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Old May 23rd, 2006, 03:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Boze
As for stereo for interviews, Jay Rose describes in one of his books the M-S setup used by the BBC to get that remarkable "presence" their video has.
Seems like one of the decisions you need to make when considering stereo mics is how you want to use them and whether your are planning to do X-Y recording or M-S recording.

I recently became an M-S convert after doing an outdoor interview in the Boston Public Garden with all sorts of noise in the background I had no control over and I thought I'd try an M-S (mid-side) configuration, and I absolutely love the results, it sounded so live and real. If you can't eliminate the ambience, you might as well live with it, and having the ambience in stereo made the dialog (recorded with the "middle" mic) stand out better from the surrounding noises. Running the two channels through an M-S decoder in post offered the ability to control the "width" of the stereo field. M-S offers an advantage over X-Y stereo: it sounds better when collapsed to mono. I've thought about doing this for a long time and finally found a use for that (no longer) esoteric feature of my Sound Devices 302 mixer which allows you to montor M-S in the field. now I'm a convert.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 04:35 AM   #17
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I can't compare the other models you are looking
at but I'll say the NT4 is very sensitive to wind.
Even a very light breeze will mess with it
terribly. You'll defintely need a furry covering.
I don't think there are any blimp systems for
the NT4, such as what are available with
AT822. I think Rycote makes a furry that
goes over the foam that comes with the
mic. This foam by itself is of almost no help for
wind outdoors.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 09:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum
Yeah, that's the question alright.

In this case, how "line" is line, how "shotgun" is shotgun? Within what looks to be the interference tube of a short shotgun, there's the figure-8 capsule, which must be in the slotted section of the tube, plus the mid capsule... so how much interference tube is left to provide side cancellation to the mid capsule? Does the mid-mic have the (hollow sounding) characterstics of a shotgun when used indoors?

I'm looking for a single-housing M-S mic for primary use indoors. With what I can afford there are really only two I'm aware of, the AT835ST and the Shure VP88. However, I don't know anyone who has either one, nor a retailer in this area, so I'm very interested in Gian Pablo's experience of the AT.
Hi Seth,

In answer to your AT835ST questions...

The mic is about 15" long, and has about 11" of side vents. It's mid mic is basically the AT835 capsule. It has pretty good reach for a short shotgun (its no 816), allowing the mid channel to hear what you point it at pretty well. The side mic is a small figure-8 capsule mounted in the rear 1" of the slots. I find in very high noise environments, the side element gives out first, but we are talking 130~ish db/spl, pretty loud.

Haven't used this indoors yet, so can't comment on that. I don't buy into the "indoor=hollow" school as much as other comments on this board. I use a 416 indoors all the time for broadcast projects. YMMV. :-)

I used the VP-88 long ago, my big gripe with it was it had to be pretty close to the source to get a clear mid channel. But if you can get it in there, it has a good image. The AT can be placed much further away, and still get a nice sound. I like having the option, when I use mine its usually on-cam and further away.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 10:40 AM   #19
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Greg, thanks for that info. I believe, at 15" long, you have the AT815ST, the slightly longer version of the 835. I'm glad to read your experience, I think it's the same electronics in both mics.

Very interesting that your comparison of the 815ST is to a short shotgun mic. When I revisited audiotechnica.com for the specs, there is a feature on using the AT815ST at the Winter Olympics as a camera-mounted interview mic that also captures a stereo image of the environment. I'd assume that was backing up a hand mic.

I'm with you regarding use of shotguns indoors - if it sounds good it IS good. And of course we're always monitoring to make sure we have what we need! I think that the bad rep has come from use in small rooms. Typical indoors ENG/EFP is shot in large public and private spaces.

Lots of student and indie work is taking place in smaller private spaces such as houses, and with insufficient or no monitoring of sound. The omnidirectional nature of reflected LF depends on many things, such as room size, wall, floor and window coverings, and type of furnishings and placements. But I digress...

Back to the first OT subject, I'm very interested in the 835ST with acoustic music, which is a lot of my event shooting these days. Maybe I'll just have to buy one and put it through its paces.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 02:34 PM   #20
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What is M-S and XY?

Well.. this is interesting... I didn't know there was such a thing as X-Y recording or M-S recording until I read this list. Thanks David. I tried to search for basic info on M-S recordings (I'd heard that the BBC uses them a lot) but I found little to help me.

I do a lot of interviews and I want to voice to stand out clearly in the midst of background noise that I can do nothing about. So is an M-S recording the type I want to do? Can somebody explain (or point me to a resource online) what is M-S as opposed to X-Y?

And are there any reasonably priced M-S battery powered mics available?

I'm still open for users advice for Rode NT4 vs AT825! (Thanks Doug for your feedback on your NT4. From your experience it sounds like I DON'T want an NT4)
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 03:03 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Ambrosi
Well.. this is interesting... I didn't know there was such a thing as X-Y recording or M-S recording until I read this list. Thanks David. I tried to search for basic info on M-S recordings (I'd heard that the BBC uses them a lot) but I found little to help me.

I do a lot of interviews and I want to voice to stand out clearly in the midst of background noise that I can do nothing about. So is an M-S recording the type I want to do? Can somebody explain (or point me to a resource online) what is M-S as opposed to X-Y?

And are there any reasonably priced M-S battery powered mics available?

I'm still open for users advice for Rode NT4 vs AT825! (Thanks Doug for your feedback on your NT4. From your experience it sounds like I DON'T want an NT4)
M/S stands for "Mid-Side" mic'ing. It requires two mics placed as close together as possible. One of them, the "mid" signal mic is usually a cardioid and is aimed stage centre or directly towards the sound source. The other mic, the "side" signal mic, is a Figure-8 pattern and is arranged so the long axis of the "8" points left-to-right, across the axis of the mid mic at 90 degrees. The resulting two signals are not stereo but are considered a "matrix" that contains all the information necessary for stereo once decoded. Either when recording or in post the two signals are combined as follows ... the "side" signal is mixed with the "mid" signal and the combination becomes the stereo Left channel. For the Right channel, the "side" signal is phase inverted 180 degrees (many NLEs do this right from the menu) and the result combined with the "mid" signal.

Left = Mid + Side
Right = Mid + (-Side)

This has all sorts of neat advantages. For example, when the Left and Right are mixed together to collapse to mono, the two side signals cancel each other out and you have pure mono without any of the phase issues other stereo mic techniques are prone to. If you're mixing to 5.1 surround, the "mid" signal all by itself becomes the front centre channel.

The March 2006 issue of Electronic Musician magazine has a good article on the technique.

http://emusician.com/mag/emusic_front_center/index.html
http://emusician.com/mics/emusic_sum/index.html
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 04:14 PM   #22
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The NT4 is kind of a dark mic (i.e. a bit low
in the treble area) which I don't think would
give it an open, airy quality like you might want
for nature work.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 07:06 PM   #23
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Suggestions for M-S mic?

Thanks for the explanation about M-S microphones.
I'll be doing some reading tonight.

Can you use these M-S mics to record on any recording device? How do you 'process' the audio afterwards? Sounds complicated for a novice!

Any suggestions for a decent battery powered M-S mic?
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 11:39 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Ambrosi
Can you use these M-S mics to record on any recording device?
You can record with any stereo recorder, running the Middle into on channel and the Side into the other channel. In terms of monitoring the decoded signal in the field, the Sound Devices 302 and 442 mixers and MP-2 portable pre-amp support monitoring of M-S signals, for example. But you don't have to do this, what you have to do is decode it in post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Ambrosi
How do you 'process' the audio afterwards? Sounds complicated for a novice!
Many audio editing and mixing programs either come with an M-S decoder or you can add one as a plug-in. I use Digital Performer (from MOTU) for audio editing and mix-to-picture and it comes with an M-S Decoder among it's audio effects. The stereo spread can be adjusted, which is another cool feature of M-S stereo recordings.

BTW, the 422 and MP-2 also can provide as output a decoded stereo signal. I prefer to mix in post, but the 422 and MP-2 offer the option to do it in the field if you want..
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Old May 24th, 2006, 05:26 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Ambrosi
Thanks for the explanation about M-S microphones.
I'll be doing some reading tonight.

Can you use these M-S mics to record on any recording device? How do you 'process' the audio afterwards? Sounds complicated for a novice!

Any suggestions for a decent battery powered M-S mic?
As David said, there are any number of VST and Direct-x plugins for your editor that will take the M/S signals and ouput them in stereo but you actually can do it all in almost any audio editor or video NLE like Premiere Pro or Vegas without adding anything. You start with two mono tracks, the mid track and the side track. You take the side track and copy it to make a third track, then run a phase inversion on the copy (it'll be in the menu somewhere in most NLEs). Now in the audio mixer part of the software you pan the mid track to the centre so it goes equally to both left and right channels. The original side track is panned hard left and the inverted copy of the side track is panned hard right. Voila!
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Old May 24th, 2006, 10:21 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Ambrosi
Any suggestions for a decent battery powered M-S mic?
This might be the problem.

I've never used M-S but I've heard you monitor it in the
field by listening to the M track. (This is of course if you
don't have M-S decoder such as Sound Devices 302 or MP-2.)
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Old May 24th, 2006, 11:04 AM   #27
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The Rode Nt4 should be used with a shockmount, as with most condensers that are going to get a little "handling". The 2 capsules on the Nt4 are cardioid, so are susceptible to proximity effect wich increases bass response if recording sources very near. That would be twice the proximity effect for the sum of both capsules. A simple high pass filter around 60-100 hz will solve most of these problems :)
The only thing I dont like about that mic is that the capsules are fixed at 90 degress for X/Y, but you can't tweak em to open or widen the stere image a bit.
A Mid Side with an array of a cardiod and figure o 8 mics would always be better in my personal view, for music recording, or ambience recording, sfx gathering, etc, because you can freely tweak how wide you want the image, or how close. and M/S is also fully compatible with mono.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 03:18 PM   #28
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Which M-S mic should I use?

Thanks for the input everyone. And thanks Berns for the information about the Rode NT4. It seems like a good mic from the online reviews that I read.

But it appears that I should probably go with an M-S setup. I can only take a minimum of equipment and have to do the best job I can. Can anyone suggest a decently priced M-S microphone that takes batteries? I'd prefer NOT to use a phantom powered mic because my cheap equipment (Minidisc and a prosumer Panasonic DV camcorder) can't supply it. I will buy a Beachtek DXA-8 that can supply phantom power, but I don't want to rely on it for all situations. I'd much prefer battery power

Thanks for any suggestions!!
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Old May 24th, 2006, 04:47 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Ambrosi
Thanks for the input everyone. And thanks Berns for the information about the Rode NT4. It seems like a good mic from the online reviews that I read.

But it appears that I should probably go with an M-S setup. I can only take a minimum of equipment and have to do the best job I can. Can anyone suggest a decently priced M-S microphone that takes batteries? I'd prefer NOT to use a phantom powered mic because my cheap equipment (Minidisc and a prosumer Panasonic DV camcorder) can't supply it. I will buy a Beachtek DXA-8 that can supply phantom power, but I don't want to rely on it for all situations. I'd much prefer battery power

Thanks for any suggestions!!
Some "stereo" microphones are actually two capsules in the same handle arranged as an MS array but most of the time M/S is recorded by using two separate microphones, one cardioid and one figure-8, mounted on two stands with boom arms positioned so the mics are together or on a stand with a stereo bar that holds both of them in proper alignment. One example of a suitable set might be an AKG Blueline C391B cardioid paired up with an AKG C394B figure-8 (planning on adding those mics to my own kit as soon as budget allows). Schoeps also has a figure-8 capsule in their MK series. Both AKG and Schoeps make extension cables to separate the smaller capsules themselves from the power supply and preamp section to make it easier to mount in a shock mount on the end of a boom pole if you're so inclined. Course we're getting fairly pricey for the pair here - B&H lists the C391B at $525 and the C394B at $828 US so you're getting up there in $$ for the pair and going Schoeps would easily more than double that. And all of those mics are phantom power only, no internal battery.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 04:57 PM   #30
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What about AT835st M-S mic?

Hi
Thanks for your suggestion. But again, where I'm going, I can't carry extra equipment and I certainly won't have the time to set up all the equipment properly as I move from one site to the next. I'll need the M-S mic.

I was reading about the AT835st at http://emusician.com/mics/emusic_aud...tst/index.html

Does anyone have experience with this mic?
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