Binaural Recording- An interview with Nicholas Prout of Chesky Records

Binaural Recording- An interview with Nicholas Prout of Chesky Records

Nicholas Prout is the recording engineer for Chesky Records. Over the years Nicholas has developed the skills of capturing musical performances using binaural recording techniques. Binaural recording is a method of recording sound that uses two microphones, arranged with the intent to create a life-like sound sensation for the listener when played back over headphones. As featured throughout the Chesky Records Binaural+ series, this recording technique provides the listener with an intimate playback of the musical performance.  Subtle head movements of the singers, improved instrument separation, realistic dynamics and room characteristics all contribute to placing the listener in the middle of the performance. I was lucky enough to talk with Nicholas about his equipment and techniques for capturing great binaural recordings. His dedication to the technique and craftsmanship shine through in his incredible recordings; please make sure to check them out. When asked what you do for a living, how do you reply? I say that I’m a recording engineer.  If pressed I say that I work for Chesky Records and my job is to make the records.  I record the performances, edit together the best version of the piece of music from all available takes, then master it and prepare it for whatever format is needed.  Usually a CD master, a 96kHz 24 bit master, and a 192kHz 24 bit master. When did you become interested in binaural recording, and what bought it about? I read an article about recording with a dummy head in the late 70s.  I was intrigued so I recorded a folk singer using two Neumann U67s with a roll of paper towels between them.  I don’t know if...
Audio Pixels – The Future of Speaker Design?

Audio Pixels – The Future of Speaker Design?

First Major innovation in audio speakers in nearly 80 years Audio Pixels Limited is on the verge of producing what they are claiming to be the “First major innovation in audio speakers in nearly 80 years.” Audio Pixels have developed a revolutionary technological platform for reproducing sound, enabling the production of an entirely new generation of speakers that will surpass performance specification and design demands of the world’s top consumer electronics manufacturers. The Australian based company was founded in 2006, and is publicly traded on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) under the trading code AKP (at the time of writing, their share price was at $10.35). The Audio Pixels website states: “Our patented technologies (principle patents in national phase in 13 countries), employ entirely new techniques to generate sound waves using low cost micro-electromechanical structures (MEMS). This innovation enables the production of speaker products that deliver performance that is many orders of magnitude better than conventional speaker technologies, all in an affordable package that is roughly only one millimetre thick!” These claims are big to say the least. One wonders how a speaker “one millimetre thick” could produce a wide range of frequencies (especially the lows), and at semi-decent volumes. Skeptical I am, let’s take a further look into this company and their technologies. Audio Pixels Business Model Audio Pixels plan to produce and sell a single type chip that can be used either as a standalone speaker, or cascaded in any multiples up to 64 units of the same chip. The number of chips is determined by the application in question, and the requirements of the manufacturers audio specifications...
Dolby Atmos – What is it and how does it work?

Dolby Atmos – What is it and how does it work?

The Future of Movie Sound? The movie theatre experience continues to evolve as new technologies are utilised to create a more immersive, realistic environment for movie goers. In the past several years we have seen the mainstream adoption of 3D and higher frame rates, now it is audio’s turn! Let’s examine one of the more exciting audio technologies to come out in recent years, Dolby Atmos. What is Dolby Atmos? Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology announced in April 2012, first utilised by Pixar’s film Brave. The first theatre to install the technology was Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. Although adaption was slow in 2012 with only about 25 installations worldwide, 2013 saw an increase to 300 locations, and currently there are now more than 600 screens installed or committed, with numbers growing daily. (You can view  Dolby Atmos releases here) “The technology envelops its listeners with a more natural and realistic sound field, transporting them into the story with a lifelike sensory experience.” Dolby Atmos aims to create a more lifelike experience for film goers, creating a three dimensional sound that more accurately replicates the way we humans hear sound. The Dolby Atmos format provides control over each individual speaker, allowing for more fluid movement of sounds around the cinema. In addition to this, Dolby Atmos introduces ceiling speakers to provide spherical like sound that engulfs listeners (imagine a helicopter roaring overhead panning the cinema). How Dolby Atmos Works Dolby’s new cinema processor features a versatile rendering engine that optimises the audio quality and surround effects of the Dolby Atmos soundtrack depending on the loudspeaker layout, and...