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Virtual Dictionary

Binaural Sound Synthesis

inaural sound is sound which is spatial – it appears to be coming from a position in 3D space around the listener. In particular, binaural sound takes into account the spatial properties of the human head, and so distorts the different channels of sound to take into account the shape of the head, and the distance from each ear, in order to artificially recreate the data necessary for the listener's brain to work out where in relation to them it 'came from'.

However, binaural sound has one major drawback: Typically it has to have been recorded binaurally to begin with. Typical sound recordings are mono-source and cannot be reworked easily to recreate the different distortions necessary for each ear to hear, without distorting the sound into unrecognisable noise.

This is where binaural sound synthesis comes in. It is the science of taking a mono sound source, and reworking the signal entirely to create a new binaural signal. A great deal of work in binaural sound synthesis concentrates on streamlining this process so as to take into account the contours of an individual user's own head every time the sound is played. This in effect means producing completely new sounds from the same source material for different users.

A secondary aspect to binaural sound synthesis is its use in synthesizing sound differences for the avatar's head, rather than just the user's. This allows a user to hear how sounds would change with different head and ear structures. For this secondary approach to work, a double pass through the synthesizer is required – once to match the properties of the user's physical head, to get the sound right for that user, then once again for the avatar head, to distort the sounds in just the right way to again sound right for that user.

See Also: Binaural, Binaural Sound, Feedback Channel, Sonification

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Binaural Sound Synthesis


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Locally Hosted resource
Location Matters in the Cochlea The Ear Hears Differently Than Expected
Whether you are using a cochlear implant to replace the lost sensation of sound, or recreating binaural sound within a virtual environment, a precise understanding of how the ear works is always helpful.

Locally Hosted resource
Hearing with more than Just Ears
Industry News

It might well be that current experiments with binaural sound for VR 3D recreation of sounds based on the relative positions of the ears, and the head shape of the listener, are not quite getting the full picture of sound reception. It seems facial skin also has a part to play.

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Podcast: Woody Norris: Inventing the next amazing thing: Directional Sound
The talk is primarily focussed on demonstrating his new invention 'hypersonic sound'. It is essentially a way to precisely focus sound, or as the inventor puts it "put sound where you want to." This has obvious implications for 3D sound effects in virtual reality and channeled sound cones in augmented reality.

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Two-way Link Between Sound and Fear Perception
It has long been known that sound can affect our emotions. A good tune or a sound reminding us of a terrifying event, bring associated memories to mind, that bring emotional states with them. What was not realised until recently however, was that the emotional state you are in when you hear the sound, changes the sound you hear in the first place. This makes sound a surprisingly potent tool for immersion feedback.

Linked resource
Echo vision: The man who sees with sound
The story of Daniel Kish, a man whose senses are out of balance; a man who sees with sound.

Locally Hosted resource
Sound in the Brain: An Orderly Orchestra of Synapses
Unlike the mapping of the sense of smell, which has odourant maps all over the olfactory bulb in no particular order, the sense of sound is remarkably well ordered. Synapses line up in an overlapping orchestra, with multiple redundancies, a study has found.

Locally Hosted resource
Looks more important than Sounds in Speech
A neurological experiment has confirmed that the McGurk effect - a long-known phenomenon where what you see overrides what you hear - is indeed codified directly into the sound processing regions of the brain. Meaning the McGurk effect is not something that can be barpassed in our virtual environments, and is not a trick of sensory perception, but rather is a cornerstone of sound perception itself.


Industry News containing the Term Binaural Sound Synthesis:

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It might well be that current experiments with binaural sound for VR 3D recreation of sounds based on the relative positions of the ears, and the head shape of the listener, are not quite getting the full picture of sound reception.

Soon computers may be able to generate eerily accurate sounds for film soundtracks. For the first time, a team of computer scientists has reproduced the sound of flowing and dripping by modelling the way water creates sound in the physical ...

September 10th - 12th, 2009
Amsterdam, Netherlands

The conference series on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction is the premier international forum for state of the art in research on affective and multi mod...

Help is on the way for people who suffer from vocal cord dysfunction. Researchers are developing methods that will contribute to manufacturing voice prostheses with improved affective features. For example, for little girls who have lost th...

Thanks to researchers at the Centre for Digital Music (C4DM) at Queen Mary, University of London, anyone watching the World Cup on their computer can now filter out the droning sounds of vuvuzela playing in South Africa's stadiums.