Binaural Beats vs Isochronic Tones

This article explains the basics of binaural beats and isochronic tones. If you already know what they are and how they work and just want to find out which one is better binaural beats or isochronic tones than you can click here to jump to the section that discusses this.

What is Brainwave Entrainment?

Brainwave entrainment is literally a way of hacking your brain. Using it you can literally put yourself into any emotional state you want – at will! It is a fantastic tool for personal development and thousands of people across the world use it to enhance their concentration when studying, improve the depth of meditation and to effortlessly induce sleep.

It works because over time the brain will begin to mimic any frequency it is presented with. So you can induce any state you want at will – providing you know the frequency associated with that state. For example an alpha state (pleasantly relaxed and calm) is 10 Hz. So to create this state all you need to do is to get the brain to resonate at 10 Hz.

Brain entrainment makes this as easy as sitting down and listening to an audio track!brain-entrainment-headphones

It works due to the fact that when the brain is presented with a stimulus (such as sound) it becomes as an electrical signal in the brain. If the stimulus is tuned finely enough and repeated at the same interval over time, then the brain will begin to mimic this frequency in its own electrical patterns. Neuroscientists call this phenomenon the ‘Frequency Following Response’ (FFR).
So we can take advantage of the brain’s natural ability to synchronize with stimulus it receives by providing it with a stimulus that corresponds to the exact frequency we want it to resonate to.

What are Binaural Beats (and do they work)?

binaural beats work best

Binaural beats work based on the fact that once you know the frequency that the brainwave state that you want corresponds to. (For example if you want to create an alpha brainwave state then you would want the brain to resonate at say 10Hz. Then you force the brain to enter this state by playing two slightly different tones into each ear. It is the gap between these two tones that creates the tone in the center of the brain.

For example if you play a tone of 100 Hz into the left ear and 110 Hz into the right, the brain will read the difference between them and resonate at a frequency of 10 Hz.


What About Isochronic Tones?

While binaural beats are produced in part inside the brain, isochronic tones are already fully formed sounds before they reach your ear.
Isochronic tones are tones repeated at specific intervals. It is the length of time between these tones that will affect the brain waves and so creates the desired rate of frequency in the brain.Isochronic-tones-entrainment


Binaural beats have been around a long time and a tried and tested way to alter your brainwaves. Isochronic tones have been around for less time, but everyone agrees that they work.

Binaural Beats vs Isochronic Tones – Which is one is the best?

The answer is that both work incredibly well – however some people are more susceptible to one than the other. This appears to depend on your own unique neurology and therefore the only way to find out is to try both.

The main advantage of isochronic tones over binaural beats is that when you are listening to a binaural music track you need to listen with headphones (in stereo) – this is because it is necessary for each ear to hear a slightly different tone. With isochronics  there is no need for this and so you can play the tracks out-loud with speakers.

Some people find the noise of binaural beats distracting or unpleasant (though I personally do not). In fact many first time users say that they feel reassured by being able to hear the slight hum of the binaurals in the background behind the surface track (to reassure them that they are not just listening to an ordinary meditation track).

My personal opinion is that if you are in doubt, the best thing to do is to try both and see which one (or both!) works best for you. Or even better get one of the tracks that has both entrainment methods on a single track (there are many).

When it comes down to isochronic tones versus binaurals, I have spent many, many years in the brain entrainment community, and have never once heard anyone say “Only isochronic tones work on me – binaurals have no effect whatever” (or vice versa). So it is really a case of listening to your body and seeing which one works best for you.

Click here if you want to see the top 5 brain entrainment tracks as chosen by our experts. This kind of software can be great tool for improving your life and it helps to get the best.

2 comments on “Binaural Beats vs Isochronic Tones
  1. Drew Meier says:

    Very Informative Thank you! In terms of the ffr how long does that usually last? I would imagine it depends upon frequency of use. Should the technology be varied or consistent if Im trying to produce a specific result like more alpha waves.

    • LifeImproving says:

      Hi Drew, I gather from your question that you are trying to train your brain to produce more alpha waves in everyday life (as opposed to just when you listen to the audio tracks).

      In response to your question the brains frequency following response doesn’t last long after the stimulus is removed. So listening to the cheaper ‘one use’ tracks repeatedly will only help you a limited amount (basically during the time you are using them, this is great for someone looking to relax or enter a state of super concentration, but not perfect for the goal you have stated.)

      However you can achieve your goal of training your brain to produce more alpha brain waves all the time by using a brain wave entrainment program with different, successive levels, designed to cause neuronal growth. These programs offer the long-term benefits and upgrading of the brains wiring that you are looking for.

      And as for varied vs consistent, I would definitely stick with following a single program, and progressing through each of the levels as you advance. You can read our review of the top entrainment programs here:
      For lasting results I would suggest the fourth one on the list.

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