Binaural Microphones

Like a lot of people I have enjoyed some of the sound effects that can be created with binaural microphones. I think it tends to make things feel more realistic when things move around, which can certainly be achieved with binaural microphones. Since I can never have too many toys, I looked into getting a pair a few months back.

There are a couple of different types of microphones, there are the single omnidirectional microphones which I’ll confess to knowing absolutely nothing about those microphones. Then there are the type of microphones that work in pairs. These are the types that I looked into and eventually ended up getting. One of these types actually have the microphones fitted into your ears, the idea is that they pick up just what you are hearing. The other variety are free standing, usually coming with clips, so you can attach them anywhere you like.

The important thing I learned about these paired binaural microphones is that, at least all that I looked at, require a power supply to drive the microphones. In other words you can’t actually plug them directly into your computer and expect to receive good results. In my case I ended up getting a Tascam DR-5 hand held recorder, which also supplies power to the microphones. I got this piece from Amazon I think for around $75.

The one thing to consider here, if you are going to use this type of recorder and you are recording video at the same time, is being sure to sync the two up in the final production. I rarely do live video while I’m recording sound, so I can’t share any experience there, but I know many do so it is a consideration.

As far as the actual microphones go, initially I purchased a set that fits into your ears. I also got these from Amazon, although I went cheap. The microphones were only $20 and they got some good reviews so I decided to give them a try. Big mistake, which I got a clue to as soon as I opened up the box. Very thin cables and overall didn’t appear to be made very well. Once I tried them, I found they could hardly pick up any sound at all. Unless I cranked up the recorder to it’s highest level, and then I got a ton of distortion and background noise.

I went back to shopping and ended up ordering a pair from Sound Professionals, I got the SP-BMC-3 model,  These were $69 and actually the least expensive binaural microphones they offer. I’ll say that in general the Sound Professionals web site is an excellent place to go for information.

Huge difference in quality alone with these microphones versus the pair I initially bought. The cables are very thick and sturdy. They came with wind screens, the foam rubber that fits over the top of the microphone and some clips that will swivel in different directions so it’s easy to attach them where ever I like. These microphones are super sensitive, so it’s best to use them in a quiet environment.  I have been happy with the results and received some good feedback on the recordings that I have made with them. So I feel comfortable recommending these microphones.

Thanks for reading!



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