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Full circle around a Blumlein Pair - a capella

Member for

17 years 2 months
Had a fun recording on Sunday. A vocal group at a college about 90 minutes away hired me to record them for an archival CD for the members. 17 singers - I had them stand in a circle around a Blumlein pair (SPC3) with Oktava MK319s for lead vocal and beatbox. No beatbox on this piece, but ended up with some fun stereo placement quite by accident.

http://www.cheap-tracks.com/mp3/cheap-tracks_kiss_sample2.mp3

Preamp was a Sebatron VMP4000e into a MOTU 24i into Samplitude.

Comments

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 04/26/2006 - 13:31
It sounds like you were happy with the recording until people pointed out the flaws. If it sounds good to you and to the group, who cares about theories and dissertations? All that stuff takes second seat.

One thing ive observed is that there are so many different notions on what sounds good, posting samples for critique(that ive seen) is rarely productive...Noone shares the same ears.

Guy A---man, that sounds great!
Guy B-Man, that sounds like @(!
Guy C-You shouldve used a neve you #**hole

I bet the group loves it. 8-)







zemlin wrote: NR on this was to kill rumbling A/C noise. I actually thought it had come through pretty clean. :oops: I'll need to turn up the volume a bit and listen again. I'll blame some of it on MP3 compression ... yeah, that's it.

I can't tell here at work - my cans are very open and the A/C here is very noisy.

Member for

17 years 2 months

zemlin Wed, 04/26/2006 - 13:47
BigRay wrote: It sounds like you were happy with the recording until people pointed out the flaws.
I am still happy with it. I just have some concerns on how it will translate in different spaces, and I'm always interested in learning and improving my understanding of all this stuff. Comments here have pointed out some issues I hadn't previously considered.

At this point, I'm not planning to change a thing - but there are a few things I'm going to keep an eye on as I finish the project.

Member for

16 years 10 months

DavidSpearritt Wed, 04/26/2006 - 14:10
BigRay wrote: It sounds like you were happy with the recording until people pointed out the flaws. If it sounds good to you and to the group, who cares about theories and dissertations? All that stuff takes second seat.

Well I tend to align with this sentiment too, if it sounds good it is good.

But there are some fundamental requirements that must be met, and that are not just "theories". One is that you don't mount the left mic to receive sound from the right first. Same with Blumlein phasing. Unless you want the out of phase as you are a composer, like in the I Ching project.

Member for

17 years 6 months

ghellquist Wed, 04/26/2006 - 15:05
Great recording I say.

I guess the mp3 coding does not give full credit, seldom does really.

I would add a tiny bit of a good reverb to get some more room. Maybe cut the lowest octave, there is not much energy coming from the singers below, say, 100Hz so most of the energy there is room noise.

It does sound really good on good phones (Dac1 + HD650). Loses quite a lot of the "outside" voices when monoed which might be expected.

All in all though, as most music is listened to on iPods and similar nowadays "headphone" compatibility is more important than mono compatibility.

Gunnar

Member for

16 years 10 months

Simmosonic Fri, 04/28/2006 - 01:12
zemlin wrote: I considered MS with or dual MS, but the Blumlein is what I chose.

Using dual MS for this recording would be like using a hammer to kill a fly...

For recording in a full circle as seen in your picture, MS with an omni for the M capsule would be an excellent choice. It decodes to two cardioids back to back. The front (or + side) of the S mic would determine hard left, the rear (or - side) would determine hard right, so position to taste. Centre would be directly into the side null of the S mic (either side).

With this technique you probably would not have needed to spot the soloists; just get them to step up closer to the side null of the S mic (either side would do, or both if you had a number of soloists), and they'd be in the centre. You'd have no out~of~phase quadrants to worry about, excellent mono compatibility, a full-bodied low frequency response, and there'd be very little (if any) proximity effect on the soloists, allowing them to get quite close if necessary.

Nice...

Member for

16 years 10 months

Simmosonic Fri, 04/28/2006 - 02:03
ghellquist wrote: It does sound really good on good phones (Dac1 + HD650).

No discredit meant to the recording, but on this topic: I find Blumlein always sounds very impressive on headphones. I think the out~of~phase quadrants and the rear LR reversal tend to create a very spatial effect when heard in headphones. In fact, I find it can be quite misleading on very good headphones (i.e. Sennheiser HD600s, 650s). When using the SF12 and SF24, I have to be very careful or I end up with too much room sound when heard on speakers. It all sounds gloriously lush and enveloping and yummy in the heaphones, but way too reverberant on speakers. Sigh... If only everyone could hear it in all its spatial glory on the headphones.

Which brings me to:

ghellquist wrote: All in all though, as most music is listened to on SPAM! and similar nowadays "headphone" compatibility is more important than mono compatibility.

You're touching on a pet subject of mine these days, and I am assuming that where your post says "SPAM!" you were probably mentioning Apple's little i P o d. (A word that the server here seems intent on replacing with "SPAM!", no matter how many times I write it and preview it. Very Pythonesque!)

Most engineers I know have always had the philosophy that sounding good on headphones is okay, but if it doesn't sound good on speakers then it's not worth bothering with. Binaural recording techniques, for example, have never been taken seriously for this reason. People listen and are amazed, but the pro engineering response was to dismiss it with "Yeah, but it doesn't work so well on speakers".

Things are very different these days, as anyone walking a busy street or riding a bus or train will see - lots and lots of people listening on earbuds to music that was mixed to sound good on speakers. So... I think headphones are equally as important, or perhaps more important, than speakers these days. I am not sure if most mainstream engineers have cottoned onto this yet, but it's worth considering.

One could almost justify ditching the expensive studio monitors and acoustic treatments and so on, and just deciding to mix purely for the i P o d market. Get yourself a good DAC, a pair of high quality headphones for the main monitors, and a pair of Apple's earbuds for the 'real world' NS10-equivalent headphone reference. You can certainly get all of that for less than the cost of a decent pair of studio monitors, and you'll get much better fidelity at the same time. Keep a pair of NS10s on hand to check how your mixes will sound on speakers, and be done with it.

And, while you're at it, revel in all the cool spatial things you can do in a mix that only work in headphones!

IMHO, a speaker/headphone priority shift is imminent...

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