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Author Topic: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)  (Read 3018 times)

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Offline RobBain

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Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« on: July 29, 2020, 09:56:31 AM »
Hi

I did search before posting (but didn't find anything recent that addressed my questions).

1. Binaural recording - where do you stand?  Often use?  Sometimes use?  Niche offering?  Just for kicks?  Waste of time (why?)

2. Gear.  I'm put off by low-end products (I don't want to use my iPhone).  If I'm going to do this I want a 3.5mm connector.  I don't want to spend $$$s (no heads!).  Is there a sweet spot currently in the market?  I'm a quiet, ambient recordist (not a rock taper).

3. What's the difference between 'binaural' and simply positioning a good pair of mics in or near your ears?  Little difference?  Big difference (if so, why?)?

Many thanks in advance.

Regards,

Rob
Sony PCM-A10 | Sennheiser MKE 600 / LOM mikroUsi's / Clippy EM172s

Offline Len Moskowitz (Core Sound)

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2020, 10:22:05 AM »
(We've been manufacturing binaural microphones for 30 years. We're the originator of the clip-on binaural microphones for concert taping.)

If you're recording for yourself and want to capture the concert experience very well for playback over headphones, recording with a pair of high quality microphones mounted near your ears is the way to go.

Since you're using your ears, and everyone elses ears are different, the recording you'll make will sound best for you. Others will hear it differently.

The difference between a binaural mic set and good pair of mics in or near your ears is the degree to which the microphones are matched, in both frequency response and sensitivity.

About price: We offer three levels of binaural mic sets, starting at $85 for our Low Cost Binaural microphone set, up to over $1000 for the High End Binaural microphone set using DPA capsules.

www.core-sound.com
Len Moskowitz
Core Sound
www.core-sound.com

Offline heva

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Offline heathen

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2020, 10:30:57 AM »
Hopefully Moke will chime in because he regularly records with a proper binaural rig (dummy head, etc).

I'd wager that most of the "binaural" recordings made by tapers are more accurately described as HRTF (myself included).

Also, I think "binaural microphone" is a bit of a misnomer.  There may be microphones configured to be well-suited to a binaural setup, but saying "binaural microphone" is a bit like saying DIN microphone or ORTF microphone.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 10:34:32 AM by heathen »
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Offline vanark

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2020, 10:38:08 AM »
Hopefully Moke will chime in

Not likely. He deleted his account.
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Offline heathen

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2020, 10:41:24 AM »
Hopefully Moke will chime in

Not likely. He deleted his account.

Really?  That's a bummer.

RobBain, you could search for some of his old posts (though I don't know if they'd still show up?) if you want to see a proper binaural rig in action.  I seem to recall that rocksuitcase may have used a proper binaural rig for some Grateful Dead shows in the 80s, but I could be way off there.  My memory isn't the greatest.
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Offline b9audio

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2020, 11:24:54 AM »
This is recorded with Sennheiser Ambeo headphone/microphones, using my head as the real "dummy" head.
Good, but not ideal. The position is good for shooting video, but too far to sound. The worst part of this, is that you cannot make any noise, difficult when you want to clear your throat to prevent coughing.
https://youtu.be/tVioryBRC7w
Binaural recording is one of the best stereo miking to my experience. The logic is simple, omni microphones are best for sonic performance, but a pair of omni must be spaced to create stereo image. With dummy head, the omni pair can be very close together similar to ORTF, NOS that minimized phasing issue. Here is an example of a binaural dummy head recording:
https://youtu.be/R9jOBV5n-Ms

Offline dyneq

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2020, 11:56:09 AM »
Since you want to do quiet ambient recordings, you will need to be aware of microphone and preamplifier self noise. Typically that means spending more.

Best thing to do is experiment yourself and listen to samples to determine what you want. Who will be listening to your recordings? Will they be using headphones or speakers?

Offline jefflester

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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2020, 12:55:28 PM »
Most concert tapers using omnidirectional mics mounted on their person place them on either side of the head somewhere on the temple between the ear and corner of the eye.  That method is generally referred to as HRTF around taperssection.com, which stands for Head Related Transfer Function with one's the head acting as a baffle.  Its not strictly binaural because it does not include the filtering imposed by the outer ear that happens with microphones placed at or inside the ear canals, but it is similar.  That makes it a generally more universal recording method which works well for playback over both speakers and headphones and isn't overly specific to any one particular "set of ears".

Some tapers occasionally use dummy heads instead of their own head, but its not especially common.  Most are "generic heads" with simplified ears.

True binaural recording sampling at the ear-drum (using tiny flexible tubes) is useful in hall acoustics research because it is the only way to reproduce the sound as it was experienced by a listener seated in a specific location in a particular hall.  This requires carefully applied methods to remove binaural response data specific to the individual who's head and ears were used to make the recording, and apply corrections specific to the listener's own binaural response through the specific headphones being used.  David Greisinger uses and writes about this approach extensively.  I believe some of this can be useful to tapers- primarily the corrections applied on the reproduction end for headphone listening more so than the recording techniques.

It is interesting that binaural techniques can provide a form of truly accurate perceptual reproduction, but for music tapers and location recordists the goal is believably and listening enjoyment.  In general binaural recordings give you a "you are there" type listening experience, be that good or bad.  Using 'open rig' recording techniques we can make recordings that can sound better and be more enjoyable than it actually sounded during the performance from that spot.

Two different approaches.


I'm put off by low-end products (I don't want to use my iPhone).  If I'm going to do this I want a 3.5mm connector.  I don't want to spend $$$s (no heads!).  Is there a sweet spot currently in the market?  I'm a quiet, ambient recordist (not a rock taper).

The DPA d:vice connects directly to Iphone (unfortunately not Andrioid compatible) for use with their microphones.  It represents one of the most top quality (and very compact) setups currently available, applicable but not limited to HTRF type recording.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2020, 12:56:09 PM »
I'm chiming in although I need to come back and edit more.
Rob, there is such a  thing as a "proper binaural" set of microphones. I wish Len had gone a bit more in detail (about the mic design itself) as he knows more about this than my psychoacoustic former hydrophone designer self. True Binaural technique uses capsules which are pressure "omnis" ## which are aimed upward into the ear canal, typically using a dummy head, but can be used on your own head. Different from placing typical omni capsules on glasses or near your ears in that each individual's pinnae are unique including that of a dummy head. In Psychoacoustics this is known as the Head Related Transfer function (HRTF), the difference in arrival and location cues in each microphone separated by ones own head or a dummy head.

One result of this is recordings made wearing binaural mics IN the ears are OPTIMALLY played back via headphones or earbuds by the same person who wore the microphones. Playback by others, even with optimal equipment may not hear the same things the original wearer of the mics hears. Thus, the hanging omnis by glasses or clips on a hat has become de rigeur for today's field and hobby recordists in order to listen on stereo speakers or share with a wider audience.

There was a user here, moke, Mike French, who does a fair amount of Binaural recording of generally acoustic music groups using a Sennheiser dummy head. He started using the microphones aimed outward toward the stage or primary sound source as opposed to upward toward the pinnae. He calls that configuration HRTF as it relies only on the Head transfer functions and not the pinnae for accurate reproduction. His technique is top notch.

Product wise-The pinnacle of this was probably the B&K HATS (Head and Torso) heads, then Neumann made one which is a bit more modern and good looking enough to place in symphony halls etc. but each of these is upwards of 5-10 thousand dollars. Then Sennheiser made a less cost dummy head and pressure omni capsules combo in the 1,500 dollar range. Core Sound makes their three binaural offerings, each of which gets excellent reviews by their users. My old company, Sonic Research Associates, owned a JVC dummy head which I have attached a picture of as well as a stock photo of the Sennheiser mke 2002's

edit1: ## gutbucket caught my error. Here is a more pedestrian description of the differences between pressure and pressure gradient capsules:
Quote
The microphones had to be pressure-type microphones as opposed to pressure-gradient types that have directional (cardioid, hypercardioid, figure-eight, etc.) polar patterns. Pressure type mics are naturally omnidirectional and, like our eardrums, receive sound from only one side of the "diaphragm".
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 01:18:26 PM by rocksuitcase »
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Offline BradleyJY15

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2020, 01:00:33 PM »
I have used all of Len's binaural mics: low end, reg, high end.  He has great stuff, and it is all adapted to plug into a recorder and go. Great sound.

(We've been manufacturing binaural microphones for 30 years. We're the originator of the clip-on binaural microphones for concert taping.)

If you're recording for yourself and want to capture the concert experience very well for playback over headphones, recording with a pair of high quality microphones mounted near your ears is the way to go.

Since you're using your ears, and everyone elses ears are different, the recording you'll make will sound best for you. Others will hear it differently.

The difference between a binaural mic set and good pair of mics in or near your ears is the degree to which the microphones are matched, in both frequency response and sensitivity.

About price: We offer three levels of binaural mic sets, starting at $85 for our Low Cost Binaural microphone set, up to over $1000 for the High End Binaural microphone set using DPA capsules.

www.core-sound.com
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Offline rocksuitcase

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music IS love

When you get confused, listen to the music play!

Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E|DPA 4060 SK
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2020, 01:10:50 PM »
pressure gradient "omnis"
 
^Technical correction.

Pressure component = monopolar (omnidirectional). Pressure gradient component = dipolar (figure-8). Directional pickup pattern microphones are generally derived from a combination of those two basic components within a single design.   Directionality imparted by baffles such as head mounting is a further complication to all that, yet the part most useful to discuss around here.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline heva

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Re: Binaural Recording (latest thinking from tapers?)
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2020, 02:37:07 PM »
Have a look here: https://store.lom.audio/products/mikrousi?variant=6174830002208

My set, ripped a sports headset and put the LOM’s in it.
Use it with FR2le. Sound is awesome.

 

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