GoMedia Arsenal

By: Tim O’Donogohue

Who doesn’t like a good optical illusion? The vase that’s actually two faces, that picture of Marilyn Monroe that turns into Einstein, the work of MC Escher,…. I know I’m a big fan. But what about sound?  In this short series of blogs I’m going to take a listen to some of our favourite auditory illusions.

Binaural Sound

This one is probably the most well known auditory illusion and it’s practical applications have really just started to come to the fore.  At Angell we’re no strangers to the technique, having produced binaural material for several of our clients. Binaural is essentially 3D sound on stereo headphones. If you’re looking for a way to immerse the listener in sound, here it is.

For all these examples, listen on headphones. Here’s a great demo, it’s a bit of a classic:

And here are some examples of our work that demonstrate some of the possibilities:

In this 5.1 cinema commercial for HP Dave put the listener in Plan B’s recording studio with his musicians for a 3d tour of one of his most famous songs. Later he produced a binaural version so that the ad could be experienced at home.

Plan B HP Commercial – Dolby Digital & Binaural Mix from Angell Sound Studios on Vimeo.

In this series of internal safety films for National Rail we used binaural sound to enact some fairly harrowing workplace accidents with the listener as witness, whilst the pictures showed the physical effects of the trauma on the victims internal organs. In this example we hear the potentially tragic consequences of operating hand held devices whilst driving:

National Rail “Life Saving Rules” from Angell Sound Studios on Vimeo.

The binaural bandwagon seems to be gathering momentum with the BBC producing a Halloween radio play using the technique – you can check it out here.

The real breakthrough for binaural sound use is likely to come with the advent of Virtual Reality. It’s the most obvious fit for VR, and although the technology to create binaural sound in real time is still in it’s infancy you can expect to see it being used heavily in games when VR’s time finally comes.