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Old May 24th, 2007, 09:26 AM   #1
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Stereo micorphones for music recording

I am again considering buying a quality single-point stereo mic, that I can get for less than $1,000.

A stereo pair is an option, but I am not so sure what any pair would improve on what I can use now, which is a pair of Senn MKH416s.

My better choice seems to be the Studio Projects LSD-2, selling for $628.50. And I don't think any Shure or Audio-Technica can beat it in audio quality.

Are there other quality choices?
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Old May 24th, 2007, 11:25 AM   #2
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I would think a shotgun like the 416 seem to have a little too narrow a pattern for effective music recording. Stereo pairs are most often cardioids and sometime hypers. Omnis also can be used for A/B arrangements. Since a lot of video has to be collapsed to mono at some point, you might want to research a bit on the mid/side recording method using a figure 8 and cardioid pair.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 12:28 PM   #3
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I would think a shotgun like the 416 seem to have a little too narrow a pattern for effective music recording. Stereo pairs are most often cardioids and sometime hypers.
I consider the 416 as hypercardiods, which I do think are a bit narrow to work with. Sometimes I use AKG or Oktava pairs.

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Omnis also can be used for A/B arrangements. Since a lot of video has to be collapsed to mono at some point, you might want to research a bit on the mid/side recording method using a figure 8 and cardioid pair.
Omnis don't sound too good for stereo. A XY of cardioids seem to sound fine.

About using MS, the LSD-2 I mentioned can do that, as one capsule can be set for figure-8. I never tried MS yet.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #4
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Carlos,
I have used the LSD-2 in MS mode for recording wind bands for a year or so and have had very good luck with it. The ability to adjust the stereo spread in post is very nice. The only derog with this mic is that it is somewhat heavy.

Regards,
Jerry
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Old May 24th, 2007, 05:28 PM   #5
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I have used the LSD-2 in MS mode for recording wind bands for a year or so and have had very good luck with it. The ability to adjust the stereo spread in post is very nice. The only derog with this mic is that it is somewhat heavy.

That is nice info. One thing I like about the LSD-2 is that I can go for XY or MS setup just by flipping a switch on the mics. And the preamp, of course, but that I already had.

How is it working with large field diaphragm mics?

A two mic setup, with stereo bar and suspension is not too less heavy, I believe.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 05:31 PM   #6
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I...
Omnis don't sound too good for stereo. A XY of cardioids seem to sound fine.

...

Depends on how you use 'em. Widely spaced omnis can do decent stereo but you are correct that coincident pair directional mics can give better imaging.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 05:49 PM   #7
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Depends on how you use 'em. Widely spaced omnis can do decent stereo but you are correct that coincident pair directional mics can give better imaging.
Yes, I think the imaging is what matters most to me for a stereo sound. But that's something that unfortunately gets easily lost in most listening arrangements.

My experience until now has been with XY cardioids and spaced omnis. The question for latter might be how wide they should be apart, but they didn't provide an ambience and separation as good as the former..
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Old May 26th, 2007, 10:45 AM   #8
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Omnis are much used in classical recording, because they have the least coloured and flattest response. A jecklin disk can be used for better stereo separation.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 02:50 PM   #9
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I think you may have a problem getting something significantly better for $1,000. Your 2 Sennheisers must have cost over $2,000.
Their disadvantages are
1) the shotgun polar response, which means that off axis sounds will have an unnatural colouration, as the high frequencies will be selectively attenuated.
2) a slight voice band frequency boost.
I guess this means that in a resonant space with a lot of reflected sound, you may have significant problems, but if you are closer to the music, and the acoustic is less resonant, or you are outside, the Sennheisers might be hard to beat.
The quality equivalent would be 2 MKH40s or an MKH40 and MKH30 in a Mid Side configuration, but that would be well over $2,000.
Why don't you try hiring, and actually compare with what you have got? Microphones are cheap to hire.
If you do a google search on "bruce bartlett stereo microphone techniques", there is a very good article on different ways of recording stereo.

Patrick
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:52 AM   #10
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MS makes a very nice downmix to mono, if that is of concern.

2 cardoid condenser mics and a stereo bar allow lots of experimentation with x/y, ORTF and even ab techniques to find what suits you best.

Having stereo in one mic is certainly a convenient feature of MS.

Of all these techniques, my favorites are ORTF for the beautiful imaging and MS for convenience in run and gun, and the magic of dialing in your stereo spread in post (some MS mics decode to stereo when recorded, I'd avoid that).
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 11:52 PM   #11
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Seth, I'm still a newbie; what's "ORTF?"
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Old December 24th, 2007, 12:41 AM   #12
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Stereo Microphone Techniques:
http://www.tape.com/resource/stereo_...echniques.html

Stereo Recording Procedures:
http://www.tape.com/resource/stereo_...rocedures.html
(url corrected after original post)

Both by Bruce Bartlett.

ORTF is in both articles, the first explaining what it is, the second doing it.

Last edited by Jack Walker; December 24th, 2007 at 12:32 PM.
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Old December 24th, 2007, 09:11 AM   #13
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You don't say exactly what is it you're recording (strings, loud rock, etc.), but in many ways this will dictate the mic you use. Most people recording music only use cardiod mics. I tend to use a combination of mics depending on the situation. In some cases my recording mics are used for the PA too (bluegrass, where we use two AT 4040 mics on stage for the players), and I just pull each mic directly from the sound board. In some cases I use as many as six microphones in addition to a matrix feed out of a sound board. In this case, I use two Earthworks QTC-40/QTC-1 omnis on-stage, two Earthworks QTC-40/QTC-1 omnis in the audience spaced 1 metre apart, and two Earthwork SR-77/SR-30 cardiod mics in the audience usually in ORTF or DIN configuration (these configurations are very close to each other and I tend to eyeball it, so I'm close, but never perfect anymore ... I at one time had templates I made to ensure I was exact, but found that after a while I could eyeball it and get it nearly exact each time). Each of these mics is placed on it's own channel on the Deva and I mix the recordings later. I will sometimes mix on-the spot, if I've providing a feed to video, but in order to do this, you MUST ensure you have some control of delay, otherwise you run into both phase and delay issues from using this many mics. John Coffey had me write up an article last spring for his magazine. You can download and read it from his website: http://www.coffeysound.com

But, back to your question... probably your best option would be two cardiod mics, not knowing what it is you are recording, if for no other reason, because they are more versatile for music recording.

Wayne
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Old December 24th, 2007, 11:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
Seth, I'm still a newbie; what's "ORTF?"
It's an acronym for a French broadcasting standards organization that researched and promoted a near-coincident technique using two cardoid mics angled 110 degrees with 7" between the capsules.

Very sweet technique with gorgeous stereo image, but doesn't collapse to mono as well as coincident techniques (x/y, MS). I like it a lot and use it frequently for acoustic performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker View Post
Stereo Microphone Techniques:
http://www.tape.com/resource/stereo_...echniques.html

Stereo Recording Procedures:
***(Bad URL here)***

Both by Bruce Bartlett.

ORTF is in both articles, the first explaining what it is, the second doing it.
The second article is actually at http://www.tape.com/resource/stereo_...rocedures.html. These are *great* articles, best practical description of stereo recording techniques I've seen.

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Originally Posted by Wayne Brissette View Post
You don't say exactly what is it you're recording (strings, loud rock, etc.), but in many ways this will dictate the mic you use. Most people recording music only use cardiod mics. I tend to use a combination of mics depending on the situation....
As Wayne points out, much depends on what you're recording/shooting.

To me, acoustic (unamplified) performance is the source of some of the best music, which is why I became interested in stereo techniques. This is really why these techniques were researched and promoted 50 and more years ago.

If we're recording performance of electric guitars, bass, drums, vox, etc., a sound that very much depends on sound reinforcement equipment and technique, then I'm with Wayne - multitrack recording is how this sound is done for distribution, it defines the sound that people expect. My usual approach is a little different than Wayne's - I'll split all the house mics to one or two 24 track recorders, and (like Wayne) add a stereo pair or two in the house.

There are some common pitfalls with this, mostly having to do with loud instruments that aren't much in the house system because the audience is hearing them direct (typically drums, sometimes bass & guitar). This is especially true in smaller venues, where the PA might only be used for voice, keyboards and acoustic guitar. Spot mic techniques can really help, as Wayne describes above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Brissette View Post
...But, back to your question... probably your best option would be two cardiod mics, not knowing what it is you are recording, if for no other reason, because they are more versatile for music recording...
This is where I started with stereo recording, there's a lot you can do with two small-diaphram cardoid condenser mics.

Last edited by Seth Bloombaum; December 24th, 2007 at 06:35 PM.
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Old December 24th, 2007, 12:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
To me, acoustic (unamplified) performance is the source of some of the best music, which is why I became interested in stereo techniques. This is really why these techniques were researched and promoted 50 and more years ago.
For pure acoustical recordings, my favorite recording these days is decca tree recording*. I've done 40 piece steel drum bands this way and they sound incredible.

* -For those not familiar with Decca Tree recordings, you have three omni directional mics spaced like this:

O
|
|
|
|
O-------c---------O

Where the left mic is 1 metre from the center point, the right mic is 1 metre from the center point and the front mic is 1.5 metres from the center mic.

This technique was used to record most of those Living Stereo classical recordings from the 50's and 60's. Pop one of those on and enjoy! I still think most of those recordings blow away the multi-mic techniques the classical world has been using recently.

Wayne

Note: The image doesn't seem work right, simply move the center line to the center and you have a decca tree... hey here is a good description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decca_tree
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