3 to 1

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by MrPhil, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. MrPhil

    MrPhil Guest


    What is the 3-to-1-rule, and when should it be applied?

    When should it not?

    What do you gain by using it?

    What is the most usual misconception about this rule?
  2. dwoz

    dwoz Guest

    If you're talking about adultery, then there should be 3 degrees of separation between your mistress and your wife, or any other mistress.

    in other words, if she's a friend of a friend of your wife's, then that's too close.

    THis also applies to states. She should be at least three states away.

    In audio, its the ratio of gear required to overcome a lack of knowledge...you need at least 3 times as much gear as you know how to use properly, to achieve adequate results. I'm not sure why this rule works, but its proven day-in-day-out over at gearslutz...

    In gentlemen's terms, it represents the cost differential between a cigar worth smoking, versus one that is really fertilizer in a tube, or its the number of fingers of scotch to the number of fingers of soda...

    Its the ratio of the number of doses of penecillin you'll need per the number of pustules on the girl you just slept with's derriere...

    In sports, its the number of defensemen required to contain one wayne gretsky...

    ...and finally, its the number of times you should preview your post before submitting it?

  3. MrPhil

    MrPhil Guest

    Hint: microphones

  4. Clarification:

    Just tell us what this fuckin 3:1 thing you want to know about or shut up about it.
  5. MrPhil

    MrPhil Guest

    wash your mouth please. :twisted:

    Ah, the reason I ask is not that I don't know what I think it is.
    It's not that I need to check who of you know.
    It's because I want to know if I have the right or wrong idea what this really is. That's why I just ask, to not give any bias according to what I believe myself.
    I can tell you it is not the ratio of a compressor I mean, but it has to do with miking.
  6. Ok then, you're absolutely correct. The 3:1 microphone rule is dead one and you've got it down pat.

    You mean the number of microphones I could shove up your ass to guarantee colonic phase problems, right?

  7. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Oh Shotgun, you are a sweetheart. You should check your craw, because I think there is something up it.
    dwoz- that was quite funny.

    3:1 rule in my understanding - when recording, lets say, 2 voices each with their own microphone, the 2 mics should be at least 3X as far apart as they are to their respective sources. Helps avoid comb filtering. But I think it is really just a guideline for people who don't really understand what is going on when 2 mics are near each other; because different mics are going to pick up sound differently. For instance, with a Nady SP1 mic, you could probably get away with a 2:1 rule as they hardly pick up anything not directly in front of them. :)
    I've heard people applying this to drum overheads (mics 3 times as far from eachother as they are from the drums), but I don't think my setups have ever worked out like that. However, I don't use omni's.
    As far as I know, 3:1 is not a golden ratio that magically aligns soundwaves and pleases Allah. Someone prove me wrong if I am though.
  8. dwoz

    dwoz Guest

    apparently, the prevailing misconception is that there exists such a rule.

    stop being coy.

  9. MrPhil

    MrPhil Guest

    You're on the exact right track!
    I've heard of both these explanations when discussing A-B miking, and some say the 3:1 rule is good to go by to avoid phase problems, and others say 3:1 has NOTHING to do with A-B, and is just what you described with two sound sources with a mik of its own.
    The funny thing is, that I've found several articles written by people that work with recording and microphones that do recommend the 3:1 rule as a basic help when a-b miking for example a guitar. Some other sources mention nothing of this when speaking of A-B miking (or spaced stereo).
  10. MrPhil

    MrPhil Guest

    So there is no such rule at all in any way you mean?
    The people that mention it in one way or another are just ignorant?

    What does coy mean? I'm from Sweden so maybe I don't express myself, or come out the way I think, given the answers from some... :?
  11. dwoz

    dwoz Guest

    ok, here you go.

    A long time ago, in a faraway universe:

    The Lord said, "let there be an inverse-square law, so that the denizens of the earth will not drown in the relentless cacaphony" And it was so. And the Lord saw that it was good.

    The lord said, "let there be band/chorus directors in high schools across the earth, that conduct choruses of youthful, deliciously liturgical voices." The lord looked upon his creation, and saw that it was good.

    Then, the lord said, "let there be places of assembly for these choruses to perform in; and let the performers span the width of one side, such that their joyous noise shall wash over the masses, who shall span the width of the other side, across a distance of many cubits." and he saw that it was good.

    Then, the lord said, "let all the denizens of the earth enjoy the joyous sound!" And he looked down and saw that it was not so good. Some of the denizens were too far away from the source of the joyous noise, and some were stone deaf anyway. Some denizens couldn't sit still or keep their child-denizens quiet, so other denizens had to strain to hear the joyous noise.

    Then the Lord said, "Let there be Bogen, and Shure, and Altec Public Address Systems, to spread the joyous sound across the length and breadth of the firmament." And it was so. The Lord listened, and suffered the first ever blast of broad-spectrum feedback in the history of the firmament. The Lord was vexed.

    Then the Lord said, "Let there be FOH soundman, to figure out how the Bogen, Shure,and Altec works, and to realize the Holy Spectacle of the Joyful Noise!" And it was so. The Lord looked down upon his creation, and the FOH soundman looked up at the Lord, and the FOH soundman said

    "What the ^#$% are YOU looking at?"

    The Lord was pleased.

    The Lord spake thusly: "FOH soundman, thy great and Holy and Noble task is to take command of the sound reinforcement devices of the earth, and cause them to reinforce the Joyous Noise emanating from the choir, such that all the denizens of the earth may rejoice!"

    The FOH soundman did cast his gaze upon the situation, and in a timely fashion, did answer the Lord:

    "What fuckin' drugs you taking, Lord? I do sound, and miracles aren't in MY job description."

    And the Lord said: "Drugs...not a bad idea. I'll file that one away. Just do the best you can".

    "^#$% you." replied the soundman, as he bent his back to the herculean task. "Um, Lord, dude...can we get the law of inverse-square repealed in the Place of Assembly? it'd be a help."

    And the Lord replied "No can do."

    "^#$% you, too." spake the soundman. "thanks for nothin'." And the soundman asked the Lord a second question, "Lord, can we get these singers to come around here in a semi-circle, that they may all be equidistant from the Holy Shure Microphone, thus making my job a hell of a lot easier, and really, Lord, this is all about making my job easier, right?"

    And the Lord Spake, "The Concert Director has informed me that this is entirely out of the question."

    And the FOH soundman said "Go tell that unsufferable ass to go ^#$% himself".

    "The Concert Director will not be happy that he must ^#$% himself instead of his intern.." the Lord mumbled to himself as he turned to tell the Concert Director that which the FOH soundman had said.

    "What was that?" the FOH soundman called to the Lord.

    "Nothing." replied the Lord.

    Forthwith, the Lord returned, bearing tidings of the Concert Director's reply. "The Concert Director has asked me to tell you that you'll only have 3 minutes for soundcheck, after the House is open, and that you cannot place the Mighty Voice Of The Theatre cabinet where you have placed it, nay, nowhere within line-of-sight...or something like that" said the Lord to the FOH soundman.

    "Fuckin' horse's ass in a penguin suit!" spake the FOH soundman.

    "What was that?" asked the Lord.

    "Nothing." spake the soundman.

    "Please, Lord, can I have two more channels of Bogen, Shure, and Altec, such that I may cause the Joyous Noise to spill forth across the firmament in its full, multi-mic'ed glory?".

    And the Lord spake thusly: "Would that I could, my dear FOH soundman, but that isn't in the budget."

    "What the ^#$% do you mean, not in the budget????" answered the FOH soundman to the Lord.

    And the Lord replied "What do I look like, some kind of miracle worker?"

    "^#$% you." spake the FOH soundman.

    "Um, Lord?" spake the FOH soundman.

    "Yes, my son?" replied the Lord.

    "Could you create the logarithmic scale, please? I'm painted into a corner here, and I need to do some quick math before curtain time".

    "What's a curtain?" asked the Lord.

    "I'm kinda short on time here, Lord..."

    "Ok, ok. Done." And the Lord looked down on the logarithmic scale, and saw that it resembled a mighty sword, sharp on both sides, capable of smiting an enemy, or killing a friend. And the Lord trembled with fear.

    The FOH soundman did scribble a bunch of ciphers on a great tablet of stone, mumbling to himself as he worked. Finally, he dropped the tablet to the sand, and rushed over to the stage. The Lord was curious, and asked the FOH soundman "So, what was that all about?".

    "Listen, Lord. I know you're the promoter and all...but I'm getting paid to do sound here. If you want me to teach YOU how to do sound, then its gonna cost a lot extra."

    And the FOH soundman jumped up over the proscenium lip, ignoring the stairs, and placed a number of Shure Microphones, each one cubit from the choir, with a span of three cubits between each mic.

    "Will that cause the Joyous Noise to reverberate through the Place of Assembly?" asked the Lord.

    "^#$% no, it'll sound like ASS!" spake the FOH soundman. "But its the best I can do to salvage this clusterfuck. The Shure Microphones are placed at a distance ratio of pi cubits from the Voices of Joy, which means that the far mic is about 9db down from the primary, so the comb filtering will be about 1 db or so."

    "Um, is that greek?" spake the Lord. "I don't think I've created greek yet..."

    "Lord, I INVENTED IT, and DON'T you go taking credit for it either!" answered the FOH soundman.

    The Lord was considering the FOH soundman's words, when He exclaimed "Goodness! look at the time! its 8:00..."

    And the FOH soundman spake thusly..."ok, house to half on a 10 count, GO house lights. Stand by curtain...GO curtain. Supertroupers one through 5, stand by to pick up GOD downstage left, on my cue. Supertrouper6, you hold for a minute. And, GO one-through-five. Supertrouper 6, load your green gel frame...iris down tight, full power, I want you to hit the Concert Director's bald spot and stay there all night, fade in on a 25 count. GO SUPERTROUPER6. Cue announcer's mic. Jeeezus, how many times am I going to have to show him how to talk into a friggin' announcer's mic. Is it really that hard.............."

    And the Joyous Noise was heard throughout the firmament.

    After the concert, the Lord bent to one knee, and took up the tablets of stone that the FOH soundman had been scribbling on, and declared that the tablets should be preserved for the rest of eternity, so that the begats of the begats of the begats of the FOH soundman could continue to ensure that the Joyous Noise was heard through all of the firmament forever more.


  12. THIS is a ^#$%ing classic and I made pee-pee in my pants as I read it. Oddly enough, I seem to remember being there for that gig. The individual mentioned as FOH soundman has his own forum located here:

    (dead link removed)

    "Let there be Bogen, and Shure, and Altec Public Address Systems, to spread the joyous sound across the length and breadth of the firmament."

    Oh Jesus I'm dyin. And on the 6th day, God created 70v.

    Read this twice, Phil.

  13. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001

    and the FOH soundman said
    "What the ^#$% are YOU looking at?"
    "Lord, I INVENTED IT, and DON'T you go taking credit for it either!" answered the FOH soundman. "

  14. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004

    Funny; I was gonna ax if this FOH guy was you or your ancestor. Similar style. :p

    Pretty funny story seriously. I'm going to use the 3:1 "rule" tonight for no other reason than to honor this tale.
  15. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    If you are still tracking this post after the treatment some of the others have given you, I would be surprised. Unfortunately, in some parts of the world ignorance is touted by using obscenity.
    I must say, your English is better than my Swedish....
    Reggie was correct in explaining that the 3:1 rule is to minimize phase problems between mics. This was initially promoted many years ago by the legendary Lou Burroughs in his book,"Microphones". Lou invented the RE-20 mic (and MANY more) while he was an engineer at E-V. The reason that the rule was so strictly followed then was because most live and recorded sound was with a minimum of mics, and they were almost always used at a distance of, say, a meter or more from the source. It is still a valid rule to follow today, especially if you are dealing with ensembles of musicians and/or vocalists in acoustic environments.
    I have also found it helpful when dealing with micing up drum kits.
    These days, with so much music production being done by plugging into a PC, that aspect has not been given the respect that it deserves.
  16. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    lfmao :lol:

    thank you thank you very very much
  17. tweeksound

    tweeksound Guest

    I know the 3 to 1 rule as being, when recording 1 source with 2 mics you must have the 2nd mic at least 3 times further awa from the source. To avoid phasing problems.
  18. dwoz

    dwoz Guest

    And you , my friend, would be fundamentally confused.

    To avoid phasing with 2 mics on one source, the mics would be positioned....


    Hope that helps.

  19. tweeksound

    tweeksound Guest

    yup, you're right.
    Thank you for the correction.
    Guess I shouldn't post untill I'm sure of what I'm talking about.
    Live and learn
    Here's the details
  20. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    dwoz is my hero. thats why I let him post on my forum.

    ALTHOUGH....as Gawd, I skimith the rules about the cursing and gnashing....only cause its funny.


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