Have you ever heard a recording that gave you the feeling you were right there in the studio while it was being recorded?
Hearing every hi-hat in your ear, every clip and clap… that is the power of binaural recording, and it’s made possible by binaural microphones.
But what exactly is a binaural microphone, and how does it work?
What Is A Binaural Microphone?
A binaural microphone is a type of stereo microphone that is designed to capture sound in a way that replicates the way the human ear hears it.
This is achieved through the use of a dummy head such as the Neumann KU100 or a human head-shaped model with a pair of omnidirectional microphones positioned to mimic the way the human ear picks up sound.
One of the primary applications of binaural microphones is in recording concerts and live events.
With a binaural microphone, you can capture the full soundscape of a live performance and transport listeners right into the middle of the action.
This is especially useful for recreating that in-person experience for virtual reality audio.
But binaural microphones aren’t just for concerts – they can also be used for podcasting and voiceover work, sound design for film and television, and more recently ASMR.
The immersive listening experience they provide can be a powerful tool in any audio production.
How Do Binaural Microphones Work?
The key to binaural microphones is the placement of the microphones. In a dummy head model, the two mics are placed where the ears would be making it easy to visualize where the sound will be picked up on a stereo or in headphones.
Again, this positioning allows the microphones to capture sound from all directions, just as the human ear does.
Omnidirectional microphones are used in binaural microphones because they are able to pick up sound equally from all directions.
This is important in binaural recording because it allows the microphones to capture sound in a natural and realistic way, replicating the way the human ear picks up and processes sound.
Binaural microphones are able to produce an immersive listening experience for the user by imitating the way the human ear receives and processes sound information.
It’s practically the same as being in the same room as the musicians or at the live event itself.
Applications of Binaural Microphones
In the world of audio production, binaural microphones can be used for a wide variety of tasks. The following are some of the most typical applications:
Recording concerts and live events:
Binaural microphones are perfect for capturing the energy and atmosphere of a live event. They allow the listener to feel like they are right there in the room with the musicians.
Creating virtual reality audio:
Binaural microphones are frequently utilized in the process of producing immersive aural experiences for usage in virtual reality applications.
They provide the listener with the sensation that they are genuinely present in the virtual environment.
Podcasting and voiceover work:
Binaural microphones can be used in podcasting and voiceover work to create a more natural and immersive listening experience for the audience.
Sound design for film and television:
They can be especially useful in sound design for film and television, since they allow for the creation of a soundscape that is more realistic and immersive.
Using Binaural Microphones For ASMR
ASMR is all the rage right now…
A tingling sensation in the scalp and spine is a hallmark of the ASMR experience, making it a deeply personal and private one.
Relaxation and stress relief through ASMR content, such as the whisper of a soft-spoken voice, the calming sounds of nature, or the feeling of being personally attended to, has grown in popularity and as a result, people are learning more about how they can get the best recording experience for this private and sensitive business.
Binaural microphones work wonderfully to record this all-encompassing environment.
These stereo microphones mimic the human ear’s sensitivity to sound by using a pair of omnidirectional mics placed in a dummy head or humanoid model.
This paves the way for the recording of authentic sound, giving the listener a sensation of total immersion.
As previously stated, binaural microphones are perfect for recording the low-volume conversations and soothing music that bring on the tingling sensation associated with autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).
They can also be used to record ASMR artists acting out caring or nurturing roles, transporting listeners into the ASMR performer’s virtual world (which may not be a big deal now, but in the Metaverse-themed future…yup! Cha-ching!)