A decapitated crash-test dummy? No, it’s Neumann’s KU100 Dummy Head binaural stereo microphone. The head-like housing contains two microphone capsules built into the ears. “When listening through high-quality headphones,” says Neumann, “it gives the illusion of being right at the scene of the acoustic events. The binaural stereo experience moves the listener into the scene of the original performance, in contrast to other space-related recording techniques, where the acoustic event is moved to the listener. When played back through loudspeakers, the sound matches to a high degree that of conventional stereo microphones, placed in the same position. However, a superior quality is added, that of a distinct spatial depth perception.”
The KU100 uses transformerless circuitry with the advantage of high output capability, fast transient response, and low self noise. The usual output transformers are replaced by electronic circuits. “As with traditional transformers,” says Neumann, “this technique ensures good common mode rejection, and prevents RF interference that may influence the balanced audio signals.” The KU100 can be operated with 48 V phantom powering from an external power supply unit, or from the built-in battery. At the bottom of the head is a switch for the different power supply modes, as well as connectors for balanced and unbalanced output signals. Inside the head are additional switches for 10 dB attenuation, and the highpass filter. Balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (BNC) outputs are provided.
The KU100 comes in a robust aluminum carrying case, together with an external power supply unit, a 5-pin XLR cable, and an adapter cable that splits the 5-pin XLR output into two 3-pin XLR connectors.