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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:37 PM   #1
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M/S Recording for Street Musicians?

Hey folks. I've been doing some recordings of street musicians for a documentary. I have a hyper, a couple shotguns, and some omni wireless lavs that I've used for this purpose, depending on the environment. Often it's a single musician, but sometimes it's a group of two or three. All of it is being recorded in extremely congested and noisy environments (herds of people walking by, streetcars, ambulances, you name it).

I've never used the MS technique, and was curious what your thoughts were about using this for street music. Seemed like an interesting way to get stereo with mono compatibility, and maybe the choice (?) of dialing in ambiance if I so desired.

The reason I ask is I've been considering the technique it for dialogue on the street. Often I interview the performers before and after the performance, so I wanted to know if the technique was a) recommended these days for such outdoor interviews and b) would also work for recording the music outdoors.

It's challenging, but I want the cleanest tracks I can lay out, with minimal set up :)
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Old January 15th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #2
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For this sort of use I use a Sennheiser MKH 30/40 MS set-up in a Rycote basket windshield.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #3
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Alaric, in a noisy city environment you're going to have your work cut out just getting a good musical balance. And how are you going to monitor it in the traffic? I'd just go XY stereo for the music, mono for the interviews.

But test the MS out first if you're keen on it. If they're good try and move them to a quieter location so you can hear what's going down on cans.

Cheers.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 02:02 AM   #4
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I was shooting a string quartet just for B-roll, with no intention of using the audio.

When I got back to review the footage, the audio quality was surprisingly good. Darn good!

It was recorded with an AT-4051a. From a distance of 7 feet. Out on the sidewalk outside of a gallery on a college campus.

I sent a clip to a friend who is an audio recording engineer and musician, and he was amazed at the quality. He bought a couple of those mics for himself (he also happens to be an Audio Technica dealer and was the one who sold me the mic in the first place).

I use that as my on-camera mic. The audio quality has never let me down. I've even shot some of our show with that as the main mic under certain circumstances where lav mics aren't possible and no soundman was available.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #5
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Here's a demo of the BP4029. The lower peaks you can see are outdoors and the spatial stereo worked surprising well.

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Old January 16th, 2009, 10:01 AM   #6
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A question slightly off-topic, but does your dealer friend have an opinion yet on the relatively new AT4021 cardioid? It looks like a 3031 that's been upgraded to the 40-series with improved specs. At $249 online, I'd like to try one but haven't purchased yet.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 03:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
A question slightly off-topic, but does your dealer friend have an opinion yet on the relatively new AT4021 cardioid? It looks like a 3031 that's been upgraded to the 40-series with improved specs. At $249 online, I'd like to try one but haven't purchased yet.
After his modest markup, I don't know if he can get a better deal than what you might get online.

His volume is low, placing him at a different wholesale level. And you have to figure in shipping from Hawaii, compared to shipping from a NYC dealer with high volume pricing.

His dealership here allows him to service the local market. Otherwise people could buy online and get better pricing.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 10:11 AM   #8
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I meant had he or one of his customers actually used the 4021 yet and did they have an opinion on its audio quality.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 06:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
I meant had he or one of his customers actually used the 4021 yet and did they have an opinion on its audio quality.
No word on that mic one way or the other.
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