You’ve Got Ears—Use ’Em!
I’ve read with great interest the recent headphone and DAC reviews. Clearly, it’s possible to get astounding sound quality through this equipment, especially with high-resolution audio files. With our mobile society, it seems that more and more music is being consumed via headphones. What an opportunity for content providers to produce binaural recordings (recordings made typically using a dummy head with microphones placed at each ear location), which are specifically intended to be heard through headphones. I have fond memories of listening to John Sunier’s Audiophile Audition on public radio with special programs that were all binaural. I also enjoy listening to my binaural CD produced by STAX many years ago called “The Space Sound, Dummy Head Recording.”
While I think this recording technique would be great to capture live classical concerts, it could also give the listener that being-there feeling when listening to contemporary music as well. Hopefully some record labels and/or artists will recognize this potential and produce some new material. (For more information on binaural recording, John wrote a very nice article that can be accessed at binaural.com/SunBinArticle.html).
Dave Kulisek Bellevue, NE
First, a quick nod to the long-running contributions of our industry colleague John Sunier, who hosted his syndicated Audiophile Audition radio show from the mid-1980s through the late 1990s and now runs a terrific website of that name that focuses largely on music reviews across many genres and formats.
For those unfamiliar with binaural recordings, the technique essentially creates a 360-degree soundfield around the listener when heard through traditional two-channel headphones. I’d have to agree that the surge in headphone listening does create an opportunity, one that Chesky Records, at least, has embraced. Their website (chesky.com/genres/binaural) currently shows 38 albums recorded binaurally, including a couple of whiz-bang demo pieces, all with the extremely high audiophile quality Chesky has always been known for. They’re available on disc or as hi-res downloads from Chesky sister company HDtracks.com. If you’d like to peek in on a Chesky binaural recording session, check out “Chesky Records Uses Its Head to Make Better-Sounding Music” by contributing technical editor Steve Guttenberg (Sound & Vision, May 2016 and available on our website).—RS