... here is an album you ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE! Chesky Records are one of the studios most committed to serious recordings using the "binaural" technique.
Most high quality recordings attempt to capture the illusion of a
three-dimensional space using a stereo pair of loudspeakers. This is
possible because the brain can do an amazingly good job of interpreting
what it hears in a form which closely approximates what it believes it
is hearing. If we capture the sound in a recorded space using a pair of
monophonic microphones, one pointing slightly toward the left, and the
other slightly towards the right (a "crossed pair") and we play the
result through a pair of stereo loudspeakers, we can do a remarkably
good job of re-creating the illusion of the original recorded space.
Variations of this "SoundField" recording technique have been widely
adopted by conscientious recording engineers for decades.
Unfortunately, while SoundField recordings can sound incredibly
realistic through loudspeakers, when listened to through headphones the
perceived spatial imaging goes haywire, for reasons beyond the scope of
There is an interesting solution to this.
Basically, you make a dummy of a human head, including the ears. Inside
each ear you place a microphone. This is called a "binaural" recording
technique. With this technique, the resultant recordings possess a
truly staggering spatial realism when listened to through headphones -
far more so than with a SoundField recording via stereo loudspeakers.
The knock on Binaural recordings, though, has always been that the
stereo image is totally screwed when listened to through conventional
Explorations in Space and Time comprises nine
tracks, simultaneously recorded using both a SoundField microphone and a
Binaural Microphone. The recordings through the different microphones
are presented as eighteen separate tracks, one version of each in
SoundField and one in Binaural.
What these Binaural recordings
achieve, even when auditioned through everyday headphones, is one of
life's great audio epiphanies. And to hear these through Stax SR007's
is an experience tough to adequately describe.
describes these recordings as "Binaural+", which apparently adds signal
processing to render the recordings as effective through loudspeakers
as through headphones. I will leave you to be the judge of how well that has been accomplished.