Blumlein decoding

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by xxm, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. xxm

    xxm Guest


    I would like to know what would be the best way to decode a blumlein configuration, without using a DAW (i usually don't record on laptop and want to hear the result on location.)

    I don't plan to buy any mixer soon, but will have the possiblity to have a SF-12 for a few day. I own a sonosax sx-m2 that has an imput impedance of 5k ohms and a clean 76db gain, so at least no trouble there.

    Any good matrix? cable? quality DIY?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Me thinks you might be somewhat confused? You don't need to decode a Blumlein pair you only need to decode an MS pair. Blumlein's are very similar to an XY pair but they incorporate figure of 8 microphones which provides for nicer ambience since they are aiming towards the audience on the backside.

    So just pan 1 left and pan the other right. Eh voila'!

    MS lover
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. xxm

    xxm Guest

    Thanks for your kind answer.

    You are right, the decoding would very probably make something similar to a great quiet recording!
    Being a professional cellist make me spend more time on the 'label'' side of the mics rather than in front of a desk and unfortunately ask some weird questions!

  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Vincent, since you mentioned that you are a cellist, I would definitely recommend an MS stereo microphone for recording as opposed to the dual figure of 8 Blumlein pair.

    The reason I have such a bug up my ass about MS stereo miking is the fact that your "mid" microphone is generally a cardioid, aimed front and center, exactly what you want for a well-balanced Mono recording. ("HEAD-ON apply directly to the forehead HEAD-ON apply directly to the forehead HEAD-ON apply directly to the forehead") The "side" microphone which IS a bidirectional or figure of 8 microphone (is mounted perpendicular to the middle microphone and thus faces the left and right side walls), that then combines with that centered mono microphone to create the most incredible adjustable width stereo! Yup, you can adjust how wide you want your stereo sound and its 100% mono compatible without any phasing problems! And, since that is a specialized matrix recording, YES, it must be decoded for proper monitoring. That must be accomplished through an ancillary device that is capable of taking the mid-side signal to convert to left-right. That can be done with either a simple pair of transformers or a very simple integrated circuit chip wiring scheme. Many are commercially available but it is also easy to build one of your own from just a couple of patch cords into a simple mixer, like a small Mackie. If you want to know more, just ask.

    They don't call me "MS Remy Ann David" for nothin' ya' know?
  5. xxm

    xxm Guest

    So, may I also call you MS Remy Ann David? (it definitively sounds better than XY Remy anyway...)

    I will absolutely have to try some MS application with one of the ribbons of the sf12, probably the upper one. I could use one of my m147 that will be good for the purpose.

    And Yes, if you have a good DIY solution, I do ask! I am not a master in soldering but musicians are surely handicrafts. At least some of us :roll:

    edit: since my preamp doesn't have any phase swich I would be interested as well about any other quality chip based solution.
    You can email me if you prefer at v.micotti [at!] yahoo dot fr!


    Best regards,
  6. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    you dont have to stick to hardware .plugins such as MSED from Voxengo or S-1 from WAVES work very well too.
  7. xxm

    xxm Guest

    Thanks a lot!

    I tried a few times the MS encoding already, using a friend's mk4 and mk8, but -sorry- I don't like schoeps.
    I just appreciate to know on the fly how it can sound that's why I wanted to get some gear. (even though the MS isn't obviously as sensitive as blumlein, and allows an easy post prod... let's see)

  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Just curious - why??? It's not a comment we run across very often. Sure, some *prefer the Senns or the DPAs, but rarely do I ever hear someone say they don't like schoeps altogether...
  9. xxm

    xxm Guest

    Well, I understand. I should have made my thoughts clearer. I don’t hate Schoeps of course and I shouldn’t criticise the caps I haven’t tried. So no general critics here and no special topic ‘I hate Schoeps’ as well.
    So far, I recorded myself with mk2h, mk2s, mk8 and mk4, with both with CMC 5 and 6. The mics weren’t mine but I had these for a few sessions. I recorded mainly at that time with a Sonosax Sx-S (unfortunately not mine as well).
    I played as cello-piano or trio in front of mk4, mk21, mk2h, mk2s, and the kfm6. (As far as I remember, maybe some other as well)
    And for sure in small ensembles in many others, such as many old and new Neumann, DPA 4003,6, 7, 11, Sennheiser, Gefell, Thuresson, etc, etc...
    I won’t compare mics on orchestra; too many factors have to be considered making the appreciation for me rather difficult.

    To come back to your question, I will have to use ‘musician’ terms rather than ‘scientific’.
    Sorry about it.
    I find that the Schoeps I mentioned, yet being different, all give me the similar feeling of ‘neutral grey’ and this grey is exactly where I expect the sound to be sparkling.
    I am not touched as deep by their voice as I would be from e.g. a DPA, or a Gefell. I never found the DPA being too clinical as many say.
    I don’t find the Schoeps sound being so pure; let’s say not close enough to what I hear. The personality of an MK2s for an example seams for me to be like added over a purer sound.
    I wouldn’t say that the sound is dusty of course but I feel as if a thin piece of muslin would be added between the sound source and my ears.

    Surprisingly, every time I hear a sample from the Schoeps I meant, I feel that it sounds like a CD, when I expected to sound better than that. This was never a problem with e.g. some Gefell SD or DPA, but I don’t want to make a list of my personal critics about all mics here…

    I will give you a little example: I played twice within a few weeks in the Geneva studio of the Swiss radio in the same studio, with the same trio, the same piano, the same gear (Studer console, DADenmark converters on Pyramix DXD.) but once with a main pair or mk4 ortf, mk21 support for the Steinway D and two mk2s outriggers, and once with the same setup made of km84 and DPA 4006.
    It was an extremely fascinating situation to compare the masters, as you could imagine. All of us (from the trio) had the same feeling of different reality between the two cessions where the Schoeps gave a ‘recording’ feeling when the other configuration gave a rather ‘live’ feeling. It is this sound that makes me not prefer (or not like) these mics.
    Not very informative maybe, but it is hard to comment it better with my English.

    I personally think that the cmc5&6 bodies are the reason of what I dislike. I played once only some cello sonata in a pair of M222 with mk4 in a known place, and this was something totally different, very impressive, with very much personality in the sound.
    It isn’t the vintage sound that I speak about here though. I don’t especially love ‘vintage’ sound. It would be highly interested to hear the new CMD 2U and see if my thoughts about the body are right.
    It’s a matter of taste. Many musicians don’t like Stradivarius… Heifetz said that the worse recording he ever made was with a Stradivarius (he only played Guarneri Del Jesù). Some other prefers e.g. Montagnana, Amati, Da Salò… or even modern built like do Tabea Zimmermann or Raphael Oleg.

    Hope it makes it clearer...

  10. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Vincent, I think ribbons are the ticket for your cello. But see if you can find/borrow a Royer SF24 or a pair of Coles 4040, which I have just ordered myself. A condenser that sounds fantastic on cello is the AKG 426 in pure Blumlein.

    there are some good examples of the Coles 4040 in Blumlein, like this one.
  11. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    I am having the same thoughts about Schoeps lately. Sort of muffled sound, like the mics are inside a paper tube. Worse on some things than others.
  12. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Its funny how people's ear/brain mechanism works. Schoeps, probably more than any other mic are universally accepted as one of the finest SDC made, neutral, detailed, rich, and full.

    You guys are starting a new movement and really going against the current. Good luck with it all. :)
  13. xxm

    xxm Guest

    Thanks for your comments!
    It is exacly this mp3 sample that made me react to both coles 4040 and blumlein. It is one of the top mp3 I've heard online. And the coles aren't overpriced... that's a really good point!

    By the way, you wrote once you recorded the quatuor mosaiques with a sf-12... may I ask you a small sample of it? If you agree but rather don't post it, you can use the my email v.micotti at yahoo dot fr. I got several lessons a few years ago from their cellist, Christophe Coin and would love to hear it.

    And please, post some sample as soon as you get your coles!!!!

    Thanks a lot in advance!


  14. xxm

    xxm Guest

    At least we're two against the current! As you said, it isn't the same feeling all along in all situations though. Have you ever compared the m222 to cmc5&6?

  15. Duckman

    Duckman Active Member

    The 4040s sound amazing, so natural, warm and transparent.

    A question for more experienced hands... what sort of gain would one require with the 4040s to record a small choral ensemble. I've a MH ULN2 with 72db, and wonder if it would be enough.

    I'm sort on the verge of a new mic purchase (some of you may be sick to death of this... as I've posted similar questions in another forum - apologies). The contenders are Gefell M270, M296, saving a bit more for Schoeps CMC6/Mk2 or, now that I've heard them, the possibility of Coles.
  16. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Your preamp with 72dB will be heaps. You will probably only need 45dB or so of gain. The Coles have a higher output than the SF12 due to the bigger magnets, and I used the SF12 at about 48dB of gain for chamber music including choral.

    Rich Mays is probably the best person to comment on this, as the SF12 is a favourite of his on choral work.
  17. rfreez

    rfreez Active Member

    where are some other examples please?

  18. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I am not permitted to do this, I'm afraid. Are you ever in Australia? Perhaps you could stop by for a listen. :cool:
  19. xxm

    xxm Guest

    I see! I understand as well... I also have to deal with this case and wouldn't appreciate to see wild 'brodcasting'. Thanks for your invitation though, it is very kind of you. Unfortunately I don't plan to fly to Australia within a short term (I live in Germany). Once maybe?

  20. d_fu

    d_fu Guest

    And software like Sequoia/Samplitude can do it internally, without any additional plugs..

Share This Page