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Old October 22nd, 2012, 03:14 PM   #121
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

I'm personally never comfortable with the concept of a stereo microphone that moves. I do quite a bit of stereo recording, and seem to spend quite a lot of effort creating exactly the sound field I want to capture. I like the idea of a football field, where you can hear where the players are when they shout with your eyes closed, however that doesn't work when the stereo mic moves - the field moves with the camera and that always sounds weird to me. I always think of mics on cameras - either one mono, or a stereo, as one or two channel sound, never stereo. Even M/S rarely works properly for me - same reason, sure, there is left to right info, and you can worry about width in the edit suite, but if it moves, for me it destroys what could be quite nice sound. Stick it on a mic stand, and it works nicely. Same with two identical shotguns on a football field. I've never had more than 3 on the go for my projects, but one on the centre line, and one in the middle of each half works pretty well for me, the centre panned centre, and the others panned half left and half right. It's not very accurate stereo - but there is correlation between what you see from any of the cameras to what you hear. Almost certainly there are holes where the nulls are but these don't seem to be a problem.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 03:24 PM   #122
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

Hmmm , is that not a bit like when you turn your head the soundstage moves in relation to where you are looking ?

All relative to what you are trying to do/portray I suppose ?
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 04:17 PM   #123
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

+1 to all my Sony stereo mics are M/S with a decode matrix built in - I remember that some of them had switchable stereo angle.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 02:43 AM   #124
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

I agree with Paul a stereo mic should generally be fixed and not move, I take your point Derek but we don't hear sound like that and you can hear things that are behind you and your brain tends to keep a static soundfield as you move your head around.

We also don't see things as a video camera or lens does so fixing the stereo image to a moving image on a static screen generally does not work.

It also messes with the stereo image as if you pan left what was on the left channel can then suddenly become the right channel.

I did an ITV stereo sound training course in the 80's and there were some real howlers on how not to record stereo and the Eastenders tests were dreadful as the stereo image was all over the place as the boom moved around the sound stage.

Good thing about M/S mic's though is that the M capsule is always pointing forward so if you do have problems with imaging you can easily remove the S content and get a static good mono source, some post desks such as the AMS Neve logic and DFC that I helped design have AB wide controls that allow you to have M/S control of an AB signal, I also have a plug in for pro tools that allows me to adjust the stereo image/width of any AB signal.

I only have two stereo mic's and they are both sony M/S prosumer mic's, everything else is mono and gets panned to suit the sound stage required which remains static for any filming set up I may do.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 03:16 AM   #125
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

I hear what you are saying and I suppose it is all a matter of degrees .

Just as with our human heads , small movements in vision are probably achieved by movement of the eyes with little or no movement of the ears , therefore no real change in the soundstage ( apart from a psychological one brought about by the way our brains work ) ; then panning slightly left and right within a frontal soundfield needs no real change in microphone positioning ( although again a camera mounted mic probably won't move much anyway and differences in what is picked up may be hardly perceptible ) .

On the other hand , if we are looking at an outdoor scene where a person ( or the camera ) were to turn fully round by , say , 180 deg , and there was some fixed sound source , would you not want it to move relative to the picture ?

I guess it all comes down to the subject matter - in an action film I guess you would want the sounds to track with the sources in a dynamic , fast moving scene .

On the other hand , something like a telecast of an orchestral concert would want a fairly static mix ( if there is a separate TV sound mix perhaps accentuating certain instruments or performers as the camrea picks them out , but not moving anything within the soundfield ) these days with stereo being more or less universal and surround being quite commonplace ( ideally for a sense of space and ambience ) , there may no longer be a separate 'TV mix' - I am thinking back to the old days of the BBC simulcasts where one mix would go to TV and another to FM radio .

I think surround sound , done properly , can be very good , but done for its own sake can be very tiring - I got interested in surround fairly early , playing around with Quadraphonic and Ambisonic decoders in the 1970's , then Dolby Pro Logic then Digital in the 1980's , before becoming quite jaded with it all and have gone back to a decent two channel stereo system in my living room a couple of years ago : I find it much nicer to listen to music in stereo ( well recorded stereo can still portray ( front to back ) depth , width beyond the loudspeakers and the accoustics of different spaces ) , and I don't miss surround for watching TV and films . I wonder if I am alone in this ?
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 03:47 AM   #126
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

One easy way to find out why panning a stereo mic is a bad idea is to do this simple test.

Put some headphones on with your stereo mic feed then watch the world through your camera viewfinder, you will soon find that hearing the stereo image moving around whilst watching what is basically a static image does not work.

Yes the camera is panning and moving around but your brain is watching a flat image and will not be able to process the audio as it does not match a lot of the time.

Also try shooting some footage in stereo and then edit it together and see how the stereo image moves around as the shots change, it may also be that if things are shot out of sequence that the audio will totally change as you point the camera in different directions for cutaways etc.

It's also why we don't pan mono sources to suit the pictures very much as it is not how we hear or perceive things in the real world.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 07:30 AM   #127
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

That is interesting and I will give it some thought .

Certainly , with the types of films I tend to make it has not been a major issue .

In training films , live sound tends to be incidental and much of it is dubbed over with narration .

With events , the main shots tend to be fairly static from a main camera , with cutaways and close ups from other cameras being dropped in as video inserts and relying on the soundtrack from the main camera .

Weddings can contain sequences chopped together in any way they work ; I sometimes use my minidisc recorder to record continuous soundtrack if there is a piper playing while the guests arrive , and dub this over the assembled sequence , bringing up the odd bit of live sound as required and appropriate ; ceremonies tend to be a fairly static shot from a tripod , and photo sessions tend to be cut together with incidental music dubbed over afterwards . I also got one of the pipers I knew to come down and play in my garden one evening so that I could record him - this gave me about an hours worth of traditional music I could freely use in any of my wedding tapes , the agreement being that as long as I credited him I could use his music . This was on 15 ips open reel tape , using a pair of AKG C451/CK1 straight into my Revox B77 , and even now still decent enough quality to use today if required .

I have also managed to record church organists prior to weddings and gained some useful material .
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 11:35 AM   #128
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

I am always amused at how some people do weddings with rode videomic's and shotguns etc, it should always be treated as a stand alone event and have a sound rig to suit.

Think how big weddings such as the ones like last year for our royals are covered and scale it down with a fixed sound rig and spot mic's to pick up any action such as vows etc.

Camera mic's should virtually be non existent as they are generally in the wrong place and that goes for speeches as well which should have placed table mic's for the spoken word and audience mic's for any reaction.

A sep recorder can be helpful here but also using split recording across different cameras if you have them can allow more flexibility.

I don't do weddings but my four channel P2 cameras would allow split mixes to be created of radio mic's and a stereo soundstage that covered any audience or instrumental content such as the organ etc.

As you rightly say a lot can also be done in post prod to cheat a soundstage that suits the pictures.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 01:48 PM   #129
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

Yes , I always considered it important to mic things up correctly .

Life is a lot easier when I can borrow radiomics from work , but even setting up my own wired mics is the minimum I would do to do the job properly .

Depending on the location , I might place a short rifle mic on a low stand ( often hidden in the floral arrangements ) to pick up the vows etc , and just to get it off the camera so as to eliminate handling noise . Sometimes if I had the camera down the front , putting the mic on a floor stand next to the tripod worked well enough - every venue is different and you have to be adaptable .

I used to mic up top tables for the speeches , but one of the main problems was always that people at the table would end up tapping them and shouting 'Is this mic working ? ' even though I would have already explained they were mine and not for a PA system ! In the end I moved away from a pair of C451/CK1 on either table stands or floor stands in front of the tables and went over to boundary mics which were not recognised as such ; they were more prone to picking up noise from the table but sometimes the lesser of two evils . Of course , if there WAS a PA system , you might get a feed from it , or just pick up the sound from one of the loudspeakers well enough . It was always a judgement call each time , although with regular venues you got to know what worked and what didn't .
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