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Binaural Audio Recording: A Step-by-Step Guide (Methods & Equipment)

A lot of people use the word “Binaural” in our field. Everything from asmr microphone to music that claims to have “life-changing” powers is infused with this ingredient. So, what exactly is binaural audio, and how exactly does one go about capturing it? Both of these inquiries will be addressed in this piece.

What Is a Binaural Recording and How Do They Work?

With binaural audio, you may hear the world around you as though it were in 3-D inside your mind. All around you, you may hear and locate the noises. In a way, you feel as if you’re really there in the recorded scene.

The reason for this is because binaural recordings mimic the way we hear our surroundings in real life. Research on human hearing is necessary to properly comprehend how this works.

Mystifying is the connection between our ears, heads, and brains. The three work together to provide immediate feedback in reaction to sound. We can tell the pitch, position, and source of sound waves within milliseconds of their entering our ears.

Our ears, our heads, and interaural variances in time and intensity allow us to accomplish this accomplishment.

Real-world examples:

To get to our left ear, a sound from our right side has to travel longer. Each ear will perceive the sound differently because of the added distance. The sound will be heard initially by one ear, and it will be louder (louder).

From subtle differences in the time received and volume of sounds, our brain calculates the location the sound originated from.

Because of tiny changes in the time received and the level of sounds, our brain is able to determine the area from where the sound originated.

Interaural time and level discrepancies are terminology used to describe the slight variations in time and intensity sensed by the ears throughout a single conversation.

When our brain gets this information, the true magic begins to happen. Because of the difference in time and volume, it is possible to determine where the sound came from! Sound localization is the term used to describe this kind of directional information.

Binaural recordings make an effort to mimic the changes between the right and left channels of audio in real time.

Learn how to record binaural audio in this tutorial

Binaural recordings must accurately reproduce the space between our ears as well as the shape of our heads in order to generate a 3-D soundscape that is comparable to human hearing. To get these outcomes, follow the actions outlined below.

Obtain a pair of external microphones for your project.

External microphones will be required since the inbuilt microphones on portable field recorders are not spaced appropriately for binaural recordings, and you will need to buy them separately. Each “ear” will need its own microphone, so make sure you have enough.

The distance between your microphones should be 7″ (18cm) between each other.

In the case of humans, this is the average distance between their ears. For the purpose of generating small changes in arrival time and volume, it is critical to use this distance. Your brain interprets these variations as three-dimensional images as a result of these differences.

Fill the area between the microphones with a thick item.

Ideally, this item will have the same dimensions as a human head. Using a tree trunk as a barrier between two microphones is typical practise in nature recordings.

Start recording as soon as possible.

That’s all there is to it! You are currently recording binaural audio on your computer. The next section discusses particular binaural methods as well as the required equipment.

Methods of Binaural Audio Recording

There are a variety of methods for recording audio that produces a three-dimensional sound picture. We’ll start with the most literal interpretation and work our way through a number of other approaches. The most appropriate approach will be determined by your own philosophy, recording style, and financial constraints.

True Binaural Audio Technology

This approach is for the purist who seeks to reproduce human hearing as faithfully as possible as closely as feasible. They do this by using mannequin heads and ears that are anatomically accurate.

The following are some of the most common alternatives for taking this approach:

The Neumann KU 100 Binaural Microphone is the best in the business.

Neumann KU 100 Dummy Head Binaural Recording RigThis is the industry’s most advanced genuine binaural audio system.

It is utilised by musicians, field recorders, and audio engineers because it is designed to replicate the most exact representation of sound as heard by a human.

The low-noise microphones offer balanced XLR outputs with 16dB of A-weighted self noise, which is a significant improvement over the previous generation.

Top and bottom of head include 5/8″ threaded holes, enabling it to be attached to the wall or other surface.

Conclusion

That’s all there is to it. Our understanding of how human hearing works, how binaural audio duplicates our hearing, and various different ways for obtaining binaural recordings gain.

I hope this has piqued your interest and you will give binaural audio a go! It is, without a doubt, the most immersive method of capturing an area. Have a good time experimenting.

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