What is “Binaural”?

I very often use the word “binaural” on this website, and therefore this page is dedicated to explain this term.
But before we look at the details, I want to clearly define the term “binaural”.

But if you want, you can jump ahead and download my FREE guide on binaural music.

binaural history

The first binaural music listening was presented by Clément Ader in Paris in 1881 during the International Electrical Exhibition in Paris.

As one microphone was on the left half of the stage and the other on the right half, directional localisation of what was heard was possible. Ader's demonstration was thus the first example of binaural sound recording.

picture theatrophone
What is "Binaural"?

binaural is superior to stereo

When we add height as a third dimension to the horizontal plain of a 5.1 surround installation, the perceived sound now forms a volume like a shoebox.

The reproduction of sound by such an installation now sounds almost natural. We have created an immersive binaural sound space with 3 dimensions.

In this manner, we can reproduce the sound of a church in your living room, so to speak!


To be able to locate a sound in space, our brain analyzes three fundamental psychoacoustic phenomena: the differences in time and intensity between the sound waves that arrive on each of our ears, as well as the spectral cues.

sound surrounding a head
binaural dummy head in recording studio


There are two main methods for creating binaural sound:

  1. either directly at recording, it is called native binaural or binaural recording, or
  2. at post-production, it is binaural synthesis or binaural by signal processing

The goal is to reproduce as accurately as possible the psychoacoustic phenomena of a three dimensional soundscape.