ORTF vs XY

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by audiokid, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    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?
    Thanks!
     
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

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    ORTF gives you a "wider" spread to the sound. Austrian broadcasting has used this successfully for good reason and of course there is the NOS variant as well. The danger for these techniques if it can be called a danger, is in small ensembles one can lose a little of the center image.

    XY is sort of the cookie cutter coincident stereo technique. XY is easily manipulated to the ensemble size and spread even though technically it's a 90 degree pattern. XY inevitably comes across more narrow in the aural field and as a result is slightly more mono compatible. Some folks use hypercardioids for ORTF (AT4053's come to mind) but most folks use quality normal cardioids for either pattern. The irony to me is that XY is half of a Blumlein array but I MUCH prefer Blumlein as a stereo technique. Either microphone (X or Y) can be on top. It goes both ways ^_^ Same with Blumlein. In MS I normally have the Mid cardioid on the bottom but it doesn't have to be. You aren't sent to the third circle of hell if you swap it out.
     
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  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Thanks John, that's was very helpful. It makes more sense now that I understand the difference between the two in imaging. Even though they are both 90% the space apart in ORTF is enough to make it wider.

    What does ORTF mean?

    I'm guessing XY and flanks is more common together?
    ORTF and a center is more common?

    Am I getting it?
     
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

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    With ORTF (120 degree spread) you don't use a center. XY (90 degrees same as Blumlein) is pretty well matched to pick up the center strongly. Flanks are used any time you think the wings have aural information that is perhaps too far forward of the mic pattern "center" to be picked up from either the X or the Y mic. A large ensemble is often better served by an ORTF array since it picks up a wider field of coverage. Small ensembles often "hide" in the center of an ORTF array so XY or Blumlein would be a better pattern.

    Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française.
     
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  5. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    ah yes, I said that wrong. I was thinking that they both look like they are pointing the same and the only difference was crossing each other but he ORTF is actually 30 degree's wider?
     
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    So the first Choir video sounds like ORTF?
     
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

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    Right. ORTF is not only at a 110-120 degree angle but the microphones themselves are 17cm apart. In XY the capsule are as close as you can get without touching at a 90 degree perpendicular placement. NOS (Belgium radio technique) is 90 degrees pattern but spread apart 30cm. The easiest way to set these patterns up quickly is to have some poster board with a pattern drawn out. Then the only thing you have to eyeball is the height and angle downward.
     
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

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    Sure On This Shining Night is ORTF and the O Magnum Mysterium is the ceiling hang: either three spaced omnis L-C-R or a wide decca (forward C, rear L-R wide pair).
     
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

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    $*^t. Got it backward. Magnum Mysterium is ORTF at the stage front on the stand. Shining Night is the hanging mics.
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    When you say too far forward, are you saying away, or weaker? I'm a bit confused with that term but I like it :). I'm thinking flanks are intended to capture the wings or far left/right?
     
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

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    In a Decca setup, the C mic is in front of the L-F. It looks like an upside down capital T. _|_ If your L-R pair are spread apart two meters the center should be closer to the stage by one meter. An easier way to think about it is go equal distant from your center point. Left one meter, right one meter, forward one meter. Sometimes the L-R is 1.5:1 ratio. I wouldn't worry about Decca. You're best bet for these choirs is either Blumlein or ORTF or A-B spaced pair. Decca is really for large instrumental ensembles and should be partially over the musicians themselves.
     
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Shinning Night would be all be omni's
     
  13. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

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    That would be my guess as well for Shining Night.
     
  14. John Willett

    John Willett Active Member

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    ORTF is only cardioids at 17cm spacing and 110˚.

    Anything else and it's not ORTF.
     
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  15. rojarosguitar

    rojarosguitar Active Member

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    I think main difference between ORTF and XY is that the second one is a 'coincident' technique and the first one a 'near coincident' one. With the coincident technique the diaphragms are in close proximity (as far as it is physically possible) and thus ther is (ideally) no time difference between the waves reaching both diaphragms (at least to high degree). XY registers the intensity (amplitude) difference via the directional characteristic of the employed cardiod mics. With ORTF there is both, time difference and intensity diffrerence through the 17cm spacing and 110° angling.
    In my experience (and this is confirmed by many recording engineers) the ORTF recordings are more 'alive' and also wider. ORTF is not suitable for close field recording and can have a weak center image. Still I think ORTF is one of the best, most spaciously sounding systems if you have to work with just two cardioid microphones.

    As was said, anything else that resembles ORTF but uses other mics is not ORTF in the sens of the definition, but could be called ORTFish and can be good.
     
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  16. ronmac

    ronmac Active Member

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    This site offers a visual representation of various techniques, including the option to change type of mic, angles and mic spread. I find it very handy when trying to decide setup in an unfamiliar room.
     
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  17. rojarosguitar

    rojarosguitar Active Member

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    Yes, this kind of visual representation is very useful for estimating the stereo spread and the spatial representation of a group of musicians.
    What is completely missing is the subjective hearing experience that is connected with the differences between intensity stereo vs. arrival-time stereo vs. a combination of both - which would correspond to XY (or Blumlein) vs. AB vs. near coincident like ORTF, NOS, Faulkner Array etc.

    It is reported, and confirmed (for myself) by my own experience that XY are a bit dead, especially with ensembles; AB lack focus; and near conicident like ORTF have the best of both worlds: aliveness of arrival-time and focus of coincident techniques, to highest possible degree.
     
  18. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    One of my first recording jobs away was in the 70s, in a rather tatty studio near Manchester recording the Syd Lawrence Orchestra - a Glenn Miller inspired big band. The saxes were at one end, brass the other, and drums, guitar, piano and bass roughly in the middle. A/B technique for this new fangled stereo, so the familiar do-wop, do-wop brass/woodwind thing went across the entire room listening to the record. I think Philips were the record company for this album. I got the job for this one session from a friend of a friend of my dads, and I even had the record! My dad, of course was pleased that stereo meant you got two speakers, so one went in the dining room, and the other in the room next door.

    I suspect ORTF or X/Y would have made my listening experience better. Looking back at the mix with modern hindsight, left-centre-right panning was extreme, but reverb was applied as a stereo return, so the left had the right musicians 100% missing apart from their reverb. It sounded really odd, but so did the Beatles back then, who had exactly the same problem. The BBC, of course with their classical stereo outputs were using much more sensible stereo techniques.
     
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  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Cool post Paul. :)
     
  20. rojarosguitar

    rojarosguitar Active Member

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    Very cool post, Paul ... there were many odd sounding stereo records in the beginning time of stereo, probably because everybody was so fascinated with the pan pots... :sneaky:
    Apart for the very obvious reason that AB, if done to extremely, gives an exaggerated stereo spread, it also doesn't give a very good localization or stable stereo image.
    What I like about AB is its bandwidth frequency-wise. Maybe a tasteful combination of wide AB (like on outriggers) with ORTF would be the solution. I have to try one day.
    Robert
     
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