Over the years since stereo became the norm, various approaches have been tried to carry its spatial realism a step or two further. The best-known of these multi-dimensional alternatives, quadraphonics failed to win public support. This led however to other multi-speaker approaches. Two of these the Dolby Surround system, used in video software and movies and the Ambisonic system from Britain, resemble the old quadraphonic systems in their use of matrixes which encode four channels of information into two. The aim of all these systems is to increase apparent spatiality. When properly set up and sensitively employed some of these units can add a tremendous realism and naturalness to loudspeaker reproduction, but none of them can accurately reproduce the human hearing experience in all its amazing accuracy and versatility.There is only one way to come fairly close to that goal - binaural reproduction. ( and it is by using a method of reproduction so basic and simple that is first recorded use came in 1881). It is called binaural reproduction - bi, for two and aural, for ears.
HOW BINAURAL WORKS.The analogy of binaural hearing to stereo seeing has often been made. The working of the brain is responsible for both of these physiological phenomena. The brain takes the two very similar but also slightly different signals, whether they be optic nerve impulses or impulses from the inner ear, and processes them instantly to give us the depth of image or depth of sound. Listening to binaurally recorded material can make one aware of just how specific our hearing can be. We have some sense of spatial location when listening to well-done stereo recording through properly set-up speakers, but this is only a pale imitation of binaural, which allows one to locate sounds not only horizontally, but also vertically-actually 360 degrees in every direction.
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