BROTD: Binaural Recording of the Day! Installment One!

Binaural recording is a 100 year old, mostly underused method, for providing immersive 3D sound recording AND playback with no need for consumer post processing or decoding, ala Dolby Surround.

I discovered Binaural recordings probably 10 years ago, and have been a fan ever since. The early Stephen King MIST CD (love the story and audio book, hate the movie, mostly due to Frank Darabont’s changes and excesses in group dynamics, creating caricatures rather than characters) and Clive Barker’s INHUMAN CONDITION sold under the moniker 3D Audio, being my first introduction to the wonders of Binaural.

 

“Suspended in a haze of terror, humanity makes its last stand against unholy destruction!

Stephen King’s sinister imagination and the miracle of 3-D sound transport you to a hot, lazy day in a sleepy all-American town — where a sudden, violent storm leaves behind a mysterious mist that traps you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world.

The Mist is alive, seething with unearthly sounds and movements. The Mist has you in its grip, and this masterpiece of 3-D sound engineering surrounds you with horror so real that you’ll be grabbing your own arm for reassurance. To one side — and whipping around your chair, a slither of tentacles. Swooping down upon you, a rush of grotesque, prehistoric wings. In the impenetrable mist, hearing is seeing — and believing. And what you’re about to hear, you’ll never forget.”

—THE MIST in 3D Sound

I immediately became hooked, but aside from those two audio books, and a handful of special effects and music CDs, Binaural never became embraced by the music or audio book market.

I always related that locking out of binaural with Dolby having defined the defacto surround standard for the theatrical and home markets; and receiver and CD and DVD and speaker manufacturers, having a vested interest in selling dolby post processing hardware and equipment.

Whereas with Binaural, you can cut all of that out, replace all of it on the consumers end, with nothing more than a pair of regular headphones.

Thankfully through the internet and other binaural lovers recording and sharing their city soundscapes, binaural has stayed alive. Allowing any person with the desire to download and a pair of headphones, the ability to experience, relive, a moment in someones’s walk through the streets of Paris, or Sweden, or New York; to experience what Alan Moore called “dream cities of the mind”.

And showing  everything old is new again, Binaural is finally being embraced (for its cost benefits and 3D soundstage) by virtual headset manufacturers and game designers, who are seeking an effective way to add surround sound  to their headsets without licensing or reguiring expensive post production decoding.

Add to that a new wave of affordable binaural microphones (the one part of Binaural that is not cheap, is cost of the recording heads. You can see some pricing here. So these new cost effective mics, come as a real boon.) and binaural recording is well on its way to being far more accessible.

VERGE coverage on Binaural for 2016!

So BROTD will be a reoccuring feature of this blog, shouting out impressive Binaural recordings or sites I’ve come across. And without further ado, this installments winner is (drumroll please)….

SOUNDLANDSCAPES BLOG – This website features various recording of Paris street life, and these are excellent recordings. You close your eyes and you are there, virtual reality of a sort, without the million dollar price tag. Just a stereo recording of microphones placed where the human ears woud be, and the motion through, or within a crowd, and listened to via headphones… and you have something not quite unlike magic.

 

Listen to this site’s great recording in your podcast player of choice using this RSS feed: https://soundlandscapes.wordpress.com/feed/

And a great recording to start with is the latest episode in their feed, described below by the Blog owner and recorder… Des:

Every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday an indoor market, housed in the 19th century Grande Halle, opens for business and an outdoor market appears on Place Jean-Jaures and in the surrounding streets.

Marché de Saint-Denis

The outdoor market is rather like an African souk selling everything from clothes and fabrics to a range of footwear, cosmetics, bags, clay cooking pots and other assorted household goods, tools and plants, as well as some high-end, branded goods at suspiciously low prices.

But for me, the indoor market inside the Grande Halle is the main attraction. With its sights, sounds and exotic smells, visiting the Grande Halle is a multi-sensory experience not to be missed.

The sound recording is fantastic, and i higly recommend you subscribing to Des’ site via the above feed. Oh and if unsure what podcatcher to use, on the tablet side PODCAST ADDICT is a good one, on the laptop/desktop side GPODDER is a very good one.

If you liked this post and want to see more Binaural coverage toss me some likes, and use the links below to get some great binaural recordings (every purchase helps support this blog and is greatly appreciated. You get introduced to great items, and we get a couple pennies 🙂 ).

 

The Mist Movie Tie-In: In 3 D Sound

From the Caves of the Iron Mountain

Quick (kinda) 2015’s The Best Of Podcasts Primer!!


Starting off 2015 let’s do a lightning quick primer on what podcasts are, how you listen to them, and quick recommendations on some good podcasts to start subscribing to. Cool? Let’s begin!

What are podcasts?

Simplest definition they are the radio programs of the 21st century.

But not quite.

Almost 100 years ago radio (the medium, the invention) was the mass media wunderkind and juggernaut and technological cutting edge of the world. It united the world and united disparate geographically separated people in a way that was largely inconceivable just generations before. It redefined communication, but more it redefined entertainment.

No longer did you have to go to New York or LA or London to see the greatest and most exciting acts of the day, the comedies, the dramas, the concerts, the debates, but now with radio the greatest acts in the world, this sea of entertainment, and news, and interests… with a flip of a switch, comes to you.

Radio of a hundred years ago was a watershed evolution in the way people communicated, it expanded the width of our collective conversation, even if lessening to some degree the depth of the impact of the individual and the local community on that conversation.

TV tends to get the hype, but is nothing more than an extrapolation of that model that radio defined, radio being the true 1st evolutionary leap of the 20th century. The next real evolutionary dialog changer of the 20th century would come at the end of that century, with the mass adoption of the WWW, the Internet. The Internet into the 21st century has been the evolutionary next leap in communication from the medium Radio.

That brings us to podcasts and VOD. In a world where traditional terrestrial radio and television just doesn’t meet the needs of a 21st century audience, the on demand nature of podcasts and VOD platforms such as Amazon Prime or Netflix, perfectly fits the needs of an internet age that wants to “watch what it wants whenever it wants”.

And podcasts (recorded audio files on a near infinite range of topics, available for streaming or download or subscription through select syndication hosts) particularly are dear to me, as someone who grew up on the idea of radio drama, the theater of the mind, and loving shows like THE SHADOW, ESCAPE, SUSPENSE, and recognizing the intimate power of the audio format to move you in a way that television rarely does, I’m thrilled to see the flourishing of audio drama and audio commentary in the 21st century.

So that in a horribly non-brief way is what podcasts are and why they rock. But now how do you get them?

There are a bunch of ways to do it, depending if you are doing it on your smart phone, or tablet, or media player, or computer. I use an android tablet, so that’s the process I’m going to cover here. And we’ll wrap this puppy up with some quick shows to get you started with in 2015:

1- Get a tablet. My personal preference is Android 10″. Android OS because I don’t want to put up with the gatekeeping of Apple or Microsoft, and I like the bang for the buck I get. Your preference may be different and that’s perfectly fine, just telling you what works for me. As far as 10″ , I like reading books, magazines, and comics on the tablet, so that form factor works great for me. All this to say you do your homework, you can end up with a great tablet for around Ebook prices.

2- Find an app to use to subscribe to podcasts: Being tech savvy, I have tried MANY, MANY apps looking for the most useful, least obtrusive podcast app (also known as a podcatcher) and most of them are ultimately disappointing. The exception, and my current podcatcher of choice is PODKICKER. You can easily stream shows or you can download shows you want to keep for posterity, the “WTF Robin Williams” episode comes immediately to mind. Have been using PODKICKER for most of 2014, and still using it in 2015. Highly Recommended!

3- And now last but not least… choose podcasts to start your 2015 off right. Just type the following into your podcatcher search engine to subscribe to them, and job done.

WTF WITH MARC MARON
SIDEBAR SIDEBARNATION
11OCLOCK COMICS
HORROR ETC
B MOVIE CAST
GILBERT GODFREY

Start with those few, guys and gals, as they were all shows I consumed voraciously in 2014, and will remain in rotation in 2015 as new shows are discovered.

Hope this primer has been helpful!

FAVORITE & THE BEST : Favorite July Podcasts! Part 1 of 2!

July’s FAVORITE podcasts Part 1 of 2!

B MOVIE CAST– A great 2+ hours of B-movie celebration. A long running and well enjoyed favorite, that I have praised for years, that I look forward to every week. Consistently one of the best!

COMIC GEEK SPEAK – One of the earliest podcasts and still one of the most popular and enjoyable, this one is a bunch of friends letting you in on their love of all things comics. With closing in on 1500 episodes, this show has seen many changes and many moments memorable and heartfelt. Dedicated to Jamie D, this show will always be one of the best.

FILM SPOTTING – One of the newer movie podcasts I’m trying, after the hiatus of a couple other movie podcasts.

FILM SPOTTING SUV – For those of us who have cut the cable bill and have embraced all things streaming this is an informative listen, keeping you abreast of the latest movies and shows to watch… courtesy of streaming.

HORROR ETC – Another long running show, this Canadian horror movie podcast is up there with B MOVIE CAST as being one of the best, while still being very unique. Always a highly recommended listen.

SIDEBAR – A trio of impressively versed art lovers, helm this excellent process show, with interviews and commentaries of some of the most acclaimed cartoonists, pencilers, painters, etc. A must have addition to anyone’s podcast rotation!

SONGS of the Day!

SONGS OF THE DAY

Roku Streaming Movie Oddity of the Day : THE HIKE

34707_GV_TheHike_Poster_214x306


Roku Streaming Movie Oddity of the Day is THE HIKE – This one got my interest, not because of quality, but scarcity. To get the Region 1 DVD of this film on Amazon would cost you (as of the date of this posting) over $40.

However through the magic of the Roku device (or your device of choice), and the channel POPCORNFLIX, you can watch this film for free and see if it’s remotely worth purchasing.

It sounds like a poor man’s DESCENT to me, and the reviews are lukewarm at best, but for the price of free I’m willing to check it out.

You can view it online here!
Or add the POPCORNFLIX channel to your Roku or other device by using the handy instructions found here to view it on your tv.


Addendum- The first 40 minutes of this film, you can be forgiven for wanting to turn off the movie, the acting is not good, the writing cringe worthy in places, however that said, it’s not completely without interest, and by the 42 minute mark, it actually becomes something of a more compelling movie than I thought it was going to be.

No one is going to confuse this with a great film, but for the genre it is a more thought out, and arguably impressive effort than you would expect. Let’s put it this way, it is far better than over-hyped films such as A LONELY PLACE TO DIE(2011) and TRIANGLE(2009). And whatever acting issues you have with the first half of the movie, are not there with the last half. Plus it boasts a throbbing, addictive score.

All in all, and while I just said no one is going to confuse this movie with a great film, I do think the 2nd half of this movie is pretty darn impressive. And I personally thought the ending was exceedingly good and lifts the whole movie up. Grade: B.

Plus this movie is available in a nice multi-region Blu-Ray for less than the price of the DVD that originally started this post. So if you determine after viewing, that this is a film you want to add to your collection, grab your copy here: The Hike [Blu-ray]. They have about 5 copies left as of this writing.

100 Reasons CDs still rock! Reason #42: NOISY LOVE SONGS by Okkyung Lee

moisylove

NOISY LOVE SONGS by Okkyung Lee – Is undeniably noisy and I’m almost positive that portions of its scathing sound stage begins to liquefy my frontal lobe, but that’s a negotiable price to pay for cellist Okkyung Lee and her eight part ensemble’s ability to take sound and music far past normal.

A challenging but revelatory listening experience that you need the full sonic range that a good CD will provide, to adequately hear and experience. Grade: B+. Strongly Recommended!

Noisy Love Songs… price your cd here!

And take your CDs and DVDs with you, with this 21st century walkman: Coby TFDVD7011 7-Inches Portable DVD Player

Today’s Recommended Deals!