My first binaural recording

On a warm Saturday with a light breeze in Edinburgh the other day, I took the binaural dummy head for a walk for the first time. I was joined by a friend, Dimitrios, on the west side of Princes Street, just down the stairs leading to the Princes Gardens. The plan was to do a binaural recording of the busiest street in Edinburgh while also capturing a video from a walkers perspective.

Princes gardens lay slightly below the loudest street in Edinburgh, and I wondered if I could have caught the sound from the street above in a way that when someone is listening to a playback through headphones could have a sense of the sound coming from higher above. When listening to the recording below, pay attention to trams warning bells at the very beginning of the video, and try to think of a direction where it comes from. Can you position the sound vertically?

I taped a pillow below the Dummy just before we started. The Microphones I used were the Sennheiser EW 112 wireless lavalier microphones, going into a Zoom H4n. To record a video I attached only an iPhone on the front of a dummy head, pressed record and off we went. Dimitrios was happy to keep an eye on Zoom recorder’s levels, while I was manoeuvred the dummy head. I learnt that taping the pillow with a sellotape wasn’t a good idea. It caused short clicks as I moved around during the recording.

I removed unwanted clicks caused by tape using Izotope RX. You can visually see the click on right side.

For some reason, I had few millisecond gaps on one channel of the recording. I fixed this with RX’s Spectral repair feature, which searches the surrounding areas of a gap and closes it up by re-synthesis. I’m always fascinated by how great of a tool Izotope RX is. It’s my favourite all around audio restoration and repair tool with some powerful features.

So are you ready to take a stroll through the busiest street in Edinburgh and check out how it sounds, as if you are there?

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