Gnuaural: Cheatsheet

Gnaural’s Graph Editor

The X axis in Gnaural always refers to time, but the Y axis confusingly can refer to four different things:

  1. Base frequency
  2. Beat frequency
  3. Volume
  4. Stereo balance
Base frequency and beat frequency

The Base Frequency controls the overall frequency of the entire audio. This is where you have to play around with the different settings and see which one sounds best to you. You can set this to whatever you like, it’s the base tone that you hear. The higher number the higher the pitch, the lower number the lower the pitch. It just has to be in a comfortably audible range where you can hear it.

The Beat Frequency is where you actually create tones. You don’t need to do any math to get the left and right channels to do the proper Beat Frequency, you simply set the Beat Frequency itself and Gnaural does the math for you.

Voice Type
  1. Binaural Beat
  2. Pink Noise
  3. Audio File
  4. Isochronic Pulses (makes sound on both left and right at the same time)
  5. Alt Isochronic Pulses (alternates sound between right and left)
  6. Water Drops
  7. Rain

Click the checkbox if you want any of the voices to be monophonic. (They spell it monophobic in the program but I am going to go out on a limb here an assume that this is a misspelling. Please leave me a comment below if you know whether this is true or not because frankly it truly has me baffled to what monophobic means!)

Howto: create a project
  1. File > New
  2. Give your project a name
  3. Tools > Truncate Schedule
  4. Set the length of time in seconds you want your project to be
  5. To make sure you have set the length of time correctly, look in the top left box under the tool bar that is labeled ‘Status’ and check out your ‘Projected Runtime’.
  6. If you look at the bottom right corner you will see a section called Graph View. Make sure that it is set at Base Freq.
  7. In the same box that you changed the length of your project, the vertical slider controls the base frequency by sliding it up and down. If you look at the far left of the graph these numbers will show you the frequency range. You can also right click on the box and adjust it’s settings there.
  8. Look at the Graph View in the bottom right corner and select Beat Freq
  9. Now take the box that we first clicked on at the beginning and right click on it to open its settings (sometimes this is really hard to see, to make it easier, double click anywhere on the graph and create a new setpoint. The pink line follows all the set points so you can find them easier)
  10. Don’t change any of the settings except the one under starting values that says beat frequency (HZ.) Change the number to whatever frequency that you want your brainwaves to synchronize to. Tip: You can also drag the box up and down to wherever you want.
  11. In the bottom left you will see options that allow you to play your new creation. Go ahead and push play to listen to how your binaural beats sound (remember to wear headphones).
  12. Keep Messing around with the program till you start getting the hang of it and seeing how different settings make different sounds.

[Source] [2]

HOWTO: Mix music and messaging tracks with binaural beats
  1. Create a WAV audio file on your computer comprising the music you want as background
  2. Create a WAV audio file on your computer comprising the messaging you want the user to hear
  3. Open Gnaural, and (assuming for now you are using the default Gnaural binaural beat track), import both audio files as “Voices”
  4. Set the volumes of each Audio Voice to where you want them via the Graph View “Volume.” You might also want to set the stereo balance via that Graph View “Stereo Bal.”
  5. Use Gnaural’s File->Export to Audio File function to mix the tracks together in to a new WAV file that you can then easily burn to CD in the usual way

To import a WAV audio file as a voice

  • Edit->Voice->Add
  • Click on the “Choose Audio File” button, choose your file
  • Click on the Voice Type list and choose “Audio File”

Gnaural will repeat Audio File voices that are shorter than the total duration of the schedule; if you really need the schedule to stop at the end of one of the Audio File voices, truncate the schedule to the length of the file by:
Tools->Truncate Schedule
To create your messaging file, and also (if desired) your music file, freeware Audacity is a great choice because it exports to WAV files that are well tested with Gnaural

  • Double-clicking creates a new data point
  • Click-and-dragging across data points selects them
  • Most of the menu items have Tool. If you find yourself in doubt, you can hold your mouse over a menu item to get some idea how to use that particular feature.
  • Add a new voice (Ctrl-j)
  • Try starting with a beat frequency in the alpha range, around 12 hz. (Wakeful brain when the eyes are closed and mind consciously relaxed.) From there slowly let the beat frequency slide downward toward the low theta range for relaxation.
  • Keyboard shortcuts only work in the Graph (one should always click in the graph before executing a shortcut)


Gnaural: Keyboard Shortcuts

Gnaural is a FOSS multiplatform programmable binaural beat sound generator intended for altering brain states with sound. Gnaural outputs in stereo 44.1khz.

For more information see: http://gnaural/sourceforge/net

Keyboard Shortcuts
Ctrl-a Select all datapoints
Shift-A Deselect all datapoints
Ctrl-i Invert datapoints selection
Ctrl-u Select last datapoint
Shift-U Select first datapoint
Ctrl-k Select datapoints by interval
Ctrl-m Select datapoints by neighbor
Ctrl-z Select datapoints by neighbor
Ctrl-y Redo
Ctrl-c Copy selected datapoints
Ctrl-x Cut selected datapoints
Ctrl-v Paste selected datapoints
Shift-V Paste selected datapoints at end
Delete Delete selected datapoints
Shift-Delete Delete selected datapoints and their time
Ctrl-g Scale selected datapoints
Ctrl-e Select all datapoints in selected voice
Shift-E Deselect all datapoints in selected voice
Shift-I Invert selection of all datapoints in selected voice
Ctrl-d Delete selected voice
Ctrl-j Add new voice
Ctrl-b Duplicate selected voice
Ctrl-r Reverse selected voice
Ctrl-l Align datapoints from first selected to last
Command Line Options

-s create default file schedule.gnaural
-d output debug info
-h show this info
-w [file.wav] write output to a .WAV file
-i show runtime info on screen (use with -p or -w)
-o write output to stdout (for redirection)
-p play output through sound system
-a [0 to 9] specify sound card (optional)


Create a CD-compatible WAV file:
gnaural -w MyMeditation.wav

Play directly through sound system:
gnaural -p

Pipe Gnaural through LAME to create an MP3:
gnaural -o | lame – MyMeditation.mp3

Working with Gnaural

Gnaural Logo
(Image Source)

I have been wanting to play around with Gnaural (an opensource binaural-beat generator) forever but have found the learning curve to be super steep so I figured I’d throw together a quick tip round-up for the program.

  1. To set the length of your schedule select one of the two boxes in the bottom screen. You can select them easiest by clicking in the box and hitting ctrl+a. Right click in the box. Put time length in seconds. [Source]
  2. The X axis always refers to time. [Source]
  3. The Y axis can refer to four different things:  (1)Base frequency (2) Beat frequency (3) Volume (4) Stereo balance [Source]
  4. The Base Frequency is main pitch of the tone you will be hearing, as opposed to the speed of the “wow-wow-wow” pulsating you perceive as set by the Beat Frequency. To make an FM radio analogy, the Base Freq. is the “carrier” you’d dial your radio to, while the Beat Freq. would be the actual music/voice you hear in the broadcast. [Source]
  5. You can pick whatever range you want for Beat Freq, but in general, it is probably most effective to use one between 110 hz and 300 hz. [Source]
  6. The first and last data points in the graph are actually the same data point. Move one and the other moves too. [Source]
  7. Double-click to create a new data point.
  8. Dragging data-points beyond the right-edge of the graph will extend the duration of the schedule [Source]
  9. Using the Magnetic Pointer causes any selected data points to be attracted to the click-and-dragged mouse cursor when it is on the data points Y-axis. [Source]
  10. To create a new voice use the menu entry Edit->Voice->Add, or you can use its keyboard shortcut Ctrl-J. [Source]
  11. FLAC is generally the best file to to export to.