Adventures in 3D Sound: Bach and Binaural Recording
Friday, April 29, 2011 - 06:00 AM
Edgar Choueiri's digital audio filter can take almost any recording and turn it into 3D — stereo tracks take on new depth and sound amazingly realistic after a quick pass through his algorithm.
But the only way to experience perfectly realistic 3D audio is by listening to a binaurally recorded track. Binaural recording follows the same principle as a 3D camera, which simultaneously captures a scene from two slightly different vantage points — one from the perspective of each of your eyes. Instead of two camera lenses, binaural recording uses two microphones inside the ear canals of a dummy head. At Princeton University's 3D Audio and Applied Acoustics Lab, Choueiri has two dummy heads: one from the German company Neumann (famous for its high-quality microphones) which he calls Fritz, and another from Denmark named Lars.
A binaural recording captures sound exactly as you would hear it live, through just two channels. When Kurt Andersen visited Choueiri's lab, he made a binaural recording using Fritz, which was later processed for perfect 3D realism by Choueiri's filter.
Video: A First Listen to 3D Sound
Choueiri has also applied his algorithm to existing stereo recordings. You can experience Bach's Mass in B minor in full 3D glory below — plus, to hear exactly how the algorithm changes the sound, we've posted a section in which Choueiri's filter switches on and off.
Audio: Mass in B minor, Cum Sancto Spiritu, Johann Sebastian Bach (3D for speakers)
Audio: Mass in B minor, Cum Sancto Spiritu, Johann Sebastian Bach (3D filter on/off)