A binaural stereo microphone* is a specialized recording device that emulates the human auditory system by incorporating two microphones, usually housed within a replica of human ears or a dummy head. This setup is designed to capture audio in a way that reflects the natural listening process, taking advantage of the shape of the ears and head-related transfer function (HRTF) to create an immersive, three-dimensional listening experience. When binaural recordings are played back through headphones, the listener experiences an authentic and realistic spatial audio sensation, as if they were physically present in the recorded environment. The binaural effect is achieved through the distinctive shape of human ears and the brain’s processing of subtle differences in the timing and intensity of sound reaching each ear. For an optimal experience, it is recommended to listen to binaural recordings through headphones, as the spatial audio effect may be diminished when played through speakers.
*The term binaural in binaural microphone refers to the method of recording sound using two microphones, arranged to create a 3D stereo sound sensation. The word stereo is included in the name because binaural recordings are a type of stereo recording that uses two different audio channels to create a spatial audio effect.