He is one of the few top artists who does not whisper or talk in any way, his ASMR productions are just trigger sounds.
Although “just” is an understatement.
Many of his productions are 3-dimensional experiences in which the listener is immersed in a multi-layer recreation of a triggering scenario like a haircut or walking in a forest. Additionally, he creates high quality binaural productions focused on single triggering sounds like the sound of scratching or the sound of wooden blocks.
Pawel also recently created and marketed his own binaural recording device, a dummy head with microphones built into silicone ears.
In my interview with Pawel he explains what ‘binaural’ means, how he creates his 3-D sound, information about his new dummy head recording device, and more.
Below are my questions in bold, his replies in italics, links to his ASMR recordings, and a link to his new binaural microphones.
How would you describe ASMR to someone whom has never heard of it?
Pawel, “For me, ASMR is a very pleasant and exceptionally sedative experience that I feel in response to certain stimuli, such as specific sounds, visuals, or even completely trivial situations from everyday life.
I think that ASMR can be likened to a very deep state of relaxation enriched with a so-called ”tingling sensation” centered in the back of your head.
It seems like such an individual feeling that it’s very hard to find a universal description for it. However, I’m certain that anyone who has ever had the opportunity to experience it will know exactly what I’m talking about.”
How do your ASMR videos differ from most other ASMR videos?
Pawel, “Sounds are the most important aspect of my activity on YouTube, which is why I want to eliminate everything that would distract from them. That’s why there is neither voice nor video accompanying my audio recordings.
I focus only on creating a wide range of different sounds that help people to relax, or bring back pleasant memories of certain situations from life.
In some of my recordings, through sounds alone, I try to give listeners the impression of being in different places, such as a barbershop, a forest or a train. Furthermore, I put a lot of emphasis on quality and creating the greatest realism of sound.”
Would you describe yourself as a “sound engineer”? Did you learn your audio skills in school or did you teach yourself?
Pawel, “I’ve never considered myself an expert, and I suppose that when it comes to working with sound, my skills are very limited compared to those possessed by specialists in that field. All my knowledge about recording and processing sound is based on the information I’ve found on the Internet.”
What is the difference between mono, stereo, and binaural audio recordings?
Pawel, “As far as I know, the term ”binaural” is reserved for sound recorded in such a way that most faithfully reproduces the conditions of human hearing. It can be achieved using dummy head microphones equipped with attributes such as artificial head, realistic earlobes, and sensitive microphones built in the ear canals.
However, this recording technique is very impractical, as it requires the listener to wear headphones in order to experience the full binaural effect. That’s why the majority of movies and music use stereophonic sound. Essentially, what makes the stereo different from binaural approach is that a stereo isn’t concerned with reproducing the conditions of human hearing as much as binaural methods.
To make stereophonic sound, you need at least two separate mics, and you don’t pay attention to things like HRTF (head-related transfer function). Although it is still possible to create an impression of multidirectional sound with this technique (in the cinema, for instance), it will never be as precise and realistic as in the case of a true binaural recording listened to via headphones.
Monophonic sound has only one audio channel, so the sound recorded with this technique will always be fully stationary, no matter how good your headphones or loudspeakers are. A great example of monophonic sound is a phone conversation.”
How do you create your 3D-like sound?
Pawel, “Everything depends on what I want to record. Sometimes, the process can be very time-consuming and complex (field recordings), but it generally takes about 2-3 days for me to finish the whole process of preparing audio for my YouTube channel.
The most important aspects are preparing the necessary requisites/props, recording several versions of the sound, and finally processing the audio. In view of the fact that I focus mainly on binaural recordings, the majority of them are recorded with dummy head microphones.”
You have created your own binaural microphone dummy head?
Pawel, “That’s right. ‘Binaural Enthusiast’ is a brand that I’ve created based on my experience in building dummy head microphones for my personal needs. I thought that it might be worth a try to use my knowledge and experience in order to create my own product.
The microphones we produce are aimed at people who would like to make true binaural recordings, but cannot afford to buy much pricier competing products. The way I see it, the Binaural Enthusiast is probably the most affordable dummy head microphone available online.”
If you could create any experiment to discover or prove one thing about ASMR, what would it be?
Pawel, “I’ve always wondered what’s so special about the sound of turning pages; at times, it can trigger such intense and pleasant feelings. Why can we actually feel it, and what’s the reason that this phenomenon evolved? Is it a feature that characterizes only humans, or is it something more universal?
If there is such experiment which would provide answers to all of these questions, that would be my choice.”
Given the opportunity, what would you say to a room full of researchers and clinicians whom are trying to decide if putting the time and funding into ASMR research is worth the investment?
Pawel, “The fact that there is such a large community of people experiencing this undoubtedly real but not entirely understood sensation is intriguing enough to arouse the scientific desire to investigate it.
Moreover, there is a paper published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PeerJ, which argues that for some people, ASMR seems to help improve mood or even relieve pain. The authors, Emma L. Barratt and Nick J. Davis, suggest further investigation to verify the effectiveness of a potential therapy based on ASMR sensations.”
Click HERE to experience ‘Deep Ocean of Sounds’ on YouTube.
Click HERE to access more of Pawel’s recordings as downloadable audio files.
Click HERE to see and/or purchase Pawel’s binaural recording dummy head with the microphones built into the silicone ears.
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This post brought to you by ASMR University. A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.