binaural recording equipment

Strange, there was quite a discussion on here some years ago when I asked the same question as I had thought that binaural mics were just two ordinary mics  :-[
I was soon put right and there was a fairly detailed discussion on how they worked and the equipment needed.....but I can't find it!!!!!

I think this was the page that I was directed to for more info.
It'll give an idea whilst others get to read what you asked.  ;)

I had intended trying this but the cost of the mics, battery box etc was far more than I could afford for what use I could make of them :(
It was getting into silly figures.
This is a great site too but you need to register. Fantastic sound samples there but still under construction.
I made my own...

Picked up a set of cheap headphones at the shack.  I disassembled them and soldered on a microphone instead of a speaker.  Pointed the speaker out at the world, instead of in towards my ears.

I think the headphones cost about $7 and the mic capsules were about $1.65 each at the time.

Something like this:

I don't see the ones I got there, they were panasonic mic capsules, great range.  I made my own battery for the mics too, in my experience, you need to make sure the mics have enough power otherwise it's easy to overload them.  Makes setting your recording levels easier too.  The battery box cost about $5 in parts too, really, it's a couple of caps, a few resistors a mic plug and a 9v battery hookup.  It's not super pretty, but it works and it's way small.

While the price is right in a DIY situation, here's some pitfalls:

1.  Each mic has a different sensitivity. I wouldn't just buy two and think you're done.  I'd buy 10 and try to match them up...
2.  Wind noise can be an issue.  I've made a couple sets of these and have been experimenting with how to eliminate wind noise and I'm still working on it (not actively but next time I do some recordings I'll try something new).

I think if you want to power the device with the recorder, you would use mic in, if you build/buy a battery pack for your mics, you would use line-in.  It's been a while, a lot of my knowledge has faded.
Check out, they have an excellent range of in-ear binaural microphones.  I purchases a pair around two years ago and take them everytime I visit DLRP.  The sensitivity is excellent - I can't fault them.  I've used them with two Olympus records and recently with a Zoom H1.  One of the best recordings I made was of Phantom Manor and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster - they picked the onboard audio up with no problem (and suffered from little wind noise).  I hope this helps.
I'm not smart enough to understand why, but it DOES help.

I've found with Disney attractions, there is a large difference in the volumes used.  The best example I can think of is EEA, where during the initial movie you might want to pick up the deafening explosion from the Big Bang yet capture the subtle noises in the jungle afterwards.  Without a battery pack for your mics, you might either rely on AGC (big no-no) or have to adjust the levels while you're recordig (another big no-no).

The 1.5v coming out of the mic jack just doesn't give you the ability to reproduce attractions accurately.  My battery pack provides 9V (maybe it's 10 due to the capacitors) and does great.  I also use my recorder as an audio source for my videos and have been very happy with the results.  I've done a few weddings (not professionally, just for broke friends) and not having the mic overload during applause, etc have been a life saver (and makes the brides happy even though they don't realize it).

Do you need a pattery pack?  No...  But you will wonder how you got along without one once you do.  I found the price tough to justify, which is why I made my own, but if you are serious about live recordings, then they are a must for me.  They DO NOT work for induction mics and ALD recordings.

needmagic said:
Some recorders mic sockets come with power - the Zoom H2 will be Ok  ;)
I was typing while you answered..  Yes, mic power is probably there, but not sufficient in many cases.  As I mentioned, there's a HUGE difference between 1.5v and 9v.
Thanks for the advice .... I think I know what my next purchase might be!

During the last three visits to DLRP I've been trying to capture the Santa Fe exterior loop - I used the binaural mic this year which really helped ... that extra power could make all the difference next visit!

the a4 adapter uses ... those little flashbulb batterys .. you can find those in most photo isles
the zoom H1 uses one AA battery
The Sound Profesionals make good stuff.  It's pricey though.

I'll tell you, those in-ear just look like the microphone capsule attached to a wire.  Not sure how they do the ear wrap around (maybe it's just shrink wrap tubing getting set (cooled) in a mold of some sort.  Some kind of wind sock would be necessary with those, at least for rides.  Recording a concert and you wouldn't have to worry about anything.

Maybe reproducing a set of those will be my next project.  Once I figure out something to cut the wind.

Those tie clip ones ARE the mic capsule attached to a headphone wire.

Here's what I do.  Cut the ends off a set of headphones.  Using headphones with two wires works better than the single wire ones, but I imagine you can use either.  Mark the left and right sides before you cut the ends off.  Next, just take the mic capsule and solder on the ends of the wire. I tin the ends of the wire first, then using a 15watt solderig iron, just a quick hit and you should be good.  I put a dab of hot melt glue to act as a strain relief, then cut a short length of shrink wrap tubing, het it with the heat gun and bingo!  DONE!  As I said, you can make those for a FRACTION of what they are selling them for.  Even buying the soldering iron for the first set and you'll spend less...

Just do a little research on the mic capsules, make sure they have a good range (frequency, not distance)...  
So, should I go for that pair on eBay?
The ZoomH2 has a powered socket of 2.5v so I doubt I would need the 1.5v battery pack.
That pair is about as much as I can afford at the moment but no use throwing money away.
I really can't make my own - my fingers are far too old and stiff to attempt that sort of thing now, alas (10 years ago I'd have done it with ease).
Personally speaking...  Those wouldn't work for me.  I've never been able to get those to stay put in my ears just sitting around listening to music, never mind at a theme park.

When is your trip?
Two weeks tomorrow!  :eek:
Yes, I know what you mean, this type always seem to drop out of my ears on a regular basis as well.
However, for recording a ride (with the help of a rubber band, I'm sure I could cope).
I think I may them a try - if only to see what I can manage. I can always upgrade. I started recording with a tiny tape recorder (those things you take vocal notes with) and upgraded to the mini disc and then to the ZoomH2
The ZoomH2 supports ordinary mics and powered mics so it's probably worth a try. (if I can remember to switch to the powered mic setting of course) :D
4-6 day delivery so plenty of time.
Binaural mics seem very scarce over here (other than iPod earphones with mic - not quite the same thing). Amazon have none at all. I wonder if they are legal here?
kk..  Had an idea, but I can't execute it in a couple of weeks.  I didn't notice the little clear plastic things soundprofessionals uses to keep the mics in your ears.  Those are the types of things that the DIYer has trouble competing with.  I've had trouble sourcing the little clips for the mics to attach to a tie of something, and I'm seeing sells them for like $26 a pair!  UGH!

Anywho, let me know how those work out.  I'v thought about hacking a set of those earbuds too but wasn't sure how well they would capture the sound.
You may be able to help me over this bit though.
These mics use a (not included) battery pack using a 1.5 volt battery.
The ZoomH2 has a powered mic socket rated at 2.5 volts.
Any idea if this would damage the mics (as it's 1 volt over what he supplies)?
I'm not sure what the rating is for these mics - electret condenser lavalier microphones.
I'm thinking it may be 1.5 - 9 volts as standard. Is that right?
Don't want to spend another £15 on a battery box if I don't need it.
Hard enough persuading my wife to let me spend £30 on another toy  :-\
I'm totally guessing at:  No, I don't think that would be a problem at all.

If anything, the 2.5v will probably perform a little better.

As I mentioned, I'm pumping 9-10v through mine with no problem.  I should have taken a picture of my face though as I was plugging my battery box into my $400 recorder for the first time.  Really hopping that I was following the build directions correctly.
I wonder if it similar to mine when my recorder fell off my bag top, the mic lead disconnected (causing the file to fail finalising) and then dropping on the floor splitting the case open.  Fortunately the build quality of Zoom H1 is good which meant I could clip the casing back together and it worked fine - unfortunately I lost 55 mins of recording.  Don't know why but I thought of the Mel Brooks film 'Life Stinks'
Do you have the silicon jacket for the Zoom?
I've dropped mine a few times (too much equipment, too few hands) and it's just  bounced. Such a robust little thing.  :D
I'm still undecided about this. I'm thinking " video, live/induction recording, photos, double photos for making 3D, it too much and then thinking, make a binaural recording for each ride I take - I can still video whilst doing it - best of both worlds".
Decisions, decisions.............
I'm pretty sure a rubber band (tied to the earphone with a lark's head - look it up if you were not a scout) looped over the ear will keep them in place.
I'll try it with a similar shaped pair, I think.
Binaural is nice, however I don't listen to many of mine...

I like clean sounds, and recording what's going on in the theater won't get you that.  I was there for a few days and can't beleive how many times I heard phones ring,  texts coming in, going out, people talking, etc.  If you do late night recordings and can minimize the other stuff, maybe, but I just don't care for the dirty recordings.

I'll continue to do them when I can, but I don't put a lot of time/energy into them anymore.
On the plus side, most rides sound the same "live" (ie noisy) so just one recording per ride would probably do.
I asked myself this question:
If they sold a couple of official CD's of Binaural recordings of the rides, would I buy them.
I reckon I would from the "relive the actual sounds of the ride" angle but, like home movies and photos, probably wouldn't listen to them often.
I can't see any reason why I couldn't record and video at the same time so maybe no real extra work/time involved.
Heck, I'm starting to convince myself now!  :mad:
On the negative side. Having been raised on mono records etc (and very rarely bothering to use the home cinema for the surround sound), do I really care about the new higher quality stuff? The very worst of the new stuff is far superior to what I grew up with so differences between the modern HQ players is small in comparison.
More soul searching to do, I think.
When I did my recording, I tried not to move my head...  I didn't want to further confuse thelistener as to what was left and right by me looking around.

So, I'm not sure I would do a lot of audio and video at the same time...

And make sure your wife doesn't wisper stuff in your ear!  Nothing ruins a recording faster than, "where are we going after this?" right into the microphone...
It's my son who jabbers all through the rides  :mad:
There's also my smoker's cough of course. I don't notice it until I play back stuff  :-[
Well, I've gone and ordered them. We'll have to see what happens.
I haven't bought the battery box as it's lower power than the ZoomH2 provides.
I'll report back in a few weeks. Estimated delivery is 2-3 days so it should arrive in time.
Well, I ordered them and they arrived the next day (today).
Tried them with the ZoomH2 (played some music on my PC with speakers to the right and made some noises to the left) and yes, the Zoom powers them fine  ;D
Played back the recording and I'll swear I could hear the sounds coming from exactly where they should be. I could hear the sound from the 2.1 speakers coming from where the speakers were situated (eerie feeling) and I'd swear that the three speakers were still playing (had to take the headphones off to check).
I made a few noises on the left hand side (rustling paper, moving things etc) and, sure enough, they sounded as though they were coming from the source! (I even looked around to see what was making the noise - duh).
Quite impressed with them and the concept.
It's going to be interesting to try them out "in the field" (or "park) .  8)
Excellent...  I wasn't sure how they would pick up, looks like they are perfect!

It's amazing how positional two mics can be, although weonly have two ears..  Go figure!  I did a little looking around and the data sheets on many of the mic capsules I say had operating voltages anywhere between 1v and 10v usually.  So, 2.5v is good, although don't be surprised at how easily you can overload them in loud environments.  But know that a simple battery box will probably solve that...

Can't wait to hear some of your recordings...
Hope all goes well with the field trials ... don't worry about the strange looks from guests (wondering why you might be listening to an MP3 player in Disneyland) you soon get used to it  ;)
I guess that means using personal music players is not as common at DLRP as they are at DLR.  It's a common way to pass the time while waiting in line or just walking around.
OR they are all doing binaural recordings of the queue music  ;D
Don't worry, with the shirts I wear, the earphones will be the last thing they'll look at  ;)Looking forward to trying them out. Even my wife was impressed by the recording I made this morning (she isn't impressed by these boys toys normally).
The ones I have bought are as basic as they come, I think - around $30.
The tests I have made so far using my ZoomH2 seem far better than I had hoped for.
I'm at the park next week so fingers crossed.
wait you got the in ear mics for $30? how?
eyore said:
The ones I have bought are as basic as they come, I think - around $30.
The tests I have made so far using my ZoomH2 seem far better than I had hoped for.
I'm at the park next week so fingers crossed.
needmagic said:
Some recorders mic sockets come with power - the Zoom H2 will be Ok  ;)

The Zoom H2 would be perfect for making binaural recordings (two mics pointing left and right for stereo sound). If you spend an extra $10 at Radio Shack, you can make an induction recording of there's an accessible speaker. ;D Can't go wrong with the H2!
Yes, the zoomH2 works well for directional stereo (but not true binaural without the mics - you need a head in the way for true binaural recordings otherwise it's just good stereo)  ;D
The mics I bought are powered by the Zoom and pick things up well enough for me.
The Zoom also works well with the Radio Shack induction mic but I use a mono-stereo adapter (I never do trust that the mono plug will span both points in the socket and do joint stereo) with it. I know a mono jack should be fine and will record on both channels but I had one once that didn't.
I'm not sitting for another hour to re-record or fiddling about copying channels when I get home.
I do find that the Zoom (using the two front mics) is quite a good directional mic as well if you can get a good line on a speaker that's not too far away.
Can't post the ones that came out best (commercial stuff) but here's Buzz Lightyear.
Just popped the mics in and switched on and let it run (set the level, of course).
I did try not to turn my head during the ride! The mics may have dropped out a couple of times, not sure (must listen again).
The Zoom (on high gain) also picked up a passable area loop of Toad Hall from a speaker I had to bend down and put my ear to in an effort to hear if it was working (it's the only speaker with full access and no CMs and also well out of sight from most people - it's down the side of the -unused this year - festival stage next door to the restaurant.
Unfortunately, can't post - commercial tracks.
It's a good little recorder.