Should you use binaural beats or isochronic tones? Find out which sound is best for which brain frequency you want, and not the other …
Binaural beats, a technology that has been around for many years, and isochronic tones, one that is relatively a newcomer, make up what is known as brainwave entrainment.
Brainwave entrainment is the process of syncing the frequency of your brain to certain frequencies, resulting in a mental state that supports high performance, creativity, or deep rejuvenation.
Both binaural beats and isochronic tones are used by enthusiasts, like myself, who pursue the state of mind we currently need. Sometimes we need to boost our concentration, other times we need to relax the mind for quality sleep.
What is the difference between them? Is one better than the other?
The short answer is that isochronic tones and binaural beats have a different mechanism to produce the desirable frequencies. Binaural beats use two slightly different frequencies, while isochronic tones use only one.
According to most people who have used them, isochronic tones is more effective for creating high performance (also known as the gamma and beta brainwaves).
On the other side, binaural beats are effective for slower brainwave activity, such as meditation, sleep, and inspiring creativity (also known as the alpha, theta, and delta registers).
Since isochronic tones produce one rapidly pulsing frequency only, you can listen to them using speakers. With binaural beats, you must use headphones to listen, since they rely on your brain processing two frequency inputs.
That is the major difference between them. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, because they both have their uses. Depending on your goals, you might use one, or both alternatingly.
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Isochronic Tones – Best for High Performance
These tones consists of single frequency tones that turn on and off rapidly, resulting in a pulsing sound, similar sounding – but not the same – as binaural beats.
Isochronic tones are a relatively recent discovery, originating in the 1980s to 1990s. They are claimed to be more powerful than binaural beats because they invoke a stronger brain response.
Measuring the “frequency following response,” or how quickly the brain can be entrained by the wave frequencies, these tones create a faster response than the beats.
It means that isochronic tones are more efficient for brainwave entrainment. As mentioned before, they are known to be especially effective if you want to train for the gamma and beta waves (for high performance).
The downside is that isochronic tones aren’t well suited for low brainwave activities, such as meditation that uses the theta and delta waves.
These tones are also not effective for using the “carrier frequency approach” that is used by binaural beats to produce low brainwaves at low frequencies for higher effectiveness.
Binaural Beats – Best for Relaxation and Meditation
Binaural beats have a much longer history than isochronic tones, and more studies that support their effectiveness as a therapeutic tool.
This sound is the result of two tones with slightly different frequencies entering your ears at the same time. Your brain then processes the sound information and you hear the difference of those frequencies.
For example, two tones with a frequency of 100 Hz and 104 Hz result in a perceived tone of 4 Hz (the frequency within the theta frequency).
Since it relies on both ears, you must use headphones when listening to binaural beats.
Compared to isochronic tones, these beats are claimed to invoke a weaker brain response. Brain entrainment also takes longer. However, they are known to produce a stronger hypnosis effect related to low brainwaves.
Therefore, binaural beats are more effective for the alpha, theta, and delta frequency ranges. They can also take advantage of the carrier frequency approach.