Evolution of Barnaby

Record producer Jeff Gold found singer/songwriter Christie McCarthy's songs to be amazing when she sang and played in front of him, but no matter what he tried, his recordings of her never sounded even close to the reality of a live performance. He tried many state-of-the-art microphones, but nothing sounded real. What did a recording made with an AKG 414 sound like? It sounded like Christie "singing through" an AKG 414. But it wasn't Christie. Even with an expensive stereo set of B&K microphones, it still wasn't Christie. It was Christie through B&K microphones.

Recordings from even the best microphones, those with flat frequency response, just sounded like a "mini Christie" singing out of headphones or speakers. But in real life, Christie doesn't sing straight into someone's ear. She is a three-dimensional being singing three-dimensional verses from a three-dimensional location; her voice resonates through the environment then into our ears. Conventional microphones miss all that.

Gold hypothesized he could invent a microphone to perfectly recreate the 3D quality of audio. We all have two ears, and since all stereos have two speakers, and all headphones are stereo, couldn't one record audio with its 3D position for playback on conventional stereos? He set out to do this.

This was all happening before any research had been published about 3D sound or binaural recording. Gold met with audiologists, ear-nose-throat (ENT) doctors, and various scientists. Nobody could tell him how we heard in 3D. So he turned the basement of his home in San Francisco into a laboratory. He began embedding microphones in people's ears, including his own, taking measurements, making wax molds of ears, and experimenting more. He finally figured out how it all worked, just after a trip to the emergency room where the doctor's didn't quite believe his explanation of how he got wax stuck in his ear canal.

Months later the first Barnaby was born.

Fast forward several years. Incredible 3D scanning, 3D printing, digital audio analysis, and microphone designs became available. Gold spent the past few years using these tools to design a state-of-the-art series of Barnaby microphones.

Barnaby recordings are indistinguishable from original sounds, calibrated for flat frequency response to match human hearing and beyond — depending on the model — as low as 3Hz and as high as 100kHz, providing more clarity than ever before possible. Barnaby Ultra is even capable of capturing the three-dimensional ultrasonic sound of bats, a recording of which you can enjoy on our Listen page. (Gold had to digitally transpose recorded bat sounds 4 to 5 octaves down so humans can hear them.)

All Barnaby microphones are calibrated using a patent pending technique invented by Gold which allows one to hear 3D recordings with natural, flat frequency response both in headphones and speakers. Rent or purchase one today for your next recording project.