A treat for your ears

By Laurie Fletcher
When I mention the word ‘binaural’ I’m often met with polite silence, I therefore get quite excited when I meet someone who instead greets me with a knowing nod. Binaural sound provides some of the most immersive audio experiences available. Virtual Barber Shop (give it a google!) was my first encounter, and quite probably the closest you can get to having a haircut without scissors. It’s best heard to be understood.

What’s it all about then? Binaural recording replicates the human perspective of hearing – ‘3D Sound’ if you will – and content can be found quite easily on YouTube. Many have used it for recording live music, audio tours or even ASMR (I’ll leave that one for you to look up).

My studies in sound design led me to use the effect in my own projects, particularly for immersing the listener in an environment. We can place sounds all around them, far beyond conventional stereo panning. As a lover of all things radio, my research investigates how the technology can be used in podcasts as a way to bring our listeners even closer to the experience.

 

A dummy head: One method of recording binaural sound – it looks a little bit like you!

(Photo from Creative Commons)

…and how better to show it off than to create a podcast! Join me in 15 minutes of binaural podcasting discovery, and learn how we can use a simple, decades-old technique to provide listeners with an immersive experience – headphones required! Heck, you may even find it entertaining.

A podcast about podcasts. Whatever next?