EARS, the auralization program associated with EASE, is a Binaural auralization program that inherently produces auralizations that are far more realistic than Monaural auralizations. Monaural auralizations do not take the characteristics of human hearing into account while EARS Binaural auralizations do.
EARS auralizations are available as either “Off Line” or ‘Real Time” auralizations. In the “Off Line” method the binaural auralization signals (the right and left ear signals) are produced off line and stored as .wav files for replay at a later time. Since these files are quite large, Off Line auralizations are usually limited to relatively short “sound bites”. Twenty second sound bites are typically used although longer ones are possible.
These sound bites can then be replayed again and again and analyzed in detail. The program also allows the user to listen to the original dry signal used in the auralization and compare it to the auralized signal. The Off Line approach has the advantage of allowing the user to repeat the auralization many times while listening for undesirable colorations, such as flutter echoes and slap back.
The “Real Time” method is also sometimes called the “Online” method as it produces the binaural auralization signals in a continuous or “ongoing” manner that can be listened to immediately or, as it’s commonly called “in real time”. Since the auralizations are not stored, there is no limit to their length.
Many EARS users use a DAT recorder to record a known voice, such as a Pastor’s voice, and then use it as the dry signal source. Another source of dry signals are CD’s made under closely controlled studio conditions.
Both methods have the ability to mix different or equal audio signals to a summarized binaural file.
A popular use of this feature is to inject noise into the auralization for intelligibility studies. It also permits the effects of Masking Noise to be listened to in open office environments. I’ts also possible to record background noise, such as traffic noise or normal office sound, and then use them in the auralization.
These versatile programs also include facilities for generating a wide range of noise signals, such as Pink Noise, White Noise, Air Condition noise, etc. that can then be used in the auralizations. The possibilities of EARS auralizations are almost endless.