Miniature Binaural Microphones

Visit our Binaural FAQ if you looking for information on Binaural microphone and Binaural recording.

(a.k.a. Miniature Omnidirectional microphones)

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General Binaural microphone Information

Example of a Binaural Microphone here

See all of our Binaural microphones here

Visit our MP3 Samples to hear sample recordings made with our microphones.

Note: In certain recording situations, you may need a separate power source for your microphones. Visit our Battery Module FAQ for more info on why you would want to use a battery module. If you are planning on recording loud sounds (like an amplified rock concert, for example), please read the Battery Module FAQ for details on making recordings of loud sounds.

Binaural recordings are two channel recordings created by placing two Omnidirectional microphones in or as close to the ears as is practical. Using this technique, the location information contained in the frequency, amplitude and phase responses of the left and right channels closely match the cues required by the human auditory system to localize sound sources. Positioned in this way, these Binaural microphones accurately capture sonic information coming from all directions and will produce extremely realistic recordings when listened to through headphones.

These microphones can also be used in a standard stereo configuration by placing them approximately 12" to 24" apart, away from your head. This configuration provides excellent stereo imaging for listening through loudspeakers or headphones.

Battery modules (power supplies)
In certain recording situations, you may need a separate power source for your microphones. Using these mics with a battery module will allow the recordist to utilize the line input of their recorder instead of the mic input in loud recording situations. In addition, the higher voltage supplied by the battery/filter module increases the dynamic range of the microphones and allows recordings to be made with high sound pressure levels without distortion or clipping. Since the battery module and microphones are purchased separately, one battery module can be used for several different mic sets. Visit our Battery Module FAQ for more info on why you would want to use a battery module. All of our Binaural microphones are compatible with any of our battery/filter modules (except for micro binaurals).

Interchangeable elements
Aside from superior specs and performance, the Premium microphones have optional interchangeable mic elements available, each with it's own pickup pattern: Cardioid, Hyper-cardioid, Sub-cardioid, Omni-directional and Mini-shotgun. Each additional element is sold separately, and two are needed for a stereo set. Mic elements are available here.

The Hyper-cardioid and Mini-shotgun elements allows the recordist to make excellent recordings from greater distances than even the Cardioids will allow. When compared to an Omni directional element, a recording made with hyper Cardioid microphones will sound as is if the microphones were much closer to the sound source. This can be a great advantage when making recordings from a distance. They will also do a great job of reducing unwanted audience noise from the sides and rear. The Sub-cardioid elements are great to use when the acoustics of the venue you are recording in are good, but you want to get rid of some of the crowd noise. They are basically a compromise between an Omni and Cardioid element.

Cable and connector details
Our shielded microphone cable on our microphones is manufactured by Audio Technica. These microphone cables are terminated in a standard 1/8" gold plated stereo mini plug, unless otherwise noted. Some microphone sets, especially those with very small mic element, use a flexible of small diameter terminated in a right angle stereo mini plug. All of these electret condenser microphones require a power source to turn them 'on'......a there are two common ways to power them. The first is to plug them into any recorder (DAT, MiniDisc, Camcorder, or other) that supplies a bias voltage of between 1.5 and 10 Volts DC (commonly known as "plug-in-power") at the microphone input jack. This configuration allows recordists to use the microphones directly into the recorder when recording less demanding subject material (where the sound level will not be extremely loud or bassy). However, for optimum performance in loud situations, these mics can be used in conjunction with one of our battery modules that supplies these microphones (or any similar microphones from another manufacturer) with the optimum bias voltage of 9 volts D.C. This additional power allows the microphones to reproduce the louder sound waves without overloading, causing distortion of the sound. This powering scheme works with most electret condenser microphones, but not all. Those that don't work this way are noted in the detail area of each item.

Sound Quality
The Sound Professionals Binaural microphone systems have an extended frequency response and a very natural and accurate sound, providing deep, solid bass, smooth midrange and clean highs. They have a very wide dynamic range, and will handle very high sound pressure levels without distortion or clipping. (See details above for more info). When combined with one of the battery modules, they are designed to operate into a nominal impedance of 10K Ohms.

Warranty Information

FAQ: Binaural vs Cardioid vs Hyper/Super Cardioid

(a.k.a. Omnidirectional vs Unidirectional)

This FAQ will answer many frequently asked questions when considering whether you need to use Binaural, Cardioid or Hyper/Super Cardioid mics......

1- What are the differences between Binaural and Cardioid mics?

Binaural microphones are miniature Omni-directional microphones, used in pairs, placed on either side of a human (or artificial) head and placed in, or as near as possible to, the ears. Omnidirectional mics pick up sound in all directional fairly equally, so when they are used in this manner, they pick up sound very much like the human ear does. Note: These same microphones are also capable of making stereo recordings.

Cardioid microphones are Uni-directional microphones and pick up sound mostly in the direction you point them. They cannot be used to make binaural recordings, but can, of course, be used to make stereo recordings. Because of this directionality, they have certain advantages over Omni-directional mics in some situations.

2- How can a Binaural mic be used to make a stereo recording?
Basically, by moving omnidirectional microphones away from one's head and separating them by at least 6-8" or so, you will get a stereo recording instead of a binaural one.

3- I like to listen to my recordings with speakers, not headphones. Which mics are right for me?
If you mostly listen to your recordings with speakers (at home, in the car, with a boom box, etc.), you would get better results if you made stereo recordings instead of binaural recordings. Binaural recordings sound best when listened to through headphones. You can use Binaural or Cardioid mics to make stereo recordings. However, one exception to this is the SP-TFB-2 In-Ear Binaurals, which sound excellent with headphones or speakers.

4- When is it advantageous to use Omni-directional mics?
When you are recording in a venue that has good acoustics, the audience is fairly quiet and you are fairly close to the sound source, Omni-directional mics are capable of make excellent recordings and would be the mic of choice. Omni mics also are more forgiving of handling noise and wind noise, so are a good choice if you can't secure your mics firmly or have to record in windy situations and don't want to use large windscreens.

In addition, when you need a good sounding mic and have a limited budget, Omni mics would be a better choice as cardioid mics of the same quality cost 2 to 3 times as much as omnis.

5- When is it advantageous to use Cardioid mics?
When you are recording in a venue that does not have great acoustics, the audience is noisy and/or you can't get close to the sound source, Cardioids are the better mics to use.

Since Cardiods are directional mics, they will greatly reduce excess reflected sound coming at the mics from all over the venue. They do a good job of reducing unwanted audience noise from the sides are rear. While they can be used up close with excellent results, they excel over Omni mics when recording from a distance. In fact, there are different levels of directionality available, including Sub-cardioid, (regular) Cardioid, Hyper-cardioid and Super-Cardioid (sometimes called shotgun) mics. In general, the further you are from the sound source, the more directional the mic should be.

Cardioids are also the preferred mic to use on stage for sound reinforcement applications, since they are less likely to feedback through a PA system. On the downside, cardioids are more susceptable to handling and wind noise, so if you can't secure your mics firmly or have to record in windy situations and don't want to use large windscreens, omni's would be a better choice.

6- I need one set of mics to handle all of my recording situations. What kind of mic should I use?
Overall, Cardioid microphones offer more flexibility that Binaurals in that they can be used in a wider choice of applications. If you have many different recording situations and need one mic type to do them all, use Cardioids.

7- I want to record some really loud music. Which is the better type of mic to use?

Both Omnidirectional and Cardioid mics are capable of recording very loud music. There are other considerations, outside of the scope of this FAQ. See our battery module FAQ for more information on this subject.

8- I am going to record a loud concert at a large arena. What would be the right mics to use?

If you are going to be very close to the sound source, omni's or Cardioids would work well. However, if you are going to be a little further back (about 20 to 75 feet from the sound source), Cardioids would be a better choice. If you will be even further back, Hypercardioids or Shotguns would be the mic of choice. Some mics, like the Sound Professionals Premium and Slimline Cardioids have interchangeable elements that offer these choices without having two different sets of mics for different purposes.

9- Why do you call miniature Omnidirectional mics "Binaural microphones" Are you trying to confuse people?

No, but all of this can be quite confusing. The reason mini omni mics are sometimes called binaurals is that over the years, in the industry, these little omni mics have simply become known as "Binaurals".

Really, what they would be more accurately called is "dual channel miniature omnidirectional microphones that are capable of making binaural or stereo recordings", but we might grow old having to say that each time, so we just shorten it to "binaurals".