Binaural Audio Effect Rack + Oculus Spatializer
So what do I mean by “binaural”
Well, maybe you’ve heard the term binaural beats or binaural recording before. This recording technique utilizes two microphones, positioned to mimic the placement of human ears and how sound is perceived.
As we record in different positions surrounding these two microphones, upon playback the listener will perceive the left and right channel information as if they were in the same room where the sound was recorded.
This phenomena can also be described as the head-related transfer function, or in simpler terms the way our two ears perceive sounds in three dimensions. This happens due to the colorful differences in frequency content received by each ear.
For example, if we are out in the jungle & we hear a tiger roar, we instantly know the 3D positioning of the Tiger in relation to us… so we know which way to run. Thanks ears :)
So for this tutorial, let’s recreate this binaural technique into an audio effect rack with in Ableton, so we can place any incoming audio signal into it’s own 3D space. Again, this effect will be more prominent for our headphone listeners.
Dissect The Rack
Left Channel = Sound hard panned left
Right Channel = Sound hard panned right
Utility = Pan each sound respectively (-3db for gain correction)
Delay = Assist in the 3D placement of the sound (i.e. if we binaural pan the sound to the right, delay the left channel by 1.8ms)
// Use = Delay the left or right channel ever so slightly as we pan to the opposite one (mimicking the differences of the sounds arrival to each ear >> Tiger behind us to the left = slight delay in right ear)
EQ = Cut some of the high frequencies of the non panned side, which also helps create the 3D position of the incoming audio
// Low Pass Filter = Further we pan to the right, the more high frequency content we cut from the Left (& vice versa)
// Turn Off Right = The left channel sounds muffled, but still audible
EQ-Only Mode = Turn off the delay if we just want the EQ adjustments (sounds closer to your ear)
Check the video description for a free download of this binaural rack.
Spatializer VST = Spatialize incoming audio into 3D space in relation to the the listeners head (this is useful or VR game audio, but I’ve used it to place sounds in my mix as well)
Left/Right = Moves sound to the left of us or the right of us in 3D Space
Behind/Front = Moves sound behind us or in front of us in 3D Space
Below/Above = Moves sound below us or above us in 3D Space
// Use = More precise way of placing our sound in 3D space (again, you’ll notice the subtle differences within headphones better than speakers)