As you read this, I guarantee that you’ll go from “this is funny”, to “hmm, sounds plausible”, to “what the… it actually works?!”, just like I did. Try it out yourself: Robert Laberge’s Eustachian tube audiophile listening technique.
I have devised a new way of music listening for audiophiles based on a physiological principle I have discovered and applied to music listening.
The Eustachian tube listening technique enables one to catch the last gasp of “air” around instruments and voices, adding a marvelous quality of overtones that bring spectacular clarity to any good sound system. Here how it works: the Eustachian tube (the word “tube” will undoubtedly appeal to audiophiles everywhere) is linked to the mouth and balances pressure behind the eardrum. Normally the Eustachian (or auditory) tube is closed, but it can open to let a small amount of air through to equalize the pressure between the middle ear and the atmosphere. One can open it voluntarily by swallowing or by opening one’s mouth wide open (useful in elevators).
The technique I have discovered is simply to open your mouth as wide as you can while listening to select passages of beauty and voila!, all instruments show an uncanny presence, rarely heard otherwise. All sounds between 5 and 20 khz are enhanced, bringing forth that elusive “live in front of you” realism. You can focus precisely on any instrument along the stereo spread. Transients are noticeably crisper, like electrostats. It brings you for free the difference between a $ 5,000 and a $ 50,000. loudspeaker. The only annoying downside is that your mouth has to be really very wide open as in a locked position (a bit like the famed MGM lion of old), which is quite uncomfortable if held too long. But the result is unequivocably there. My hypothesis is that additional sound reaches the ear through the Eustachian tube.
I discovered this technique accidentally while testing 31 db foam earplugs (reducing mids) combined with active noise-cancelling Plane Quiet NC-6 headphones (reducing lows) in a heavy trafic environnement (result: the effect is complementary; there is no such thing as too much hearing protection). I noticed that whenever I opened my mouth ever so slightly, the street’s hustle and bustle I heard in my head increased noticeably, much to my surprise.
Later I tried it out of curiosity while listening to music with a marked improvement of the listening experience. You can feel the space 360 degrees around each instrument like never before. While it is not practical to leave one’s mouth wide open for more than 10 seconds, when a favorite sublime passage is approaching just do it and you’ll soon agree it’s well worth the embarrassement should someone enter the room unexpectedly. Perhaps your dentist could make a special mouthpiece for listening purpose, if you don’t mind looking like a cartoon crododile with a stick in its mouth (audiophiles have been known to do much worse, like elevating audio cables 2 inches from the floor).
From now on and more than ever, dedicated audiophiles will be easy to spot practicing their art among the regular crowd at audiophile trade shows or at your local audio salon. Onlookers will believe that your facial expression indicates blissful awed disbelief.
Note: the author won’t be held responsible for any case of temporary dislocated jaw. 🙂
Now – do try it yourself, and let me know if it works for you.