Holophonic Sound - Strictly For The Headphones


I've recently read an interesting book called This Is Your Brain On Music, written by cognitive neuroscientist (and former sound engineer/record producer) Daniel J. Levitin. The book was loaded with tons of scientific mumbo jumbo and music geek speak, and was written in a way that anyone with an interest in either subject could understand. It provided a very thorough and insightful look into the what's, why's and how the brain processes, stores, and produces music.

One thing that Levitin didn't touch in the book was Holophonic Sound, which I heard for the first time last night. Holophonic is essentially a three-dimensional sound recording, one that doesn't just cross from left to right channels and back again, but sounds that arch, spiral, ascend and descend around you. You and your brain are at the center of the sound, as it moves around you - in short, it's the most realistic sound you'll ever experience on a recording, as though it's right there in the room with you. I wonder what parts of the brain the sound travels to, and why it's so sensational to hear? Levitin, where are you?

Try listening to a Holophonic Sound recording on stereo speakers, and the trick is lost. To really hear how holophony works, it must be listened to with headphones. Mind you, the following mp3 I have provided is not music (it's the sound of an ignited match and the shaking of a box of matches), but both Pink Floyd and Psychic TV have utilized Holophonic Sound in the past.

Coincidentally, Holophonic Sound was born in 1983, which makes this year the 25th Anniversary. We've got the matches - anyone have some candles?

Listen: Hugo Zuccarelli - Holophonics (The Matchbox Shaker) mp3

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