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Old September 7th, 2009, 10:39 PM   #1
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Advice Needed for Stereo Recording Methods

I am getting an EX1 in a few days and I can't figure out what is the best way for recording stereo while staying within my budget. I will get an NTG-2 and Sony UWP wireless lav for interviews and talking heads, but I will also record events where there might be music. I would like to record ambient in stereo at events in addition to the events with music. One thought I have is to get another NTG-2 to get stereo. Or should I get a stereo microphone or use the onboard mic?

Including the NTG-2, I can spend $700 on shotgun/stereo microphones.


Thanks.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 12:59 AM   #2
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I would get a stereo mic rather than try and use two NTG's.

You have the interview and general mono sound covered but the addition of a stereo mic will add to your abilities.

Also try and get an M/S stereo mic rather than a cross pair or L/R mic.

M/S mics use a capsule array to matrix to give a stereo signal and the advantage is that you can point them in any direction and keep a steady stereo image for video. You can also adjust the width of the stereo image.

It may also in time be worth considering a separate sound recorder for the stereo sound so that you have it in addition to the mono camera mic.

I personally use a sony D50 as a sep recorder but have also used a cheaper mini disc recorder for live music and general stereo effects.

As for mics I use the sony prosumer mic the ECM-957 :ECM-MS957 | One-Point Stereo Microphone | Sony | SonyStyle USA
They are very good value and I have used one for over 10 years now on lots of TV drama and documentaries. I have also used the smaller ECM-907 M/S mic as a run and gun stereo mic for wild tracks etc:Sony ECM-MS907 Consumer Microphone - Reviews, Features, and Prices $60 - $100 at DealTime

They both terminate in a 3.5mm jack but it is easy to make up a 5pin XLR to twin 3-pin XLR cable for the 957 that wil go into your camera.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 01:05 AM   #3
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Here is an ORTF stereo music recording:
Tiny outdoor concert near sea side, Taiwan on Vimeo
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Old September 12th, 2009, 01:01 PM   #4
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The rode stereo videomic is plenty for what you need. It's an X/Y with a hard screen. I think their dead kitten fits. I use the rode nt4 for more critical sound, but that's "overkill" for what you describe.
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Old September 12th, 2009, 07:30 PM   #5
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The rode stereo videomic is plenty for what you need. It's an X/Y with a hard screen. I think their dead kitten fits. I use the rode nt4 for more critical sound, but that's "overkill" for what you describe.
Yep Don, the dead kitten comes supplied with the Stereo Videomic, saves $A50.

Among others I have a stereo AT822 and the SVM and while they're both very good, the SVM has a big advantage. Its stereo soundstage is as good as you can get for the price and IMO equals or betters mics costing hundreds more.

Its on/off, high pass filter and 10db pad switches are on the rear, so they're right in front of you when mounted on the cams shoe. Easy to see and it saves reaching up on top or around the mic. Recording aircraft I reach for the pad a lot.

And out on a shoot I leave it switched on most of the time, new batteries are way cheaper than eventually replacing the on/off switch. The low 9V battery warning is right there in front of you, it comes on and you've still got 16hrs. I'm still surprised by the long life you get.

Cheers.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 03:54 AM   #6
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OK, I'll chime in here as I have an EX3, AT825 and a Rode Stereo VidoeMic (SVM) amongst my kit.

Yes, the SVM is an EXCELLENT mic for the budget but be aware that it has a stereo minijack which, if you connect to a camera such as a EX1/EX3 using the Rode minijack to XLR converter plug, will give you mono sound only. You would need to get a special stereo minijack female to twin XLR male lead made up (maybe someone supplies them off the shelf, I don't know?). I know this is obvious to some but it catches people out. The SVM is really targeted at smaller proconsumer camcorders - and it works a real treat on my Sony HC1 as does the original (mono) Videomic. Both are truely great mics for their cost in my opinion.

My AT825 can run on Phantom power or it's internal battery. It has a twin XLR lead for left and right channels (i.e. has two XLR plugs on the end of the lead). It's little sister, the AT822, is battery powered only and is supplied with a lead ending in two minijack or 1/4 plugs, I believe. I picked my AT825 up second hand for about 100 Quid and it's really excellent with lovely open sound, although I do believe the Rode NT4 Stereomic is better (in particular as it has lower self noise and even better imaging perhaps). I often use the AT825 plugged into a Fostex FR2-LE. Great combo for ambient/music at my current ability/budget level.

I also have a cheap and cheerful Zoom H2 which is a very cost effective and verstatile way of getting ambient stereo...but if I was buying it again I'd recommend the better/more rugged Sony mentioned (PCM-D50, I do like the look if that one!...) or perhaps it's cheaper little sister that is about to start shipping, the PCM-M10 which has a $400 US estimated price point - so well within your budget. Not sure what the PCM-D50 is in US, but I bet it's close to your $700 limit. Bear in mind a dead cat is a must for this (or any mic) so factor in that cost too where needed.

Edit: Video link added below for the PCM-M10:

http://www.engadget.com/2009/07/19/s...ality-to-layp/

Steve, note that it's super easy to get the stereo sound into your timeline where needed in a NLE so don't worry about having everything only plugged into the EX1 - apologies if this is obvious!

Welcome to the wonderful world of stereo sound - and good luck!
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; September 13th, 2009 at 07:21 AM. Reason: typo/adding info
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Old September 14th, 2009, 05:45 AM   #7
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Andy has the goods, the Rode Stereo Videomic is designed for recorders with a minijack mic input.

Steve, shooting outdoors in windy Chicago can get to the point where you'll have to stop if you're not prepared.

If you get the Rode NT4 with the included WS4 foam filter, you can pull the accessory dead kitten on over that. And the NT4 will fit the Rode Blimp though at present its thicker mic cable has to be run around the pistol grip.

The AT825/822 have been discontinued, there's still a few around and you might find some on Ebay. They will both fit the RODE Blimp and Rycote kit 3 for windy weather work.

Cheers.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:07 AM   #8
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Just for the record, the AT825 cannot easily be used inside a Rycote S Series Windshield/Blimp (I have a 330 variant, used mainly for my Rode NTG-3) as there is a problem routing the thick twin lead stereo cable through to the outside. I guess it may be a similar type problem to what Allan eludes to regarding the Rode Blimp system with the NT4. Just so that everyone knows!

More info and close-up pictures/detail on this page on my website (for those that need/want it).

Rycote S Series 330 Mini Review
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Old December 10th, 2009, 02:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
........


I have also used the smaller ECM-907 M/S mic as a run and gun stereo mic for wild tracks etc:Sony ECM-MS907 Consumer Microphone - Reviews, Features, and Prices $60 - $100 at DealTime ........
Gary,

As you are familiar with the ECM-MS907, (which I use with a Walkman MZ-RH1), could you please advise me if this mic should also be suitable for use to add narration through my pc to the soundtrack of a video clip? It fits the front port OK and the pc tells me I have added an audio device but I can't get any response on my PElements 7 audiotrack.

My pc audio settings may not be correct, because I'm not smart about settings. But if this mic is not suitable please suggest an inexpensive mic that would fit the requirements?
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Old December 10th, 2009, 09:56 AM   #10
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The jack on the 907 is stereo and I suspect your computer input will be mono so it may not work correctly, if you get a 3.5mm stereo to 3.5mm mono adaptor cable it may be ok.

This is what you need and as you see not a lot of $$$ http://www.cablestogo.com/product.as...=118&sku=40632
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Old December 10th, 2009, 11:39 AM   #11
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Gary,

I was rereading this thread and followed the sonystyle link to the ECM-MS957. Not what I was expecting! Their little MS mics are cool, this looks to be a big step up, at a nice prosumer price.

Couple questions:
Have you / do you think it's possible to make a cable that outputs to two XLR-M?
***edit***Phantom? Lo-z? Balanced?***
***2nd edit - I see now you answered above***
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
They both terminate in a 3.5mm jack but it is easy to make up a 5pin XLR to twin 3-pin XLR cable for the 957 that wil go into your camera.
***end 2nd edit***
Must the MS matrix decoder be engaged at 90 or 120, or is there also a setting that allows the recording of raw MS?

Thanks for pointing to this mic - looks very interesting indeed.

SB
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:24 AM   #12
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Sorry no raw M/S recording but at that price it is a great gen purpose stereo mic, no phantom and I am not sure if balanced is available but the internal battery lasts a long time.

The 90/120 widths are the only two options but if you have an edit system that uses plug-ins there are stereo M/S width controls available. I use pro tools so have a plug for changing the width of any stereo source.

Hope this helps as you have seen it is easy to get an XLR output and I have added a rode pistol grip and a softie to mine so it is better protected, it would also make a good general purpose stereo camera mic and an absolute bargain. I have used mine for nearly 15 years and it has recorded wild tracks and stereo effects for major UK broadcast drama productions.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 07:59 AM   #13
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Another vote for the Rode NT-4. I use it in conjunction with the mono feed from the desk to get a bit of space back into the sound. Placement when doing this is important.

I'm not convinced that a M/S mic is any less prone to moving the stereo image if the mic is moved, something does not add up for me. The attraction of a M/S mic is that the M signal is pure mono and could be used for a feed for mono broadcast at the same time as the decoded signal could be used for stereo. The phase correlation of the stereo signal from a M/S mic seems no different to that of a X/Y mic. Wave either around though and the stereo image goes with the mic.

There's a wealth of different techniques for capturing ambient stereo, some are simple and some complex to implement. Each has it's diehard supporters however an X/Y mic such as the NT-4 where all the hard work has been done and you don't have to sweat over it is ideal for someone who also has to wrangle getting good images. If you've got deep pockets the phased array mics from Sanken and others are fantastic as they do double duty but they're a bit rich even to mate with an EX1.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 09:53 AM   #14
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Yes the stereo image moves with an M/S mic but the left to right changes more drastically with a A/B or cross pair mic.

It becomes very important if you then start to edit material together and I have heard huge image shifts on material from an A/B mic where the M/S is a lot more subtle.

If the mic is fixed as ambience then A/B or M/S is fine but a pole, boom or camera mic is better with an M/S mic.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 11:22 AM   #15
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I'm a big fan of M/S and ORTF. I find X/Y too subtle a stereo field. Generally, I'm not putting a stereo mic on the camera, my primary application is music performance recording by unamplified acoustic groups with a fixed mic position. Sometimes with video, sometimes not.

ORTF because of the beautiful stereo image. Many people have read advice that the phase cues so important to ORTF's stereo effect are horrible when collapsed to mono. In my experience it isn't horrible in mono, even though the math says otherwise. Phase/comb filtering effects are extremely subtle playing back my recordings in mono, which are all captured on-location in acoustically uncontrolled rooms, not studios. And the stereo is very nice indeed!

However, an ORTF mic array is kind of a hassle to set up and has a big visual impact (there's really only one place a stereo mic or array should go... pretty much front and center).

M/S has a smooth collapse to mono, both practically and mathmatically, very nice stereo imagery, and a low visual "footprint". And, I have to admit, dialing in the stereo spread in post is something I still find exciting.

There's another thread here somewhere that Gary N. contributed to regarding M/S -> Stereo -> M/S -> Stereo decoding/re-encoding/mixing, which technique he refers to above. As he says, this is a method in which you can adjust spread in post even when the M/S signal has been previously decoded to Stereo. That thread was a real eye-opener for me (hint - these M/S plugins are useful even when you didn't start with an M/S mic, enabling some serious mixing/mastering tricks!)

The Sony ECM-MS957 seems exactly the prosumer-plus M/S mic I've been looking for - thanks Gary!
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