The FFT-based binaural panner is a small project that I initially released in 2011 as a part of my Master’s thesis project on ‘Realistic mediation of virtual sound sources’. It is a tool for Max that uses the impulse responses from The CIPIC HRTF Database in order to pan an audio source binaurally to a spherical direction.
To my surprise, I can see that it is still being downloaded quite often, and I also sometimes receive questions and feedback from users. So now I decided to update it a bit in order to reflect the changes made to Max since 2011, and in order to refine a couple of things that I now feel should be done a bit differently.
Recently I stumbled upon the project 3D Tune-In which is a big budget EU research project addressing, among other things, hearing loss and how digital games can help in that context. I recommend checking out the project site, where you will also find a link to the free binaural panner VST plugin that was developed as part of the project – even though it might render my binaural panner less relevant.
Since the first systems for storing and playing back sound were invented in the second half of the 19th century, we have become increasingly better at reproducing sound, resulting in an increasing degree of fidelity. However, we still have difficulties reproducing the spatial properties of a sound phenomenon – the experience of the exact spatial location of the individual sound sources.
In connection with my Master’s thesis, in 2011-12, I developed a system that aims at doing exactly this. It uses binaural synthesis, head tracking and acoustics simulation in an attempt to create a realistic sense of the spatiality of sound played though headphones – this, within an experience-oriented context. It is not the first system of its kind. These technologies have been combined before in different systems for reproducing 3D sound for different purposes. The system is based on the knowledge and experiences gained in the development of such similar systems. However, I also hope to be able to present solutions and experiences that might be a help to any future work in this area.
Below is a video (in Danish) where I present the system and its functionality