Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Beginner Lesson #4 - How to Tune your Senses for Echolocation - Exercise #2

<<--Back to Exercise #1

Sensitization Exercise #2: Listening to your Computer Monitor

This exercise will actually focus on hearing and interpreting the location of objects with your eyes closed. This is the basis for all echolocation and the principles from this lesson can be applied from here on out as you hone your skills.
  1. Start by making a "ssshhh" noise with your mouth. You can also use "aaahhh" or many other steady tones.
  2. Bring your face to about 12 inches from your computer monitor and listen to the sound you are making.
  3. Now turn your head slowly to one side and listen as the sound changes. The sound will change due to the changing angle that it is hitting the monitor at, and once you have turned your head away from the monitor, it will change due to the distance of the objects that it is being reflected off of.
This exercise assumes that you have a fairly flat computer monitor that is directly in front of you and directly facing you, and that there are objects at significantly further distances (at least 18 inches) away from your face, on either side of it. Any flat object will work for this exercise. In the next exercise I will talk about using a flat piece of cardboard or plastic which would work just as well in the above exercise.

Beginner Lesson #3 - How to Tune your Senses for Echolocation - Exercise #1

Illustration of phase shift. The horizontal ax...Image via WikipediaIf I haven't already said this, echolocation is not an ability that you're born with; something you either have or don't have, it is a skill that can be learned. Any hearing person can learn it if they are willing.

Your hearing senses will need to be sensitized in order to start tuning into hearing the different subtleties related to echolocation. These include phase shift, reverb, stereo effects, equalization, panning and more. These are all subtleties that musicians train themselves to be aware of, and you can do the same with the intention of using them to improve your echolocation skills.

Sensitization Exercise #1: Listening intently to music

If you listen to a lot of music, this is a good way to begin sensitizing, however, start listening more intently. Try to pick out every different instrument in a particular song. Begin noticing subtleties such as:
  1. Which speaker is each instrument coming from? Or is it coming from both? This is called "panning", and often times songs will "pan" one guitar further to the left speaker and another guitar further to the right. This is done to give the effect that the guitars are in two different places on a stage. Once you've started to pick up on this effect, you should be able to point directly to where each instrument appears to be coming from, which should be somewhere in between the two speakers depending on how much it is panned one way or the other.
  2. Determine how "far away" each instrument (including vocals) appears. This is basically accomplished by the recording company by adding more or less echo to the signal. If a longer echo (or reverb) is added to an instrument it will give it the effect of being in a large room and possibly far away. If a short echo (or delay) is added, it will give the effect of having very nearby walls and will be closer and more intimate. Generally vocal tracks have more delay added so that the singer seems closer and more pronounced to the listener.
  3. Compare songs. Listen to how different songs compare to each other and how different recording companies like to mix songs.
Doing all of the above will help you to get started in sensitizing your ears to echolocation. This first exercise is something you can do on your own, but exercise #2, you will probably need a partner for.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, December 19, 2008

Echolocation Using Clicking Devices

Clickers used for :en:clicker training Taken b...Image via WikipediaHandheld clickers may be used for echolocation, and I have had minimal experience with this, but I will dispel all I have learned so far. You can use a Snapple-type cap, or a pet training clicker. First thing's first, you must get used to the sound of the clicker. Play with it as much as you can, every day. Eventually you will be able to recognize it easily and at this point you will have learned many of the subtleties of the sound. Clickers should be sounded around the waste level or above the head, don't click them near the ears since this will defeat the purpose. The goal, as always with echolocation, is to create a triangle between the source, object and receiver. So in this case: clicker, wall, and ear.

I find it is also helpful to create a barrier directly between the clicking source and your ear. This could be your other hand (as if saying "Stop") a notebook, or even a bag you're carrying. This will prevent the signal from going directly to your ear and will isolate the reverberating signal (which is the important part)

When using a clicker, pause for about a second between the press and the release of the button. This will give the reverberations time to subside and will avoid confusion for your subconcious.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Free 10-Minute Audio Lesson: Learn the Echolocation Click

Learn echolocation clicks with a free audio lesson
Learning how to click is one of the first steps to becoming an effective echoloator. This lesson provides clicking samples of a variety of different clicks and descriptions of when they might be most useful. This lesson has been used by O&M instructors all over the world.

Despite popular belief, it's easy to make your clicking quite subtle or unnoticeable even in quiet settings. There are many different clicks for different situations. I explain all of these in great detail and give examples of where, why and when they can and should be used.

Get your free lesson now:

Your email address is not shared with anyone.