Technology is constantly improving the way we do things and it’s now giving music lovers a better listening experience. The latest advance is in 3D audio, a system that uses binaural recording technology to create a clearer, more distinctive sound. The technology is perfect to accompany Oculus Rift, Sony’s Morpheus, and Samsung’s Gear, which are virtual reality devices intended to give us a richer, more vibrant experience.
How is 3D Audio Different from Stereo Sound?
While stereo surround sound does enrich the listening experience, 3D audio takes it a couple of steps further by recreating the source of the sound. It enables you to hear a whisper as a whisper or the exact pitch of a chirping bird. In terms of listening to music, it recreates the positioning of the band, letting the listener hear just how each instrument was positioned at the time of the recording.
The technology used in creating these sounds, such as that found in products by Hooke 3D Audio, work by reproducing the workings of the human ear. The technology emulates the way we hear different sounds in each ear and hear the same sounds at different times. For instance, a sound to our right will take a little longer to be heard in the left ear. In the same way that the brain interprets these sounds for exactness and distinction, 3D audio technology provides a higher level of precision in the listening experience.
How Does It Work?
In mono sound recordings, a single microphone is used to pick up the sounds, while stereo recordings utilize two microphones. For stereo recordings, the microphones are separated and spaced apart to maximize the sounds picked up. When it comes to 3D audio, the recording system is a bit different. The technology of binaural recording still involves using two microphones, but, in this instance, the microphones are placed inside the simulated ears of a dummy.
A special dummy or a stand resembling the head of a human is used and the human ear is simulated, so the conditions for hearing sound can also be recreated. The binaural microphones are placed inside these fake ears to capture sounds just as a human would hear them. This system recreates the density and proportions of a human head, so the nuances of sound are perfectly captured as a living person would perceive them.
The resulting playback tricks the brain into thinking it’s hearing these sounds authentically from first-hand sources. In other words, the brain thinks the music is coming directly from a live band, or that chirping sound is coming from a real bird. The division of sound between the left and right sides helps to reinforce this condition. When recorded using these special quality microphones and heard through high quality earphones, the sound is completely immersive. This is why this degree of realism in recreating sound is perfect for virtual reality experiences. It helps the user feel as though he or she is really in that virtual environment with auditory clues that reinforce what they’re seeing.