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Stereo Recording

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by jarjarbinks, Apr 9, 2014.


Which of these stereo techniques do you use more often?

  1. M/S

    5 vote(s)
  2. A/B

    2 vote(s)
  3. X/Y

    2 vote(s)
  4. Blumlein Pair

    1 vote(s)
  5. ORTF

    3 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Hello experts.
    I would like some advice in stereo recording. I´ve read the books but I want to ask, out of your own experience, how do you pan tracks recorded using the following stereo techniques?

    Spaced pair
    Blumlein pair
    Mid Side
    Decca tree

    Thank you for your help!
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Impossible - at least for me - to narrow down. With the exception of the Decca Tree, I use them all, it just depends on the instrumentation, the situation and the application I'm working with at the time.

    ( Btw, you left out ORTF.)

    It's also hard to tell you how I pan them, as the settings are relative to what I'm trying to achieve at the time. Situations vary greatly from track to track and song to song.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    If you are talking about central main pairs, the mic configurations you mentioned for spatial recording are all designed to give a stereo pair of signals, one representing the L channel and the other the R channel (after any decoding necessary for M-S, M-S Blumlein etc). Panning in the sense of where to place a channel in the L-R space is not relevant.

    Having said that, I often use spatial recording on single large instruments in a concert that I then place off-centre in the final mix if they were off-centre on the stage. To do this, I convert them to M-S (or use the original M-S if the mics are that configuration) and pan the M channel to where the central main pair says it should be, then bring up the S channel to give the required width around the M position. You have to be careful that your console pan laws do not play tricks on you when doing this.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Good point, Boswell. Different DAWS default to different laws... some default to a 0 db taper, some default to -3... You should definitely check your DAW's panning law.
  5. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    I also can't choose any single approach. I use them all. Which I use depends on the many variables faced in every session. I most often will pan hard left and right if the instrument being recorded is providing the primary harmonic and rhythmic backdrop. For example, most of what I record is singer/songwriter material featuring acoustic guitar. I always record the guitar in stereo (usually A/B) and pan the tracks hard left & right. Then I pepper the additional instruments and vocals in the spaces in between.
    On my grand piano I love using M/S with my Beyerdynamic 130/160 pair floating 6 or 7 inches above the strings, above and parallel to the plate strut that divides the bass strings from the treble.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    The only stereo microphone technique I've not used? I can't think of one?

    In fact... when one wants a binaural recording? What do you need? Well... I'll tell ya... a Dummy Head. Now... they're not cheap. But I am! (Most broad's like me are.) I am the world's best, Dummy Head. And that's no lie. I'm the Head, of all Dummies. And I make the best Dummy Head, recordings, at the Kennedy Center and other notable performance venues.

    Now you're probably wondering what microphones I use? Sennheiser, MKE-2's. They fit in your ear very nicely. That's... ear. I did not leave an R out.

    Ouch! That old tricks again? Wrong ear. Better get another hat?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. pcrecord

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

    I guess we're all dummies at something RemyRad :LOL:

    Jarjarbinks, I wonder how they recorded your voice in StarWars? did they slap the ribbon in your CG face ?? :sneaky:

    Seriously, I'm with the others, there's too many possibilities for just throwing numbers.
    Some will go natural (recreating how a band would naturally sound in a room or live venue) and some will go overboard and make everything wider than nature. It is a mather of taste, but you need to respect of the requirement of the chosen technic. (ex : M/S won't work if you pan both sides to the left)
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I generally let the song drive the technique. In terms of stereo miking, I love using an M-S array for acoustic guitars, but it's certainly not the only multi-mic array I will use.

    I suppose that when we are talking "tried and true", that the easiest is probably a coincidental / XY pair...

    But here's the thing.... you really need to take your recording environment into account. It's important. If you have a bad sounding room to begin with, using a stereo or multi array isn't going to help.
    All you will end up with is a very nice stereo recording of a bad sounding room. ;)

    I have used the Dummy Head twice in my career ( both times it was a Neumann model), and both times the results were fantastic. BUT... both times were in very nice sounding rooms to begin with.


    They ain't cheap though... $ 7,000 to $8,000 is not uncommon, although I've seen articles that contain schematics on how to build your own.
    I would think that you would need a pair of very nice mics to begin with though, maybe something like KM184's...I certainly wouldn't want to use cheap capsules like CS1000's...

    link removed
  9. pcrecord

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

    Good point about the room Donny, specially with the use of figure of 8 mics
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Some poor soul went broke two years back and the guy holding the credit contacted me about gear he wanted to sell. He had one of the Neumann helmets. I could have bought it for $500.
  11. AJ Campbell

    AJ Campbell Active Member

    Donny, if you happen to have a link to that article about a DIY Neumann head replica, I'd be very interested to read it. I found one where they used a doll head. I assumed a doll head wouldn't give you the right acoustics, but I'm not sure if that was the same article you mentioned.
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Here's one of them - although I make no claims or endorsements as to its quality or effectiveness...

  13. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Has anybody made one? I was trying to find my IEM ear moulds. With my ear canals modelled precisely, a couple of condenser lavs in the small sizes, like MKE2 or smaller could be fitted into a styrene wig head, and would be pretty interesting to try. I wonder?
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I think that ear canal probably plays a major part - in that you couldn't just stick two lav capsules to the outside of a dummy head and expect it to do work - I think the mics have to be placed anatomically correctly within an accurate modeling of the ear canals..

    I'm not sure about using a styrene wig head. Isn't part of the trick to also incorporate the various hollow canals/sinuses in the head as well? I'm not telling... I'm asking...
  15. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    That's what I'm thinking. If I take a mould of my IEM moulds I had done, then I could create the entry to my real ears in the model. I'm sure the internals of the head do make differences - as in resonances and frequency response curves, but the condenser element at the same place as my ear drum - I wonder what it would sound like?

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