Holophonic Sound

Be sure to listen to any Holophonic recordings with headphones. Notice how the sound doesn’t just jump from ear to ear like traditional stereo recording, but actually circles in front and in back of the head.

How It Works

Hugo Zuccarelli, an Argentine who dabbled in various sound experimentations in the 1980s, believed the human auditory system not only hears sound but emits sounds as well. The combination of these heard and emitted sounds form a reference pattern from which the brain can determine the direction a sound is coming from. Zucarella based Holophonic Sound on this theory. In this recording technique, sound samples played through stereo speakers or headphones sound three-dimensional, as though they are not being amplified but actually occurring all around us. It’s very odd.

Holophonic Sound is based on binaural recording, a technique in which stereo microphones are fixed within a prosthetic head—replete with ears and sinus cavities—to mimic the complex auditory system of the human head. Doing this makes binaural and Holophonic recordings sound more natural and more realistic than normal stereo recordings because we hear the recordings with the same nuances we would hear sounds in real life within our own heads.

When played in stereo, Holophonic sound is so realistic and three-dimensional that it can often arouse other senses—smell, taste, and touch—within most people who listen to it. Allegedly, Holophonic Sounds can stimulate areas of the ear that normal recording or real life sounds cannot. For this reason, some people with hearing impairments whose brains cannot process other sounds can hear Holophonic Sound. HighLab found Holophonic Sound to be visceral, tactile, and altogether head-shakingly neat. Hear for yourself.

This Holophonic recording example was created by http://www.holophonic.ch/. See the (very confusing) site to learn more (or get really confused, if you’re like us).