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Old 12th April 2006, 09:57 AM   #1
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Default First post and need help: Creating Binaural Mic!

Howdy! Ive been to these forums in the past but never registered until now I'm creating a set of binaural microphones but have run into a problem.

This is a simple binaural mic design, basically it involves taking some headphones and replacing the speakers with microphones. The site im following for a guide is here: http://art.simon.tripod.com/stealth.html
Now, im using earbuds for this since they hide better, and it's going well sofar. I have the left mic working but the right one does not seem to be responding to anything.

The left mic is wired up like this:
Click the image to open in full size.

That works, I can pick up sound from it when plugged in.

The right side is wired exactly the same way, but nothing is being picked up by it. My PC's microphone jack is mono, yes, but shouldn't it combine both mic inputs into one, so when I make a noise in either mics I should get some kind of a response?

The wording of the site is odd, they say this:

"Solder the bare wire from the left headphone speaker to the ground wire on the mic element that will be installed in the right earphone."

Why would I solder something I intend to place in the left ear to something intended for the right? It makes no sense at all

Anyone able to help me out with this? How exactly should I be wireing my mics

Note: The speaker is no longer attached, my picture is just showing what wires I used from the speaker connection.


Thanks for the help
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Old 12th April 2006, 10:51 PM   #2
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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What are you plugging the resulting stereo microphone into? Most PC sound card microphone inputs are not stereo and only one channel will work.

It looks to me like the bare wire (shield) should be on the ground of the mic capsule and the center conductor should be on the other mic terminal, for both sides.

IMO wearing these on your head you are going to end up recording a lot of body noises/heartbeats/ rustling clothes / hair scratching. Binaural mics are also possible using NERF balls and the like or even a dummy head with casts of your own ears
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Old 13th April 2006, 12:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the help ron

I origonally had a styrofoam ball made and everything but I figured it would look extremely weird walking around with a fake head in toe =P

Mics placed inside the ears can sound quite good, actually.. Here is a site with a ton of recordings made with in-ear mics: http://binaural.jimtreats.com/


When I had the head made, I had both mics wired up like this:

Click the image to open in full size.

With that setup I would get sound on both mics when I made a noise (even though my PC mic in is mono) So I figured that it must just combine channels.

So you are saying I did it right? I SHOULD only get sound from ONE mic when plugged into a mono port and not from both merged to single channel?

hope i'm not too confusing
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Old 14th April 2006, 01:52 AM   #4
Eva is offline Eva  Spain
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A stereo microphone jack does not imply the existence of two channels. The extra ring contact in the jack is used for phantom power, it's internally connected to +5V through a 1K resistor in nearly all soundcards. Also, Nearly all commercial PC condenser microphones wire the tip and the ring together internally (to bias the capsule), while dynamic microphones use a mono jack thus shorting the ring to ground (harmless thanks to the 1K internal resistor).

If your microphone is of electret/condenser type, you will also have to connect it to both tip and ring at the same time. Note that you *can't* connect two microphones to such an input without previously mixing the signals externally, and even that will be quite pointless. Furthermore, condenser capsules may be internally buffered and are not usually intended to be paralleled.

The point of binaural microphones is to record the sound as perceived in two different locations, so that it can be played back in stereo to recreate all the natural spatial effects. If you mix those two channels, the result will end up sounding quire worse than a single channel due to comb-filtering, never do that. You will have to get or build a simple stereo microphone preamplifier (preferably with some built-in limiter) and connect its output to the line input of the PC sound card in order to achieve stereo mic recording. Also, note that the microphone preamplifier built into most PC soundcards is full of noise and distortion, so it's worth the effort to use an external one.
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Old 14th April 2006, 05:20 AM   #5
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Well yeah I know im going to need a pre-amp, a guy on ebay is going to build me a battery box with a pre-amp circut built in for $30.

So I cant take a pair of simple headphones, clip out the speakers and solder in some mic's in their place to get a binaural recording? Is that what you are saying?
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Old 31st July 2010, 02:37 PM   #6
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Hi all

wondering if you can help, i am also trying to build some binaurals... found the same website as above, but was also looking at this one ; Binaural Microphone Construction as it includes how to make the battery pack.

Only problem is, i am a bit new to this -i can solder, but i cant understand the diagram on how to put it together ... would anyone be able to translate it to me into a more idiot proof version / text / mic? or is it already at it's most basic?!
Thanks!!
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