How To Make A Dummy Head Binaural Microphone

The latest LeoMakes video takes a look at making a DIY dummy head binaural microphone.

Dummy head microphones are a tool for making field recordings that give a realistic 3D effect. Two microphone capsules are place in artificial ears, which simulates the way that sound comes into real ears.

When you listen to the recording on headphones, your headphone speakers are spaced similarly to how the microphones were spaced, which puts your head sonically into the place of the dummy head when the sound was recorded.

Here’s what Leo has to say about the video:

“In this episode, I build a fantastic binaural (“3D”) microphone and take it to Victoria Park in East London to make some test recordings! I then show you how you can make your own microphone from scratch.

There are several other videos like this on YouTube but none of them really go into detail on the problems (like powering it properly, filtering out electrical/radio noise, etc.) so I really take the time to explain it in detail. This was a massive project, so I hope you enjoy it!”

Dummy head microphones have been used by sound designers and electronic musicians, notably Tangerine Dream founder Edgar Froese on his solo album Aqua.

If you’ve used a dummy head mic system, share your experience in the comments!

6 thoughts on “How To Make A Dummy Head Binaural Microphone

  1. I really did enjoy his field recordings in the park. Good lessons on diy with cheap electret elements, too. His head is quite realistic – I don’t know if that (or the head’s materials) matter much in this case. He seemed to enjoy sharing his project, and the results were really good!

  2. The big difference is the noisefloor, even the Zoom H3VR sounds noisy and thin compared to the Sennheiser Ambeo VR, just to make a quick example. Those electret are the weak link in the chain IMO.
    But I really enjoyed the project and the video ^_^

    1. The electrets themselves are probably okay (Primo brand capsules would be better), but what this setup really needs is a proper electret preamp installed behind each capsule (even $10 MAX-boards from sparkfun, etc). He should get noise response very similar to the professional versions with that small modification.

  3. if you spend a bit more you will get better results …. why spend $20 when you have a $1000+ camera ??
    you can buy a pro Binaural mic for under $250

  4. I find binaural mikes very susceptible to wind noise.
    Does anyone have experience with wind shielding a mike inside an ear?

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