The sound recordings in this archive were recorded entirely from within Block WT6 of Highfield Road’s West Terrace, which is located behind the goal line at the west end of the ground, and closest to the visiting support in the stadium’s M&B stand. The recordings were made using a technique known as “binaural sound recording” – a stereo sound recording technique which can render a particularly realistic impression of acoustic space when listened to on headphones.
The technique of binaural sound can, in a sense, transport us back to the West Terrace of Highfield Road. The Sky Blues supporters who regularly took their places in the “singing stand” during that last season at Highfield Road will no doubt “recognise” immediately where they are, especially those who frequented block WT5 and WT6, nearest to the away fans over to the left of the West Terrace.
Binaural sound recording is a technique involving the capture of sound using two tiny microphones, which are placed in the outer ear of the sound recordist at the entrance to the ear canal (much like “in-ear” headphones). The technique simulates or recreates some of the natural hearing cues we use in everyday life to determine the position of sound sources in space – above, below, behind, in front, or to the side of us, as well as the distance of a sound source from us.
The perception of auditory space relies on a series of auditory cues provided by sound waves arriving at each ear: the difference in time and intensity of sound waves reaching each ear helps us localise sound in front, to the left and right of us (laterally, in other words), whilst the filtering of sound waves by the outer ear (the pinna) and the frequency “shadow” created by the solid matter of the head between the ears provide further cues for localisation.
Binaural sound involves firstly the recording of sound using microphones placed in the ears of the sound recordist, and secondly – but no less importantly – the use of headphones to listen to the playback of the recordings. The basic principle of binaural sound is based on both recording and playback at the point where sound waves enter the ear canal, in order to render an immersive and distinct sound space.
It is highly recommended to listen to the recordings in the archive using headphones. You might use any type of headphones – in-ear, ear-bud, on-ear or over-ear – though you should choose the most comfortable and best quality headphones to get the most out of listening. Be sure that you have your headphones on the right way round (most headphones are marked L and R for the left and right ears)!