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Old September 23rd, 2003, 12:52 PM   #1
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MKH 416 vs 418

Hi All,

this may be a dumb question but....

what does the difference between mono vs stereo actually translate to? Is it a matter of 1 and 2 channels?

Why have mono then, because i assume 2 channels better than 1 for single boom mic operation.

Also, are the connections still the same, or do you have to have 2 xlr connections for the 2 stereo channels?

One more stupidity.....is it possible to use the AT8415 universal mount with Lightwave's superscreen? This way I can save on Ligtwave's supermount. Or am I talking rubbish here and the zeppelin system (BOTH the pistol grip and windscreen) has to be from Lightwave?

Thanks in advance!
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Old September 24th, 2003, 08:21 PM   #2
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>>what does the difference between mono vs stereo
>>actually translate to? Is it a matter of 1 and 2 channels?


The short answer is yes, BUT
this post didn't get a response because the answer is actually
very long and troublesome to explain, but here are some _simple getting started_ answers.


It may be helpful to think in terms of a stereo speaker system.
A stereo speaker system is comprised of two speakers, left and right, each with its
own amplifier. (If both speakers shared the same amp (channel or side),
you'd have a mono speaker system. Most amps and headphone outputs
have two independent amplifier channels built into them.).

So, if you recorded the same signal from a mono mic, call it "Fred's voice: take 1" on the left and right channels of your camcorder (by using a Y adapter) your
sound is no different than had you recorded "Fred's voice: take 1" on
the left side and PANNED the left channel of audio to CENTER in post.

Mono is one channel or one source of signal. Stereo is two channels,
BUT if the signal is the same on both the left and the right channels, you essentially have mono.
In true stereo, each side of the mix is different and that is what makes
it stereo.

>>Why have mono then, because i assume
>>2 channels better than 1 for single boom mic operation.

Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what you are doing and how you do it.
If "Fred's voice: take 1" is a good take, then why do you need another duplicate
channel of it? You do not need another channel of it. You need to pan
"Fred's voice: take 1" center and it will come out of both speakers at the
same volume giving the impression that Fred is speaking directly in front of us.

So why do they sell a mic like the 418? Because the two channels are
different. How? There are two capsules that pick up the sound waves in there.
The first is very directional or hypercardioid (straight ahead) 'cap'
and the second is what is called a figure 8 capsule.

A figure 8 'looks' sideways . . .
both left and right. What that does is open up the sonic image so that
we do not have just Fred's dry voice . . . that extra capsule gives us the
ability to adjust the amount of ambience around Fred's voice depending
on how loud we turn it up.

This is what is called an MS recording or Mono-Stereo. It is mono
because when you mono or SUM the stereo signal together you still
have a good sounding voice (or instrument). The ambience channels are
recorded "out of phase" so that when summed (like in your single speaker TV set)
the ambient channels disappear leaving Fred sounding nice and full.

If you use two independent mics on Fred, many times when you go to sum them together there can be phasing and other issues that can make Fred sound like
he spoke through a comb and wax paper. The same with stereo recordings
of bands, instruments, and natural sounds too. If the boom op has a stereo
mic and it wavers around, Fred's voice will waver around too and that ain't good.

Usually with MS recordings you need three channels to record on. The 1st could
be the hypercardioid capsule, the 2nd and 3rd would be the figure 8
capsule split into two with one side of that split signal phase reversed.
(Are we getting too deep now?)

>>Also, are the connections still the same,
>>or do you have to have 2 xlr connections for the 2 stereo channels?

The connection for this type of microphone is usually a 5 pin XLR. You then
have an adapter that "breaks out" into two 3 pin XLR.

So, you may be wondering how you can record MS when you only have two
channels and it usually takes three? In post you have to split the second
channel (the figure 8 mic), hard pan that split signal left and right and phase reverse one of them. Adjust those volumes to taste. Voila!

Simulated stereo sound. True stereo comes from a stereo mic that
has two independent capsules, but arranged in such a way that they
do not interfere with each other or cause phasing issues. Good ones are
BIG $$$!
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Jacques Mersereau
University of Michigan-Video Studio Manager
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Old September 24th, 2003, 10:50 PM   #3
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Thanks a million for your reply jacques.
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Old January 17th, 2004, 12:45 AM   #4
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I don't care that I am replying to a
post that is very old, I just want to
say thank you! Very helpful.
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