3D sound is a product of binaural recording which requires the use of two microphones commonly arranged on either side of a mannequin head with the intent to create a 3D stereo sound sensation for the listener. This yields the perception of actually being in the room with the performers or instruments. 3D sound is best experienced through headphones and will not translate properly over stereo speakers.
The term “binaural” has frequently been confused as a synonym for the word “stereo”. Conventional stereo recordings do not factor in natural ear spacing or “head shadow” of the head and ears. Hugo Zuccarelli of Argenticna created Holophonics in 1980, the binaural recording system used to record 3D sounds. Holophonics, like binaural recording, reproduces the interaural differences (arrival time and amplitude between the ears), as well as rudimentary head-related transfer functions (HRTF). These create the illusion that sounds produced in the membrane of a speaker emanate from specific directions – like in front of you or by your feet.
So, now that you’re caught up on the technical specs, it’s time to experience 3D sound for yourself. Grab a pair of headphones and check out the following YouTube videos. The 3D audio illusion can only be experienced with headphones and is best experienced with your eyes closed.
Pretty amazing, right? This 3D sound illusion is unfortunately lost without headphones – and when we experience music through traditional sound system, this effect is mostly lost. Even with stereo sound systems, the left and right channels are mixed in an open room and what you hear greatly depends on your positioning in the venue. As you can imagine, our silent disco headphones reintroduce the possibility of 3D sound into the social listening atmosphere. Since everyone at the event is equipped with a personal set of headphones, the performer gains amazing control over what the listeners hear – far more custom and personal than ever before. And unlike traditional sound systems, guests can take this 3D sound experience with them no matter where they go – whether they are standing directly in front of the DJ, stepped out on the patio – or even in line for the bathroom!
Below are a couple of music tracks for your listening pleasure. They may not have true 3D sound but are great examples of stereophonic sound that can be achieved through headphones.
This first one is accompanied by some pretty eerie footage of UFOs
And I don’t think I have any words for this next one!