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Binaural Sync Experiment
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:33 pm    Post subject: Binaural Sync Experiment
Subject description: Meditation enhancement
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I have been experimenting for many years with binaural sync, a process where a persons brain wave frequencies can be synchronized by playing tones of differing frequencies in each ear. It has been show by several experimenters that the brain waves can be synced to the difference frequency of the tones in each ear.

I don't have any EEG equipment, but I have found that it is possible to achieve results very similar to Transcendental Meditation using recordings I have made. I was trained in Transcendental Meditation many years ago and practice it regularly. I've found listening to binaural sync has made meditation more effective for me.

If you Google binaural sync you will expose yourself to many people trying to cash in on this phenomenon. There are all kinds of claims, and really sloppy research. I don't like doing anything associated with this, but I've found binaural sync to be very worthwhile and interesting nevertheless.

Here is an experiment I have made. I've found that mp3 must be encoded at 256 kbs stereo or above for the effect to get through the psycho-acoustic encoding. I've checked this with the DigiCheck vector scope made by RME.

I've applied the methodology of my personal meditation practice to the timing of this meditation recording. I won't get into the details here, but this recording lasts 20 min. It takes you from normal waking state down to delta wave frequencies, and returns you to normal waking frequencies. I find this relaxing and very refreshing, but you must dedicate the time to listen to the entire thing.

Here's how to use this recording:

It is essential to use headphones. Sit in a comfortable chair in a quite place where you are pretty sure you will not be disturbed for at least 1/2 hour.

Relax and start the recording. Adjust the level not to be too loud. Close your eyes, although it isn't absolutely necessary if you don't feel comfortable. Don't expect to feel anything at first. In fact you won't feel much in any case. Some people might hear the sound start to swirl around in their head after awhile, that's normal. If you feel nausea or something, either turn down the volume, try to ignore the feeling, or just give up on this.

Try to clear you mind. It's OK for you mind to wonder. It's OK if you fall asleep too. If you have trouble clearing your thoughts, just focus on your breathing, or focus on the sounds you hear. Don't try to concentrate on any thoughts or ideas. This is a time to just let go and be.

It's critical to listen for the 20 minute duration. The recording takes about 8 minutes to get you down to the Delta frequencies and in the last 5 minutes it ramps you back.

After it is over, take a minute or two and just sit quietly. Then you are finished. If you are like me, you'll feel like you have had some deep rest and you'll be energized. If not, try it a couple of times on different days.

According to some theory, it's good to meditate two times a day for 20 minutes, in the morning and evening. After eating isn't a good time because the blood is being used by the digestion and not available for the brain.

The Transcendental Medication Company doesn't support these experiments in any way. I make no claim that this is based on their practices. I just learned some basic meditation techniques and took it in my own direction from there.

If you try this, please let me know here on this forum your experiences. If you have an EEG system I'd love to hear what kind of observations you make.

Do NOT listen to this while driving or doing something potentially dangerous.


Ohm... Ohm... Ohm... Ohm... Ohm... Ohm... Ohm... Ohm...


binaural_sync_3_2-250.mp3
 Description:
Binaural Sync meditation. 20 minutes long. Read forum topic for details.

Copyright 2009 by Howard Moscovitz - all rights reserved.

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 Filename:  binaural_sync_3_2-250.mp3
 Filesize:  36.5 MB
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks Howard! I will try this tonight. For now, on a related note, I give you the binaural rain ChucK program written by the ChucKist wppk. Listen with headphones while playing this file and you'll be treated to some nice rain sounds, binaurally enhance to give an excellent 3D effect in your mind...

Les


wppk_rain1.ck
 Description:
Soothing binaural rain by wppk - a ChucK program.

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 Filename:  wppk_rain1.ck
 Filesize:  1.73 KB
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

this one sounds intriguing Exclamation I know already what to do when everybody else in the house go to bed, tonight Wink
downloading now...

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Without wishing to complicate your experiment, Howard, can I ask a question?

Does the track need to be listened to 'subconsciously' (probably the wrong word from a technical point of view) for it to work properly? What I think I'm trying to ask is does it need to be experienced more than listened to?

I started listening (albeit in a completely non-ideal environment) and found that it was instantly relaxing, but too interesting not to concentrate on - I would point out specifics, but I don't want to bias anyone else's listening. I'll try it again later when I can follow your listening guidelines, but I feel I may not be able to 'let go' enough to experience it correctly. To me, the piece is beautiful as music in itself (think Coil) rather than as a means to an end.

Sorry if this wasn't the sort of feedback you were looking for and has taken things off-topic.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is terrific feedback. Thank you. It is intended to be music indeed, with the intent of helping, or coaxing, the listener into a relaxing and refreshing experience with long term positive effects.

The tempo and sonorities are intended to have a relaxing effect on the listener, just as a snare drum roll is used to generate a mood of excitement in band and orchestral music. There are chords and harmonic motion in this piece that are just as intentional as those in a Sousa March.

But, as far as I can tell, the binaural beats will work even when you are focusing your attention on the music or anything else.

If you dig the music, super great - what could be better?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

OK, I listened to it Exclamation
First of all, I had not listened to 20 minutes of music without an interruption for a very long time Wink I carefully chose when to listen, lay down on a sofa, headphones on. So, Howard, that's already an achievement: to convince me to invest 20 minute of my precious time on your music Wink
There are these 2 elements, a pitched one and an un-pitched one.
The windy element keeps going up and down at a very low rate. this one seems to me the main element. when it goes up there is a sense of levitation, when it goes down you are brought back down to earth.
The pitched sine wavy element alternates between high and low pitches at a faster pace (but this one looks like a side dish to me).
Both elements could be long loops of different lengths. I don't recognize the piece could be analyzed as sections that alternate among themselves.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I listened this morning at 5:30am and found the piece to be relaxing. I just got done listening and I feel - well - kind of mellow. I didn't really give it a fair test because I had my eyes open and was smoking a cigar, lol. My mind wandered a bit during the listening.

It sounded like space music to me and it made me wonder if it would be possible to create a binaural encoder that takes any gentle music and makes it binaural.

Anyway, I think I will play it again now as I just don't feel like putting on the rock and roll that is my usual fare.

Les

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Inventor wrote:
[...]as I just don't feel like putting on the rock and roll that is my usual fare.


Holy shit, it cures R&R Shocked Laughing

I listened over speakers, but stored a copy for a later listen on headphones. It sounded good on speakers Idea

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for letting me know you are trying it out.

Carlo:

In TM cllasses people are always saying, I like meditating but I don't have time. This is a cue for the instructors and students working to get on the good side of the instructors to laugh. The response is that meditation is so positive on you life that it is one of the last things to not have time for. If you are to meditate, you must make time for it. It's like exercise in that respect. Meditating one time will have very little effect.

Anyway, the discipline of regular meditation is important. I am working on this technique in order to make it easier to schedule and time my meditation practices. I find the binaural effect does seem to help in many ways too.

You nailed down the structure and the elements. For the binaural effect to work all you must have is two tones. Most of the commercial CDs add crickets or the sound of waves at the ocean or something. These are too boring to me so I composed this music. The music must have tone for the binaural effect to be effective. The white sounds stuff is really there because it is more interesting than static sounds.

Inventor:

Smoking a cigar is probably counter effective to the meditation. Like Carlo says, to be effective you have to dedicate yourself to yourself, and devote the time to it.

I use the Nord Modular's frequency shifter for the binaural beats. It has separate outputs for shift up and shift down. You should be able to build a nice frequency shifter in ChucK. If you do, please post it.

Blue:

On speakers you don't get the binaural effect, of course, but you can hear the sounds apparently move around in a circular or back and forth motion. I learned this from you, by looking at some of your noodles where you use this effect to add spaciality to mono sources. I used to use two different comb filters for this, but your technique of frequency shifting is better.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Carlo:

In TM classes people are always saying, I like meditating but I don't have time.


Howard,
actually I was only talking about listening to music, never mind meditating Wink

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Howard, I will try again without the cigar sometime soon, haha.

Here is a binaural shifter written in ChucK. It receives the adc input, which by default is the microphone, and up shifts it to the right channel plus down shifts it to the left channel. The shift amount is controlled by the first parameter of the code.

It should be possible to use SoundFlower or Jack to route audio into ChucK's adc so that any source audio can be binaurally enhanced - though I have not tried this yet. If you would prefer the up shift to appear on the left instead of the right, I'll change the code and post that.

Les


BinauralShifter1.ck
 Description:
A ChucK program to do binaural shifting of any audio source

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 Filename:  BinauralShifter1.ck
 Filesize:  538 Bytes
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Les, you are using a function called pitshift. Traditionally, pitch shifting shifts the pitch by doing some sort of re-sampling. All intervalic relationships are kept. This is useful for shifting up some music by say a semitone or something. What you want here is a true frequency shifter, like one gets with a balanced modulator. I don't know what is going on in ChucK. Maybe they have a function for FreqShift - they should.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmm, I don't know Howard, here is what the documentation says about PitShift:

Quote:
This class implements a simple pitch shifter using delay lines.


Does that tell you what the thing really does? I don't understand it very well at all. I do know that it works for large shifts like doubling or halving the frequency or more.

Can I build a balanced modulator? ChucK has a multiplier so I can multiply by an LFO to create modulation, then use a high Q filter to reduce the unwanted sideband. Maybe I can build what we want somehow?

Les

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A simple delay unit is not a frequency shifter. We should start another topic in the ChucK forum and ask how to build a frequency shifter. Then we can Jürgen Haible for his advice as he is really an expert in this field. I'm sure he could set us on the right track. I'll take care of that.

http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-35697.html

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi all! First post around here..
I am new to ChucK but I am already in love with it! But anyway, this is not an introduction post, I think there is another thread about it.

Howard, I guess it works Smile my vision is clearer/brighter and after 3 hours reading around the forum and trying stuff on ChucK I now feel kind of refreshed. Great one. Did you made that with ChucK?

I am into binaural beats for some time, mostly theoretically, cause as you, I dont have EEG to test them. I have put some of their theory in a couple of tracks of mine but mostly for fun.

Agree with the pitch vs freq shift. The one that I didn't knew is the thing with the mp3s. I thought that the effect would be lost when encoding to mp3, but glad to hear that is ok with >256kbps.

Thats it for now but I m sure will talk soon again. I m happy that I found someone who is interested on this.

Have fun all
Dimitris

Edit: oops.. I just realized that this isnt about ChucK. But I am sure I ended on this post from ChucK's subforum.. anyway Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

welcome DrinkenMonk. Great to have you her.

Glad the recording works for you.

I made this recording using a Nord Modular G2.

The vector scope I'm using comes from RME, it's called digicheck. It only works with RME interfaces.

I've got several iPhone binural sync apps. Looking at the audio from these apps with the vector scope really shows what is being done. Most of these apps just use tones for the binaural source, and there is apparently no processing at all on the accompanying "ambient" sounds.

I'm not sure what part of the spectrum can induce the binaural effect. I vaguely remember reading something that it doesn't work above 400 Hz, but I'm not sure how infallible any of the research is.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cheers Howard Smile Today I realized who u are (after reading some stories here and there..) and I want to say a biig thanx for this forum. I 've been some other times here searching, but never register, dunno why. But now cause of ChucK.. anyway Thank you! And I am also a bit enraptured being here among all of you guys. As an autodidact in music/synthesis etc I think one of the greatest sources to learn is to talk with expertise like you and others. But enough with the flattering..

I havent listened to any of this commercial cds, have just used some applications (brainwave generator and such) so I dunno how they do it. But using just pure tones (or even adding those critters as u said) is not for my taste either. It will sure do the work, but..

On my journey to brainwaves, I ve read that the frequency for the sines is good to be under 1-1.2khz but I find that too high for me (with some exceptions). On my experiments I ve used <600Hz and mostly around 280 - 320.
The thing that I want to do now (besides making those with ChucK hehe) is to combine them with other important frequencies which are associated with energy-centers or/and other body-mind activities, which will be played musically, maybe like long-pads and space-drones. I am reading lately about them as I want to use them for therapy and for meditations. It is a really interesting field.

Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion on the Internet about it. I have come across totally opposite 'explains' on the same frequency, for example where gamma starts and beta ends, and so no.

Also I want to later research about other ways to sync brainwaves (via audio) but with no use of headphones. It is said that with isochronic tones this is achievable. But I was thinking something that have to do with modulation of the sound, I dunno yet..


Cheers all
Dimitris
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
I've got several iPhone binural sync apps. Looking at the audio from these apps with the vector scope really shows what is being done. Most of these apps just use tones for the binaural source, and there is apparently no processing at all on the accompanying "ambient" sounds.


Howard, you've got a vector scope? kewl. As a temporary measure I can ChucK up a sine wave binaural sync app for you if you like. It might be nice while we still try to figure out how to do it with any audio input signal. Just think out how you'd like it and I'll code it up for you if I can.

Les

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm a big fan of Binaural sync, hemisync, whatever else it could/will be called. Cool Edit has had a feature built into it 10 years ago (and since carried into Adobe's Audition). This would take any audio wave, and "add" binaural sync to it (through sines, or two detuned notch filters, IIRC). It also allowed you to "script" a program, so to speak, so you could start off with a beta-like freq, then 3 min later move into an alpha related freq, and a few minutes later drop into theta, etc. Very cool, if anyone has this program laying around, still.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The G2 has a very nice frequency shifter which is what I use. It will binauralize (not a word, yet) any sound. That's what this recording does; it's basically a noodle. A sequencer programs the sync frequency from about 20 Hz down to about 1/2 Hz in 5 minutes or so and then at the end it ramps up to 20 Hz again in the last two minutes.

If you listen carefully, you'll be able to hear the difference frequency as what sounds to be a gentle swirling of the sound. When I listen to this recording I find the ending really "wakes" me.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
When I listen to this recording I find the ending really "wakes" me.

Yeep!

Binauralize.. I like it! Where do we apply to make it a word? ;-p And I guess that Binauralizer whould be the name of the app.

I made a simple one on ChucK. I guess it could be better done, I am still on day 2 (or is it 3..?) of ChucKing.
It starts from a low Beta of 15Hz goes down to an 8Hz Alpha and then goes up on 12Hz. Well its not actually to be used for sync, because the timings are not long enough. It needs different timings for the decreasing and on the how long it stays on a frequency (depending what we want to achieve). Plus is just pure tones so not quite pleasant to hear.
And maybe it would be better if it uses events (I haven't touched them yet..)

Magic frequencies will be the next addition to it. Needs some work tho..

Dimitris


btones_v0.ck
 Description:
Binaural Beats with ChucK.

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