Saturday, February 16, 2008

3-D Sound? 3-D Microphones!

Here is a picture of "Lamont", my dummy head, used for recording binaural stereo. Binaural recording is a process used for ultra-realistic stereo. A pair of high quality omnidirectional microphones are mounted on either side of the lifesize resin head, picking up sounds exactly the way a real head would. This allows for some startling effects: a whisper right next to the ear, a flute solo that travels around the listener, people speaking in a room...all with incredible depth and vivid tangibility.

Then there's this oddity - an obscure Crapitol/EMY album from 1963 called "With The Dummies". Might this be where Frank Zappa copped the line in Camarillo Brillo: "She said her stereo was four-way"? One of the tracks on this album, "Eight Ears To Hear You" was later cribbed as "Eight Arms To Hold You" by both The Beatles and Veruca Salt. This album remains unheard by all but a select few, since it was recorded in the highly experimental octophonic format. Rumors of an 8-track release are unfounded - so far, the few 8-tracks that have turned up have proven to be fakes. Also rumored to have influenced Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips (see their album "Zaireeka", a 4-cd set designed to be listened to on 4 different cd players simultaneously!).

NOW BACK TO THE REAL WORLD...Here is a groovy picture of an assortment of microphones used here in the Moonroom. Since I was originally posting about binaural recording and 3-D sound, here is a 3-D photograph! Click on the picture to get the big version, cross your eyes until you get a third version in the middle of the original two, focus on it, and there you have it - microphones in three dimensions! Wow! And how many 7 foot square moon posters have you seen, let alone in 3-d?!?

Why name him Lamont? Click the funky-looking bar below to find out...

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