Wed, 19 Jan 2011 00:12:52 +0000 en hourly 1 3D audio with music – Radiohead’s ‘House of Cards’ Wed, 19 Jan 2011 00:12:52 +0000 David Schönstein Happy New Year, it has been a long time between posts!

It remains to be seen if there is market for 3D audio in the music industry. Someone has given it a go using a Radiohead song (see the YouTube video below). I am not sure how the 3D audio was generated but it sounds decent. The music and data for the remix was taken from Radiohead’s ‘House of Cards’ music video project, all available under a Creative Commons license.

Hopefully more people will take on some 3D audio remixing. Radiohead has offered 2 tracks (Nude and Reckoner) for remixing as a competition in the past. Were any of the entries remixed in 3D audio?

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Nintendo 3DS Thu, 26 Aug 2010 02:59:19 +0000 David Schönstein Nintendo has officially announced it’s next hand-held console which will have a 3D screen that works without glasses…


This seems to us the prefect place to implement some 3D audio effects in order to enhance the realism of all those amazing games when playing over headphones. Imagine hearing an enemy come up behind you, or a car overtaking you from the left. These effects could be incorporated into the game-play and enhance it. The 3D audio effect could also even replace visual aides such as enemy radars and rear view mirrors. For now we can only hope…

Take a look at some of the features here (no 3D audio yet).

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Seeing With Your Ears Tue, 08 Jun 2010 17:59:44 +0000 David Schönstein Here is a fascinating article about the blind being able to see with their ears…

From the New York Times:

“Meijer, a research scientist in the Netherlands, has developed a technology called the vOICe, which allows you to represent visual information – to “see” – with sounds. The device is a tiny camera, a laptop and headphones. The camera is mounted on your head and the laptop takes the video input and converts it into auditory information, or soundscapes. The scene in front of you is scanned in stereo: you hear objects on your left through your left ear and objects on your right through your right ear. Brightness is translated as volume: bright things are louder. Pitch tells you what’s up and what’s down. The image refreshes once a second.”

Read more

This is a wonderful application for 3D audio.

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Hallucinations and hearing aids Thu, 29 Apr 2010 11:50:59 +0000 David Schönstein It’s been way too long since the last post. Thought I would share a couple of interesting applications of 3D audio

A scientific article I stumbled upon scanned subject’s brains using fMRI whilst they listened to voices being played over headphones. The voices were either played in stereo (inside the head) or using 3D audio (outside the head). The aim was to find the neural substrate for the perception of voices outside the head (in what we might call external auditory space) in an effort to better understand auditory hallucinations of that type. You can find the article for free here. Very interesting.

One other large emerging application of 3D audio that you might not be aware of is for hearing aids. People who require hearing aids at the moment have sounds simply amplified and they are unable to know the direction of where the sounds came from. This makes situations such as a dinner party almost impossible. Normal listeners at a dinner party are able to follow one conversation and ignore the other voices due largely to the fact that the brain knows where the sounds are coming from (this is the so-called Cocktail Phenomenon). Once this ability is lost, as with a hearing aid, all the voices are mashed together and it is impossible to follow a conversation. A hearing aid with 3D audio amplifies the sounds around the listener and at the same time provides a sense of where the sounds are coming from.

Have a listen to this demo (USING HEADPHONES ONLY) to see what it is like have a hearing aid with and without 3D audio. The demo starts without 3D audio and then 30 seconds in it switches to 3D audio, you will hear it don’t worry (think of what it’s like to have hallucinations of people talking while you listen). Focus on trying to understand the different talkers. Again, you must use headphones:

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3D audio in amusement parks Tue, 17 Nov 2009 11:58:26 +0000 David Schönstein Disney has been using 3D audio for quite a while now…

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at 12.56.41 PM

If you make it to Orlando, Florida, you will be able to experience a Disney attraction called Sounds Dangerous that relies heavily on 3D audio. Guests wear special earphones as they watch a short film starring comedian Drew Carey. At a point in the film, the screen goes dark while a 3D audio soundtrack immerses the guests in the ongoing story. It should be noted that this is not a generated effect but a binaural recording (see here).

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3D audio comes to the audiobook Mon, 07 Sep 2009 14:03:14 +0000 David Schönstein One of my favourite artists Nick Cave has just released a new novel (he is best know for his music in the band ‘Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’) which has just been released as an audiobook using 3D audio

The novel is called ‘The Death of Bunny Munro’, and you can find more info here:

The explanation from the site for the audiobook goes as follows, “The audiobook uses a groundbraking 3D audio spatial mix, specifically designed for listening on headphones, creating a fully immersive experience for the listener”.

Have a listen here USING HEADPHONES! Notice that as the sounds behind Nick Cave’s voice are heard, they tend to move around your head. Listen carefully…

Picture 2

This is a great application of 3D audio as most audiobooks are destined for mp3 players and thus listened using headphones. It really takes listening to audiobooks to a new level, and according to the publishers is “unprecidented”.

The good news is that with the technology from the ‘listen with your own ears’ project you will be able to, in the not-too-distant future, have any audiobook that you may have on your mp3 player (that is not recorded in 3D audio) instantaneously converted to 3D audio and have the sound personalised according to the shape of your ears (see New York Times article on the project).

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Which ears are you? Thu, 30 Jul 2009 00:54:39 +0000 David Schönstein The research behind the ‘listen with your own ears’ project is progressing. Below is a figure of a ‘people space’ showing a set of different people’s ears (the green dot is an example of where you the listener might be situated)…

The aim of the first stage of the project has been to predict where in this space you the listener would be. We are in the process of refining a tool that will be able to predict your position in this space based on a few key morphological parameters (mainly related to the size of your ear). Once your position has been calculated we can then choose the closest neighbour (best set of ears) that is best suited for you. Have a listen here (or click on ‘Project Demo’ at the top of the page) to experience what it is like to listen with another person’s ears. See which set of ears you like more: the red, green or purple?

People Space

People Space

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3D movies a success in cinemas – will 3D audio follow? Tue, 02 Jun 2009 22:12:15 +0000 David Schönstein More and more 3D movies are making their way to the big screen these days. With the recent success of DreamWorks’ latest animation ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’, a few questions come to mind…

Is 3D here to stay? Could 3D audio be the next technology production companies roll out in order to lure customers back to cinemas and away from free downloads over the internet?


A recent article in The New York Times has suggested that the estimated $58.2 million in tickets at North American theatres over the opening weekend of ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ “indicates that 3-D is the story”. The article goes on to say that a very significant number of theatres are being equipped for future 3D releases suggesting that the movie format could be here to stay this time.

Given the success of ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ and the willingness of audiences to wear 3D glasses, could it be imaginable that they would be happy to wear headphones at the movies for a 3D audio effect? Using headphones at the cinema would allow for the ultimate surround sound experience, given that speakers can only create a convincing effect for a small number of seats in the cinema at the so-called ‘sweet spot‘. Movies could also be played in many different languages at the same time.

It’s an interesting concept, only time will tell.

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New 3D audio demos on 3D-ADS Wed, 06 May 2009 17:57:11 +0000 David Schönstein I have added a couple of great new 3D audio (binaural) demos on the 3D-ADS site. It is also now possible to vote for you favourite demo. So have a listen and cast your vote!

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The future according to Microsoft Tue, 28 Apr 2009 13:42:44 +0000 David Schönstein Here is a video montage created by Microsoft with their vision of the next-generation of communication, collaboration and production technologies…

What is interesting about Microsoft’s vision is the focus on tactile technologies, and in particular augmented and virtual reality. This is particularly relevant for the ‘listen with your own ears’ project (see About) given that the technology is all about creating a personalised virtual audio environment. Thus it could be used to compliment the technologies of the future in a big way.

Have a look at the montage and see what you think.

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