Introducing Travelear: Listen to the World in 3D Audio

App Developer

Hey friends! I'm an audio engineer and I record 3D Soundscapes in my travels around the world (I travel a lot for work). I feature the soundscapes on my app called Travelear. It's free on the App Store.

I record cities, forests, music festivals and more with a special 3D binaural microphone. To get the full experience make sure you use your headphones when listening.

I've used the app with the native iOS screen reader and it works pretty well. I'd like to know what you think and get suggestions on how I can improve. Thanks and looking forward to hearing what you think!

Here's the link in the App Store
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/travelear/id1159408401?mt=8

Forum: 

#1 What app you use to record 3d audio?

Hey this app sounds fun. I might try it out. what app do you use to record 3d audio sounds and can I join in?

#2 Hey @jcdjmac I don't use an

App Developer

Hey I don't use an app. I use a Sound Devices 788 and the Freespace Pro II 3D microphone. They're pretty pricey but I use them for my day job too. There are other lower cost solutions like the Hooke Verse that also work, although I haven't tried them myself. We're not at a stage to accept outside submissions yet but it's definitely in our future plans.

I've written some blog posts about recording 3D Audio here
http://thetravelear.com/blog/

Let me know if you have any questions.

#3 Wow

OK that was fun. I listened to the bird one and the fireworks and some forest ones. Wow you really feel like you’re there great idea. Thanks for letting us know about it. You can hear the birds flying in the bees literally buzzing by your head yikes

#4 Thank you!

App Developer

Yes! That's the experience I'm trying to create, any Soundscapes that you'd like to hear that aren't on the app?

#5 Some thoughts

Before I tell you my thoughts, let me first say I am not a technical person so if this cannot be done sorry. I am wondering if you might be able to do anything with either underwater such as diving or on a boat or anything like that?

#6 Maybe a boat trip or something like that?

Or something having to do with dolphins or fish?

#7 Far out

I love things like this, thank you.

#8 Good suggestions

App Developer

I haven't done anything like that yet but that doesn't mean it can't be done, I'll have to do some research, thank you for the suggestion! I'll let you know here when I figure it out!

#9 Glad you like it!

App Developer

Thanks and stay tuned, I'll be putting up more Soundscapes when I can!

#10 What about a theme park soundscape?

You could possibly record roller coasters while on the roller coaster. You could also record roller coasters off of it as well, I think that would be neat! I haven’t really been to a theme park since I was a kid and would love to hear 3d audio of a theme park!

#11 Wow!!

This sounds amazing. I clicked on the French Quarter Jazz Festival since I live outside of New Orleans, and it is just like being there. I can't wait for you to add the ability to let users record and upload things.

#12 One more thing

I just ran into the London Tube ride, and being a huge rail fan and subeay fan, this sounds really good and would be mostly what I record and is mostly what I record now using my Olympus Dm 720. Wow! I play TubeSim on my computer, and things sound great.

#13 Amazing.

I have done that tube ride several times for work. It really does feel like you are there. Love the sounds.

#14 @Sean_Terry that's a great

App Developer

that's a great idea, I'll have to scout one out here in Los Angeles, maybe the Santa Monica Pier.
I'm glad the Soundscape was true to the original, I love visiting Nola. I'm happy you liked the London Tube Ride, it's definitely an iconic railway. Do you have a link for the TubeSim game? I'd like to play.
I recorded the NYC Subway as well, you might have to press the "See All" button at the top for the full list. Which do you prefer? The NYC rail or London?

#16 Definitely cool, although...

Definitely cool, although if you try to go through the list of sounds without first clicking "see all", all I get is "more". also, looking at the map is a bit odd as well. There also some unnecessary labels for the play and pause buttons such as "play big" and "pause big". One could shorten these to just play and pause and it'd be fine. Overall the app is cool for sure. I too would love the ability to record and upload my own soundscapes and things of that short. I'd also like to see some soundscapes dealing with theme parks, roller coasters, and definitely some more railway things and possibly some aircraft stuff in there as well.

#17 Maybe I'm weird

Club AppleVis Member

I do love the app. My weirdness is that I'd love to hear a 3d desert sandstorm sound. Don't know if it could be safely recorded, but that would be great. Keep up the good work.

#18 Love this app!

I love this, thanks for sharing your recordings! I particularly love the nature ones, but I'm desperate to know, how did you safely record the bees? Just the sounds of them hitting the mics by my ears was making me jump!

#19 Love this app and a few suggestions

This app is really great and I think the beach sounds will make me sleep at night if I have trouble. When I listen to the sounds I feel as if I'm there. Some stuff I would like to hear are restaurant or kitchen surroundings, theme parks and people walking around in malls.

#20 Small Suggestion

Following comment #16, I too navigated by swiping, from the top, from left to right and VoiceOver reads all the recently added one after another at once, then swipe to the right, you get the most popular, then swipe right you hear "See All", then if you keep swiping, you hear several "More" buttons, which I assume are the buttons associated to each "Recently Added" soundscapes. I also noticed that if you try to swipe back from the "See All", VoiceOver skips the "Most Popular" and goes to the "Recently Added" list and starts to read them all again. Perhaps having headings on the list tab with the "Most Popular at the top, then the next heading with "Recently Added", then the "See All" button, then each time you swipe right, you get one soundscape, then swipe again to get to that soundscapes' More button, then swipe again to the next soundscape, then again to that soundscapes' More button, and so on. Also, if you select to see all the soundscapes, when viewing the list, each More button reads out as "More Dark". As previously indicated, simply changing the button labels as Play, Pause, More, that would be better.

I am guessing that these soundscapes are not stored locally on the phone, which is fine, but I assume that since it is just audio, it shouldn't use too much of your bandwith.

I did listen to the London Tube soundscape and it did sound eerily as if you were there, which is so cool. I am definitely looking at trying more tonight once I am at home.

I was actually talking to a colleague at work and explaining how, although it is fun to travel, being blind, it's kind of pointless really as you can't really see the sceneries. Not to disrespect those who love to travel, if some wish to travel to experience first-hand the different countries and their culture, all for it. As for me, and I did mention this to my colleague, if I could just sit back and listen to soundscapes of different places around the world, I would prefer that.

Glad to hear someone else had the idea and developped an app for it. Thank you so much for making this happen.

#21 This is why I love this app also.

Having listened to the n. Y. C train, its amazing the sound from the station, to inside the train and the sound of the chatter and announcements that go with the atmosphere. As to which one I prefer I couldn't say. They are each great in their own way. Again it felt like I was travelling through Manhattan. And again having the audio version of a place is like being there for real. This is a great app.

#22 Great feedback!

App Developer

thanks I'll check it out tonight!
good to know, I didn't hear that myself but I'll check it out. Great suggestions for future Soundscape recordings.
with the proper protective gear I'd love to get right in the middle of a sand storm, that'd be really cool.
a lot of planning went into it but eventually had a friend help me out. I learned a lot about bee behavior and dawned a bee keepers suit in the middle of the summer, it was very hot but the result was worth it! Glad you liked it!
thank you! yeah those would be cool, I'll add them to my list.
thank you so much! My buddy Nick and I have put alot of work into it. He's the programmer for the app. He's also reading this discussion and we're taking all of this feedback in. Thanks for being specific with your navigation, we'll look into making this smoother.
that's great, I try to make sure I capture those nuisances that define a Soundscape. Any ideas for other iconic railways to record?

#23 Where to begin?

You know the best thing I love about this the more I listen to journeys weather they are by rail, car, or on the beach. They cover the calm or hectic side of nature and life in general. The most ordinary thing like catching a train and going out of the station at street level. Its just amazing to hear it as is. Yet we have a few thunder storms to experience as well, I can pick somewhere and be there within a few taps. Its fantastic. Re other rail services, not sure where to recommend next. I guess there are loads like the channel tunnel link, or the bullet train. Equally there are other modes of transport also. I still need to go through the entire list of sound scapes but I guess some good old city noise is good, as well as some fantastic holiday locations we all like to experience now and again. Love the coastal sounds to..

#24 Some more suggestions

Some things that I could think of at this point would be rain on the car or rain on the roof, walking on snow, and some fireplace sounds. Keep up the great job. I will give a 5 star review on the app store later.

#25 awesome!

hiya, got to say, i'm going to love this app! there have been some sorts of attempts of this kind of thing in the past, but nothing like what you have produced here. what i'd like to put to you, is perhaps setting up the app so it has some kinds of categories. IE, location based, or perhaps more along the lines of kind rather than location. so something like ocean, suburb, industrial, home, and so on. you could find some way to define it best, but if you did that, and had each section something you'd have to tap into to load that category, that way, as time goes by and the collection of recordings grows bigger and bigger, you're not going to just have a single screen that scrolls on for ever and ever.
I'd agree with things like fireside, desert storm, so on and so forth. if you want to take things further on vehicles, you've got buses, trams, trains, cars, motorbikes, aircraft, and watercraft such as boats / ships. for example, one sound i just love if i can find a good one, is being inside the cabin of an old style, IE wooden, sailing boat / ship. love it, specially with the rhythmic creeks of the wood around you as the boat rolls in the swell and so on. or up on deck, hearing the water around you, the wind flowing through rigging, and the sail over head. that kind of stuff sort of helps you go back to a day without electronics, and working with nature. or one of my favorite things is aircraft. either outside on the tarmac listening to aircraft around you idling, taxiing, taking off and landing. or perhaps at the end of the runway where you can hear them taking off and landing. if you like more techy sorts of things, you could record what it's like inside a data centre or something like that. if you like nature, water falls, more forest stuff, more beach / ocean stuff, and so on. for example, along the lines of the sailing craft i talked of, one sound that brings back memories for me, is being out in a dingy, and hearing the swell slapping against the metal sides softly. the possibilities are practically endless. and i'd be honest with you. for all the work you do to get the recordings as good as you do, i'm truly surprised you aren't charging for the audio. perhaps something you might think about, is maybe putting in the ability for people to purchase a copy of the track. you could charge something like $0.99, or even just $0.50, per track, and that could do a couple of things. one, it would let you download that sound in the app, for use offline, and could also provide a link that could be emailed or something, to let you download a copy of it on your computer. this way, we could take full advantage of any device to listen to your awesome recordings. this way, you can maintain a free app and free listening, but those who want a copy of the sound, could pay some small contribution to the money it will take to continue doing so, and to help let you expand your potential recording of new scapes.

#26 Great app and great recordings.

Congratulations. This is a great app and you have uploaded excellent recordings.
Definitely this app deserves five stars.
I would absolutely enjoy an underwater recording but I don't know if this could be possible. All I know is that it would be such and awesome experience to be able to listen to something like this in 3-D.
Cheers.

#27 A few suggestions for soundscapes

1. Anything with horses walking, galliping, trotting, canterring, running, etc.

2. Anything from Africa involving a drum circle in progress

3. Finally my most requested, here in the US, a playground with toddler to middle aged children very actively playing.

#28 Love this app!

I would love some soundskapes of african jungles, amizon rain forest, zoo. I love nature sounds.

#29 sound ideas

If they haven't been added, the sounds of San Francisco. Riding a cable car, a Ferry, a BART train, an Am-Track, fog horns, the Redwood forest, and other sounds associated with this great city.

#30 RE: Sound Ideas

Club AppleVis Member

I believe there is a San Francisco cable car sound already there. But I too would love to hear more sounds from the Bay area.

#31 travelear

I'm going to try and listen to travelear later on today.

#32 This is fantastic feedback!

App Developer

thanks for the praise! It's great that you're enjoying it so much. I haven't been on a bullet train but I guess I'll have to find one! Yes I intend to take full advantage of the summer and record more vacation destinations.
great suggestions, I'm making a list of them all. Thank you for the review, it let's us know we're going in the right direction!
'Brien those are great recommendations. I agree with wanting to get away from the modern world a bit, I can see what your talking about with a recording that takes you away to another time, like an audio time machine! I am planning on doing a recording of one of the local airports, I'm still working on the access. In terms of charging for Soundscapes, yes it's in our future plans, my buddy Nick (the app developer) and I have talked about similar ideas that you've mentioned. Your right, it does take a lot of work and time making this all happen but we also didn't want to restrict anyone from not being able to have access to what we've created. We've just setup a Patreon where users can donate, I'll be putting up some exclusive Soundscapes up there. Here's the link if you're interested in becoming a Patron https://www.patreon.com/travelear. In terms of pricing, for downloading offline, do you think you would rather pay per Soundscape or pay a monthly fee and have access to them all?
thank you! 5 star reviews is the best validation that you like what we're doing! I've never done an underwater recording, I'll have to do some research and figure it out, I think it would be really cool though.
great suggestions, I think there's a drum circle that gets together here in Venice Beach on Sundays, I'll have to pay a visit. It'll be a good start until I can get to Africa.
.espino me too! I love sitting in silence as the forest comes alive around me. The hardest part about nature recordings is getting away from the "human noise", sometimes they're the most challenging to capture. Thank you for the suggestions, I'll definitely do more.
"San Francisco Cable Car" was one of the first recordings I did and I had a lot of fun doing it, you'll have to press the "see all" button to access the full list. My buddy Nick lives up there (I'm in Los Angeles), where do you think I should go to find a fog horn in San Fran? I could probably record it on my next trip up.
what other Bay Area sounds would you recommend?
thanks and let me know what you think!

#33 Household

household sounds are great also like a washing machine and a drier running, a pot of water boiling, the possibilities are endless.

#34 payment suggestions

I suggest either individual recording or groups of associated recordings being made available. If you want to see an idea of what I am thinking of, check out NatureSpace in the app store. Look through their catalog. As for where to record fog horn sounds, anywhere along the San Francisco bay should work. The Golden Gate Bridge or Pier 39 would be too noisy with traffic and tourists. If I did not mention it in my other post, a ride aboard a ferry boat might be of interest. Also, have you given any thought to recording some trout fishing of something along that line? The sounds of casting and landing a fish after a good battle would possibly be a good recording, preferably at a trout stream in the White Mountains of Arizona.

#35 More great feedback!

App Developer

yes! Household recordings would be awesome.
good tips on locations, thank you. Fly fishing is a good idea, I've never been. Different fishing trips would be cool, maybe fishing on small boat in the bay?

#36 Recording equipment

I use the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart headset with my iPhone to record binaural audio. I wonder how it compares with the equipment you use.

#37 Re: Recording Equipment

App Developer

That's cool, I haven't used those yet. The gear I use is on the professional side, I wouldn't own if it I didn't use it for work because it's pretty expensive. I use a Sound Devices 788 and the Freespace Pro II for my setup, but I also use them for the TV shows I work on, among other gear. Do you have any samples you've recorded online somewhere? I'd love to take a listen.

#38 Tips

Hello.
I would like a recording about surfing. I really enjoy the skateboard stuff because it sounds so alive.
I also enjoy all the beaches. And the forest story. Okay, to put it short, I love all of them.

#39 Tips for recordings

Hi,
I'm definitely going to check out this app in detail, but reading through the comments on what and where to record, I was thinking of some things of which I've always wished to have a binaural recording. The drum circle is definitely up there, but an in-room recording of a Hammond organ with a proper Leslie would be so cool. Also, different musical instruments, just solo, without any kind of PA or anything like that.

Hope this is something you could look into. Thanks in advance, and I'm looking forward to checking out your app.

#40 Thanks!

App Developer

thank you! The skateboard soundscape was a bit tough to record, I stood in the middle of the "pool" and had skateboarders skate around me. I didn't know them and I was a bit nervous they would crash into me but I got away injury free. Thanks for the feedback, I'll put surfing on the list. I'm uploading a new track tomorrow so stay tuned!

a couple others have also suggested a drum circle. It's a great idea, there's a group that gets together on Sunday evenings that I have to check out. I also love acoustic music, you should listen to "New Orleans Jazz Festival" on the app when you download it. Let me know what you think!

#41 Cross-Plattform?

I just stumbled upon this post and fell in love with binaural audio a couple of years ago. However I'd love to have a Website of some sorts so I can listen to those recordings on my Notebook and really good headphones to get even more of the feeling of being there. Also a Android-Version would be awesome eventhough that would basically be done by having a website with the same content as in the App.

#42 Skateboard Recording

To the Dev... Just wanted to add my thanks for the skateboard recording. Just incredible. Felt like I should be diving out of the way. Glad you risked it all to capture that one.

#43 Website and Skateboarding feedback

App Developer

Isn't binaural audio cool? It's amazing the sound you can record. Yes, a website is in the works. We're also working to implement all the great feedback this community has given us on making the app more accessible friendly. It's all coming together, stay tuned!
Thanks Roxann! I appreciate that. During initial testing of the app I had a friend listen to the Skateboarding soundscape, when she heard one of the skateboarders fall she tried to reach out and catch them! I'm glad you liked it, I'll try to do more like that in the future.

#44 Cool and hah!

Two things:
First, hah, I was right; someone actually fell.
second: It is incredible that I can hear things behind me and all of that and I don’t understand how that works because it is like having surround headphones, though that may be the case.
I look forward to the updates.

#45 This app is lovely.

I love to write, and this app is perfect for setting the mood or putting me in a place I'm trying to write about. A few of your soundscapes have even provided fodder for a few short stories, for which I am thankful. I rather like the subscription idea, but would be happy to pay for your work whichever way you decide to do it, should you decide to apply prices at all. As for sound ideas, I'd love to get a recording of a sound bath with crystal singing bowls, vocals, flutes, and the like. A renaissance fair, and perhaps some sort of Christmas bazaar? And perhaps a small coffee shop or café? I also love the household idea, with the add on that I'd love a porch outside with a wind harp or wind chimes in the background. Right, enough nattering from me. Just thank you for making this app and keep up the good work!

#46 Headphones and

App Developer

Yep it's pretty amazing right! What headphones are you using? You can also subscribe to our mailing list if you want to keep up with us! There's a spot on the bottom of the page to enter your email http://www.thetravelear.com/

Thank you so much! I love hearing how people use the 3D Soundscapes, I'm glad you found your own use for it. Thanks for your input on the payment method, we're still figuring out what the best solution is. For now, we have a Patreon setup where anyone can donate to our campaign, I'm posting some more 3D Soundscapes and other stuff there just for fans who donate. Here's the link if your interested https://www.patreon.com/travelear.

Great suggestions for places to record. A coffee shop is definitely on my list. I have a wind chimes soundscape in the app, it's called "Night Chimes", you might have to use the search bar, then you can add it to your favorites. A wind harp is also a great idea. A Christmas bazaar would be really cool as well, I'm adding them to my list. Thank you for your support and feedback!

#47 New 3D Soundscape today per your suggestions

App Developer

I've posted a new soundscape in the app today, it's a recording of the Santa Monica Airport. I recorded air traffic control radio traffic and planes and helicopters as they took off and landed. The airport is pretty small so I was able to get up right next to the runway. There's also a speaker there broadcasts the live tower radio traffic. It's a really cool recording and I think you all will like it! Thanks to _O'Brien and for the suggestion!. I'd love to hear what you guys think!

#48 headphones

Hi Garret.
These headphones are big bluetooth headphones, very cheap but durable. I can hear surround in them somehow and I have no idea how that works. They are way better than the old expensive things I had were. They can be plugged in too. They have several days of battery. Awesome headphones, but I don’t remember the name.

#49 Headphones

App Developer

That's really interesting. The 3D Soundscapes rely on a full range of frequencies captured to maintain the 3D field and create the experience that you hear. The more frequencies your headphones can output the higher the quality of the experience, your headphones might not be as cheap as you think. The surround sound your hearing is how I record and engineer the audio. I'm glad your enjoying it and getting the full immersive experience!

#50 Sound suggestions.

Hello. I just downloaded this app today. I haven't listened to any of the soundscapes yet, but I plan to. I'm glad you're taking VoiceOver accessibility seriously. Navigating in the app is a little hit and miss at the moment. I'm glad someone pointed out the issues VO users are having--they did it better than I could.

Sound suggestions:
One. Someone pointed this out already, but a horse or horses going at different gaits, ridden and not wridden. I’d love to hear all the tack noises and things. Or maybe getting inside of a stable during working hours, and just after the horses have been given food. I find it very relaxing to listen to horses munching. Also grooming is really cool to listen to. Or maybe you could go to an English eventing show, which is where they do dressage, Hunter jumping and something else but I can’t remember at the moment.
2. A rail suggestion I have for you is recording the Boston T. And maybe the metro link into Alvara Street. I may be getting the name wrong. It’s kind of a touristy location in southern California .
3. I’d love a recording of a person, probably you, walking through a really wet swamp or marsh area. It sounds totally gross, but I’ve always been a bit obsessed with swamps, particularly after hearing the Mind‘s Eye recording of The Lord of the Rings. They did a really neat job with all the sounds when Frodo, Sam, and Golum were walking through the Dead Marshes. I’m not trying to punish you or anything, I sware. :)

Thanks,
Shersey

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