I really didn’t think I would one day believe this. But it is starting to dawn on me that binaural is a very important format, and a very different one to stereo.
I understand why the large hardware/software sound companies are producing all sorts of headphone and 5.1 down mixing technologies.
The principle reason is that there are 2 very common listening configurations that binaural can serve, these are:
- Computers (the browser, email applications, etc.)
I would hazard a guess that most listening on these configurations is done via headphones.
One of the problems that ambisonics has always had is accessibility. And binaural is very very accessible. And that is why it is important… as a way to very quickly introduce and demonstrate ambisonics. To the commerical audio companies, I reckon binaural is a way to bring people to the surround market.
Stereo is more accessible than binaural (since you can play it back on home speakers) but it does not offer a surround experience. Those who see ambisonics as a recording technology that can produce stunning stereo imaging are correct, but I think the potential is bigger as a full surround technology.
The question is, can Ambisonics produce a better binaural experience than Dolby Headphone on a 5.1 file? (height + front-back imaging)
I might even go so far as to suggest that it is within the binaural domain, that Ambisonics could really prove itself over 5.1