In today’s world of VR headsets, AR glasses and voice assistants, it can be hard to gauge a products value when shopping online. Today’s technology demands in person demos and a “hearing is believing” mentality to differentiate the quality products from the vaporware. This is why reviewing speakers via YouTube or the internet is so misleading. Thankfully, we have binaural audio.
When reviewing a speaker, you’re trying to show the potential customer how this speaker sounds. You want to adequately relay its frequency response, its dynamic range, its ability to fill a room and respond to your voice when you’re two rooms away. The problem with this is that you are always at the mercy of whatever microphone the reviewer used to the review the speaker or whatever playback system the potential customer is listening to that review on. In order to truly gauge the value of a speaker from the comfort of your own laptop, you must be in the room with that speaker. Record a speaker in binaural audio and you’ll do just that.
Meet Ezekiel Ogboko, a UK based tech blogger who is doing just that.
Ezekiel understands that in order for a user to hear what he’s hearing in the review, they must have his ears. That’s why he uses binaural microphones to review speakers.
For those of you not aware, binaural audio or binaural recording is a method of recording sound that uses two microphones, arranged with the intent to create a 3-D stereo sound sensation for the listener of actually being in the room with the performers or instruments. Hear the difference (with headphones on) below:
We sat down with Ezekiel to learn what inspired him to create in binaural.
Hooke: Tell us a little bit about your review channel
EO: My name is Ezekiel Ogboko also known as Ezekielo on Youtube. I started my YouTube channel in 2016. I’ve always had a passion for gadgets and technology. I first started featuring high quality, premium portable speakers. I felt this was a niche that hadn’t been explored enough. I decided to gradually fill in that gap by showcasing the audio performance of speakers on camera instead of just explaining their features or doing basic reviews. With time I started reviewing headphones, smartphone cameras, computer accessories and wearable tech.
Hooke: How did you first hear about binaural audio?
EO: I first heard about binaural audio when I was first starting out on YouTube. While showcasing portable speakers, I found out that the camera mics and traditional microphones don’t really portray the real sound quality of the speakers so I did some research online about finding the best possible way to record and playback live sound and I discovered that binaural recording and binaural audio is the best method. Then I decided to take binaural recording very seriously.
Hooke: Why do you feel binaural audio matters?
EO:Binaural audio changes the way we hear sound – with binaural audio we are able to hear sound in a three-dimensional form rather than in basic stereo. You are able to listen to 3D omnidirectional sound. This means you can easily perceive the direction the sound is emanating from, in front, behind or even above you not just in front of you. The listener is immersed and its gives them a highly realistic impression that is true to real life, as if they are right there where the sound is being recorded in real time.
Hooke: Why did you choose a binaural microphone for your review videos?
EO: I am serious about making top-quality gadget tests and reviews and didn’t want to compromise on the equipment used. It is a long-term investment for my channel especially when it comes to testing speakers, I wanted my listeners to perceive the most realistic sound performance and quality of whichever Audio products I featured.
Hooke: What do you think it will take for binaural audio to become mainstream?
EO: Well … If the mainstream media adopts binaural recording into their coverage and If the majority of content creators on online video platforms gradually incorporate binaural recordings into their video content whenever applicable and point out that certain recordings were binaural, this would further raise its profile. Then, more viewers and listeners would gradually become informed and accustomed to the whole new level of sound listening experience.
Hooke: If there was one thing you’d like people to know about binaural audio, what would it be?
EO: Binaural audio is the type of audio we should always produce or listen to as it’s the audio recorded identical to the way the human ears captures sound. So we should record and playback sound in that same format as its more realistic and pleasant to listen to.
With the right equipment and skill, high-quality binaural audio is quite easy to obtain.
Hooke: What are your favorite headphones currently and why?
EO: For wire headphones it will Probably be the ATH-M40X it has a flat sound profile so every instrument, vocals is played back as the original artist or source intended.
For wireless listening it now happens to be the Bowers & Wilkins PX active noise cancelling headphones. Which I’ll review on my channel soon. As its hands down gave me the best immersive sound experience I’ve received from any pair of wireless headphones even though they are not the most comfortable but I still absolutely love them.
Hooke: What is your favourite speaker on the market and why?
EO: The Beoplay M5 is my favourite speaker till date because it produces such a detailed 360 degrees Omni-directional sound and dishes out surprising amount of bass for its size. You will easily hear low bass notes that most other speakers don’t normally produce. So beoplay m5 it still is for me.
Hooke: What advice would you give those interested in making a review channel in binaural audio? Things to look out for like space, materials or lighting.
EO: For those making binaural audio, the right equipment is vital. First of all you’ll need high-quality binaural microphone. if you are planning to shoot with you smartphone, you’ll have to get good binaural headphones. you’ll also need a good recorder as well. You need to shoot in an enclosed environment where sound can’t bleed through as binaural Microphones are very sensitive and can pick up on the smallest intrusion. If you are recording outdoors, you’ll need some form of windshield for the mics. In terms of lighting, the first viable option is natural light (which is free!) – for example filming close to a window to let the light in. When shooting in dark conditions ring lights and LED photographic lights are both effective solutions.
Hooke: What other products do you have planned to review in binaural?
EO: I want to find a way to test and showcase headphones sound quality and performance through binaural recording. its something I’m currently working on – it’s quite a challenge, But hopefully someday I might figure that out.
Ezekiel was kind enough to answer our questions in a video as well. See his full interview in the video below.
If you have questions about binaural audio or want to learn more about the immersive audio market, please don’t hesitate to comment in section below. As always, record on and keep creating!
From One Ear To Another,
Founder, Hooke Audio.