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Glossary

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Welcome to Sound On Sound's indispensible, regularly updated, explanations of technical terms from the fields of Recording, Audio Production, Music Technology, MIDI, Music Software, Audio Plug-ins, Mac and PC Computing, Live Sound, Acoustics, Electronics and more...

If we do not explain a particular term below, please email glossary@soundonsound.com and we will add it to our next update.

Last updated: 19/10/21

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Binaural

Strictly, a term referring to using two ears to listen to sounds, usually with a view to identifying source direction.

However, more general usage has come to use the term to refer to a specific form of two-channel audio intended exclusively for auditioning via headphones or ear buds. Binaural recording techniques involve the use of two spaced microphones, usually with a baffle or object placed between them. The idea is to capture the typical inter-aural time delays and high-fruqency sound shadowing effects of the human head which play critical roles in enable the accurate determination of directivity cues.