What if you could experience all the proven benefits of meditation simply by putting on a pair of headphones and listening to sounds played at a very particular frequency? That may just be possible with binaural beats, which are said to alter your brainwaves, and therefore your mental state. There may not be much scientific evidence, but there are countless people out there who personally swear by the benefits of listening to binaural beats, which include everything from improved focus to reduction of stress, anxiety and fatigue.
For the uninitiated: binaural literally means “of or relating to two ears.” There are five types of brainwaves — Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma — each of which is classified by frequency bandwidth and associated with a different state of consciousness. When two pure-tone sine waves are played at slightly different frequencies in each ear, our brain integrates the two audio signals, producing the sensation of a third sound known as a binaural beat. Many people believe that listening to binaural beats can synchronize, or entrain, your brainwaves with the frequency of that third beat.
Now, binaural beats are not to be confused with binaural audio, also known as 3D audio, but binaural audio is a very effective tool for improving binaural beats. Binaural audio captures sound — that is, all types of sound —by employing two microphones spaced to approximate the distance between your ears. When you listen to binaural audio on any ordinary pair of stereo headphones, it produces the incredibly immersive sensation of being in the same exact place where the recording was made. Although the technology dates back to the late 19th Century, binaural audio is now coming back in a big way, with VR filmmakers, musicians, podcasters and more taking advantage of its remarkably immersive quality.
There are countless open-source programs online for generating binaural beats, but none of them take advantage of binaural audio’s superior sound quality. For that, you will need a binaural audio recording device like the Hooke Verse — a pair of Bluetooth headphones with binaural microphones incorporated into each earbud. We wanted to test it out for ourselves, and the binaural audio version was far superior. Before we reveal the results, here’s how you can replicate it.
Test #1: A Binaural Beat in Two-Track Stereo.
- Download two separate sine wave frequencies. We downloaded ours from the Test Tones YouTube channel — one at 180 Hz, the other at 188 Hz. The 8 Hz difference would later produce a binaural beat in the Alpha range.
- Import both test tone frequencies into the audio or video editing software of your choice. We used Adobe Premiere.
- Create a new sequence,
- Right-click one of the two tracks, and select “Modify -> Audio Channels.
- Select the drop-down menu where “Stereo” is currently selected and switch it “Mono.”
- Under “Media Source Channel,” select “L” for “Left,” which will push all the audio of that track to the right headphone or speaker.
- Repeat steps #4 – #6 for the other track, but this time select “R” for for “Right.”
- Drag both audio clips to the Timeline on two separate tracks and line them up at the Timeline Head.
Test #2: A Binaural Beat in Binaural Audio
We created the same binaural beat as Test #1, except this time we recorded it in binaural audio with the Hooke Verse.
- Record one of the two test-tone frequencies into the left microphone of your Hooke Verse.
- Record the other test-tone frequency into the right microphone of your Hooke Verse.
- Import both audio tracks into Adobe Premiere and stack them on top of each other to create a mix.
We conducted Test #3 just for kicks. We’ll tell you how we did it after the jump. First, check out the results!
As you can hear for yourself, the version we recorded with the Hooke Verse (#2) is cleaner, clearer, warmer, more rounded. The version we produced in Adobe (#1) lacks that level of complexity. It’s louder, rougher, two-dimensional. On top of everything else, the Hooke Verse made #2 much easier to produce!
And Test #3? Well, that was a bit more complicated. After powering on the Hooke Verse, we connected a pair of speakers to a laptop and pushed one frequency through the left speaker, the other through the right speaker. We held on to both speakers and began by keeping them “locked” on to opposite mics for about 10 seconds. After that, we began moving the speakers around our head. Lastly, we uploaded that single 3d Audio file to Adobe.
Is it better than Test #2? Well, no — or at least not for the purposes of producing a binaural beat. But it does give you a small auditory taste of what else the Verse can do.
For more information about 3d audio and binaural audio: HookeAudio.com.
For more information on capturing binaural 3D Audio: