ear canal hence 'in-ear' - effectively sampling my own hearing - with no obstruction in the ear cavity. This gives very accurate spatial resolution if the listener's head-ear shape is similar to mine.

I use movement deliberately to enhance spatial perception and to introduce composed elements of 'spatial choroeography'. This helps to combat localisation ambuguity when the head / ear shape of the listener is different to mine, and also the fact that our human perception has evolved to be particularly sensitive to the spatial localisation of moving sound sources - for obvious survival reasons!

By recording outdoors, expecially in woodland environments, the acoustic is near anechoic and ground plane reflections are well damped with plant growth and absorbtive soil texture. All this leads to pin-sharp spatial localisation in ideal situations. Unlike room acoustics, where floor, wall, ceiling and other reflections can blur or smear binaural spatial defintion in the absence of visual localisation cues.

My early binaural recordings from the mid 1990's, such as the tracks abha (EMIT 2296) waterpump (EMIT 1197), were recorded using Maplin budget sub miniature mic inserts,

Omni-directional Ultra Miniature Microphone : Microphone Inserts : Maplin

then costing about 2.00GBP each, laboriously custom modified and using a custom built and designed stabilsed and filtered phantom power supply from a 9v battery.

The Maplin mic inserts were 'over-run' to achieve the lowest noise and highest dynamic range, but were short lived and unpredictable, often failing after 2 to 8 hours use. But the sound quality is still remakably good for the price!

best wishes,
dallas simpson
Old 15th April 2010 | Show parent
  #27
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Mark A. Jay's Avatar
What's In an Ear Anyway?

Dallas:

Thanks for the clarification. You make some good points about binaural. I mentioned this in another post, but I can tell you that in the test / measurement world, there's a lot of debate (among the manufacturers) about what constitutes the 'correct' ear shape (i.e. dimenions and 'topography' if you like of the pinna, ear canal etc.) in a mannequin head. Mind you, having 'your' ear shape chosen as the 'correct' one brings with it bragging rights, as well as revenue (because in the test world, we like to compare data sets, and we like having the data obtained with the same type of transducers as were used in another test).

When I last looked into it ISO (or possibly DIN) had a working group on binaural and pretty much each manufacturer of mannequin heads participated (naturally enough) in this effort. While it's difficult to say how truly noble was the pursuit of engineering truth (versus the need to be proven 'right' by 'company X', or 'company Y'), I like to think that for the most part, they are indeed attempting to reach the 'best compromise' solution in the ear shape etc.

Indeed, several manufacturers of test / human perception gear also make the in-ear microphones very much akin to what you have done (as have others) so that an operator (of a vehicle, agricultural equipment etc) can operate the deives and the perceived sound accurately and binaurally acquired. The only caveat in that approach is that it makes the binaural response specific to the person in whose ears the microphones were placed. So, in the test world, if and when we use this approach, we keep that in mind if we do any signal processing with the signals - it's binaural, but it's also different than would be the sound as acquired with a 'standard' head.

Of course, if you want the operator to actually drive the car / tractor / operate the jackhammer etc then this is the only way to get these data. It is also true that the test wares types (who make said test gear) caution those who buy said device that it is not representative of what would be measured with the mannequin head proper. Remember though - this is the world of test, where repeatability and reproducability are the basic tenets of good experimentation and data acquisition and analysis; it's not (necessarily) about the aesthetic in the test world. Also, there is (thankfully) no 'standard' head geometry among Humans (but there are known dimensions according to population percentile distributions, i.e. 50th percentile male, 5th percentile female, and so on).

As for the spatial cues, being outdoors (in the spot you were) does indeed approximate free-field conditions, but I have to respectfully disagree (unless I misunderstood you) that in reverberant conditions the binaural cues are somehow less reliable; they are what they are and mrely reflect the boundary conditions. The fact that in a highly reverberant field the binaural sounds 'jumbled' is a faithful reporduction of what one would experience. I can say this from personal experience and testing of mannequin heads (from several manufacturers) in a variety of well-controlled conditions (anything from anechoic to hemi-anechoic to fully reverberant (down to 100 Hz) conditions in a very large reverb chamber.

For me, speaking perceptually (and despite its flaws), binaural remains the most 'accurate' means of recording in a space and capturing the performance and acoustics of that space.

In short, I know binaural's not wholly accurate, but I have come to embrace it from a mathematical perspective as well as an aesthetic one. In my opinion (and I suspect your), binaural, depending upon the flavor, is probably the closest thing to 'truth' in recording, for a legion of reasons based in psychoacoustics. However, truth is not always desirable; sometimes, the illusions that we create are better and more rewarding than is the truth.

One thing I have learned as an engineer and dyed-in-the-wool-geek is this: The more I know, the more I realize how much I don't know.
Old 15th April 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Some clarification

Mark,

RE: ‘Mind you, having ‘your’ ear shape chosen as the ‘correct’ one brings with it bragging rights,’...


Further clarification. I need to fill some background here. My binaural work follows certain creative and artistic principles. As a location performance binaural sound artist, I chose to adopt the in-ear method of recording as my personal standard. Unless requested to do otherwise, (and I never have been so far) I always use this recording technique and enjoy all the vagaries, limitations and benefits of that method.

RE: ‘’The only caveat in that approach is that it makes the binaural response specific to the person in whose ears the microphones were placed. So, in the test world, if and when we use this approach, we keep that in mind if we do any signal processing with the signals – it’s binaural, but it’s also different than would be the sound as acquired with a ‘standard’ head.’’


Absolutely, agreed, but I am not a ‘test head’, I’m the recording engineer / artist, doing it creatively ‘my way’ - metaphorically the artist may choose to render the scene using photography, or to paint in watercolours or oils!

RE: "As for the spatial cues, being outdoors (in the spot you were) does indeed approximate free-field conditions, but I have to respectfully disagree (unless I misunderstood you) that in reverberant conditions the binaural cues are somehow less reliable; they are what they are and mrely reflect the boundary conditions. The fact that in a highly reverberant field the binaural sounds ‘jumbled’ is a faithful reporduction of what one would experience. I can say this from personal experience and testing of mannequin heads (from several manufacturers) in a variety of well-controlled conditions (anything from anechoic to hemi-anechoic to fully reverberant (down to 100 Hz) conditions in a very large reverb chamber."

Again, absolutely, BUT from my perspective the challenge is how to creatively mitigate the fact that most listeners will present a morphological mis-match with my ears and head to a lesser or greater degree, it is this mis-match that leads to the spatial ambiguities, not the reality of the reflection 'jumble' per se, so I have to try and bear in mind all the factors that will offer spatial ambiguities in the recording environment, due to the uniqueness of my head/ear/body shape, the attributes of the recording location, the nature of the sound sources and consider how they may influence the perception of my recording when listened to by other listeners with different morphology.

The following points are relevant to this:

Consequently the issue of reverberant fields and 'jumbled' sounds takes on a different perspective. Listening to my own recordings, and with the memory of the actual experience, I hear quite accurately as if I was there. However, these natural 'jumbled' reflection phenomena, as you rightly describe them, will become issues leading to greater spatial ambiguity, that is difficulty in accurately localising sounds, and this is the key point, and I emphasise, when there is a degree of morphological mismatch between the listener's head and mine. So having made the creative decision to record this way, in order to minimise this listener spatial ambiguity due to the listener morphological difference, (if I consider this to be an issue) we select an environment where there is less spatial 'jumble' – such as more anechoic-like conditions outdoors.

That is not to say I eschew recording in reverberant and reflective indoor places, I don't, but I am aware that such binaural recordings may be less succesful in translating to the ears of other listeners.

Another aspect of localisation is that sides are more defined and stable even with morphological head/ear differences, than the front, which is quite fragile in binaural. Therefore I frequently localise main sonic events to the sides, while images centre front are often transient, and part of an overall movement, as the tracking of moving sounds is more morphologically stable than stationary sounds. There are many subtleties here concerning microphone placement, pseudo binaural techniques and the like affecting localisation and ambiguity in playback percpetion. Large discrepancies in head/ear morphology often manifest in perceptual 'front-rear reversal'' (ie sounds actually localised in front appearing to come from behind), or 'internalisation', sounds appear inside the head, or hanging around the forehead, instead of being external. The aforementioned considerations help to, but do not entirely, eliminate this.

My recording style is 'organic' rather than mechanical!

RE; “For me, speaking perceptually (and despite its flaws), binaural remains the most 'accurate' means of recording in a space and capturing the performance and acoustics of that space. In short, I know binaural's not wholly accurate, but I have come to embrace it from a mathematical perspective as well as an aesthetic one. In my opinion (and I suspect your), binaural, depending upon the flavor, is probably the closest thing to 'truth' in recording, for a legion of reasons based in psychoacoustics. However, truth is not always desirable; sometimes, the illusions that we create are better and more rewarding than is the truth.”

Agreed!

RE: “One thing I have learned as an engineer and dyed-in-the-wool-geek is this: The more I know, the more I realize how much I don't know.”

Agreed!

Thank you for your response.

Dallas.

Old 15th April 2010 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Addict
 
Mark A. Jay's Avatar
You're a Righteous Cat, Dallas!

Just read your post. I think we agree on just about all things related to recording, certainly in the context of binaural. The problem with posts is that they don't happen in real time, as does a conversation; some of the things I referred to may have been taken out of context, but again, that's to be expected with this mode of communication.

When I mentioned 'your' ears as being the reference, I really meant that in the sense of the bragging rights that would go to a company whose ear shape was decided as being the de-facto standard. I guess what I was saying is that despite engineers trying to do their best, budgets, pride, and reputations are often perceived as being on the line. That's what I meant by 'bragging rights'. I take no issue with you using your own (real) ears; you achieve the desired artistic and aesthetic effect, and that is what counts in recording. I'm exposed to both sides of the debate (for better or worse); working in an acoustics / signal processing lab has its benefits, but also its drawbacks.

Organic. Total agreement here. I even use that word on my website - it was how I first envisioned my approach to recording - a 'Gestalt' of sorts.

Anyway, I think you are indeed a righteous cat. Too bad there are not opportunities for us to collaborate on some recording projects (or, who knows, something like an AES / INCE paper at some point in time?).

All the best...

Mark
Old 16th April 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
great idea

hi Mark,
Thanks for your comments. I'm always looking for collaborations, unfortunately I'm located in Nottingham, England, but who knows...

Tied up with some studio mastering at present, will write later,
best wishes,
dallas.
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