Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hack your sense of hearing

Our sense of hearing is one of our main tools for gathering information about the world around us. And, like all of our senses, it is easy to trick. Listening to binaural recordings demonstrates this. Over at Quiet American, "Binaural Theory" is described as follows:

"The binaural recording concept is elegant: place closely-matched microphones near the ears, and record what the ears actually hear. The details may be fascinating and esoteric, but the results speak for themselves ...Consider how we are able to locate sound sources ... differences between what each ear hears provide the clues our brains need to locate sound sources in space ... Binaural recordings (are) designed to capture ('commit to tape') these differences ... The result is a subjective three-dimensional soundscape that cannot yet be equaled with conventional speaker playback."

So test out some of these 'three-dimensional soundscapes':

Don't even bother listening to any of these if you aren't going to both WEAR HEADPHONES and CLOSE YOUR EYES (no peeking!).

Nothing like a little hacking of the senses to remind us of the plasticity of the brain ...
Want to go somewhere specific?
  • Go on a audio vacation, like maybe to Spain near Seville's Cathedral where you can hear this flamenco dancer's street performance
  • Want to go somewhere else? Check out all the geotagged sounds from around the world at the freesound project.

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