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Binaural Panning In Logic Pro

Apple Logic Pro X Tips & Techniques
By Paul White

Get creative with Logic's new binaural panning options.

While binaural recording can often involve arcane practices, such as recording sounds using a dummy head with a mic fitted in each ear, or even tiny mics placed in your own ears, you don't need to buy any extra gear to make use of binaural processing when mixing in Logic Pro X. Binaural audio is intended to capture the audio cues that we use to locate sound sources in the space around us, so that a pair of conventional headphones provides a more three-dimensional, immersive listening experience. Without it, headphones actually provide a very unnatural stereo soundstage as the signals fed to the left and right ears are almost completely isolated and separate. That's why many people hear a headphone mix as being 'inside' their head rather than around it.

Location, Location

Our hearing system relies on several factors to locate sounds, and the difference in level between your left and right ears — which is what we achieve with conventional pan pots — is only a part of the story. Regardless of the position of a sound source in a real space, we hear it with both ears, but the sound reaching the ear furthest from the sound source is delayed slightly and is also filtered by the acoustic shadow cast by our head. Conventional headphone listening eliminates this vital cue. A further 'bio EQ' filtering effect takes place due to the shape of the outer ear (or 'pinna'), so the perceived spectrum of the incoming sound changes depending on its angle relative to the ear — an important factor in determining if a sound is directly in front of or behind us. Our brains combine all this information, enabling us to perceive the direction of a sound source without any conscious effort, though small head movements can also help fine-tune localisation. Unless you are using a headphone system with a head position tracker, such as the Waves...

Published October 2019