Not Just Surround Sound
Binaural recording systems aim to recreate the architecture of the human head with how it captures sound. Having ears on opposite sides of a skull affects the way humans perceive sound, with sounds from one direction taking longer to reach one ear compared to another. The brain recognizes these differences to better localize sound, allowing humans to understand where a sound is coming from with precision.
Binaural audio emulates this. Two microphones around ear-like cavities on either side of a dummy head recreates the density and shape of a human head and how we perceive sound, allowing the microphones to best encapsulate audio cues the same way a real human would.
While surround sound can match a visual with louder audio from that specific direction —for example, more sound from the right side to match fireworks coming from the right of a movie screen — binaural audio effectively recreates exactly what ears hear to accomplish a more 3D and realistic sound.
Omni-binaural or omnidirectional microphones even further enhance this system to produce a 360-degree experience, useful in virtual reality (VR) settings.