The IRCAM Tools HEar - Binaural Encoding Tool Plug-In (Electronic Download) is designed to model the acoustic phenomena that occur when playing audio through a loudspeaker system, allowing you to monitor a stereo or surround sound mix using conventional headphones. This is useful for applications where you can't play the material through a full surround system, where isolation is required, or for precise surgical checking of a mix.
The software uses a combination of recording, processing, synthesizing, and reproducing audio to preserve the tridimensional localization of the sound. Head-related transfer functions are applied to a mono signal to create the impression that the audio is emanating from a specific point within the space. The plug-in includes a variety of space presets to choose from, with subtle differences in room coloration. A routing matrix allows you to map the plug-in's inputs to the virtual speaker internal outputs such as the left, right, and center channels.
A speaker mode drop down menu allows you to select from a number of different loudspeaker setups to be emulated. You can also control the speaker width or the space between virtual speakers measured in degrees with 60 degrees being the default recommended setting. The width control allows you to broaden and narrow the stereo image to your liking. An angle shift dial controls the angle between the listener and the center line of the virtual speaker setup, with 0 degrees being the default centered position. An input gain control and an output meter enable you to manage the level of your signal. The software allows for a variety of different binaural simulations and is a useful tool for research, acoustic design, and studio production.