This is the first post for
{ sound + tech }. I thought I’d get things started with a quick and dirty comparison between a pair of Soundman OKM II binaural mics and the Soundhack Binaural Filter plugin.

Never mind the quality of the recording, I plugged the mics straight into my computer in the living room. My aim was not to analyse the sound quality but rather the spatiality.

I recorded a box of matches shaking because it was the most appropriate object at hand for this test. I did two recordings. One in stereo, the other in mono. I tried to keep the matchbox at ear level and at the distance of 15 cm, then normalised both recordings to -1dB, keeping the difference to a minimum. I used the binaural filter plugin to process the mono recording.

Please note that if you want to hear the comparison you MUST wear headphones or it won’t work.

    Binaural Recording
    The first recording is the “normal” use of the binaural mics (both in my ears with my head still). I shook the matches around my head, performing a complete circle.

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    Mono Recording
    The second recording involved only one of the OKM microphones. I recorded using the left mic and kept the matches shaking at the same distance of 15cm without moving them around my head.

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    Binaural Filter Plugin
    The third sound is of the mono recording processed through the Soundhack Binaural Filter plugin.

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I found that the spatial reproduction of the matchbox is great with binaural microphones. If you close your eyes, you can really hear where the matchbox is. The recording sounds pretty close to how the matchbox sounded in the room.

When listening to the mono recording processed through the binaural filter plugin, I was amazed at how well it placed the matchbox “around me”. However, it doesn’t have a place in the room. It felt somewhat too present and unnatural. However, I think this plugin could work well in a controlled studio environment or for a specific effect.

Time permitting, I will attempt to do more accurate tests. I want to hear how binaural recording compares with various types of sound and plugins, and how the recordings differ in various spaces including an anechoic chamber.


7 Responses to “Binaural Mics vs. Binaural Plugin { sound + tech }”  

  1. 1 Travis

    Fascinating experiment! I myself am using a WaveArts plugin called Panorama 5 to try and get as close as possible to this little recording: http://gethighnow.com/holophonic-sound/

    Using a filter seems convincing enough on the x and y axis, but the z is lacking. I feel like until there’s a plugin that can do justice to a sound above you and below you, it just won’t match up.

    Do you know of any quality binaural filters that can do that?

  2. 2 Andrew Spitz

    Hey Travis, thanks for the comment. I like Panorama a lot, not so as a bianural plugin, but as a way to place a sound in a space very quickly. I haven’t come across any plugins that simulate the Z axis well. Let me know if you do.

    The recording sounds so good on the Z axis, I’m impressed. Are they using a plugin or mics?

  3. 3 moala

    There is the H3D binauralizer plug-in, which has a Z axis and a room effect (ERs, reverb) for a more realistic experience…

    http://www.longcat.fr/web/en/prods/h3d-plugin

  4. 4 Andrew Spitz

    This looks really good. Thanks for the link!

  5. 5 luke c

    This is great but there are a couple open source plugins that can be used to achieve this! It’s awesome how open source works :)

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