FAQ

GENERAL QUESTIONS

3D Audio is how all of us hear everything in real life. Close your eyes and listen now, you will hear sounds above you, below, behind, in front, to the left, the right, both close and distant. We only need two ears to hear all that, so it naturally follows that a stereo recording should be able to reproduce everything exactly as you are hearing it now. Barnaby does exactly that. If a Barnaby microphone was setup next to you right now, it would capture everything you are hearing perfectly, both in terms of 3D placement and fidelity.

Surround sound isn't really 3D at all. Typical surround systems play audio through 6 or 8 different speakers located around the listener. These simulate sounds coming only from these individual points, but surround sound can't place audio outside of a theatre, above you, or closer or more distant than the speakers themselves.

Barnaby microphones, on the other hand, allow you to record any sound, anywhere, close or far. Then, with just stereo headphones or speakers, you can reproduce these sounds in these same locations with precise fidelity. While Barnaby only requires two speakers, Barnaby recordings can also be routed through any two or more surround sound speakers located to the left and right of a listener. The 3D placement of sounds with Barnaby is infinite.

The highest fidelity 3D audio experience will come from stereo speakers. On the other hand, the most precise 3D localization of sounds will come from headphones, since these isolate the audio from reflections off objects in a room.

In other words, headphones provide the most accurate, virtual reality experience of a 3D audio recording, but speakers provide a more vibrant reproduction of the full spectrum of frequencies in a 3D recording.

Traditional binaural microphones can create jaw dropping 3D effects in headphones, but the fidelity of most on the market today, even those costing thousands of dollars, make them a poor choice for anything requiring high quality audio. Most are fun but of poor sonic quality.

Barnaby recordings, on the other hand, even if you ignore the fact that they are 3D, are the most precise, natural sounding, flat frequency response recordings possible. Whatever you hear with your own ears when recording with Barnaby is exactly what you will hear when a Barnaby recording is played back through speakers or headphones.

If you listen to 3D recordings made with traditional binaural microphones in speakers, they will usually have mediocre audio fidelity and in some cases the audio may be affected by unusual EQ or phasing effects. Barnaby recordings, on the other hand, always sound natural and perfect.

Ambeo, Soundfield, and similar microphones which record to four channels are terrific choices for recording monophonic or full 3D spaces for virtual reality game playback where you want the listener to be able to manipulate the listening perspective in realtime. On the other hand, these types of microphones do not capture audio with anything even close to the level of accuracy, realism, and fidelity as Barnaby.

Comparing Barnaby to Ambeo or Soundfield microphones is like comparing apples to oranges. If you want to make the best, most accurate 3D audio recordings possible, use Barnaby. If you want to let users have fun playing with moving sounds around later in a game, or need something which moves audio with respect to a VR headset — but you don't care primarily about fidelity — one of these other technologies will work better.

Unless you need one of these other technologies to record sounds for an interactive virtual reality game, the audio fidelity and 3D placement of Barnaby far surpasses anything else on the market.

Binaural plugins which take mono sources and place them in a 3D space can be amazing, particularly for placing audio like analog synthesizer sounds into a 3D environment. The binaural panning function in Logic Pro does this in a way we often use in our own music compositions. But you can't really compare a plugin to recording in 3D, they are very different technologies.

Adding a 3D effect to a monophonic or traditional stereo recording is very different than recording 3D audio from the start, which will always be much more realistic. We suggest recording everything you can in 3D using Barnaby, and if you must also use mono or stereo recordings produced in other ways, try using binaural panning in Logic Pro (or another binaural plugin you like) to place these in the mix. Both technologies compliment each other and work great together.

The calibration methods use for even "flat frequency" binaural microphones made by other manufacturers is usually such that recordings sound dull and of low quality over speakers. Recordings with binaural microphones often have poor bass response, too much high and mid range audio, and can have unusual phasing that make them undesirable for professional recordings.

Barnaby uses a unique, patent pending calibration process that records flat frequency response audio calibrated uniquely for human hearing. Audio is reproduced with stunning realism in both speakers and headphones, from the lowest lows you can only feel as vibrations, to perfect midrange and high frequencies. Even if Barnaby's 3D quality is ignored, you won't find any recordings that sound as accurate and real as those recorded with Barnaby.

Barnaby provides perfect 3D placement as well as perfect fidelity in both speakers and headphones.

TECHNICAL QUESTIONS

You can combine as many Barnaby recordings together as you want when multitrack recording. Each Barnaby track must be recorded in stereo, with one channel hard panned left, the other hard panned right. If you want to reverse left/right placement, simply reverse the left and right channels.

Whatever you hear with your own ears is precisely what a Barnaby microphone will record.

Recording music? Whether recording a guitar, saxophone, vocalist, drums, or any other instrument, simply ask the musician to perform their part while you slowly walk around the musician and listen to what sounds like the exact placement where you'd like to hear them in a final mix. In some cases, you may want a background vocalist or vocalists to sing off to the side twenty feet away because that is the feeling you want in a song. You may want a lead vocalist singing three-feet straight in front of the microphone with an acoustic guitar just below them.

Recording audio for TV or a movie? Just walk around until you hear exactly what you want to capture, place the microphone there, and that is what you will get!

If you hear an annoying ventilation system in a recording studio, that same ventilation system will be heard in the recording. If you hear the buzz of a camera motor when filming, so will the microphone. Barnaby is that sensitive, so take the time to get things just right before hitting record.

It is best to use a Barnaby stereo Boom Pole since a coiled stereo XLR microphone cable runs down through the interior of the pole itself. When recording dialogue with a boom, hold the boom above but back a few feet from the actors out of camera view as you normally would, and angle the microphone at a 45 degree angle down so that when suspended over an actor or actors, the front of the microphone is pointed toward the mouths of the actors.

Stereo audio coming out of the XLR jacks of Barnaby must be decoded with the digital Barnaby Plugin before it is used. The Barnaby Plugin (available in AU, AUv3, VST, and AAX formats) will translate anything you record into perfectly flat frequency response audio for 3D playback on any stereo device. No special hardware or software is required to listen to Barnaby recordings once they have been processed with the Barnaby Plugin.

MP3 compression doesn't affect 3D placement at all. Everything will still be in 3D exactly as intended, even with compressed audio. As with any recording, a full spectrum WAV file will capture all audio and frequencies at their purest, but MP3 recordings still capture full 3D placement and flat frequency response subject to the limitations of whatever compression settings are used.

If you want a sound to appear in a mix precisely where you sampled it, say a snare drum or hi-hat, you should not transpose it. On the other hand, don't be shy about transposing a 3D stereo sample! You will find that most 3D recordings made with Barnaby transpose extremely well. Audio will remain in 3D but the 3D placement may jump around a bit as you change frequencies. This usually creates an interesting effect, and even when at slightly different 3D positions, the transposed audio will retain its unique 3D characteristics and high fidelity audio quality.

You can combine 3D audio tracks with conventional ones. If you do nothing with the conventional ones, and listen in headphones, the Barnaby 3D tracks will originate from outside the headphones, while the conventional ones will sound like they originate from the headphones themselves. If you want your conventional mono tracks to also have some degree of 3D placement we recommend using Logic Pro binaural panning (set for headphones) for your non-Barnaby tracks.

Since Barnaby records exactly what you hear yourself, simply monitoring without headphones the actual sound environment where the microphone is placed is the best way to know in advance exactly what a recording will sound like. Simply keep an eye on your meters to make sure you don't overload your preamps and have a good signal level.

It takes less than a minute to start recording. Barnaby comes with built-in plug-and-go tripod mounts for attaching a field recorder, cell phone video camera, or other devices to the microphone itself. You can be up and running in seconds when a recording opportunity presents itself.

If you want everything to be portable, we recommend using the latest iPad Mini with the Barnaby AUv3 Plugin (iOS plugins do not run on iPhones, only iPads) to decode the 3D audio in realtime. Unfortunately iOS does not allow you to route this processed audio to another program on the same device, so it must be output from the iPad into a separate iPhone for actual Facebook Live or YouTube live video broadcast. This still works great, sets up in seconds, and an iPhone has better video quality than an iPad anyway.

Bats and other ultrasonic sounds humans normally can't hear can be recorded using Barnaby Ultra along with a recorder capable of high frequency sample rates. In order to hear these ultrasonic sounds, first remove all audible audio using a Brickwall high pass filter set to around 20kHz such as the one in Pro-Q 3 by FabFilter. Next, transpose the normally inaudible ultrasonic audio down five or six octaves and it will magically become audible.