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Author Topic: Sub-$100 shotgun?  (Read 2163 times)

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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2017, 05:54:17 PM »
Thanks.  Post a reminder here when the end of Sept. rolls around if you can, lest the rest of us forget!
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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #31 on: July 24, 2017, 07:52:15 PM »
Oh, I see. On top of the juggling I'll be doing switching back and forth between two stages with three feeds each, while broadcasting live, wrangling announcers, queuing up and playing station underwriter spots, I also gotta remember to remind youse guys to tune in and listen?

This is demanding site.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2017, 08:47:19 AM »
Buck up, slacker!
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Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2017, 10:28:33 AM »
And pictures, too, please.   ;D

Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2017, 09:30:24 PM »
My standard 8-1/2 x 11 glossy black and white studio headshot is $25 + postage. Extra without autograph.  :lol:

Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #35 on: October 16, 2017, 06:31:08 PM »
I'm back -- miss me?  :wink2:

Okay, so I've had two music festivals to tinker with my oddball stage micing idea. Longtime readers may recall that I volunteer for a local community radio station, and each summer we have four music festivals that we broadcast live. When I first started doing this, in 2016, I mainly took a split from the soundboard. The sound guy's responsibility lies with getting good sound in the audience, not giving me a good mix. This has a few problems: first, the feed is mono because sound guys rarely do any panning -- it's not like there is someone in the audience seeking the sweet spot for good imaging; second, loud instruments onstage don't get much love from the PA because they are already loud -- the guitarist with the Marshall stack turned all the way doesn't need any supplementing from the PA, he's plenty loud, so the board feed has little to no guitar. That made the Led Zeppelin tribute band sound like Jimmy Page called in sick. Finally, with only onstage mics, there is no sense that the artists are playing before a live audience.

So what I proposed, and refined with help here, is a modified mid-side mic arrangement, with the mics at the stage lip and up high so as not to block sightlines, and mixed with the mono board feed. I chose to use mid-side not only for its imaging flexibility, but also because it's mono-compatible, and the FM transmitter is not broadcasting a stereo signal.

So -- the results. I am VERY happy with the results. To my ears they sound miles better than the soundboard feed alone.

I have put up four clips at this address: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B-hEClTdJtiALUw5VXo2OW1YdWs?usp=sharing. This is one of the many many groups that we broadcast during those two festivals, I picked this one at random.

The "SBD" file is the feed from the soundboard. The "MID" is the mid mic, the "SIDE" is the dematrixed Side mic, and the "MIXDOWN" file is, well, the mixdown.

I'll leave that link up for a few weeks, would enjoy hearing your comments.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2017, 09:34:03 AM »
Nice work.  Glad it worked out well.  Good life and sparkle to it. This sounds way better than most community radio streams I've heard, which pretty much always sound like the straight SBD.  Good example of how the sum of the parts can produce something which supersedes each individual element.  Only thing I can't easily check here is the sound of the mono sum as the FM broadcast would have been heard.

Was this an omni MID, used with the high-pass filter you were talking about putting together?

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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #37 on: October 17, 2017, 10:15:50 AM »
Hi Gutbucket, thanks for all the help. Yes, this was an omni mid mic, with that 500Hz single-pole high pass that you proposed. I added a little more contouring to the mid signal, raised everything from about 2k on up by about 4-5dB as the raw sound was a bit dull in the highs. This mainly to bring out the drum cymbals which frequently get little love from the PA, this added a bit of brilliance to them.

The mono sum is pretty much just the sbd + mid signal, there is no trace of anything the side mic picked up. So, still kind of flat and dimensionless but it does have more going on than just the dry board signal, and the loud instruments that the sound guy didn't include in the PA mix are present.

It's a workable technique. I won't be using it until next June at the earliest, so I've made copious notes and have put the equipment in the closet until then.

I may use a subcard for the mid mic next time, to cut back a bit on the audience chatter and bring a bit more focus to the onstage sound. Maybe change the high pass from 500hz down to 250Hz to compensate for the mic's proximity effect?

Offline heathen

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #38 on: October 17, 2017, 10:18:36 AM »
have put the equipment in the closet until then.
For shame  ;)
Mics: Core Sound TetraMic | Countryman B3 | CA-14 omnis | AT853 cards | AKG 460/ck61 | Studio Projects CS5
Decks: Zoom F4 | Tascam DR-70D | Roland R-05

Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #39 on: October 17, 2017, 10:24:07 AM »
Mrs. thatjackelliott doesn't feel that lighting stands and boxes with microphones and stuff in qualify as elegant living room decor.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #40 on: October 17, 2017, 11:20:50 AM »
I may use a subcard for the mid mic next time, to cut back a bit on the audience chatter and bring a bit more focus to the onstage sound. Maybe change the high pass from 500hz down to 250Hz to compensate for the mic's proximity effect?

I like your EQing of the Mid channel for good brilliance, focus and presence.  Choice of Mid pattern will of course determine how much audience reaction is picked up.  Need to find the middle way there- not too much or too little, which may depend on the act on stage and time of day.  I doubt the Mid mic will be close enough to any one source to get any significant proximity effect, especially if its a subcardioid (proximity effect increases with pattern directivity- most significant with a figure-8, non-existent with an omni, and progressively increases for patterns in between).

What I find myself wondering with regards to the high pass frequency on the Mid is if the tonal balance changes when comparing the stereo against the mono FM version (besides the loss of spatial dimension).  The relatively high frequency / low-slope high pass filter on the omni Mid works well for stereo, and is a good complement to the darker side channel contributing heft and nicely increasing stereo width with decreasing frequency.  When the side channel is canceled out in mono, I wonder if its not just the stereo spread which collapses but if some of the heft and gravity might be lost as well.  A lower high pass filter frequency might correct that if it is an issue. 

You may be able to get away with no high pass at all, especially if you move to a more directional Mid.  The highpass on the Mid was mostly a safety thing, to make sure you got a usable Mid signal if there were heavy subwoofers or an otherwise overly bass-heavy sound at your stage front Mid/Side mic location, and it doesn't seem sound that was the case.

Thanks for following up and posting the samples.  Always cool to hear how these things work out in the real world.
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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #41 on: October 17, 2017, 12:26:13 PM »
"What I find myself wondering with regards to the high pass frequency on the Mid is if the tonal balance changes when comparing the stereo against the mono FM version (besides the loss of spatial dimension). "

Sure. You could take the MID, SBD, and SIDE stems I shared and mix them yourself, see what you think.

I find that when the monitor output of my DAW is set to mono, the SIDE track contributes little to the mix. What I do gain in mono when mixing the MID to the SBD is a wetter sound, and of course, the PA being the inverse of the stage sound, you can hear the louder instruments that the sound guy didn't need to reinforce much, if at all. Like a Marshall stack, for example. September's festival had a two-guy thrash metal band, and there wasn't much guitar in the PA, so this really helps a lot.

The bigger the band, the more spread out they are, the more this technique shines. Singer/songwriters with mics on voice and guitar (do ANY singer-songwriters play anything other than guitar?) don't gain a whole lot except for ambiance and crowd noise.

"I doubt the Mid mic will be close enough to any one source to get any significant proximity effect, especially if its a subcardioid (proximity effect increases with pattern directivity- most significant with a figure-8, non-existent with an omni, and progressively increases for patterns in between)."

Indeed. The point of the high pass on the omni was to reduce pickup from the subs -- at October's Fall Festival there was a single sub, on the ground at center stage, right where I needed to put my mic stand, so the mic array was about 12 feet directly above the sub. The figure-8 would not pick it up as it is in the pattern's null, but that omni right above it may have gotten slammed. Also, the next street over had another stage with a loud band, and without high-passing the omni, the bass rumble from that stage -- as well as from event generators and the city in general -- was quite audible. Directional mics don't stay flat in the farfield like omnis so there is some built-in high-passing going on with a directional. You need to get in close with a directional mic to get the missing bottom end back in, so yeah, you are right -- I may not need any high-passing if I go directional on the Mid mic. If I used a hypercardioid for the Mid then I reckon random bass (a good name for a band) would not be an issue. But with a subcard I still think I'm going to need to use protection. Bottom-end protection. (I leave this for someone with a dirty mind to comment on.)

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #42 on: October 17, 2017, 01:07:26 PM »
I find that when the monitor output of my DAW is set to mono, the SIDE track contributes little to the mix.

That's as it should be, and emulates what is heard in the mono FM feed (at least prior to any other FM signal processing).  As the Side signal is routed to left and right channels with opposite polarity in the Mid/Side stereo matrix, when summed to mono in your monitor mix buss it should cancel out, emulating an FM signal which is either mono to begin with (your case) or a weakly received stereo FM signal which looses side-band carrier and reverts to mono.  If the Side signal were to be mixed in without using a Mid/Side to Left/Right matrix it wouldn't produce stereo, but the Side signal content also wouldn't cancel out when the stereo signal was summed to mono.

I played your samples directly though a browser on headphones, and was hoping I could find a simple option to sum to mono in the built-in audio output of this computer to check that behavior and any tonality change of the stereo mix, but found no easy option to do so on this machine.
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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #43 on: October 17, 2017, 01:58:05 PM »
"...found no easy option to do so on this machine."

To an old-school audio engineer, it's a surprise that doing something as simple as that is not easy with normal non-audio-geek computer audio tools.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #44 on: October 17, 2017, 02:49:34 PM »
Exactly. 

It baffles me that such simple yet immensely useful things have been eliminated from so much of the computer world, where their inclusion requires only a few lines of code.  The trend actually seems to be growing worse, driven by over-simplified GUIs designed for phone computing.  Just the equivalent of the output section of a 1970's era stereo receiver with a switch for stereo/L+R_mono/L_mono/R_mono and simple bass and treble controls would be great.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

 

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