By J. Berndt
MONTROSE—(June 18, 2013) I mentioned to Sarah (wife) that I was going to be writing an article on listening, she simply replied, “why would you write about something that you know nothing about?” I had no real comeback because she is right, I am a horrible listener, not by choice but because I seemed to have missed a few classes on selective hearing. We all have the ability to selectively hear but sometimes we drift, some might nicely call it day dreaming. It’s easy to go through the day without paying much attention to the noises and sounds that are constantly around you. We are so used to just hearing all kinds of different clatter, so many sounds around us pretty much all the time, and now we have mastered the art of selective hearing. This is the ability to focus on one voice in a room full of talking people, a great feature to the human brain. There are several books on the subject. If we didn’t have this ability, could you imagine the strain it would be on your mind to have to take in numerous conversations at once. It would be chaos. But I think when you shut it off and try to take in everything or nothing is when you get labeled as a bad listener.
I have decided to venture into the world of audio.
As I’m sure you all noticed, a lot of the movies coming out right now are in 3D, and can be a good time. As movies progress into the future so does the audio but… this technique was discovered 33 years ago and hasn’t seemed to go much further. I came across this video about 3D sound (homophonic sounds). Thinking to myself, how could it be any different from good surround sound in a movie? I almost passed it up until it said I would need head-phones. I take every chance I can to use the things. “Now close your eyes,” it says. So I did, only to cheat and open them a few seconds in. You get to hear matches, hair dryers, and a lady whispering in your ear, pretty crazy. The sounds don’t only come from the left and right side, it moves all around you. I might be a little late in coming across this but I found this to be pretty cool. This method was created by an Argentinian inventor, Hugo Zuccarelli back in 1980. He recorded short sound clips of objects making noise and moving around your head, and in 1983 the band Pink Floyd used it on their album that year. There has been some controversy over his discovered technique, saying it is no more special… specialer (not real word…yet) than some other methods of recording. Next, on to the exploration of a 3D audio cave…
There is also another form of audio called Binaural Beats that claims it can get you “high”. This has been used in the alternative medicine field to relax and even hypnotize you. I found none of the above to take effect. But as I read more about this it said to listen to it at a low volume, that I didn’t do, it was loud and very destructive, I’m confident the brain cells will regenerate over time.
The 3D audio cave is a fun one to listen to, the sound quality is great, but once again I find that being in a cave is about the most un-relaxing place. I could think of nothing, not a single thing calming about a cave, but the sounds are unlike anything above ground. It has been quite an adventure into the world of sound but I am ready to get back to music where I belong. All these videos I watched can be found on YouTube. If you have a few minutes to spare, explore the very slim world of Homophonic sounds.