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The microphone of this month is quite a strange one: a binaural system consisting of a dummy human head, which contains a dynamic omni directional microphone mounted in each ear. The head is constructed to closely resemble a real human head, the acoustic quality should equal it, to achieve the 'correct' head-related transfer function (HRTF). With such a system it is possible to record sound that, if played back on head phones, gives a three dimensional sound experience. An extreme precise localisation of the direction from which the sounds are coming is reached, and it can come from all 360 degrees around you. Without headphones this effect is not audible, and useless.

AKG was one of very few firms that produced this system for amateur recording enthousiasts. 'Harry' was from the early Seventies, and because no power was needed to drive the microphones, it could be part of a very portable recording system for use at different places like concert halls or outdoor nature locations.

Sennheiser followed a different trail of thought: they produced a dummy head without microphones, a sort of headphone, containing two condenser microphones could be attached to it, but people could also decide to use the system on their own head. This 'headphone' idea is still used by Soundman, for their OKM system. Other brands have similar versions.

Binaural Recording proved to be very useful for radio plays and for listening to music on headphones. One of the artists to explore this technique was Lou Reed, he used it on three albums: 'Street Hassle', 'the Bells', and 'Take no Prisoners'. Some headphone companies also produced sample cds, to demonstrate the effect.

Dummy Heads with microphones are still being made by the Neumann company. They are mostly used for measuring purposes, for instance to examine the influence of noise at places of work, under realistic conditions.