‘Brain melting’ may actually be a good thing


3D audio has been around for a while. I first learned about it when browsing for the trailer to Disney’s UP, a beautiful movie that I strongly recommend. Anyway, this song came on top of the list of YouTube suggestions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVxe5NIABsI

Isn’t this fantastic? Whenever I close my eyes I can literally track the sound, and follow it as it travels inside my brain like a rollercoaster. Terrific, cool, weird…and brain melting.

The remix artist Pogo works with Disney movies’ samples and put them together beautifully in binaural sound, which is the other denomination for 3D audio.

But how does it work?

We use two eyes to see in 3D, and the same applies to our hearing. If someone is sitting at your right and speaks to you, your left ear should not only hear those words softer but also later, like a millisecond after the right ear caught the sound. Also, the shape of the sound actually rebounds inside the physical space of our heads and then the brain gets the message, so the sounds originally emitted get distorted during the whole process. This means that what you hear somewhat differs from those sounds the person next to you actually emitted. We are talking about acoustics here.

Whenever a sound is perceived you tend to move your head in that direction in order to locate the specific origin of said sound. You may not have noticed, for it’s an unconscious reaction. In everyday daily life you subconsciously make a detailed analysis of your environment, which provides your brain with the chance to give specific attention to changes within this environment. In other words, this ability makes it possible for you to pay attention to a wider range of stimuli.

Well, 3D audio recreates these natural processes.

Pogo (Nick Bertke) is a music producer and remix artist, known for his movie remixes in binaural sound.

You may point out that Dolby 5.1 gets the same job done, but let me tell you: not quite so. Your home theater’s speakers are placed all around you, but binaural sound is not only about playing sounds from right to left or left from right, it is also about acoustics like we discussed above. Besides, to create binaural audio you have to record the sounds in a certain way. So here’s the difference between surround and binaural: whereas the first one is about reproduction, the second one is about recording.

However, to fully experience binaural audio it is recommended to use headphones. And here’s a tip, it gets more intense when you wear ear buds.

What are the benefits?
First of all, it enhances the sense of realism.

I mean, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA

Can you feel this person guiding you through the process-no, the experience of a haircut? I call this an experience because it feels so real. And, since you’re just listening, not seeing nor touching nor smelling, all your attention is focused in one place and it may feel even more real than an actual hair cut. I guess that’s the reason why the uploader chose not to provide images to match the video. Come on, close your eyes and you’ll get exactly what I mean.

Secondly, it reportedly helps you sleep
by increasing relaxation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuGBJxiJj94

Another said benefits include creativity boosts and positive effects on your sexual life. If you want video examples for the latter, please look them up yourself (I want to keep this one PG13).

The potentials of this technology do not end here, but also apply to movies and the video game industry by means of VR (Virtual Reality).

As form me, I find this one very relaxing. It even helped me concentrate enough to write this piece. Yet another good thing about 3D audio is that it has different effects on different people and every experience is unique. So… let the browsing begin! Feel free to share your own experience in the comment section.

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