Echo is an important, albeit subtle, aspect of sound recordings, providing some indication of the size and type of physical space. Last week I was lucky enough to visit the anechoic chamber at Salford University, where echo is deliberately almost entirely absent, due to the absorbing nature of the chamber walls. It’s amazing how much the brain relies on echos reaching the ear to provide information about physical surroundings.
In the chamber, where there are virtually no echos, the brain is receiving a signal from the ears that the physical surrounding is a tiny space, whilst the eyes are saying the room is large. I wasn’t there long enough to sense it, but this can quite quickly lead to motion sickness.
Most recordings on the Around Sound app will have some echo, because they are taken in environments without such sound absorbing features. We’ll post a recording taken in the chamber on our next visit. Below is a picture of the chamber.