Quasi-binaural with DPA 4060 • Samples included

by Nikolay Georgiev on December 5, 2013

DPA 4060 ears

Some time ago I was hired to do a recording of the ambiance during the peak hours in the London Underground. The recording had to deliver very good results on headphones (true binaural was one idea, but not the ultimate goal – I certainly needed a discrete looking mic setup to do it. To buy or even hire a good dummy head mic can be expensive or logistically difficult.

For the recordings below I used two DPA 4060 lavalier (miniature) mics and a battery powered Grace Design Lunatec V3 preamp/ADC, connected digitally via S/PDIF to a M-Audio Microtrack II recorder (so the M-Audio was only an SD recorder and in theory should have no influence on the recording quality at all). As the Microtrack’s battery is not so great (to put it in a polite way), I used my backup iPhone USB battery as additional source of power.This setup can be simplified, and made easier to use, with something like a Nagra LB recorder (which at that time I did not have available). But despite of its lack of elegance, my DIY portable recorder worked very well. I dare to say: it delivered high-end sounding results!

The good thing about these miniatures is that they are almost perfect omnis – so pointing them doesn’t really make any difference + the stereo frequency pattern of the system is highly dependent on your head, hair & hat! As I wasn’t that interested in an accurate binaural setup, I simply attached the mics to what was left of a pair of old headphones (see picture). To my surprise this delivered excellent results which sound good also on loudspeakers. Another idea would be to use the boundary disks that come with the 4060 and maybe attach those to a pair of big circumaural headphones. That would mean that you can also confidence monitor while recording. Of course it could also lead to different frequency response and even slightly larger time differences for the L and R channel.

The good thing about these mics is that you can tailor their sound character by installing one of the two presence peak boost grids, or by completely removing the grids to get a more linear response.

The good thing about the 4060s is that they also come with miniature windshields that can be useful, and as omnis, are less susceptible to wind born noise. To reduce even further the problems with shock born noise, I stuck the mics in such a way that they were hanging freely in the air and their cable became a sort of natural shock mount.

Below is the mp3 (320kbps non-variable). These samples have absolutely no processing (but the passive HPFs on the Grace, I believe set to 50Hz/1st order). For best results I would strongly recommend you to download and listen to the WAV files instead.

Right click on this link (use the ‘save link as’ option) to download the 44kHz 24bit WAV version of these files.

3 Responses to “Quasi-binaural with DPA 4060 • Samples included”

  1. Terence says:

    Hi Nikolay,

    I love the quality and realism of the samples. I have been thinking of getting the DPA 4060 stereo kit for some time. I’m quite impressed with the bass response of these tiny mics. I do have one question: where did you get the over-ear attachments from? Are these something you can buy specially for this purpose, or did you rip them off an old head set and stick them on somehow? Thanks.

  2. Terence says:

    Sorry – I just re-read your post…from an old headset.

  3. They are not as good as the 4006 or the other high-end DPAs. But they still sound impressive. I think that what also helps for the realistic low frequency reproduction is the Grace Design preamp and the fact that the mics are omni. Oh, and I just fixed the broken link to the WAV samples.

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