Step 2: Binaural Beats

Picture of Binaural Beats

Binaural beats are created by playing two loud tones in each ear that are very close in frequency. The brain processes this by filling in the difference and creating a third tone that is roughly the difference of the two. For instance, if you play a 400 Hz tone in one ear and 410 Hz tone in the other, your brain will create a binaural tone of 10 Hz. The theory behind this is that you can create specific audio clips that when played in your ears will stimulate your brain to produce a tone that corresponds with one of the naturally occurring brain states.

The five cognitive states that your brain operates within are Gamma (>40 Hz), Beta (13 - 39 Hz), Alpha (7 - 13 Hz), Theta (4 - 7 Hz) and Delta (<4 Hz). As the frequencies decrease, cognitive focus and alertness decrease, and you start moving into more meditative states, until you finally find yourself in deep delta sleep. There are a ton of websites online with different sound clips which produce tones in all of the mental states (except gamma, as the frequencies that create binaural beats can't be greater than 30 Hz apart). By listening to different audio clips optimized for different brain states, it is possible to alter your consciousness.

My experience:
I went into this experiment with expectation that this was a bunch of new age hippie nonsense and wouldn't result in much, but to my surprise, I must say that listening to this audio does in fact have an effect on my conscious states. Aside from the immediately obvious phantom third tone echoing throughout my head, I experienced a change in mood depending on which tone was being played. When i listened to an alpha-targeted binaural beat for a few minutes I started to feel very calm. And, when I listen to a beta-targeted clip, I became somewhat restless and agitated.

To keep things interesting, I did not research exactly what the different clips were supposed to do prior to listening to them, but upon looking them up later, most of them induced a feeling in line with that particular brain state. That said, I feel that there is something more to these clips than merely being a pure placebo effect.
amanley21 year ago
Binaural Beats are great. I have been using them everyday for almost 3 years now. I mostly just use them for relaxation as they enable me to enter deep states of meditation rather quickly. If you are feeling stressed or anxious then I think these tools work especially good. I also know of a company that combines the isochronics and binaural beats called IsoBeats. You can check them out here: IsoBeats. Also I first learned about these recordings from Binaural Beats if you want to know anything about them then this is a great place to start. They have lots of articles and experiments using these sounds.
How about Shamanic Drumming? It was so intense for me the first time I tried it...
Excess3 years ago
Would you mind sharing some of this webpages you mention? I'm very curious about this particular experiment.
samy32 Excess3 years ago
Sure I use binaural beats for sleep. I found a company doing binaural beats and isochronic tones at the same time. They blend it together on the same sound clip. I use to wake up at about 4 am and cant sleep again. I keep my MP3 under my pillow and use it to get back deep sleeping. here it the link: binauraltunes.com
mrshr3d Excess3 years ago
I use an open source program called SBaGen, available on Linux, Mac and Windows - http://uazu.net/sbagen It's pretty cool if you want to experiment with making your binaural beat sequences, done using a simple scripting language.

There is also an SBaGen forum here - where users submit sequences they have made:

Happy Beating! :-)
Q-ro mrshr3d3 years ago
i just tried this program/forum, but i don't feel anything at all :/.
Is it just a coincidence that most florescent bulbs in commercial settings (offices) operate at 40Hz, creating a visibly imperceptible strobe light? Are we being brainwashed to be constantly on the verge of Beta / Gamma waves, i.e. our highest alert/ most productive... just a thought...
Fluorescent lights operate at the kilohertz range. And a 40 hertz pulse is entirely visible.
MrAdventure3 years ago
Bejewelled 3 has a Zen mode that lets you try different binaural beats. I have used it to calm down, be relaxed, and meditative. It's also really trippy. The first time I did it, along with weird headiness, it felt like my right hand was shooting energy out of it where it had been holding the mouse. That continued for at least 5 minutes after I finished.
do i have to listen the beats on my headphones or does it work on speakers as well?
does the volume make a difference?
how loud should i pump my speakers?
I really like this one it helps me sleep better and it helped fade some bad dreams ive been getting
maltesergr83 years ago
Both my husband and myself have been using binaural beats for a couple of years now, for various reasons (pain relief, help sleeping, motion sickness - just to name a few) with excellent results.

I highly recommend everyone give binaural beats a chance!!
PearlZenith3 years ago
This sounds really interesting, especially if they can have a calming effect on the brain. I think too much to sleep or stay asleep most of the time.

When I was reading the description of binaural beats in your instructable, I immediately thought of tuning my viola, and how I use the same concept to make sure a string is perfectly on pitch. Sometimes my siblings and I would deliberately make use of pitches being just a few points off to make really annoying beats and irritate the rest of the family.