Jump to content
Mander Organs

Organ Recordings That Really Got Up Your Nose!


MusingMuso

Recommended Posts

The earlier Bate Messiaen disks are ambisonic recordings, but the later ones are not. The technology died in the marketplace along with "quad", and most engineers just shrugged and dropped it. Nimbus, however, kept the faith, and all their recordings are (planar) ambisonic, even though it is impossible to buy the necessary surround decoder (except from Meridian, at a price!) - but they have recently released some as four-channel DVD-As for playing on surround systems. There were also some ambisonic disks from Collins.

 

The patents for ambisonics and the soundfield microphone have expired, and it is now possible to buy a relatively cheap microphone for ambisonics (TetraMic). Encoding to the 2-channel matrix form is easy in software (see here), but a small but enthusiastic community is working towards an agreed file format for distribution, and decoding plugins for common computer players.

 

As well as its use for straight recording, ambisonics is also a natural technolgy for synthesising enveloping soundfields, and so has gained a foothold in the sound projection and computer gaming businesses. It is also used internally in some companies' sound processing plugins.

 

Paul

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 56
  • Created
  • Last Reply
Is it worth pointing out that stereo recordings however made are no better than mono for people like me with permanent and total hearing loss in one ear?

I am not aware of any work that has been done to investigate the directional hearing of those with hearing in only one ear. Although it would be limited, there are some known mechanisms, especially those related to reflections in the pinna and those using head movement, that are still available; and indeed, for people with both ears working these are already the main ways of detecting height in the first instance, and even horizontal direction at the highest frequencies (above about 4kHz). But of course I don't know if your loss is from childhood or later in life; if the second, your brain may not have been able to develop the available mechanisms sufficiently to be useful, as could have happened in childhood.

 

However, even if you do have some ability to detect sound direction, the compromises that make stereo work as well as it does for most people would not work well for you; but I suspect in that case that a properly developed surround system might surprise you.

 

Paul

Link to post
Share on other sites
I am not aware of any work that has been done to investigate the directional hearing of those with hearing in only one ear. Although it would be limited, there are some known mechanisms, especially those related to reflections in the pinna and those using head movement, that are still available; and indeed, for people with both ears working these are already the main ways of detecting height in the first instance, and even horizontal direction at the highest frequencies (above about 4kHz). But of course I don't know if your loss is from childhood or later in life; if the second, your brain may not have been able to develop the available mechanisms sufficiently to be useful, as could have happened in childhood.

 

However, even if you do have some ability to detect sound direction, the compromises that make stereo work as well as it does for most people would not work well for you; but I suspect in that case that a properly developed surround system might surprise you.

I was 23 when I lost the hearing in my left ear. I have had no directional hearing since; obviously if I am attending an orchestral concert and hear a trombone I know where to look but if someone sees me in the street and shouts at me I will be standing looking around for the source of the shout in vain. Whilst I think I can use other techniques and other information to help, there are some situations where nothing "works", for example organs, recordings, and trying to hold a conversation with a friend whilst ordering drinks in a crowded bar. Although I am in no way comparable to someone with acute and profound hearing loss in both ears there is an aspect of "if I can see it, I can hear it" for me; that pipes don't move to show they are sounding is the problem!

 

I might experiment with surround sound - do you mean the 5.1 system used for home movies*? I have been involved (as a musician) with some recordings (radio drama and cast albums) that have used 5.1 but I have deliberately avoided experiencing them until now.

 

*Edited to add: I mean, of course, systems for watching DVDs at home, rather than movies made by amateurs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I was 23 when I lost the hearing in my left ear. I have had no directional hearing since

I'm intrigued, as I've been pointed at references showing that detection of lateral direction with one ear has an accuracy of about +/- 5 degrees, rather than the +/- 1 or 2 degrees possible with two ears - but this was tested by blocking one ear, which may still be able to hear a little by bone conduction. None the less, I am surprised that you have no directional hearing at all.

 

When I said surround, I meant that the recording had to be a "real" surround recording (i.e. ambisonic). Most published 5.1 stuff is actually stereo with unrelated mushy ambience played from the "rear" (i.e. side) speakers, and so would generate no useful directional cues, and those that do use a setup with five microphones on some sort of rig are using them in a way that violates the requirements for generating good directional cues (the positioning of the 5 speakers guarantees that in any case!). Really the only fairly easily available test would be one of the Nimbus DVD-A disks, played, as suggested, with the main speakers in a square (centre front is not used) and the listener central; if you go as far as trying, the disk of A Midsummer Night's Dream might be good, as the actors roam all round the microphone. But if you have no directional hearing at all in real life, a recording isn't going to manage any better, however it is made.

 

Paul

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm intrigued, as I've been pointed at references showing that detection of lateral direction with one ear has an accuracy of about +/- 5 degrees, rather than the +/- 1 or 2 degrees possible with two ears - but this was tested by blocking one ear, which may still be able to hear a little by bone conduction. None the less, I am surprised that you have no directional hearing at all.

Whilst I am not critical of scientific methodology per se I would be surprised if the experiment(s) you refer to bore much relation to real-life situations. And isn't it quite difficult completely to block an ear? Even the smallest level of hearing in one ear would help the brain, particularly over the time of an extended test with no background random noise.

 

I'm sure what you say about most "surround-sound" recordings is true; however the BBC radio play I worked on, which was of course broadcast in stereo, was mixed in both stereo and, completely separately, in 5.1.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×
×
  • Create New...