DIY Binaural Dummy Head – Prototype v1

What is Binaural Recording:

Binaural recording is a method of recording sound that uses two microphones, arranged with the intent to create a 3-D stereo sound sensation for the listener. This effect is often created using a technique known as “Dummy head recording“, wherein a mannequin head is outfitted with a microphone in each ear. Binaural recording is intended for replay using headphones and will not translate properly over stereo speakers.

Binaural microphone - Inspektor Gadjet

Calibration of the DIY Binaural microphone.

So here we are with one of the most exciting DIY projects I´ve ever done… I always wanted a dummy head like Neuman´s, since I saw it and heard it… but always thought it was a project which it will be never achieved unless I had the few grands you need to get one commercial Dummy head.

My design is not a 100% head, but 2 anatomic human ears built-in ear canal (silicon), adapted in a chasis… as I don’t want to be carrying with a head around.

I added a tripod mount screw on top, so I can adapt my camera and record video at the same time, as this is one of the best ways to increase the 3D localization of elements.

This project felt like a big achievement because it was a hard task at times. I faced many problems with the case design, finding the right ears and ear canals… also modifying the mic capsules (5mm diameter) as suggested in Linkwitz site… but once it was plugged and I realised how good it sounded… the smile in my face was like…

Binaural recording and listening has always had it’s limitations. The biggest problem has always been that everybody’s ears are different shapes, their heads and torso are different sizes, etc… This physical difference we all share has basically been accepted as an impossible hurdle to overcome for binaural. It is physically impossible to build a single binaural recording device, dummy head or microphone, which will satisfy every person equally.

Binaural Mic dummy head - Inspektor gadjet

The result caused by these physical differences is front/back and up/down localization confusion. This is less obvious when you incorporate video. A subjective view from the listeners position will enhance the experience telling your brain new clues regarding how to listen trough this new pair of ears. The visual feedback basically teaches your brain the new format of the directional sound coming to your head.

The interesting thing here is that once you’ve learned the new format, you don’t necessarily need the video to hear things properly and accurately anymore.

My DIY Binaural Microphone:

So I recently came across the need of building a normal omnidirectional mic for sound treatment, and found online very useful information. Most of the projects needed a modification in the capsules in order to work at reasonable SPL levels without distorting, the mod can be found here in Siegfried Linkwitz.

Capsule wm61a modification - Siegfried Linkwitz mod

Panasonic capsules wm61a

I used some tools and a Knob to help me hold the capsule and cut the trace that is joined to the chases… then solder the other pad to the chassis and two leads to it… some stressful moments here…

One of the side projects I found was this, binaural recording using exactly the same capsules… so here we go!!

Basically it is a stereo microphone set, with its own phantom supply voltage, so it can be plugged anywhere… Minidiscs, handy recorders, mixers, everything… It uses a 9 volt battery that should last a few years…

The whole science behind this is pretty amazing, it happens the same than 3D image… Once your brain gets that information, it decodes it as if it was reality, giving you depth impression or in this case, 3D sound sensation…

The effect it is definitely much much better than a normal stereo setup as the sound is completely surround.

Check the videos for sound tests… And remember to use headphones!!

First Audio test of the DIY Binaural Microphone:

  1. raven Reply

    si pusieras un tutorial de cómo hacer este micrófono, sería la panacea!! El audio me parece brutal… enhorabuena!!

    • User Avatar
      inspektorgadjet Reply

      Hola Raven, gracias por tus palabras! Desde que empecé con este proyecto el modelo ha cambiado ya 4 veces, siempre ando mejorando detalles y aprendiendo sobre el mundo binaural…

      Me gustaria hacer un tutorial en cuanto tenga tiempo y ofrecer “Kits” para que el DIY sea mas fácil. Espero que sea muy pronto!

  2. Harry Reply

    I must know how you made the outer ears please?

    • User Avatar
      inspektorgadjet Reply

      Hello Harry, you can find more info in my article about the ears “http://www.inspektorgadjet.com/item/silicone-ears/” … I´m selling them on my Etsy shop if you need a pair. Cheers!

  3. Thomas Reply


    This is an impressive build! Can you tell what’s inside the box and how you build it? I mean the power supply and all the other electronical stuff inside.

    All best,

    • User Avatar
      inspektorgadjet Reply

      Hello Thomas, inside the box is a small circuit to power the electrec capsules and a 9V battery. There is no power supply with this design, the circuit depends in what capsules you are using but whatever choice you make will probably have enough info online to build a simple circuit around it. Hope it helps.

  4. Kevin Takagi Sanchez Reply

    Hello! I liked it very much. If it’s possible, could you send me or post a list of the parts you used for this mic?

    • User Avatar
      inspektorgadjet Reply

      Hi Kevin, Unfortunately I did this project a while ago and dont have access to the circuit files or BOM. The whole case is DIY, the circles are cream pots. The circuit was a simple PCB based on the panasonic with linkwitz mod, there is plenty of info online about this capsules. Nowadays Im improving my V3 pro for phantom power use and quiter capsules.

  5. Ivan Reply

    Hola buena , tengo un problema,estoy intentando hacer un micrófono bianual sencillisimo pero no consigo que se note diferencia, Nose porque es e cambiado los cables y mil historias , no consigo poner arreglo a este experimento … El problema que tengo es que el Javi tiene 3 cables y yo necesito 4 donde se conecta??? Gracias de antemano

    • User Avatar
      inspektorgadjet Reply

      Hola Ivan, la verdad no entiendo muy bien tu pregunta, “no consigo que se note diferencia” ? … “El Javi tiene 3 cables?? si me puedes dar una explicacion mas concreta estare encantado de ayudar. Saludos.

  6. Alex Reply

    Hi, very nice work. I have one i build a long time ago but the ears i found were from Halloween props made of cheap rubber, yours prosthetic ears look amazing. would you share your source?


  7. Edward Chen Reply

    Hi, great work! Thanks for sharing.
    I got an question, you’ve mentioned you cut the joints between the pad and case and connected the case to the other pad, why, may I ask?

    The result recording is gorgeous, the stereo effect is natural and immersing.

    • User Avatar
      inspektorgadjet Reply

      Hello Edward, like I explain in the post, I needed to do the Linkwitz mod to my capsules, for the circuit I used. That implies cutting a trace in the capsules. Glad you like it!

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