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This Century-Old Audio Technique Could Be Key to Virtual Reality

Illustration for article titled This Century-Old Audio Technique Could Be Key to Virtual Reality

Binaural audio sounds like a no-brainer. Humans have two ears, so we should record sounds with two microphones, right? But the late 1800s technique of sticking microphones inside a pair of life-like ears mounted on a fake head has never been more than a novelty. Which is a shame, because as you're about to hear, binaural audio sounds fantastic. Way better than 5.1.

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In a new feature story (filled with examples!), The Verge explores the history of binaural audio and how it could be key to future virtual reality experiences. After all, if you want to fully engross someone in a moment—make them believe that they're standing somewhere they've never stood before—you need all the help you can get. Grab a pair of headphones and click this link to hear how the past might inspire the future yet again. [The Verge]

Image via futureofstorytelling

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DISCUSSION

Dumb question.

If binaural audio is better than Dolby 5.1 and is actually simpler to set up and handle, why don't movies and theaters use it? Does it not work well when played back to large rooms full of people (as opposed to headphones for a single person)?