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ear shape Special Ef­fects Plugins
Old 18th November 2009
  #1
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t_d's Avatar
ear shape

during a session today i pushed my ears slightly forward and heard a massive difference in sound.. which got me thinking, and i didn't see any threads here on a quick search... how much the shape of people's ear's affects the sound.

i mean, its almost to the point of how you can you trust what anyone says about a piece of gear or room or speaker when the physical shape of their ear probably has more to do with their personal frequency curve than anything!

does anyone know of any papers or articles written on this? links?


just struck me as funny about how much people argue over gear when no one is likely hearing the exact same thing simply because of the shape of their ears..

or, am i wrong here about the physics/biology?
Old 18th November 2009
  #2
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Edward_Vinatea's Avatar
 

The same thing happens when people start making claims in some threads of a 'substantial' difference between two or more filters, raving and rambling on over their fine detail with frequencies they are absolutely incapable of to perceive.

I know exactly what you are talking about. In nature, the shape of ears are important to animals to survive in the wild, but they are wired very differently. I suspect the shape of the curve of a pair of ears from one person to another may/should impact on what he/she hears. Good topic.

Regards,
Old 18th November 2009
  #3
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maybe UA should model some top engineer's ears and cast them in some sort of skin-like substance so we can all put them on over our own ears
Old 18th November 2009
  #4
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Hearing is years and years of, untouched or unaltered, experience of everything audible.

I would not trade ears with someone else because then I'd start all over again and life's too short for that.


Best Regards
Patrik
Old 18th November 2009
  #5
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beanface's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by t_d View Post
maybe UA should model some top engineer's ears and cast them in some sort of skin-like substance so we can all put them on over our own ears

That is stomach-turning. lol

Great point though..
Old 18th November 2009
  #6
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totally agree...

this was a jab at the obsession about engineers and their gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrikT View Post
Hearing is years and years of, untouched or unaltered, experience of everything audible.

I would not trade ears with someone else because then I'd start all over again and life's too short for that.


Best Regards
Patrik
Old 18th November 2009
  #7
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chopstickkk's Avatar
 

I suppose one gets accustomed to the hand that they are dealt ear wise over time...

But perhaps a worrying thought is an accident or injury that substantially changes the superficial shape of an engineers ear in a way that is tonally audible.

I presume this would lead to a substantial period of re-learning to hear.

Has this happened to anybody?
Old 18th November 2009
  #8
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Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by t_d View Post
totally agree...

this was a jab at the obsession about engineers and their gear
LOL, Waves will probably have a bundle of engineer/producers' ears pretty soon as most of their advertising revolves around people, not gear.

Good topic. Your ears (and how they've helped you gain your experience and perception) are the last things people consider as "tools" for working with audio, when they are THE most important tools in your arsenal.

If you put up a picture of your ears on your website instead of your speakers, room and rack of gear, people would think it's a joke!
Old 18th November 2009
  #9
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Of course man, but I believe engineering music is an art/technique/skill. Cause you can have the biggest penis in the world and NOT know how to use it....

HAHAH
Old 18th November 2009
  #10
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There was a recent study completed by the Vanderbilt University in Nashville on the influence of cochlear shape on low-frequency hearing — PNAS

it's an interesting read.

EDIT: I can't find the article online but it was published in a medical journal and gave a good understanding of how the pinna (auricle) shape affects sound and the use of reconstructive surgery to approximate "normal" hearing in patients with birth defects or accidents. The article does reference the following paper: Extracting the frequencies of the pinna spectral notches in measured head related impulse responses which should offer a good introduction.

cheers,
Reynaud
Old 18th November 2009
  #11
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t_d View Post
during a session today i pushed my ears slightly forward and heard a massive difference in sound.. which got me thinking, and i didn't see any threads here on a quick search... how much the shape of people's ear's affects the sound.

i mean, its almost to the point of how you can you trust what anyone says about a piece of gear or room or speaker when the physical shape of their ear probably has more to do with their personal frequency curve than anything!

does anyone know of any papers or articles written on this? links?
you can probably find good information if you search for terms like "sound localization" and "interaural spectral differences".

the sound that enters our ear canal is actually a mix of direct sound and sound reflected by the pinnae, causing comb filtering.
because the shape of the pinnae is irregular and not symmetric in any way, the sound entering our ear canal will sound different depending on the angle and direction a sound comes from. our brain decodes these differences in sound to help us localize sound.

so, yes. move/deform the ear and the sound changes. the brain should after some time adapt and decode the same perceived sound though.

a fun thing to try: take a sound source with a lot of high frequency information (eg: shake a keychain a bit), and have someone move it up down, front, back while you listen with your eyes closed. you should easily localize it. now take the top of your ears and bend them down and try again. you'll have trouble localizing the source, and be completely wrong some times.

hope this helps!

best,
klaas-jan

ps: currently enjoying your disc "landing", and some of your works with richard chartier (particularly "after", which luckily my girlfriend bought a copy of in new york). thank you for the great music!
Old 18th November 2009
  #12
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ONDRAY's Avatar
"golden ears" comes before the gear, room and monitors.
Old 18th November 2009
  #13
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philip's Avatar
 

my perception changed after removing these from my ears some years ago:


Glasses are also destructive to the sound.
Old 18th November 2009
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post

a fun thing to try: take a sound source with a lot of high frequency information (eg: shake a keychain a bit), and have someone move it up down, front, back while you listen with your eyes closed. you should easily localize it. now take the top of your ears and bend them down and try again. you'll have trouble localizing the source, and be completely wrong some times.
another fun thing is to lay down i your sofa while listening to music and put one ear to a pillow. You still have a sense of stereo but when listening normal the sound you could swear came from left can be hard panned to the right.
Old 18th November 2009
  #15
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philip View Post
Glasses are also destructive to the sound.
exactly. don't put glasses in your ears. it *will* affect your mix!



seriously though, it is indeed good to be aware of these things.
wearing a baseball cap is another classic example.
Old 18th November 2009
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Details Details Details....

I agree ear shape will change and effect the wave as it enters your ear. What about ear hair? What about your hair or lack of? What about reflections from bones and cavities in your ear and head? What about the temperature and humidity in the air the soundwave has to travel through? Hearing is mechanics. Listening is organics. Mix and master to your tastes. Hopefully the rest of the world agrees. If not, do your best to make it better and translate well across playback systems and audiences in different less than perfect environments with whatever ears they may have. There's some saying about perception and reality.....you get the point.
Old 18th November 2009
  #17
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andrebrito's Avatar
 

Ok course it will affect, so does the ear canal that acts as a ressonator
Old 18th November 2009
  #18
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macc's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by t_d View Post
maybe UA should model some top engineer's ears and cast them in some sort of skin-like substance so we can all put them on over our own ears
Plug-ons?

Or perhaps;

Lug-ins?

Old 18th November 2009
  #19
jdg
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my beard is an excellent diffusor.
this is why women can't be mastering engineers, no beards.
Old 19th November 2009
  #20
Quote:
this is why women can't be mastering engineers,
Actually women can have excellent ears.


The problem is they have nothing in between them...




I'M KIDDING I'M KIDDING! Just being a smart A$$
Old 19th November 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
I didn't do any research about this but some stuff I read, watched over time came to mind. I'm not sure of the english term but the part of the ear thats usually first to be pierced balances the bass-sub freq.s and its important not damaging it (even touching it subtly affects hearing).

Also in a stupid tv program in discovery they made a test with people who has different size ears, bigger ears hear lower signals better

If it matters, I have the smallest ears I know around me and while studying composition at college I was better than most when it came to solfege, 4 voice dictation etc.
Old 19th November 2009
  #22
Audio Alchemist
 
Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by t_d View Post
maybe UA should model some top engineer's ears and cast them in some sort of skin-like substance so we can all put them on over our own ears

Haha that's funny, man

I actually have very small ears, and they kind of fold funny, too. It got worse after being hit repeatedly on them ;-) No hearing loss yet though.

Some Guy With Small Folded Ears

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdg View Post
my beard is an excellent diffusor.
this is why women can't be mastering engineers, no beards.
I've read that a pregnant woman or a woman who just gave birth have changed frequency perception. Something to do with tuning in to the baby's cry.
Old 19th November 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post


Bloody hell... that actually looks a bit like me

Seriously though, I do have quite large ears. My brothers used to take the piss out of my big ears and goofy teeth when I was a kid - 'Robert the Rabbit' was the name . At least I am using them for something useful now though. Still looking for an occupation for the teeth.
Old 19th November 2009
  #24
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fradoca's Avatar
yeah macc...i can see why....

ears macc mastering

a new frontier in audio mastering ^___^
Old 19th November 2009
  #25
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Has anyone got any carrots they need tested?
Old 19th November 2009
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macc View Post
My brothers used to take the piss out of my big ears
I can't help it, I have to ask - why was it in there? Some kind of weird ear treatment?
Old 19th November 2009
  #27
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Verified Member
You heard it here first on gearslutz.

It's the high-end ear cleaning solution. Seriously man, nothing gets the high frequencies sounding so clear and sweet as a load of fresh, warm piss in the ears.

Otex? Pah! Low end IMO.


(I hope someone sees this before it gets moderated)
Old 19th November 2009
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macc View Post
(I hope someone sees this before it gets moderated)
I did! heh
Old 19th November 2009
  #29
kjg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macc View Post
You heard it here first on gearslutz.

It's the high-end ear cleaning solution. Seriously man, nothing gets the high frequencies sounding so clear and sweet as a load of fresh, warm piss in the ears.
Thanks for the tip!

You prefer your own or your girlfriend's?
Unattended sessions only, I suppose?

Did you manage to sell your old Sennheisers, btw?
Old 19th November 2009
  #30
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If you can convince some audiophile of what the benefits are of having an ear mold of some famous engineer, you could almost certainly market it for a ridiculous amount.

It would be to the engineer what the life cast dildo is to the porn actor!
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