As someone who enjoys recording binaural sounds I’m always looking for opportunities to experiment and recently recorded a binaural interview with a musician, while walking around a park.
The guest was Dave Pen, one of the best songwriters on the south coast, who has found success and recognition across Europe with Archive, a former UK trip-hop collective that has morphed into a progressive and intellectual feast of melodies and sounds.
Along with guitarist and co-founder Mike Bird, he is also in Birdpen, a dark and electronic rock group from Southampton that have been formed for over ten years, yet are only on their third album.
Climb Every Mountain
In August 2014 Dave is raising funds and awareness for children’s cancer by trekking to Mont Blanc with Trekstock.
They will walk 100km, creating music on the way, and then make an ascent of the mountain that has recently claimed the lives of some experienced climbers.
That accident happened after the interview otherwise I would have questioned some of the safety aspects, however we did get to talk about the trek, climbing mountains and of course the new album ‘In the Company of Imaginary Friends’.
Dave also discussed how they are using PledgeMusic to raise funds for the release of this album and if you are quick you can pick up some interesting Birdpen memorabilia, plus put your name down for a vinyl copy of the album.
The whole of the interview is available as part of the pledge process – if you have pledge you receive extra goodies as a thank you and incentive to join.
So if you are interested in hearing the interview and grabbing what is expected to be an excellent thrid album, visit Birdpen on PledgeMusic.
Mastering a Binaural Interview
The interview was recorded on Southampton Common and having the microphones on my ears, instead of my hand, was a real bonus. It was less intrusive, as I didn’t have to keep pointing the mic at the guest, and after a while I think both of us forgot it was an interview.
On listening back I noticed that my voice was louder than expected, so in the mastering I reduced it as much as possible, while boosting Dave’s. There is no other processing involved and I’m hoping it hasn’t interfered with the binaural experience.
For best results listen to it outside, while walking around, and for about 23 minutes, Dave Pen will be your imaginary friend.
There will be more binaural recordings released over the coming months, so please follow me on Twitter or Google+ for the next update.
What are Binaural Recordings?
Binaural recordings simulate the three dimensional sounds that you hear and reproduce the spatial location of noises. If the noise is made behind you then a binaural recording should reproduce that noise behind you.
You need to be wearing headphones for the effect to work and I have my own theory that recording made outside only work outside, just as recordings inside only work inside.
I think it has something to do with the echo or lack of echo, plus what your brain is expecting to hear.
These recordings are made using two microphones, placed on either side of your head, or a dummies head.
For a fuller explanation visit Binaural Recordings on Wikipedia.
Recommended Albums from Amazon
If you’d like to discover the sounds of Archive then their 2012 album ‘With Us Until You’re Dead’ is an excellent place to start.
And if it is Birdpen you’d rather start with, their second album ‘Global Lows’ is worth buying or downloading.