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Author Topic: Binaural radio  (Read 3259 times)

sheddyian

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Binaural radio
« on: May 20, 2015, 11:28:52 PM »

As these things are wont to do, Binaural radio popped up in my mind, and I wondered if anyone else remembers it?

Binaural is a technique of recording a stereo signal with two microphones inside the ears of a dummy human head.  The natural curves of the ear and face are reproduced in the dummy, and the result is that the recording, when played back on headphones, can give a convinscing "surround" effect, reproducing the natural direction of the recorded sounds.

Sounds no longer pan left to right within your head (as with usual headphone listening) but are well outside the headphones, and can appear to be in front of, or behind you.  The sound is positionally reproduced without electronic processing (eg "virtual surround" systems)

In the 1970's and into the 1980's, BBC Radio had a number of programmes (usually plays) recorded in binaural, and the Radio Times would note that you must listen on stereo headphones for the effect to work.  I can remember trying out a new, cheap, stereo radio with headphones on Christmas Day in the 1980's, and happened to tune into a binaural play.  There was a voice shouting out to my right, well outside of my headphones, that made me leap out of my chair. 

Wikipedia lists a number of problems with the system, but my few experiences of it was that it was very good.

Does anyone else remember it?

Ian
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burakkucat

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2015, 03:41:25 PM »

I have a vague recollection.  :-\

Is a re-implementation of the technique going to be the next Sheddy-Project, by any chance?  ;)
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sheddyian

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2015, 09:35:51 PM »

I have a vague recollection.  :-\

Is a re-implementation of the technique going to be the next Sheddy-Project, by any chance?  ;)

Hah, no.  It just suddenly popped into my mind, and I have distant fond memories of it being quite good.  I enjoy a good atmospheric radio play, the BBC Radio 4 series of Sherlock Holmes from the 1990's is particularly good for example, and I was idly wondering about it.

Looking on the BBC Genome project http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/issues and searching for Binaural shows that it was only done occasionally, and mostly in the late 1970's and into the 1980's, with only a few occurances after that.

Though I notice the BBC have been blogging about it in the last few years, but I don't know what came of it. 

I read (on Wikipedia, I think) that there were problems with it, and not everyone thought it sounded very good.

Ian
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burakkucat

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2015, 12:18:11 AM »

A quick check of what is available on-line turned up this site:)
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sheddyian

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2015, 12:13:30 AM »

A quick check of what is available on-line turned up this site:)

I shall get some of those for my shed, to go with my 12 amplifier (Ebay, China) that I use to listen to Sherlock Holmes, whilst sitting in my 5 shed armchair (boot-fair, local farmer's field)

Ian
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sheddyian

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2015, 04:24:43 PM »


A bump for my own thread, for anyone who might be interested.  On Halloween, BBC Radio 4 are broadcasting two spooky plays recorded in binaural stereo, one of which is a radio dramatisation of Nigel Neale's classic 1970's TV play "The Stone Tape".

Info here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03328l0

Ian
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burakkucat

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2015, 06:17:17 PM »

Thank you for the update.

Curses! I do not possess decent stereo headphones . . .  :no:

. . . Nigel Neale's classic 1970's TV play "The Stone Tape".

Fairly recently I was lent a DVD of the television production of that play.
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sheddyian

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2015, 10:36:46 PM »


Curses! I do not possess decent stereo headphones . . .  :no:

Fairly recently I was lent a DVD of the television production of that play.

Well, if my previous experience is anything to go by, I was listening on a Binatone stereo FM radio with it's own headphones, and it sounded remarkably good, so I wouldn't concern yourself too much.

Also, you've a week to get a new pair  ;D

I used to have a lovely pair of Sennheiser headphones that I'd had for some years, one of the coils went open circuit and my attempt to replace them with a similar-price (allowing for inflation) set of Sennheisers was very disappointing.

I saw The Stone Tape a few months ago, and although it's rather dated in some regards, it's a cracking good story, so I'm looking forward to a radio version.  And in binaural!  :silly:

Ian
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Weaver

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2015, 01:59:03 AM »

Wow, "the stone tape". Fantastic, watched it from a video I found on the web somewhere, quite recently. Absolutely terrifying, essential viewing.

I wonder if it will be broadcast in stereo somehow on the internet that night.
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AArdvark

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2015, 02:36:12 AM »

Sorry, never heard of it  :( ;D

Here is a link for anyone who is interested in the video though. [Thanks Google]
http://www.veoh.com/watch/v19922854eqX3X8Ar
You do not need the Veoh Player to watch, so no silly s/w to download.  ;D ;D
Downloading it now OK.

[I have Ad blockers etc enabled so don't know if the site has lots of ads/pop-ups etc ..... Just a warning in case.  ;D]
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burakkucat

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2015, 04:11:51 PM »

Nigel Neale (Thomas Nigel Kneale) was the creator of Professor Bernard Quatermass, first seen in the BBC serial of the 1950s (and broadcast live) . . .

b*cat apologises for taking the thread off topic.  :)
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Weaver

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Re: Binaural radio
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2015, 04:25:41 PM »

I saw it on TV in the early seventies, never to be forgotten.
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