Posted by: recordingsofnature | November 12, 2014

Binaural nature recording and setup

My personal aim with nature recordings is to just capture the nature, the weather, the seasons, the situation as it is out there. I hope to let the listener experience and get a sensation of a particular spot and time through photos and especially  sound. Let it be a little trip and a break away from the daily restless digital information rush. A few minutes where you will only use your ears and imagination. Sit with closed eyes, or look at the photos from the take.

IMG_3300

This recording is a first experiment with a new binaural recording setup, where the microphones listens through a pair of plastic human ears. The binaural recording setup imitates the human head including the outer ears, so when listening in headphones, the sound that is feed into your ear canal is captured directly under the same conditions as when you actually hear. Hereby the sound experience has a chance of becoming very realistic with respect to stereo perspective and frequency response.

Headphones are needed, as binaural recordings are not well reproduced using speakers. The recording is made November 9th 2014 in Ballerup, Denmark near Sømosen and DTU ballerup campus. The last hour before getting dark.  Not much is happening. Hissing leafs, air planes and a constant traffic dominates the soundscape. Approx. 10C which is mild.  Apart form that, the autumn is just full of subtle sounds.

IMG_3329 view of the recording setup IMG_3317 IMG_3319 IMG_3313 IMG_3315 IMG_3330 IMG_3328 IMG_3327 IMG_3334 IMG_3358

I kind of like this quiet and resigning atmosphere of the autumn. Feeling of waiting, resting and not expecting too much too soon, -time for thinking.

Setup

This idea has been underway for a long time. Finally, I have had opportunity to have access to a 3d printer and 3d modelling software. Actually, the ear model used are 3d printed is an approximate anatomical model of my own ears. So to speak, with this recording you are actually listening through my ears. This is the first experiment with this new setup. The setup is still very simple and not fully developed, just with the ears attached to  cardboard sides. The omni-directional Earthworks QTC40 microphones are placed just at the entrance to the ear canal.  The ear drum is also a simple pressure transducer. Ideally, no post equalization is needed since the frequency responce of the QTC40 is very flat and the ear geometry should do the frequency filtering. With the recording only a bit of subsonic wind rumble has been removed. It is then up to the headphones to do a natural reproduction.

optIMG_3331 optIMG_73326 optIMG_93325 optIMG_83368

Still need to work on:

  • Improving the ear with rubber surface, hairs? Does that affect the sound?
  • Make a better head geometry, to become a more solid head sound baffle.
  • Test and optimize the wind protection.

Being able to 3d print acoustic ear pieces has some interesting perspectives:

  • Make ear models of different people. How different does sound sound from person to person? In this way it could be possible to make very personalized recording and listening experiences.
  • Make models of other animals ears and try to listen through different animals’ ears.
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Responses

  1. […] is a demonstration of an another variant of the binaural microphone setup presented in the last post. This concept could well be called something like a tree-ears setup. I think it can be useful for […]

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  2. […] With this binaural setup, the Earthworks microphones were now positioned just at the opening of the ear canal of a (semi-) realistic human ear models on a plate. More details of the setup is described here. […]

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