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Old September 7th, 2016, 08:39 AM   #1
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Small single-point stereo mic wanted

I have been recording some small (5-piece or less) acoustic folk/bluegrass groups using a single-point stereo mic (AT-822, AT-825, Beyerdynamic MCE82). I have been quite happy with the results, especially with the MCE82.

In some cases (for example very intimate "house concert" settings) I would like to try a similar single-point stereo mic that is visually less obtrusive. Please let us not get into a philosophical digression about "why" this would be desirable, about trade-offs between visual and audible, etc. Please just take it as a given for the point of this question.

I look at the Rode i-XY, or the Zoom iQ6, and they seem like an ideal size and configuration ... except that they're made to plug into an iGadget, and don't have a standard audio connector for output. There's also the Shure MV88, which is M/S, but also has an iGadget connector. And it might suffer from excessive ambience and audience sound.

Does anybody know of a mic that's at leastly somewhat similar to those in size and configuration, yet has standard audio output connections? I have various recorders so I can accommodate either balanced (with or without phantom) or unbalanced (with or without "in-line power") mics.

Thanks in advance for any specific recommendations!

Last edited by Greg Miller; September 7th, 2016 at 07:08 PM.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 10:13 AM   #2
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Re: Small single-point stereo mic wanted

Audix has some miniature cardoid condenser mics with which you could build a small X/Y or ORTF array. Pencil-style mics that are more like pencils... Or, you could locate some cardoid lavs and do it smaller still.

Giant Squid has a stereo cardoid lav array, but 3.5mm output only, unbalanced, and require micpower (not phantom). They have a battery box, but then you're still unbalanced to a camera... Or maybe a little mixer as a preamp to line level/balanced? Never used GS cardoid lavs, but their omni lavs are typical of the inexpensive capsules out there, solid medium quality.

If you're able to rig, you could get a larger mic above the eye-line of audience and camera - the sound *can* be just as good at 7', depending on ceiling height and reflectivity. Rigging could be off existing structures, or, a counter-balanced backlight boom, or, a pipe between two stands.

Back in the minidisc days, Sony made some single-point stereo mics of about .75"x1", IIRC. But these were 3.5mm output only, unbalanced, and required micpower (not phantom).

***edit***
I should learn to read better. I see you've got some ideas for separate recording that may accomodate 3.5mm unbalanced with micpower.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 12:25 PM   #3
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Re: Small single-point stereo mic wanted

Interesting that you have been somewhat reading my mind. I have already built a hanging array for one venue ... some day I will post pictures. I hang with the mic about 18" downstage of the lip and 6'6" above the stage floor (unless any of the musicians is unusually tall). That works fine for the ATs and the Beyer.

For the "house concert" events, I had been thinking about fabricating something using mini lavs. Unfortunately I don't have any good machine tools, and there would be some trial & error involved anyway. So I'm hoping I can find what I want as an already existing finished product.

I will look at the Audix and GS products, to see if maybe they have a suitable cardioid that I could make into an X/Y array.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old September 7th, 2016, 01:00 PM   #4
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Re: Small single-point stereo mic wanted

The Sony ECM-MS907 may be worth a look, I have used it on several recordings with good results as it is M/S and has on board battery. 3.5mm output but this could be converted for XLR etc but as I have mainly used it with my minidisc in the past and recently with a canon HF11 HD camera it is nice and small.
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Old September 7th, 2016, 07:07 PM   #5
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Re: Small single-point stereo mic wanted

Interesting you would mention the MS907. I have, and have tried, an ECM-959A. Both are M/S mics (with matrixed output). I did not include the 959 on my earlier list, because I have found M/S to be problematic for these types of sessions. The rooms are shallow, and the mic is actually flown behind the first row of seating. In fact some of the seating extends about six feet upstage of the apron! Since the figure-eight Side capsule picks up as much behind the mic as in front of it, it picks up a lot more audience sound than I want. That's why I would prefer a cardioid X/Y pair.

I can understand that you like the 907. In a different situation, e.g. a larger ensemble, a genre where more ambience from the hall is desirable, and a situation where the audience is entirely behind the mic, M/S can do quite well, and I have some nice recordings from the 959. But I don't think it's appropriate in this particular case.

Also, although the 907 is shorter than my 959, it is still larger than what I would hope to find.

Thanks for the suggestion, though.
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