Blumlein vs. X/Y when close-miced

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by foldedpath, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. foldedpath

    foldedpath Guest

    I’ve never had a chance to try a pair of figure-8 mics in Blumlein configuration, but I’m curious about it. Specifically, I’m curious about what happens when you close-mic an instrument like acoustic guitar (and yes, I know that ideally, Blumlein is something done at a greater distance in a good room).

    For example, these photos of a Bruce Swedien setup (scroll down, there are several photos on the page):

    (Dead Link Removed)

    And the Pierre Bensusan demo photos on the Royer site:

    It seems to me that close-mic’ing like this would result in the instrument sound in the front lobes overpowering much of the room ambience in the rear lobes.

    So if that’s true, then is this basically the same as X/Y with just a little bit of room sound added? Or is there something fundamentally different in the type of stereo field generated in Blumlein, compared to X/Y cardioids? I guess I’m unclear about just what Blumlein brings to the party other than room sound, when compared to X/Y. Is the stereo field different just because you have those rear lobes active?

    Mike Barrs
  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Its a very rewarding experience.

    True, but this is the case with any mic if its close.

    There certainly is. Blumlein has a linear distribution or location of sound sources from left to right, XY cardioids is non-linear and a slightly distorted or skewed location of sources. Blumlein also uses fig8's which are a pure pressure difference mic and not a hybrid with an omni, the directivity is much more uniform and controlled, off axis response is more tonally accurate than cardioid.

    Its a superior option for close or more distant miking than XY cardioid.
  3. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I, too, much prefer Blumlein to X-Y whether the source is near or far...

    One of my general recording techniques is to use non-directional microphones for close micing. It ends up pulling in more of the room sound and you end up with mics that can fit in an "ensemble" mix better. Of course there is a time and a place for directional as well, but given the choice, I use Blumlein as the starting point for a lot of my work.

    I especially like recording string quartets up pretty close using a Blumlein setup...

  4. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Is this with the SF-24?

    I have a few sessions for small string ensembles comming up (Quartet and Trio) and I'd like to explore what options there are besides putting my KM130 in a Jecklin disc (Wich would be my current choise of method).

    Are there any CD's availible that You have recorded this way, I'd like to get some "sound" reference.

  5. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Sometimes, otherwise I've been doing it for years with the AKG 426...

    Unfortunately, there isn't anything that is commercially available that has been done that way. Most of my recordings are either for broadcast or for archival purposes.

  6. foldedpath

    foldedpath Guest

    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I downloaded the Royer SF-12 manual a few days ago, because I was curious about the mic. They refer to it as "X/Y" and never mention the term Blumlein. That's what started me wondering about the actual differences.

    Now someone needs to hammer on Royer to get their terminology straight. :wink:

    Mike Barrs
  7. MasonMedia

    MasonMedia Guest

    There is a demo CD available from Royer Labs and compressed versions of the tracks are on their website. There are notes and a number of examples of what they refer to as X-Y setup using the SF-12 mic.

  8. zacharym

    zacharym Guest

    probably because blumlien is just a standard near coincident x/y setup with figure 8 mics? and if it isn't a selectable polar pattern, then they really don't have the need differenciate between the two?

    the way I learned it is that x/y is generally referring to two cardiod capsules at 90 degrees, to give fairly narrow stereo image.
  9. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Sorry to be pedantic, but Blumlein is not "near coincident" it is "coincident", ie completely coincident.
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    Please indulge my reciprocal pedantism, but Blumlein is technically not completely coincident unless you are using two ribbons on the same plane as eachother. However, since most ribbons, even in stereo ribbon mics, are vertically opposed, Blumlein is no more coincident than X/Y which is at best a near-coincident technique as well.

    For a mic technique to be completely coincident, the pick-up would need to be from one singal point source. I'm not aware of any mic capable of reproducing stereo from a truly single point source (meaning - 1 diaphragm, not 1 microphone.)

  11. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Well then Jeremy, by that definition, there is no such thing as a coincident mic technique as it is an impossibility to get two microphones on the same horizontal plane without reflection issues between them. It is generally accepted terminology that 2 microphones on the same VERTICAL plane is a coincident technique- ie X-Y or Blumlein. That is quite easy to do- with a single stereo or 2 mono microphones....

  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    It's quite commonly accepted that there is no such than as a true coincident pair. That's why so many refer to even XY as near coincident. I know it's a matter of symantics, but it is true.

  13. zacharym

    zacharym Guest

    I didn't mean to start a war of symantics. whoops.

    I was aware that you could refer to it in both ways, I always say near coincident though, I don't know why.

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