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Interview — Cory Allen

Can’t leave the house without: My beard
Based: Austin, Texas

Cory Allen is an author, podcast host, meditation teacher and audio engineer from Austin.

On his podcast The Astral Hustle, he hosts leading experts in mindfulness, neuroscience, and philosophy. The Astral Hustle podcast has had millions of downloads, has received hundreds of five-star ratings, and been featured by The New York Times.

His first book titled Now Is the Way was published by Penguin Random House in 2019. We spoke with him for this blog piece about his work and how the Nuraphone can enhance the experience of listening, not only to music but binaural beats.

Image supplied

Describe yourself and your work for our audience:

I started off as a music producer, composer and audio engineer. In my personal life, I have always focused on meditation and my inner life. Over time those two interests wove together. My private life focused on awakening, and my professional life on mastering and writing music. Eventually, I started a podcast about self-development and mindfulness, which took off very quickly. I started exploring the links between psychology, music, art and creativity. That is when I specialised in the audio production of binaural beats. I also wrote a book on mindfulness and meditation in 2019.

I’ve worked on a lot of different delivery mechanisms for my core message. Podcasts, books and music might all be different modes of delivery, but to me, they are all just the wallpaper for what is happening underneath. Ultimately the goal is to educate people about their inner lives. 

Tell us a little bit more about binaural beats?

If you think about it, sound changes how we think and feel. From early human times of warriors going into battle beating drums to get themselves ramped up. Or 2000 years ago, people striking giant gongs in temples in India or China to get mediators ready for meditating. These sounds allowed them to go into a specific state of consciousness. 

Over the years, as technology evolved and learned more about our brains and how sound works, we have been able to develop beats for specific purposes. Ultimately binaural beats are technical waves of using sound to train our brains into a particular state. There are different states for different things we want to achieve, such as Beta, Delta, Gamma, Alpha… etc. 

What is happening here is that brainwave neurons send electrical signals to other neurons in different parts of the brain. The speed of them tends to roll in waves - even when you are sleeping. When you are in a flow state, for example, the waves are happening incredibly quickly. 

Image by Michael Danischewski

Binaural beats play a tone at a particular frequency, and they beat and move at a specific speed. A high note on a piano is high because the sound wave moves really fast, and the energy is high, so the pitch is too. Alternatively, a low note or bass note moves very slowly and creates a deeper sound. 

The binaural tone is one frequency in one ear, and a different tone in another ear and the difference between them is the state you would like to achieve. If you want to be in Theta or sleep state, you will put 100hrz in one ear and 103hrz in the right ear. 

The concept is that the sound from the difference in the tones - that wobbling sound, aka beating - is when the sound waves vibrate against each other. Your brain makes up the difference and is entrained into the target frequency and changing your consciousness's texture. You can use this for meditation or flow state. 

I have been working with binaural beats for 20 years now. The way I make mine is unique, given I have experience with both meditation and music. I tune them into sounds and textures until I feel my consciousness shift. The intimate relationship with the textures of my mind gives me a unique toolkit to create these. 

Can you talk a little bit more about your relationship with music?


I am a lifelong audiophile and someone obsessed with sound, clarity of sound and how it exists in space. One of the most exciting things about music to me, as an artistic phenomenon, it is the only type of art that exists in time and space - it touches you. 

Image by Nick Astanei

You can watch a film and read a book, but sound literally comes out of the speakers and hits your body, so I think about it in many different dimensions. From years of being a mastering engineer and being immersed in details such as frequency and technical ways of thinking about music, another important thing is stereo image. I think about sound in an almost architectural way. 

Some sounds are in the front; some are far away in that stereo image. If you think about it as a room, some sounds are towards the centre, some in front and behind. When you are engineering music, the stereo image and the width is up to you. You want each sound to be able to live and breathe and have its own space to exist. And if sounds have their own space, you don’t get a muddy, unclear sound. The same is true with stereo image — if you have things appropriately mixed, you have even more clarity. 

Tell us about your experience with the Nuraphone? 


Listening with the Nuraphone was fascinating because I experienced a type of stereo image that I have never heard of before. Seeing the in-ear and over-ear combination is something I have never seen anywhere else before. 

The most unique thing was it brought out a lot of detail in ways I had not heard before in other headphones. It is indeed music in full colour. It brings music and sound into this new dimension, giving you colour richness and detail of specific frequencies. 

I went back and listened to some albums I had heard millions of times and heard certain things I hadn’t heard before. It almost feels like without the Nuraphone you are listening underwater. When you put the Nuraphone on, your head is not underwater anymore.

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