cardioid VS omni...



I had a potential customer call up about using my studio to record a concert for "archival" purposes. She asked about my mics and whether they were omni or "uni-directional". So I of course said, "Which one will get me the gig?" :cool:

She shared with me that the uni-directional mics that they had tried did not give them the balance that they wanted...that even though the singers were balanced onstage with each other, the uni's would exaggerate the differences.

I wasn't sure on what to say because I know that the LD omni's have a little more give when placing them...they aren't as finniky (spe?) but how much difference would I have in recording an 8 member ensemble with a pair of saaaay...Earthworks SR71 cardioids (that I have) as opposed to a pair of Earthworks QTC1's? (which I want!)

I'm probably not putting this right cus' I know that I would love to have the QTC1's and would sing there praises quickly to soldify the gig.

I also know that there are so many other variables...I'm just wondering on how far should I try and convince someone that I can do the job with me gear? Would it be worth investing in some relatively inexpensive omni's for this type of gig jus to say that I have them?

Would an M/S array work fine and provide even balance?
Is an omni necessary for the mid mic??

So many questions came up from this conversation and I feel so ill equipped.

How ill equipped?

You be the judge...

(2) Earhtworks SR71 matched
(2) Studio Projects C1's matched
(2) Studio Projects B3's matched
(2) Shure SM81's
(1) Sennheiser MD 421
(1) Sennheiser e604
(1) Shure SM57

Thanks to anyone who responds!


philip burditt

Do you want to be totally honest with the client or just sort of practically honest? Being mainly into classical recording I use Omnis a lot, especially for concerts I am playing in as well, since I do get a little more leeway with placing and I like the non-clinical ambience.

If you can't borrow or hire a pair of omnis (or maybe three for a Decca Tree arrangement, which sounds as if it might work well for your project), you could set up two pair of mics and then, if you were totally honest, give them the choice, or if only mainly honest tell them one pair is omni and the other cardioid. If you can record both pairs at once on 4-track you could probably convince the client that one pair is better than the other regardless of what capsules they have.

It's always hard when the client 'knows best', but they may have a point if they've been through this before. Again, if you record M&S, you could play it back to them and show how the stage changes as you adjust M & S settings, which may be enough. I think you ought to give them a 'free' session if you can't get omnis at all, or get the omnis and then compare them with what you already have. Who knows, you may end up on their side.

K-Sound Studios

Phillip makes some good points. I also think this post could help a few others .. no one can have enough good mic knowledge, and experience is the teacher as you use suggestions and things you've seen or have read about, and yes, one you make up as well.
So... I think a spaced pair of the C-1 mics could get you a fairly nice quality, depending on the room and the distance .. spaced pairs can do well, or leave a hole, or have phase problems, all easliy delt with with mic movement and checking phase. You should record a practice of these people, and do so with a couple of different mic placements of this spaced pair (if that is something you'd like to try), making detailed notes on distance apart, from the artists, height, etc. Listen back and see what starts to work. Times gone by, I would just speak into each mic once placed to define the setup along with my notes.
All said and done though a pair of the C-3's used in the exact same manner in omni would do better than the C-1's if that helps any.
I also suggested to someone doing a similar thing to use the large condensers he had for a spaced pair, and use the small condensers in an x/y pattern. I might suggest setting up the x/y where you seem to like the image out front, and then the spaced pair to the .. duh, right and left of the x/y....