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Creating Music in Binaural

Recording tech and the way we listen to music has come a long way in the last few decades.

Professional level recording is no longer something restricted solely to those who have access to a studio or a big set up-anyone can do it. Cell phones and extra equipment have allowed for recording video and audio on the go anywhere, anytime and at professional quality. Social media and the Internet have also given us access to so much more content, connecting us to people all over the world. The next step? Music in binaural audio.

 

watch with headphones to hear in 3D audio, just like the drummer heard it when recording

 

Binaural audio, a technology on the rise is changing the way we record the world. It’s also changing the way we make music. Binaural audio is 3D sound, the sound in the space identical to the way we hear it, and is a great way for artists and storytellers to get their vision out there.

Binaural audio puts listeners back in the spaces where it was recorded. No matter where that is, the audience is transported back to that time and space, hearing everything as it was recorded. Every note, every breath, tap of the foot, creak in the floor, everything exactly where it came from. However it was recorded is the way that it plays back for you. Localization, or being able to process a particular place where something is coming from, is a very big part of binaural and 3D audio and recording. Your brain processes the soundwaves and where they are coming from and tries to place the sound source.

In the early days of binaural recording, musicians would need to be arranged around stationary microphones to get the desired effect. Depending on how complicated the song or the music was and the instruments being used, musicians would need to be re arranged, do separate takes, and edit it in post-production. Most recordings weren’t conducted in isolated studios, there would be a lot a lot of little things to pay attention to: air conditioners, traffic outside, doors opening and closing, etc.

The History of Binaural Audio, Part I: The First Experiments, 1881-1939

When video got involved, it advanced recording binaural to a whole new level. Binaural audio is totally encompassing the viewer in the space and the music, and adding video actually lets you be in the presence of the artists. Hooke Audio helps artists achieve this by making a microphone that works directly with a cell phone’s camera, letting the artists share their space with the viewer in its fullest form.

Check out this link to a song recorded in binaural! I used three separate binaural tracks and layered them together to create the desired effects. I recorded the instrumental, then the two leads together, and finally recorded the chorus. I first placed the instruments around the microphone in a circle (pictured in the cover photo below) based on how I wanted the listener to hear them. After that recording was complete, I recorded the two leads and let them have free range of movement to bounce and bop to the song and create a natural flow. The chorus was recorded with the vocalists standing in a circle similar to the instruments, with the basses and tenors, altos and sopranos mixed two and two, respectively. Each separate track was edited by itself, fixing some pitches and low-end, then layered together and bounced as one complete audio file. 

While this was recorded in a building the middle of the bustling Center City Philadelphia, it was executed so that the music is isolated from the traffic outside and the air conditioners in the ceilings.

You don’t have to be in a recital hall or a recording studio to use binaural audio. The beauty of binaural audio is being able to transport the listener to wherever you made the recording.  Lots of microphones like The Hooke Verse are portable so that you can take your recordings anywhere and get the sound of the space where you recorded. Not only does the Hooke Verse get audio, but visuals as well, adding that extra kick of authenticity when you listen and look back at a recording. So not only are you hearing it, but you are seeing it as well.

Check out what it feels like to be river-side with the musicians of Great Caesar (with their dog) in a Live Session recorded with the Hooke Verse:

 

Binaural audio PLUS video opens the door for limitless opportunities to create new and exciting things, and there is so much more for us as artists and viewers to experience. It opens up so many doors and avenues for artists to become storytellers and to share their ideas and experiences with the world. And as an artist and creator, that is something that I know I am really excited about.

Keep on listening!
Jess
Hooke Team Member

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