Holophonics -Virtual Barbershop: freakin' cool sound effect on any ordinary headphone

If you click this link and listen to the four-minute sound clip, on any half decent set of headphones, you will hear an* incredible* realistic surround sound effect. Just a few guys in a “Virtual Italian Barber shop” chatting, walking behind you, making cutting sounds with scissors. But it is like they are in the actual room right there with you. You won’t be able to resist looking nervously over your shoulders.

The tecniche used is that of holophonics (Wikipedia link) . I don’t know much about the technique behind it, the Wiki links explains more, but the effect is awesome.

You have to listen with headphones. There is no effect if you listen through speakers.

That’s amazing!

Even though right and left were switched in my system. Possibly I have a cable swapped somewhere.

Everyone here at the office certainly thought it was cool. I checked out Google a bit with it, and it seems there are a few other examples around. (Didn’t go so far as to find them though; sry!)

I like the part at 1:10. :smiley:

Very cool, but not a whole lot different than 3D sound in computer games.

Haha, that was awesome! The finger snapping sounded like it was right over my shoulders.

Gah, creepy. Sort of reminded me of those cheesy “horror” games like the 7th Guest. I kept waiting for a chainsaw sound. I especially hated it when the guy whispers in your ear.

The weirdest part for me was when I tried to turn my head to ‘look toward the sound’ and of course it moved with my head and I could never ‘catch up to it’.

It works much better when you don’t have SRS Sound Enhancement running… It sounded all funky, couldn’t figure out why. Once I turned it off, Manuel suddenly “appeared” right next to me. Freakishly awesome.

SRS completely messes with all the timing, spatial, info etc in order to simulate surround sound. If there’s a recording that has some sort of special “surround” information like this one does, SRS will mangle it. Also, SRS (at least the original version) is meant for speakers while this thing only works on headphones.

My version has a headphone setting, but at first, I had just completely forgotten I had SRS active (since in general it is always on on my system). Just couldn’t figure out what was so cool about the effect until I remembered it was on and turned it off.

I am so in love with this clip. As a Pink Floyd fan, holophonics aren’t exactly new to me, but this particular clip is a brilliant demonstration. 1:10, as someone mentioned, is a particular highlight.

By the way, I found the surround effect to work better with Ipod earbuds than with my over-the-ear headphones, even though the latter are of higher quality. I think they recorded this with a dummy head, so in-ear phone types probably work best.