Binaural Sound

[photo: Simon McBurney in The Encounter, photo by Robbie Jack]

Binaural, or 3D sound, is a recording technique that uses stereo microphones mounted on a human head (or head-shaped object) in order to create a fully believable ambient environmental sound recording, which replicates the original acoustic environment when replayed through headphones. It should be noted that binaural sound cannot have a ‘3D’ effect when played back through loudspeakers. 

The use of binaural audio in live performance has been limited to experimental situations until recently when sound designer Gareth Fry used binaural recording and headphone playback for Complicite’s The Encounter.

Although best-quality binaural recording equipment uses expensive microphones and a head-shaped mounting device (such as the Neumann KU100), the binaural microphone/headphone combination available from Roland (see right) produces acceptable results for some applications.

Documents / References

Sound on Sound - Mixing & Broadcasting from ROH (February 2017)
[External Website]

Please listen to the following videos through headphones for the best effect

Virtual Barbershop

The Stone Tape

BBC Radio Drama created in ‘3d’ (binaural) sound in 2015.

The Revenge

20 minute radio play written in 1978 by Andrew Sachs

ASMR – Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

What is ASMR