1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

M/S with one mic?

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by JohnTodd, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    I've got one input left on my Firepod to record drums. Found a good sounding room and would like to have a stereo room track.

    I have a ribbon that picks up Figure-8 nicely. I've used this ribbon for M/S with an SM57 as mid, and it works nicely after EQ tweaking.

    I know I can "try things out" when I get there, but I'd like to be better prepared mentally.

    What do I get when I do an M/S recording without the M? I know it will pick up two channels out-of-phase as always, so I know I can split that into 2 tracks, flip one, and pan wide.

    Perhaps the rest of the mics on the kit will fill in the M?

    What do you think I'll get?

  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    To have a bigger than life sound or simply a more open mix with punch:
    So many recordings are compromised by odd shaped rooms, poor micing and inconsistent effects. Tracking everyone in a bunch of rooms that have different sizes to them makes no sense to try and capture. So, we use them more for isolation than ambiance. Keep in mind, I'm coming at it all this opinion from a mixing POV. My opinion is very subjective. Not everyone has the ideal rooms or an elaborate mixing system so I say this freely,
    Isolation is paramount but it does nothing for the openness of a performance without effects added later. At the mix stage we still fight the boxy sound while trying to make it larger than life anyway. So...

    I use Bricasti room simulation during the mixing process. I almost always drop the original rooms in everything possible (take the room out of the mix) or only if its an attribute, will I use the original room(s) ever so gently. I tend to use the original room as a guide to expand from.
    If the client wants big, I will replace the original rooms as much as possible with the array of Bricasti's and Eventide's OTB.

    Why? (with the exception of the "live sound of a symphony or life performance")
    I have yet to hear one room better than a Bricasti timed to the mix. I know room simulation is a bone of contention for traditionalist, or from those who have not experienced this joy, but from my seat, there is no room better than a rack of time aligned Bricasti M7's in an analog matrix..

    So, from a mixing perspective with the tools I use, Just saying, I would much rather have clean mono over smeared and swirly stereo tracks any day of the week. The better the mono, the better the mix in the end.
  3. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Makes good sense. Brings up another idea.

    I sampled the room and made an impulse file for a convo reverb. When I play pre-recorded drums using that reverb, it sounds exactly like the reverb of the room. Perhaps nix the M/S idea and just go convo at the mix?

    EDIT: How do I time it to the mix? I have my tempos for all these songs.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I replaced some wording in my post. Please read it again if you will. But, you got the jest of my pov. Thats doesn't make me right, but... it definitely brings up the pro and cons to building a studio. I don't don't care how much money someone spent on their tracking room acoustics. I'll still improve it every time.

    Its all based around the end result. If a group of banjo players want the sound of the pub captured, I'm not going to be doing "my thing" on it. I would simply mix it.
    But, if we are producing a mix that is being put into the pool of commercial listeners, forget traditional and be smart.

    I'm not a traditional recording engineer but I do think like one. When I am tracking, I am thinking about the mix that is in my head. I am listening to the source and placing that in the mix of my head. So, we all go at this "making music" thing from the tools and vision we know.

    Lets use me as an example: If you are considering me to mix, my method will excel. If you are considering someone that doesn't use my tools and methods, the first thing they would say is where are the room mics! So, when you read all these ways to track and mix, always put it in perspective.
  5. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    That seems to make this all a lot easier. OK, I'll forgo the room mic(s) and concentrate on good, phase-free close micing.
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Exactly. The capture is paramount.
    Invest your time in capturing the best source and performance. Forget about trying to make everything wide and doubling effect. Focus on the mono source and how to keep the room out. No home studio room is better than a Bricasti.
    The room inspires the performance and this is where its a gray area. The room glues the performance , capture the performance inspired in the room! Not the other way around.

    That's how I hear it, after the fact.

    For added fun discussion regarding room replacement and micing: I'll add an example of a song I mixed with a famous drummer we all know in this. It was tracked in a ( good studio in LA)
    I removed the room(s) in this mix to demonstrate what I'm talking about. Its doesn't make me right. Its simply backing up what I'm saying. I'm open for criticism too, which is why I post my stuff. I'm here to learn and share like the rest of us, not to push my ways or put one way down over the other. I'm just saying, listen for yourself on this example.

    the original mixer was bent on keeping the rooms of his studio in the mix. I believe he lost the ability to be objective and fell short of doing the artist justice. This is such a common mistake. Its why we all need mixing and mastering engineers for songs worth the investment. Its hard to be objective when we spend a wade of money designing our studio. Is keeping the sound of the walls in the mix good for the client? The concept of removing our investment in painful to say the least. But, its the right thing to do for most commercial music.

  7. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    A figure of 8 mic is what it is - a mic that has two live sides and deep nulls 90 degrees away. The concept of M/S is the phase relationship between it and a forward facing source. You cannot use mics that are in a different location to make it work because the phase relationship is messed up. All that happens is you get a weird hollow sound where the sources interact and subtract or add. Think about the horrible sound you get when you forget to invert the polarity of a bottom and top miked snare - sort of hollow, thin and strange.

    In an M/S setup, the donkey work, and the critical major element is the front mounted mid sound, that aims at the sound source. The side aimed fig-8 lobes pull the non-centre sound sources one way or the other. Drop out the M mic of an M/S pair and the direct in front sound is not there, because that is where the nulls are, and all you get are the edges of where a forward facing cardioid polar pattern would start to die off.

    A fig 8 mic spare could be quite useful between Toms at a push, but the overhead might well tend to cancel one or the other, so care is needed.
    bigtree likes this.
  8. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Cool guys!
  9. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Awesome sound you got on that, audiokid! Amazing difference.
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    It's a single fig-8 mic, so only one channel of information. How the sound sources are phased in that channel is determined by the relative physical location of the sources and the placement of the microphone.

    If you "...split that into 2 tracks, flip one, and pan wide", you end up with out-of-phase mono, similar to having the connections reversed on one loudspeaker of a stereo pair.

    You could only get other tracks in your recording to work as the M mic if they were at the same point in space as the ribbon S mic, i.e. you have an M-S pair.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I'm really not into convolution reverbs. Few places have decent RT 60 for quality reverb. I'd rather just use algorithmic reverbs that are short to mimic the acoustics of a decent environment.

    The MS technique, it really requires the Middle microphone, be it one that matches the figure of 8 or even an SM-57, to be within as close proximity to the side facing, figure of 8 microphone for proper stereo. Now even if that's not the case? One can still take another middle facing directional microphone, even if it's not in close proximity with the figure of 8 microphone, into an MS matrix. You won't get proper stereo. But you will create stereo, from the different phase relationship that middle microphone has in relationship to the side microphone, figure of 8.

    The MS matrix, is used for any number of applications. Middle microphone not close enough to the figure of 8 microphone? Well... in software, you could time align the Timing of the closest microphone you have to that figure of 8 microphone, in your multi-track audio software, timeline. We're living in the 21st century, computer age guys! Time is on our side. We can manipulate time. Timing is everything. I like to play with time. It's time I play with time. Time for you to play with time also. There is any number of ways to get what you want by manipulating time. We couldn't do that in the analog tape days. But we've pretty much been able to do it since 1995, easily. And it takes time, to properly play with time. But then, you probably have all the time in the world? I'm on Eastern daylight. I'm on the East Coast. I get to see the sunrise before anyone else in the United States does. And that all has to do with timing, again. Because the sun is analog, you can't have sunrise in Chicago, before Washington DC. But you could in the movies. They know how to play with time. They take their time. You should take it also.

    I think I've timed out?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  12. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    This has become a theoretical discussion now, but I like it.

    Remy, are you saying that M/S without the M is a possible valid technique if I choose something else as M and time align it in the DAW?
  13. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    As stated M/S could not be done with one mic. You need 1 mic facing the source and a figure of 8 mic 90 degree form the source. They could be identical mic or not but still two are needed and one need to be a figure of 8.

    Now what can you do with one mic ?? you could clone the track and pan them hard left and right. Then add a delay to one of the track 30-60ms or As RemyRad said play with the time alignment of one of the track. This trick will give you the illusion of stereo but it can't be called M/S
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Yes ya can create a pseudo-stereo effect, assign another microphone nearby to middle. Then using the matrix trick on the Side, split left & right (phase inverted). This will give you stereo. Very wacky stereo. Ya, so, yeah. All the phase cancellation one obtains from the mono/middle, versus the side timing, provides for a very wide stereo field effect. This is how we play with phase and timing. Timing is everything. It's like Star Trek! We get to manipulate time like never before possible!

    The concept of using an MS matrix, has been used for a long time. It's used for FM broadcasts. It's been used on certain types of analog recorders. It's used for stereo microphone techniques. It's used to create stereo from where there was none before. And then even frequency weighting can also be employed, within the MS, matrix. It lets you do all sorts of wacky Stereophonic, processing. One can enhance the stereo perspective by simply compressing the slide information within the matrix. It's fun to try out in all sorts of ways.

    Not sure if I like MS only because I've been diagnosed with it?
    Mx. Remy Ann David

Share This Page