Monday, June 26, 2006

HOLOPHONIC SOUND

You've heard how stereophonic sound moves from left to right, but nothing can prepare you for the creepy phenomenon known as holophonic sound. Wear headphones as you listen to:

Holophonic test: Someone's shaking a box of matches not only to your left and right, but up and down, behind you and in front of you...

Now they're cutting your hair...

...now they're blow-drying it...

Science gone too far?!?

23 comments:

dz said...

That is very cool! I wish you had some more examples.

Mr Fab said...

I wish I did too. Too bad one of its inventors, Hugo Zuccarelli, no longer has a website - supposedly it had some great examples. Can't find too many other audio examples on the net but this wikipedia article says that Pink Floyd and Psychic TV have used it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holophony

xenmate said...

Holly Crap that is creepy!

I actually turned around during that first clip!

Jerry said...

Those have got to be binaural recordings.

Jimmy said...

Actually this isn't too hard to replicate; you need to record in stereo, on two mics where your ears would be.

The easiest way is to get a model head - think mannequin - and put stereo mics where the ears are. Even decent headphones will work. Make sure to point the "ears" slightly forward, as that's key to the perception.

Once you've recorded something on this contraption, listen back to it with headphones.

Anonymous said...

that's just the coolest thing ever.

Anonymous said...

woulb be cool to program a dsp to simulate this HRTF.. just imagine a game like condemned with this

Anonymous said...

?? I did not hear anything.

Mr Fab said...

"?? I did not hear anything."

The effect really only works with headphones. Unless you've got surround-sound speakers, that may work as well.

Anonymous said...

That's creepy. And I felt my fan rotate while listening to the blow-dryer, so that raised the goosebumps.
Wonder how this could be applied in music?...

Anonymous said...

There was a radio show created some time ago based on Stephen King's The Mist that was recorded in this format. The radio show was released on CD a few years ago retaining the holophonic sound quality. You can probably find it on Amazon.com by simply searching on "The Mist."

-john- said...

There was a company that was producing a dsp chip that could dynamically map 5.1 sound to headphones... Lake http://mixonline.com/news/audio_dolby_announces_takeover/index.html sadly ran afoul of the Y2K dotcom bust and share value dropped markedly loosing me $900 :-)

-john- said...

Psychic TV, reminds me fondly of the 90s, and so thinking I listened to an old album I happen to have here in far off Japan, Force the Hand Of Chance to find the song No Go Go using much of that device with the matchbox, and other things.

Syd Midnight said...

There have been a few albums recorded in binaural/holophonic.. Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut" (check out the track "Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert" for a good example) and Lou Reed's "Street Hassle" are two I believe. While they sound great, it's an incredible pain in the butt to record because sound sources have to be physically moved around (instead of just panning), so it's only used for occasional effects (and like Mr Fab says, you can only hear it with headphones).

IIRC one key to a convincing holophonic recording is for the "head" to have anatomically correct ears, with the mics inside where an eardrum would be. The shape of your ear creates subtle delay and phasing effects that the brain picks up on. Awesome stuff.. I don't know why it's not a common DSP effect, except it must be an even bigger challenge to program than it is to record manually (Sorry to hear that John)

Mr Fab said...

"Street Hassle" eh? I've had that one for years. Guess I never listnened to it with headphones.

Thanks for the info, gents.

Kristian Twombly said...

There have been commercial recordings of art music released with this. A recent one by Roger Reynolds has been reviewed by Michael Boyd and should be published soon. And yes, it is often called binaural sound and it only works in headphones.

Anonymous said...

The sound effects in the post come from the original Holophonics Sound Effects Library Demo CD that was released over 15 years ago.

There were two parts to the disc. A section of sound effects, including the hair cutting, hair drying. One effect that worked really well was the sound of a paper bag being placed over your head and then quickly removed.

The second part of the disc was different cuts of music, recorded using the Holophonic binaural technique.

I already have the entire sound effects section as an .mp3 file and have searched everywhere for the music section. It contains some of the best sounding music you've ever heard recorded to CD. (In my opinion anyway) I'd love to hear those pieces again.

Anonymous said...

"I already have the entire sound effects section as an .mp3" Do you think you could upload it somewhere? Maybe email me the .mp3? Email is jon-soundclip AT como DOT us

VRS-one said...

They used this in 2000 at Disneyland.
Its was this Drew Carrey movie.

dj BC said...

Creepy cool!

Anonymous said...

BEST AUDIO QUALITY SINCE DEEP THROAT !

biggerbrain said...

While pinwheels and penny whistles may fascinate the average dullard, those who posses higher levels of conscious awareness are bored by this moronic drivel.

Anonymous said...

The Pink Floyd example that stuck out in my mind was "Alan's Psychedelic breakfast"