Isochronic tones vs. binaural beats vs. monaural beats – Which is better?
So you may just now be getting into the brainwave entrainment (BWE) scene and are still not sure what all of the hype is about. You may be wondering what the differences are between binaural, isochronic and monaural mp3’s? And, is one kind better than the other?
There are many different forms of brainwave entrainment. The ones I will focus on here are the most popular and easiest to find and download to start enjoying today. These include binaural beats, isochronic tones, and monaural beats. Now, whether if you are new to brain entrainment or not, I suggest trying out as many as you can to get a good feel for what works best for you. I am going to describe the differences between each and hopefully point you in the right direction so you don’t have to waste any of your hard earned money on a BWE recording that does not suit you.
Binaural beats are probably the most common form of brainwave entrainment out there today, mostly because they have been around for a while and tested to great extent. Binaural beats were discovered 1839 but weren’t really fully researched and developed until 1973 by Gerald Oster. Once he wrote the book “Auditory Beats in the Brain,” binaural beats really took off and became a neurological phenomenon.
Binaural beats are a tried and trusted way of entraining the brain for anyone to enjoy. They are the cheapest form of brain entrainment and extremely accessible. All you need is a computer or mp3 payer, a few bucks to download them, and some stereo headphones.
So what are binaural beats?
Basically, binaural beats are a recording of two different pulsating electronic tones played at different hertz through each ear. Your brain processes the the two tones and syncs up to the difference.
For example: a pulsating tone of 300 herts will be played onto one ear, while a tone at 310 is played into the other ear. Your brain will recognize the difference between the two and ‘entrain’ to the 10 herts difference.
Because there are two different frequencies being sent to each ear, it is extremely important that you listen to these with stereo headphones. It’s not important that they be nice or expensive headphones. I use the regular apple headphones that came with my iphone, but you can read more about that in (how to use brain entrainment products).
Binaural beats are great and there are a lot of them out there to choose from, but if you are like my girlfriend, they may be a little hard to listen to and give you a headache or just an uneasy feeling. Remember, this is supposed to be a relaxing and meditative experience, so if binaural beats are making you uncomfortable, stop listening to them and try something else!
- easy to find
- relatively cheap
- a very wide variety of selection
- proven to work, time tested
- can be hard to listen to at first
- require stereo headphones
Monaural beats are similar to binaural beats except that the two different tones are combined digitally or naturally on the recording. The two different tones are played in both ears if you are listening with headphones. This way, the brain does not have to do the work to differentiate between two different pulsating tones. The two tones create an interference pattern that generates the frequency of entrainment outside of your head.
This is great because you as a listener do not have to use head phones to get the full effect. You can play the mp3 over a speaker so you don’t have to worry about those pesky headphones jamming into your ear when roll over if you fall asleep listening. It’s also great because your whole body can pick up on these vibrations instead of just feeling the effect though the aural senses. This way, you have the potential of your whole body and all of your senses coming into contact with these positive vibrations, just make sure that you are in a place free of outside noises or distractions.
This also comes in handy when you are wanting to share the experience in a group or if you are entraining during light physical activities like yoga. I am a yoga fan and there is nothing like doing yoga in a truly peaceful and relaxed state of mind while listening to some monaural beats. Highly recommended!
However, because the two tones are combined before they hit your ear, the results may not be quite as strong. Part of the process that makes binaural beats so great is that it is giving the brain a little bit of a work out to differentiate the difference between the two frequencies on either side of the brain.
Monaural beats are also a little harsher on the ears which is why you will often hear a lot of extra music or background noises and effects playing over top of them. This can be effective at making them easier to listen to but not as effective as far as results are concerned.
Probably the biggest drawback to monaural beats is that they cannot be created to entrain to frequencies lower than 4 herts. This means that you the low delta range is not achievable with monaural beats. Delta is associated with deep sleep and lucid dreaming.
- no headphones required
- some consider them to be easier on the ear
- can’t go lower than 4Hz
- not as effective for some
- may be harsh on some ears
Isochronic tones are a little bit newer and there are a lot of people that swear by them. What makes isochronic tones different is that they are simply single separate pulses of a single tone, similar to a metronome or drum beat. This creates a greater contrast between sound and silence which can have a greater effect on the brain. The sound is emitted at regular intervals exciting the thalamus and entraining your brain waves to the pattern being played.
Isochronic tones are very similar to monaural tones in the effect and use categories. You can listen to them without headphones, but they can not be generated for any waves lower than 4 herts. Some people, like myself say that isochronic tones are easier on the ear. Other people swear that it gives them a headache and binaural beats don’t.
What makes isochronic tones better to some people is the accuracy of the rhythmic pattern and how it speeds up. The fact that you are only hearing one tone in both ears can make it very effective and stimulating for your thalamus, the center of your brain right above your brain stem.
- very effective for some people
- almost as much of a variety as binaural beats
- can use without headphones
- easier on some people’s ears
- can’t be any lower than 4hz
- harsher on the ears to some
So which is really better?
What it all really comes down to when trying to decide on what entrainment to use, it really comes down to personal preference. Every person is different and experiences things in a different way.
I personally love isochronic tones better. They have more profound effects on me. They geberally work better for most people because they require less work from the brain. But it really is up to you to try a few out and see what works best for you!
Check out the Unexplainable store today to find your brainwave entrainment mp3 today!
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