Fritz Files – conclusion

02007-08-23 | Binaural, Brain, Music, Photos, Recording, Studio | 9 comments

Recording with Fritz was memorable! Musicians almost never record without headphones. There are many reasons to use headphones when recording a group. Some instruments are louder and it is hard to hear the soft instruments without headphones. Distances between musicians – necessary to balance the loudness of different instruments for recording purposes – can result in delays that make it much harder to achieve a serious groove. Our brain computes the direction of sound using the delay that is produced by the distance between our ears. In other words a sound originating from the left side will take milliseconds longer to reach the right ear. That allows the brain to identify the location of the sound. If the musicians sit more than a few feet apart the soundwaves may take several milliseconds to reach the ears and the delay will make it difficult to play in time. Luckily this is the hardest grooving band I have ever had and we were able to mentally compensate for the distances.

Taking a walk on Tuesday afternoon, after recording for several hours, I noticed that my mind was hyper-sensitive to the location of sounds. During recording sessions – and on stage while performing – my brain enters a different state, where pitch and time become enlarged. It’s like experiencing an aural version of slow-motion. In this state the smallest change in pitch or rhythm becomes very obvious. Working with Fritz and recording without headphones my mind became really sensitized to the location of sounds. And during my walk I kept noticing the location of sounds around me in such clear detail! A bird flapping his wings, a plane overhead, birds singing, the wind in the leaves, a truck in the distance… I mentioned this to he others yesterday and they all had the same experience.

We recorded one song with my old and slightly noisy video-camera in the studio room. Stevo will help me match up Fritz’s audio with the video we shot. That will make it possible to watch our performance in the studio while hearing exactly what Fritz heard – if you listen with headphones. You will see me circling Fritz at one point – not an easy feat to play guitar while moving around if you don’t use a strap – and Davo moving around while playing shaker. I will announce when the video will be available for your viewing/listening pleasure.

For some recordings we moved quite a bit. Sometimes Stevo and I would both be moving around, to balance softer and louder playing and to create some interesting aural movement. We decided against doing any overdubs or edits and hope to present the album in our ListeningLounge – now also accessible from – very soon.


  1. Zaya

    WOW! That’s deep. I’m exicted ’bout this Fritz thing if you are! But my ears never really get used to it.

  2. Boris

    New tracks in the Lounge! Sounds cool. I’m curious.

  3. dave

    Can’t wait to hear it.

  4. Adam Solomon

    New album? Works for me! Sounds exciting. Ottmar, I hate to sound slow here, but I have yet to understand precisely what Fritz IS. Brief nutshell summary? Please? :)

  5. ~C4Chaos

    nice! can’t wait to check it out! my headphone is ready :)

  6. stephen duros


    Fritz is that dummy head with the OL cap on in the picture above the post.

  7. Carol

    I hope that awareness remains with you. How thrilling to be awake to everything around you.

  8. Thomas Faes

    Hi Ottmar.

    Was it different (mentally) to play ‘for Fritz’, than it is to play in some, whatever, Microphone? Like much more ‘imagining’ the absent listener – the human soul?

    This leads to the question – are machines with ‘human qualities’ lift our own human qualities?

    And something from my own experience: The sharpened awareness of the sounds in every days life is great and a coin with two sides. Sometimes our unawareness is also a shelter and maybe even a sanctuary in this world.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts, pics and links! Much Thanks.

    Herzliche Grüsse aus der Schweiz


  9. Eddie Russell

    hi ottmar,
    what you are talking about is called ‘sound localization’ and i assume that fritz is built on what is called the duplex theory. As you know binaural meaning the use of two ears, and the differences inbetween the sounds produces a location of where the sound came from. if your interested read on…it may be boring….

    Basically, hearing is based on cues, signs that stimulate our perception(sound waves), there are two cues that make binaural hearing possible, and your exercise with fritz remarkable….the two ques that frits is using to hear are coming from both the direction and intensity of the sound, fritz ‘brain’ works out the minute difference between the relative loudness(called ‘intensity differences’) that each ‘ear’ is hearing, basically the difference in fritz perception of say, your guitar strumming a g, is that at any moment that his head is not directly facing the guitar, there will be a slight ‘sound shadow’ cast by his head, which softens the sound wave from in one of his ears, depending on the angle….sound latency, is the difference in time which you mentioned, between each ear

    so when sound strikes your head at any angle, it will be softened, and delayed meaning a difference in sound perception…..did that make sense


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