The SP-TFB-2 Sound Professionals In-Ear Binaural microphones are mounted in extremely comfortable super-soft, In-Ear holders that slip right into the ear structure. Why put microphone here you ask?
Pretty simple, really. There have been many ‘binaural’ microphone designs over the years…….mics built into fake heads, built into Croakies, made with clips for attaching to glasses, built into headphones and earbuds.
All of these have one flaw……none actually put the mic element in the best possible place for the most realistic recording within the Pinna (the part of the human ear that is visible the folds on the outside). Even earbud Binaurals have the mic element outside the Pinna. Because everyone’s Pinna is unique, recording made in your own ears will sound the most realistic.
These mics put the mic element right next to the ear canal, well within the Pinna. This results in the most realistic recording possible, from the perspective of the person wearing them. While recording, your hearing is not impaired, so you can enjoy the sound of the performance while making very realistic recording. The cables terminate in a stereo 1/8″ (3.5mm) right angle gold-plated miniplug. There are two available microphone sensitivities. The standard sensitivity option is for use in situations that will range from fairly quiet to very loud sounds. The high sensitivity option is for use in situations that will range from very quiet to moderately loud sounds.
- Windscreens: Since there are some variances in the shape of the human ear, and especially for customers with larger than average ears, and/or for windy situations, soft foam windscreens are available. These windscreens are acoustically transparent, and allow sound to pass through to your ears and the microphones completely unchanged. These are also handy for those recordists who need the microphones to be very unobtrusive as they completely cover the mic element. Windscreens are not returnable.
- Microphone power supply (Battery Modules): For loud recording situations, the mics need more power than typical recorder can provide. You can also use battery module to adjust bass response and adjust levels. See the details on each module for features and specifications.
- Flat frequency response
- Omni-directional pickup pattern
- Small size
- Can be used directly with any recorder that has “plug-in-power” or with battery module
- Produces extremely realistic recordings
- Pickup Pattern: Omnidirectional
- Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz +/-1dB
- Sensitivity: -42dB ±3dB @ 94dB SPL
- S/N Ratio: 60dB
- Maximum SPL at 12vdc: 120dB
- Dynamic Range: 94dB, 1 kHz at Max SPL
- Impedance: 2.2 kOhms
- Voltage range – 2vdc – 12vdc (48v on XLR version)
- Current draw: 500 µA
- Pickup Pattern: Omnidirectional
- Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz +/-1dB
- Sensitivity: -30dB ±3dB @ 94dB SPL
- S/N Ratio: 68dB
- Maximum SPL at 12vdc: 115dB
- Dynamic Range: 109dB, 1 kHz at Max SPL
- Impedance: 2.2 kOhms
- Voltage range – 2vdc – 12vdc (48v on XLR version)
- Current draw: 500 µA
Andy Williams –
“You’re going to try recording with those in your ears! Why bother — something that small can’t be much good”. That’s what my pals said at the start of the Elton John open-air concert near Geneva, Switzerland this week-end (July 2002). But, when we got back home they were soon eating their words!! In fact, they were amazed. Me too — the sound was very realistic, over headphones or speakers. The only issue was on some tracks where there was loud bass and/or high volume, which apparently resulted in bass saturation/distortion. I think I am now going to buy a battery box/bass roll-off box. It will double the original purchase cost, but if the mikes are that good to start with, with a b-box they will be very impressive! Why not 5 stars? Only because they didn’t feel that secure in my ears. But, I bought the foam wind-shields, so will see if using them makes a difference (I did ease the tension in the cables at my ears by using a bit of medical tape behind each ear — I have long hair, so it wasn’t visible!)Note from The Sound Professionals: The battery module mentioned is indeed necessary for loud recordings, so this won’t be a problem in his future recordings. The mics come in one size and the windscreens are used for folks with ears somewhat larger than the ‘average’.
John Ong –
If I can rate 4.5 stars, I would.First of all, it is an overall great mics. Very realistic sound recording using this mic. Especially the 3-D space that it captures.I have been using it for a few months now. The only thing I’d have added to this mic is perhaps some shielding.I’ve used this mic for several of my podcasts, soundseeing tour. I have received only great comments. It has even stirred up a bit of a storm in finding out how to get these mics. You can check out some of my soundseeing tours on http://onglinepodcast.com
Sarah Alawami –
This product rocks. I use it with my olympus ds320 and it is grate. I’m visually impaired and needed sighted help to get them in my ears at first but the easiest way I found to fit them in is to put the end of the half moon in the shelf part and place the rubber part aginst the canal part of my ear.
Nick Bertke –
Overall I’m very impressed with these mics. My only gripe is that their cables are flimsy and the connections at the mics themselves are incredibly fragile. I’ve ordered two pairs so far, both of which now have faulty connections on one of the mics. I don’t feel like these are mics you can take on serious field recording missions because the cables and connections look like they’re ready to crumble right out of the packaging.However, I can’t rate these mics any less than this. The sound quality they offer is fantastic value for money.
Sean Chang –
My impression of this wear-able binaural microphones is impressive, indeed. I use the microphones with my Sony mini disc recorder MZ-R70. Even-though, I didn’t use the power-pack for the microphones, I was able to obtain very detailed sound recording. The sounds of birds in trees, nearby wind-chimes, and distant ambulance sirens came through clearly in my headphone during playback, and that’s with standard sensitivity microphones. In fact it is a little too sensitive as it was able to pick up my breathing and my footsteps through my body. I guess one would have to either stand still and hold his or her breathes or breath softly and walk on tip-toe during recording. The left-right channel separations is very noticeable. This set of microphones met my expectations quite nicely.
Caitlin Webb –
Over all they are very nice, and the playback is superb! When I listen to the recordings I am simply amazed by the quality and the realism! However, the recordings do clip at sirten points. This could be the recorder that I use, the lack of a battery module, and or the situations that I find myself in. I have had them for almost a year, and they still are astounding to use!
Drew Weber –
The in-ear binaural microphones from the sound professionals bring to life, the audio around you. If your looking for a complete 3D emersion, you need to look no further. The new Master series brings up the volume, and down the noise making recordings that much more life like. The shielded cable option truly shields, it’s like I’ve got XLR cables but I’m only using a gold plated 8th inch running into my Zoom H1 recorder. If your wanting to record high volume sounds such as loud music or loud bangs, I’d suggest you invest in a power module, as my experience with the H1 clips easily. You may listen to an in depth, side by side comparison of both models of In-Ear Binaural microphones here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5174109/DrewWeber-SoundProfessionalsBothSetsOfIn-EarBinauralMicrophoneCompared.mp3 Included: an explanation of binaural recording, when to use, and not to use, noise floor tests, an A/B comparison, traffic examples in front, to each side, and behind, music, in front, behind, and 360 deg panning, radio shield tests and more.
On my first playback with these mics I was amazed. When listening on headphones you feel like you can reach out and grab the sound. On speakers the results are almost as impressive. This has to be one of the hottest output microphones I own(including big name mics) and could easily be used for shooting realistic(accoustically) foley(Extremely low noise). Since getting them I’ve recorded thunderstorms, protests(very nice that they’re so inconspicuous), metro/vehicle, roomtones. I’m using them on everything from now on. Quite susceptible to wind noise, but I’m not using the wind screens…yetNicely done Sound Professionals…
I bought a pair of these along with the sound pros mike preamp, I have them hooked up to my Nomad Jukebox 3’s line input(and I record in WAV format 44khz), the sound is amazing! and as far as I can tell there is little or no noise (using the etymotic’s er6’s) [hopefully ill have some demmos up in the near future]Great product!!
I use these with a battery box/bass rolloff and these record really realistic sounds and they are pretty stealthy! My recordings have turned out really well!
Daniel Engel –
The day they arrived I put them into my ears, set the record level on my MiniDisc recorder, and just walked out my front door.After ten minutes or so of just recording ambient sound around the outside of my home, I went back in the house and sat down, sliped on my headphones, and just listened with my mouth hanging open.The first thing that struck me was that there was a black crow cawing up in the corner of my livingroom. Then there was a car passing beside me on the right side of my easy chair. A cricket chirped on the groung behind me. I had to turn around and look to make sure that it wasen’t really in my livingroom.What else can I say… their stunning!For those who would like to know the technical stuff; I bought these binaural mics with a battery box with the bass rolloff filter. Since I own a Sony MiniDisc recorder without a mic sensitivity switch, I also had to buy a -20db attenuator cable (that’s Sony’s fault, not The Sound Professionals)
These mic’s just rock…I dont have a battery box with bass roll of filter yet but thats the next thing to buy…My first test with these mic’s were at small bar with some live music..I was sitting at the back of the room with the band at the other end, very noisy crown as you know there is in a bar..people talking and shouting..but listening to this recording with headphones afterwards just blew me away, it was crisp and clear. A few days later I went to another small venue were the music were a bit louder, but that did not turn out so well the mic’s without battery box couldn’t stand the soundlevel..and the level of the recorder were set to 4 of 20 and the mic selector were set to low. My recorder is an Aiwa AM-F75..So for loud concerts it needs the B-Box. I will order the box asap..:-)
Brad Simpson –
I just got these mics the other day for field recording and I absolutely love them. They are so realistic it’s scary. I’ve been doing some field recordings with them and listening back, I have to turn my head to make sure Someone isn’t right behind me.
I edit films. It is necessary to have a continuous ambient sound track running along with film cuts of a similar nature. This creates an illusion that the cuts follow a continuous temporal sequence even though they may be shot on different days at different locations. Although I have a large library of ambient sounds I never seem to have enough. When I need a new ambient sound sequence in a hurry I use these mics with a Sony PCM-M1. The process is unobtrusive and I can collect sound sequences anywhere without drawing any attention to myself. This has saved my butt so many times.So far these ambients have ended up in 4 feature length films and 7 TV broadcasts. Is this cool or what? The sound is good enough for serious film work and you would never know it was collected by a dorky looking guy with ear buds. Even if I tell folks what I am doing they never quite equate the objects in my ears as mics. This really saves me time and money.
I really didn’t expect to be able to say this, but I just finished a really critical blind listening comparison between a set of DSM’s (really expensive) and these mics. My friend and I were right next to each other at the show and use the same model recorder. We adjust the levels using Soundforge so that they both had the same “loudness”, but no other changes were made. I really expected my recording with my $69 mics to be worse than the DSM recording (his mics were about $600!), but my recording actually sounds better on both headphones and speakers! My mics are also harder to see (stealthy). We both agreed that my recording with the ear binaurals was more open, more lifelike and had less hiss. We have had a few other listen also and the results are the same.My friend is not happy, to say the least.My suggestion is to try these out before you go and buy any other binaural microphone.Happy recording!Dan
I have to agree with all the other reviews. These are very small but very able. The recordings are very convincing. If you’re in the market, these are your best bet!
I have been very pleased with these mics. The sound quality has been good and they are very subtle.
Sergio Goncalves –
These mics are awesome. With all fairness, I have to say they didn’t feel that secure in my ears last night (my first recording with them). Maybe my ears are smaller than the average human ear, who knows? The playback realism is almost scary. However, I believe they get a little bit in the sound way, I mean, there’s a small sound blockage. Maybe it has something to do with my ears size( I had to stick’em real deep in my ears to keep them secure. Still, they deserve 5 stars. Great stuff for only 69 bucks.
Ronald Wilkinson –
I recieved these microphones in the mail today and at first I thought that the box may be empty, so I panicked a bit. It was just so small I didn’t see them right off the bat. They are small but the clarity is amazing. They have a surround sound quality…a very 3D effect. I didn’t notice any hum or hiss when using this microphone. Simply amazing.
digifish music –
I have an Edirol R-09 and these mics (SP-TFB-2 High Sensitivity) are a perfect match for this recorder. Stop reading and order a pair end of story.But I can’t end there, I have to rave about them (Note to staff: please add the R-09 to the compatible equipment list). They improve on the internal mics in every way, far higher sensitivity (I’ve been using a setting of 8 on the high gain mode to record quiet sounds! Looks like I will get to use the low-gain setting for the first time ever), lower noise, better frequency response, clarity and of course stereo imaging.I record mostley quiet sources for ambience and sound FX in music/video production.My other field recording gear includes a Sound Devices MixPre and Rode NT-55 stereo mics, so I know what quality gear sounds like…and for $69 this is simply astounding. Thanks guys, I am going to have some fun with these :)digifish music.
This review is coming from a guy who is blind, so, obviously, sound is my world. If you are looking to do field recording which sounds through a good pare of headphones in future playback, at least 90 percent like it did in actuality, you need these. their not just stereo friends, their truly BINAURAL. Feel free to listen to the samples provided from the Sound Professionals, and while they might amaze you, their is truly no amazement like listening to something you, yourself have recorded with these microphones, and getting almost dizzy from the truly fine detailed placement of the many sounds within the stereo spectrum that float back into your ears. Though this may be astonishing enough in itself, it’s not just the sound placement that is apsalutly amazing about these microphones. The fine detail of sound capture: from the high sibalence of voices, to the low rumble of 4th of July Fireworks displays, all of this and more you will be able to relive again and again with the audio capture of these microphones. Being blind, digital sound recording is my camra, and these microphones are now the perfect lenzes for the job. Thanks Sound Professionals. their not just stereo friends, their truly BINAURAL.
Whoa! These mics are super awesome and pretty comfortable in my ears to wear. I haven’t had one single issue with these. Since they are so small and provide such real sound coverage, I always have them with me.
See it here:http://noshoes.blogspot.com/2008/09/sp-tfb-2-binaural-microphones.html
I used these to create an effect for our haunted house. These microphones are so amazing. I used a sony mp3 IC recorder and got great results. Thanks Sound Professionals for offering such a great product at a great price!!! 🙂
FAST shipping, and these are just about everything I’d hoped for. I was a little worried that these would be too cheap to make a good recording, but they’re great (good sound quality and matched left and right) and the binaural effect is as good as you could hope for. In general, I find that the binaural effect is more effective in making sounds more “realistic,” and doesn’t capture the 3D direction as well as I had imagined. I suspect that this has more to do with psychoacoustics than with this particular set of mics. It still captures good directionality within a certain range of hard left or right (as opposed to front vs. back or up vs. down), but on the whole, I find that the advantage of recording this way is making a more life-like recording, rather than being able to capture a precise directional 3D sound field. So, if you’re curious about this kind of recording, you’re going to be happy with these microphones; for the price, they’re really impressive, and you can’t get them anywhere else.
Miika Silfverberg –
I agree with basically every 5-star comment above, excellent product! One thing to add is that this mic is also a great counterpart for Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which shoots great video, but has a lousy in-built mic. The SP mic works great with this SLR.
I love my new binaural in ear microphones from Sound Professionals. I have been recording for years and honestly haven’t heard a better sounding piece of gear,considering the price. I tested the mics side by side with the tascam dr-05 internal omni mics and it was clear which sounded better. Great customer service with Sound Professionals they answered all my questions fast and shipped even faster. Thanks.
Mark H –
The SP-TFB-2 microphones are absolutely awesome. It’s hard to believe the quality of sound they capture given their low price. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is interested in binaural recording.Also, service from TSP is excellent.
Eazy Red A –
Honestly, these paired with the Zoom h1n for casual on the go recording is insane. Personally I use these to calibrate my headphones (roughly) so I can flatten their response as much as possible. these aren’t really linear in response once in the ear which is normal, however when you record something like a skating rink (did that myself) its ridiculous how real it sounds. I recently bought the 12v phantom power module for these, but will they take 12v? I thought it was 10v.. we’ll find out lol (Soundpro tech note: Yes, these handle 12v easily)