Thursday, October 4, 2018

Binaural Recordings

This was originally posted on my web site, and I'm moving all that stuff to this blog.

A binaural recording is a stereo audio recording that is made using a special type of microphone.  A binaural microphone has two small microphone cartridges that are positioned in the ear canals of a dummy head.  I don't have a dummy head so I made a microphone with a pair of condenser mic cartridges that fit into in my own ears.  The binaural microphone records the sounds as you would hear them with your own ears if you were at the location.  It captures both frequency AND phase of sounds as they arrive at your ears and that allows your brain to reconstruct the locations of the sound sources in three dimensions.  It is a real "you are there" experience!

In order to properly experience these recordings you must listen to them with headphones.  Listening with speakers will not give the same surround-sound experience.

I used a minidisc recorder to make the original recordings.  I recently transferred them to my computer using the analog input on my sound card at 24 bits, 96 ksps using Audacity.  I saved them as 16 bit, 44 ksps .wav files then encoded to VBR .mp3 format using Lame.

I reserve the copyright on these files-  you are free to download and use them for any noncommercial purpose but if you want to do something commercial with any of them we'll have to work out a licensing agreement.

Here are the files and brief descriptions of  what they are and where and when I recorded them.  Some files get off to a slow start but if you stick with them for a while you'll hear some interesting stuff.  Many were recorded in Japan, in a town called Kozouji, near Nagoya when I was working for Fujitsu Microelectronics.

The recordings made in 1996 were made using an Aiwa AM-F3 recorder. I believe the 2003 recordings made using a Sony minidisc recorder whose model number I can't recall.   

Download the files by clicking on a link, below, and then select "save as".  The file will transfer to your computer and you can play it using any media player.

Remember- listen with headphones!

Street noise in Kozouji, Japan, July 1996 (30 MB)
Street noise and cicadas in Kozouji, Japan, July 1996 file A (14 MB)
Street noise and cicadas in Kozouji, Japan, July 1996 file B (7 MB)
Street noise and cicadas in Kozouji, Japan, July 1996 file C (11 MB)

Cicadas singing in Nagoya, Japan, August 1996 file 1 (15 MB)
Cicadas singing in Nagoya, Japan, August 1996 file 2 (10 MB)

Obon festival in Hamura, near Tokyo (not binaural), August 1996 (39 MB)
Obon festival in Hamura, near Tokyo, continued, binaural, August 1996 - lots of fireworks! (50 MB)

Train ride from Musashi Nakahara to Fussa, near Tokyo, November 1996 (89 MB)

Night noises in my back yard in Kirksville, Mo., September, 2003 (17 MB)
Night noises in Thousand Hills Park, near Kirksville, Mo., October 2003 (34 MB)

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