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ORTF vs XY

What are the pros con between ORTF and XY?

  • How do you know which config to use? Is one better for solo, quartet, choirs, orchestra?
  • How does crossing XY change the imaging vs the opposite in ORTF?
  • Does X have to be above Y (or vise versa) and why?
  • Do you use the same Cardioids for XY or ORTF or a?
class="xf-ul"> Thanks!

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Profile picture for user rojarosguitar

rojarosguitar Tue, 01/30/2018 - 11:42

I always had this thought of delaying, because otherwise, so my idea, one would have an impression of being at two places at the same time ... how much did you delay? Or just trial and error?

Profile picture for user paulears

paulears Tue, 01/30/2018 - 12:14

Boswell's post made me think back to my examining music technology days - where because the spec permitted a maximum of four mics in the natural acoustic stereo recording - loads of people added rear mics and totally wrecked the stereo fields with the delay. Often in terrible reflective rooms too. I always left the stereoscope running to confirm what my ears told me and often you'd get to the part in the music where there was a singled out solo source - maybe somebody announcing - usually the conductor, or a piece that started with a single instrument then the rest joined in, and instead of a single line on the screen, there was a huge mess of lines and squiggles show all the phase errors. I'm not really certain if I can hear the difference between coincident placement and the time delays introduced with ORTF. I like to think I can hear A/B, but not the more subtle changes.

Profile picture for user John Willett

John Willett Fri, 08/31/2018 - 00:58

paulears, post: 455536, member: 47782 wrote: Boswell's post made me think back to my examining music technology days - where because the spec permitted a maximum of four mics in the natural acoustic stereo recording - loads of people added rear mics and totally wrecked the stereo fields with the delay. Often in terrible reflective rooms too. I always left the stereoscope running to confirm what my ears told me and often you'd get to the part in the music where there was a singled out solo source - maybe somebody announcing - usually the conductor, or a piece that started with a single instrument then the rest joined in, and instead of a single line on the screen, there was a huge mess of lines and squiggles show all the phase errors. I'm not really certain if I can hear the difference between coincident placement and the time delays introduced with ORTF. I like to think I can hear A/B, but not the more subtle changes.

This reminds me of the time, a few years back, where I went to Richard Huish College in Taunton and gave a talk (as a guest lecturer) on microphones (I have given this talk on quite a few occasions now).

I took along a bundle of my own microphones from several top manufacturers , so the students could actually see and handle the microphones.

In the evening the students did their "ambient recording" - so I gave them the choice of any of my microphones to do their recording with whatever mic. arrangement they choose.

It was an interesting day...

Profile picture for user paulears

paulears Sat, 09/01/2018 - 04:42

Interesting as in slapping your head, I guess! When I was examining music technology, we had one entry and it sounded very, very strange. A Barbershop quartet. I couldn't pin down what was wrong with it, until I noticed a photo they had supplied. It clearly showed their M/S cluster, on a tall stand. Two AKG451 mics - plus a cardioid and fig-8 capsule, the really odd looking big lumpy thing. The fig-8 capsule was oriented up and down, not side to side. Nobody realised - checking the rest of the work from the same centre revealed they had all used it this way - so somebody set the thing up, and then they trotted everyone in one by one. They were supposed to make every candidate set up everything, but clearly left it set up after no.1 and the others just assumed it was right and used it, presumably without anyone actually listening. In the mark scheme, there were 5 marks available for stereo field. Clearly there was one - just a totally weird one, so 0 marks was out of the question, so they all got 1 mark. Out of the total, it hardly made a difference. That's my beef with the qualification system. Somebody with the mono button pressed could ruin a recording but hardly suffer if the rest was pretty good. Never ever had one student in college who could hear a compressor, or tell the difference between ORTF, X/Y, A/B or M/S by listening. Sad but true.

Profile picture for user John Willett

John Willett Sat, 09/01/2018 - 05:45

paulears, post: 458830, member: 47782 wrote: When I was examining music technology, we had one entry and it sounded very, very strange. A Barbershop quartet. I couldn't pin down what was wrong with it, until I noticed a photo they had supplied. It clearly showed their M/S cluster, on a tall stand. Two AKG451 mics - plus a cardioid and fig-8 capsule, the really odd looking big lumpy thing. The fig-8 capsule was oriented up and down, not side to side. Nobody realised - checking the rest of the work from the same centre revealed they had all used it this way - so somebody set the thing up, and then they trotted everyone in one by one. They were supposed to make every candidate set up everything, but clearly left it set up after no.1 and the others just assumed it was right and used it, presumably without anyone actually listening. In the mark scheme, there were 5 marks available for stereo field. Clearly there was one - just a totally weird one, so 0 marks was out of the question, so they all got 1 mark. Out of the total, it hardly made a difference. That's my beef with the qualification system. Somebody with the mono button pressed could ruin a recording but hardly suffer if the rest was pretty good. Never ever had one student in college who could hear a compressor, or tell the difference between ORTF, X/Y, A/B or M/S by listening. Sad but true.

Ouch !

At least in my case they *did* each set up the microphones themselves - they all had a free choice and I seem to remember that each student did something different.

But they did have good teachers there - the previous year they had a couple of students that went on to the Tonmeister course at Surry University.

Profile picture for user paulears

paulears Sat, 09/01/2018 - 12:10

I'm still a member of the facebook group and the questions the new teachers ask! One is about the history of recording, and it's broadly split into the mono analogue days, the stereo days, the start of the digital days and current practice. She had none of the history and wanted to know where to find it on the internet - to teach to to the kids this month. On this forum and others, we're often arguing about tiny, tiny things we know are important - the new teachers are having to learn about the difference between analogue and digital, cardioids and other patterns, how any teacher can turn from audio newbie into an expert on such a strange subject in the weeks since their boss handed the the specification, I just don't know.

Profile picture for user John Willett

John Willett Sat, 09/01/2018 - 15:54

paulears, post: 458834, member: 47782 wrote: I'm still a member of the facebook group and the questions the new teachers ask! One is about the history of recording, and it's broadly split into the mono analogue days, the stereo days, the start of the digital days and current practice. She had none of the history and wanted to know where to find it on the internet - to teach to to the kids this month. On this forum and others, we're often arguing about tiny, tiny things we know are important - the new teachers are having to learn about the difference between analogue and digital, cardioids and other patterns, how any teacher can turn from audio newbie into an expert on such a strange subject in the weeks since their boss handed the the specification, I just don't know.

That’s frightening - that teachers know so little about the subject they are supposed to teach.

Profile picture for user bouldersound

bouldersound Sat, 09/01/2018 - 15:57

John Willett, post: 458835, member: 47971 wrote: That’s frightening - that teachers know so little about the subject they are supposed to teach.

I was working with an engineer who taught recording at a nearby university. This person knew all sorts of stuff about computers but ran digital levels into clipping all the time.

Profile picture for user paulears

paulears Sun, 09/02/2018 - 00:57

If you are a NQT, then you teach whatever is required. Maybe your own 'specialist' subject - let's say, computers - has low numbers. It won't run, so they think maybe A Lev el Music Technology could be more attractive, as numbers=funding. They see the word computer, and note in their CV that they played the cello when they were 14, achieving grade 7. Grade 7 = a formal qualification on the Government's framework, so music + technology means they are not just the teacher, but the subject specialist. They go on a one or two day exam board training course in the subject, and that is that! They have the specification, the attendance on the course, and they are a legitimate teacher of the subject. My college lecturing finished in 2004, I continued as a Principle Examiner for 8 more years then had enough. I also discovered this gave me an equivalent qualification in teaching in schools as a supply teacher - short-cutting the quals a new teacher had. My own subjects, music and performing arts were terrible to teach the standards so low so I volunteered to teach ANYTHING, because real teachers don't do this. I taught cookery (with a new PC title), science was fine, and one day spent the entire day teaching French to year 10. The Head of French was interviewing for a teacher and walked through my classroom continually. At the end of the day I asked if she found anyone? No - they were all terrible - she then asked if I wanted the job as I got on well with the kids. I then revealed that my last French was when I was at school in 1974! She was confused. I heard you all day, you answered all their questions ...... I pointed out the wall was covered with posters Je suit, tu est, etc etc - I heard you answer questions??? I told her that when a girl asked me what one phrase was, I had no idea, so told her I just needed to talk to another who had her hand up first and on my way, looked over their shoulders, read their work and then went back and said "Grandfather's Beard - Candy Floss" - BUT - you have the accent???? I like 'All, 'Allo.

The worst examiners I ever trained were a bunch got via an advert in Sound on Sound Magazine. They didn't last long. Played them a bit of student work and asked them for a gut reaction. A or E? They all picked E. It was an A. They had so much trouble accepting terrible recordings as mark earners simply because there was no noise or distortion, it had stereo field, the balance and blend was good (difficult to get wrong with perhaps 3 instruments) and criteria of this kind, looked at in isolation. As soon as you hear it, you know it was a poor recording, probably a random event with no real thought processes - but it scores high. GCSE music is awful, A Level Music Technology is far, far too wide for an A Level to cover, and A Level traditional Music is probably still OK because it's theory and history, and needs good ears. Without them, they do terribly. Musicians do well. A Bach choral hasn't;t changed much. Music Technology started with 4 tracks on a cassette portastudio, now everyone has cracked Cubase and Protools at home. Schools have terrible listening rooms, and very poor studios, with ill maintained equipment. Generally. A few exceptions of course with excellent facilities and cracking staff who know their subject inside out. These are the minority. For some teachers, a finalised CD was hard going!

Profile picture for user John Willett

John Willett Mon, 09/03/2018 - 07:18

paulears, post: 458837, member: 47782 wrote: If you are a NQT, then you teach whatever is required. Maybe your own 'specialist' subject - let's say, computers - has low numbers. It won't run, so they think maybe A Lev el Music Technology could be more attractive, as numbers=funding. They see the word computer, and note in their CV that they played the cello when they were 14, achieving grade 7. Grade 7 = a formal qualification on the Government's framework, so music + technology means they are not just the teacher, but the subject specialist. They go on a one or two day exam board training course in the subject, and that is that! They have the specification, the attendance on the course, and they are a legitimate teacher of the subject. My college lecturing finished in 2004, I continued as a Principle Examiner for 8 more years then had enough. I also discovered this gave me an equivalent qualification in teaching in schools as a supply teacher - short-cutting the quals a new teacher had. My own subjects, music and performing arts were terrible to teach the standards so low so I volunteered to teach ANYTHING, because real teachers don't do this. I taught cookery (with a new PC title), science was fine, and one day spent the entire day teaching French to year 10. The Head of French was interviewing for a teacher and walked through my classroom continually. At the end of the day I asked if she found anyone? No - they were all terrible - she then asked if I wanted the job as I got on well with the kids. I then revealed that my last French was when I was at school in 1974! She was confused. I heard you all day, you answered all their questions ...... I pointed out the wall was covered with posters Je suit, tu est, etc etc - I heard you answer questions??? I told her that when a girl asked me what one phrase was, I had no idea, so told her I just needed to talk to another who had her hand up first and on my way, looked over their shoulders, read their work and then went back and said "Grandfather's Beard - Candy Floss" - BUT - you have the accent???? I like 'All, 'Allo.

The worst examiners I ever trained were a bunch got via an advert in Sound on Sound Magazine. They didn't last long. Played them a bit of student work and asked them for a gut reaction. A or E? They all picked E. It was an A. They had so much trouble accepting terrible recordings as mark earners simply because there was no noise or distortion, it had stereo field, the balance and blend was good (difficult to get wrong with perhaps 3 instruments) and criteria of this kind, looked at in isolation. As soon as you hear it, you know it was a poor recording, probably a random event with no real thought processes - but it scores high. GCSE music is awful, A Level Music Technology is far, far too wide for an A Level to cover, and A Level traditional Music is probably still OK because it's theory and history, and needs good ears. Without them, they do terribly. Musicians do well. A Bach choral hasn't;t changed much. Music Technology started with 4 tracks on a cassette portastudio, now everyone has cracked Cubase and Protools at home. Schools have terrible listening rooms, and very poor studios, with ill maintained equipment. Generally. A few exceptions of course with excellent facilities and cracking staff who know their subject inside out. These are the minority. For some teachers, a finalised CD was hard going!

OMG - I am shocked !!!

My wife is a teacher - she teaches languages (she is fluent in Slovak, Czech, French, Italian and Russian - and her English is pretty good) - but she teaches mostly Ambassadors and Diplomats and some at University level.

Profile picture for user Boswell

Boswell Mon, 09/03/2018 - 07:40

paulears, post: 458837, member: 47782 wrote: ...now everyone has cracked Cubase and Protools at home... A few exceptions of course with excellent facilities and cracking staff.

'Nuff said.

0VU Sun, 05/16/2021 - 15:26

In reply to by TheJackAttack

A pedantic thing, especially given the age of the thread but, while NOS may well be used by Belgian radio, it's a technique developed by Dutch radio. NOS stands for Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (Dutch Broadcast Foundation).

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