Isochronic Tones vs Binaural Beats – Which one is better?

isochronic tones vs binaural beats
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isochronic v binaural


Binaural Beats

isochronic tones

Equipment Required

MUST use headphones or earphones

can use headphones or s single speaker

Effective Frequency Range

effective ALL frequency ranges

ineffective at 4 Hz and below

Listening Experience

can be combined with ambient sounds and music

must be audible to be effective, so pulsing tone will be present while listening

Have you been exploring binaural beats or isochronic tones?

Chances are if you have read about one, you would have seen the other mentioned.  Naturally this leads to the question...isochronic tones vs binaural beats - which one is better? 

In this article we will look at both brain entrainment techniques.  We will explore their differences and unique benefits.  Finally, we will identify the circumstances where one technique will be more effective than the other.  

What are Binaural Beats?

For the sake of time, in this article we will only cover the basics of what is a binaural beat.  You can find a more in-depth look and explanation in our binaural beat series.   

Binaural beats is a brain entrainment technique that requires the delivery of different tones to each ear.  Each tone will have a set frequency a specific distance apart from the other.  When the brain hears these two tones, it will produce a third tone to match the difference between the two tones.  It is this third tone we call a binaural beat.  

By controlling the frequency distance of the two tones, you can control the binaural beat frequency.  The brain will then alter its brainwave frequency to match the binaural beat.  Which means you can alter that state of alertness of the mind and body.  

What are Isochronic Tones? 

Isochronic tones aims to achieve the same result, but with different techniques. 

Isochronic tones only use one tone that pulses on and off rapidly.  The speed of the pulse determines the frequency or speed of the tone (hertz/Hz).  When the brain hears the single tone, it matches the brainwaves to the frequency speed - known as the frequency response process.  

If you haven't already, we encourage you to read our article for a deep dive into the world of isochronic tones here

Binaural beats and isochronic tones - what is the difference? 

isochronic tones and binaural beats
  • Equipment - Probably the biggest difference between the two methods.  Binaural beats requires headphones/earphones to deliver the two different tones.  On the other hand,  isochronic tones can be delivered via a single speaker.  

    This can be a limiting and determining factor for some.  Binaural beats will be ineffective without a vehicle to deliver two separate tones.  Therefore, individuals without access to this equipment have no alternative than to use isochronic tones (vs binaural beats). 

    With that in mind, many users state that using headphones with isochronic tones results in a much better experience.  This makes sense as the pulsating tone would reach the brain clearer and more pronounced. 

    Want to know the Best Headphones for listening to binaural beats or isochronic tones? Check out our reviews here
  • Ambience and listening experience - Another key difference between binaural beats and isochronic tones is the listening experience.  

    More often than not, you will find binaural beats paired with ambient music.  For example, producers often accompany binaural beats used to calm and relax with sounds of waves or rain.  It cloaks the sound of the binaural beats, resulting in a pleasant experience for the listener.  

    For isochronic tones to be effective, the singular pulsating tone needs to be audible.  This means you cannot mask the isochronic tone with other audio (unlike binaural beats). 
  • Range Effect - One of the main differences between binaural beats and isochronic tones is is the efficacy at low frequency ranges.  Isochronic tones (vs binaural beats) are not as effective for entrainment purposes below 4 Hz.  So, if your goal is to use brain entrainment techniques for pain relief or deep sleep your best choice is binaural beats

Binaural beats vs isochronic tones - which should you choose? 

Finally we come to the big question - isochronic vs binaural?  Which is better for you?

To answer this question you will need to ask yourself - what is your purpose for using brain entrainment strategies? 

As we established earlier, to achieve a deep sleep or require pain relief the choice is clear - binaural beats will be your answer. 

Any range above 4 Hz you have the choice to use binaural beats or isochronic tones.  This includes using them for studying, meditating, or even increasing your memory and concentration.  

If you have sensitive ears and prefer music to accompany your listening experience, binaural beats will be your preference. 

It is recommended to use headphones/earphones for both types of brain entrainment.  However if your only option is to play the audio via a speaker, then isochronic tones will be your only choice. 


So which technique is best - binaural beats or isochronic tones?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. 

It will be determined by personal preference and circumstances. 

Hopefully we have been able to highlight some of the key factors you need to consider when making your decision. 

Still unsure as to which to choose?  Feel free to comment with your questions about isochronic tones vs binaural beats below. 

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