DIY Binaural Head

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I’ve been looking into VR sound, and I was fascinated to find that no one has come up with a great (i.e. standardized) solution yet. If you’re interested, I highly recommend this article that goes through several approaches to sound in VR film, including their pros and cons.

As I learn more about these emerging solutions, I became interested in binaural recording, and the impact that it’s having on VR sound research.

neumann

For binaural recording, Nuemann offers a beautiful $8,000 binaural head, which of course is beyond my “messing around” budget.

Not one to be put off, I decided to put together a $20 solution using a styrofoam head from a craft store and a couple of electret microphones.

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With a bit of quick tinkering and digging into the head with an exacto knife (and mounting on an LED-lit Ginga Kogen beer bottle for style points), I managed to get things up an running.

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The results (which you can hear below) aren’t bad, but I probably need some ears (silicone or something) in order to make things sound truly 3D. I’m not sure that’s an investment I want to make in this particular project.

As it stands, it serves as an excellent illustration of the binaural concept for my students!

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Here are some sample recordings. Keep in mind that, as these are binaural recordings, you need to listen to them through headphones to experience any binaural effect.

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