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Mic suggestions for Sound source localization using Binaural Audio
Old 5th March 2017
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Thread Starter
Mic suggestions for Sound source localization using Binaural Audio

Hey, this is Manuel Jenkin. I am a Final year Electrical and Electronics student and am currently doing a project on sound source localization and separation using binaural mics and machine learning. I need some help with choosing a mic for my purpose.
Here is the thesis upon which we are doing the project on

The procedure we are doing is given in chapter 2 section 2.3.3 . What we are going to do is have a mic placed near the ceiling at about the center of the room and trace stationary objects on the ground using sound emitted from them. The room is of size 30ft length (about 10m) and 12ft wide (about 4m). It's ceiling is about 2.5-3metres (about 9 feet). There are chairs and desks around and we'll be using only a small portion of the room for the project. We'll be placing the mic near the ceiling at about 2-2.5 metres (about 8 feet) above the floor and we'll be tracing the objects in a confined space of about 9ft x 9ft (3m x 3m) or at max about 12ft x 15ft (4m x 5m).

The criterion for the mic for the project is that i should be able to detect sounds upto atleast 5 m (preferrably upto 8m) away from it and also have good fidelity upto 10Khz. I will be putting two of them inside a dummy head similar to a binaural mic.

They seem to be using a Sennheiser MKE2002 Mic in the thesis which seems to have been discontinued. I was seeking advice from a couple of people for alternatives which are relatively less expensive and I got quite differing options.

The first advice I got was to use omni directional microphones. He suggested me to use omni lavalier mics like the Audio Technica AT803b. Two other options he gave me are - Jecklin disk with a custom disk configuration with omni mics - or - ORTF with hypercardioid mics such as AT4053b. He also adviced me to do a diy binaural head and gave me a link to see how to do it : Headphone sound level meter

Then I had some chat with another guy and he gave me slightly differing opinions. He first recommended me the DPA4060 (it is a little bit high on the pricy side for me though). But then told me that lavalier mic is not good for getting sound from an entire room, but only to pick up sounds right next to it. He then advised to use small or large condenser mics. He also showed me the polar pickup patterns : which was quite useful to understand what I might need.
He recommended me the Rode M5, a cardoid mic. I got a doubt that if i place a couple of them the way ears are, then won't the center of the room be lost a bit because of them being condenser (which cover only the front and sides wrt mic) placed 180* away from each other. And also that the left mic won't get right side interaural cues, and right mic wont get left interaural cues, both of which are necessary to trace the exact location of the object (not sure about that though, and not sure if the sennheiser mke2002 mics record the other side info). He replied that it wont have an issue because everything that the mic will receive will be reflected from the ears of the dummy head and nothing will be from inside the dummy head. All those that wrap through the dummy head are below 200hz which dont contain much spatial cues anyway. Also he adviced me to use a cardoid over omnidirectional because omni might pick up noise from inside the dummy head.

I am kind of confused now about what are the tagwords that I can use to describe the mic required for this purpose. Would I need a lavalier, or condenser mic or anything else? Would i need a cardoid, or omnidirectional mic or anything else? I dont know the exact type of mic used in the MKE2002. I want anything that resembles the Sennheiser MKE2002 as much as it can (I know it is hard because they are discontinued, but i want something that can perform similar under the given circumstances), because the thesis is done with them and they had relatively good results.

I need to choose a mic for the project and request my university to fund it. Can you suggest me some other relatively inexpensive mics that can do this job at about 300$ to 600$ per pair, i.e. 150$ to 300 or 400$ per mic (upto to 1000$ per pair max, but thats quite stretching it hard)? And I need multiple options because I'm from India and it is not a guarantee that all products will be available here (the AT803b, for example is unavailable here). Mostly sennheiser, shure,neumann, sony, etc are the companies that are available here.. Of course there are places where I can find other company stuff and also I can import from singapore if needed, so any option that you guys can give me will be very helpful. Also I need ideas on how I should proceed with the dummy head as well. I have some ideas, but not sure. Also is there any setup that will work for this purpose without a dummy head? Thank you.
Old 6th March 2017
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boojum's Avatar
Manuel, my advice would be the DPA 4060 or 4061 in a dummy head. I say that on the basis of the mic's quality. They are top notch and can record classical orchestral and choral works. They worked for me. From my limited understanding of binaural a head would yield the best results. We have some folks on here who do binaural who will chime in, too.

Old 6th March 2017
Gear Maniac

If you use the Ambisonic mic from one of a number of manufacturers and use the Harpex decoder; you can use the shotgun setting in Harpex and 'shine the spot light' on any sound producing spot in the room. I have use it for that.
Old 8th March 2017
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Thread Starter
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
Manuel, my advice would be the DPA 4060 or 4061 in a dummy head. I say that on the basis of the mic's quality. They are top notch and can record classical orchestral and choral works. They worked for me. From my limited understanding of binaural a head would yield the best results. We have some folks on here who do binaural who will chime in, too.

Hey thanks. I got some replies for the same question at reddit.

I was recommended some omnidirectional measurement mics because it seems like other music/field oriented mics colour the spectrum for compensation for their position etc.. Measurement mics seem to be geared towards my application of spectral analysis

I am leaning towards the presonus prm1 or audix tm1 or any other measurement mic if you can recommend them

and using the focusrite scarlett 2i2 interface

I am just worried if this combination will have good enough reach/sensitivity for my application . Being able to record sounds well for volume level of a general conversation at about say 6 or 8 metres away from mic at all 360*, especially at a right angle to the mic, because of the way I position the mics in binaural head relative to sound source.

Thank you.
Old 2 weeks ago
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If you are handy and don't mind a little DIY work I think my ear models are perfect for you.
In case you decide to go with them, please PM me and I can walk you through which microphone capsules to use and which EQ you need to apply to the recorded sound (I am a fellow electronics engineer, and if we don't help each other... )
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