It's all in your head

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It's all in your head
My friend, Copper contributor, and Bit Perfect founder Richard Murrison and I had a conversation about headphones vs. speakers that has been rattling around in my head ever since. Headphones are tiny loudspeakers clamped to your head. Loudspeakers are unattached sound sources in the room. Though both are nearly identical in the way they work they present very different musical experiences. With headphones, the music's locked inside your head: the center image firmly implanted in the middle of your skull. Loudspeakers present sound that is not in your head, but away from you. Why is the headphone image locked inside your head while the loudspeaker sound outside it? One answer might seem obvious: The room itself. Headphones don't add the room into the equation while speakers cannot avoid it. Richard thinks there's more to it than that and suggests that Princeton physics professor Edgar Choueiri has the answer. With speakers, the ear-brain picks up minute head movements and assumes the sound source is away from you because tiny changes are heard with each movement. With headphones, the ear-brain senses no change with head movements and the only sense it can make of that is that the sound source must be coming from inside your head. Fascinating research to say the least. Richard writes more in the latest issue of Cooper magazine.
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Paul McGowan

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