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Author Topic: Card+Omnis from the lawn  (Read 4576 times)

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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #45 on: September 02, 2016, 11:52:21 AM »
On making gravy..

As I just mentioned, I consider the omnis + a forward facing center mic the basic meat & potato core of this technique. 

From there the next step towards sonic deliciousness and increased flexibility is the gravy addition using any one of these things:
1) Turning the center mic into a M/S pair by adding a coincident bidirectional.
2) Substituting an X/Y pair for the single center mic.
3) Adding a rear-facing near-spaced center mic.
4) Adding near-spaced, 180-degree opposed sideways-facing supercardioids.

For most tapers I'd suggest the first two options.  They are familiar, and sort of direct extensions of what adding a center directional mic to the spaced omnis does by addressing what is most deficient in a pair of spaced omnis on their own.

Option 3) is sort of more of an extension and way to fine-tune what the omnis are bringing to the table.  It's more about the natural sense of space, ambient depth, the "you are there" stuff, rather than upfront stereo imaging, yet still helps glue the center and sides together up front, just not in a sharp stereo imaging sense.  It's a great addition to the other 3 options, yet useful on it's own without them.  Still I think I'd recommend the first two options first for most tapers. [edit- Fans of straight up spaced omnis and "you are there" imersion junkies might do this first though.  This was what I ran for quite a while before going further exploring these other options.]

Option 4) does both those things.  Like a M/S or X/Y center, this expands imaging across the center.  Difference there is sort of the near-spaced pair verses of coincident imaging thing, except this retains the center mic position which I feel is a key element, and instead of a normal 2-mic near-spaced pair it's a "3-way near-spaced pair".  I really like what this does, it's quite magical in providing a sense of up-front presence and excitement for the main, primary-focus sound.  [Edit- at the same time, it provides a more ear-perking sense of "you are there" imersion, with a true sense of direction for the audience, ambient reverberance.] For my uses, this option is more important than using an X/Y or M/S center because I'm using this to provide discrete 3-channel front stereo for surround playback, while it also works well for mixing to 2-channel stereo. Unlike the other options this requires a 5th channel since it's adding two mics instead of one, so a recorder with more than 4 channels is required.  I don't find a compelling need to do this and use an M/S or X/Y center pair, instead I'd add the rear facing mic as the 6th channel. 
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 03:18:42 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline CorFit Chris

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #46 on: September 02, 2016, 02:33:59 PM »
On making gravy..

As I just mentioned, I consider the omnis + a forward facing center mic the basic meat & potato core of this technique. 

From there the next step towards sonic deliciousness and increased flexibility is the gravy addition using any one of these things:
1) Turning the center mic into a M/S pair by adding a coincident bidirectional.
2) Substituting an X/Y pair for the single center mic.
3) Adding a rear-facing near-spaced center mic.
4) Adding near-spaced, 180-degree opposed sideways-facing supercardioids.

For most tapers I'd suggest the first two options.  They are familiar, and sort of direct extensions of what adding a center directional mic to the spaced omnis does by addressing what is most deficient in a pair of spaced omnis on their own.

Option 3) is sort of more of an extension and way to fine-tune of what the omnis are bringing to the table.  It's more about the natural sense of space, ambient depth, the "you are there" stuff, rather than upfront stereo imaging, yet still helps glue the center and sides together up front, just not in a sharp stereo imaging sense.  It's a great addition to the other 3 options, yet useful on it's own without them.  Still I think I'd recommend the first two options first for most tapers.

Option 4) does both those things.  Like a M/S or X/Y center, this expands imaging across the center.  Difference there is sort of the near-spaced pair verses of coincident imaging thing, except this retains the center mic position which I feel is a key element, and instead of a normal 2-mic near-spaced pair it's a "3-way near-spaced pair".  I really like what this does, it's quite magical in providing a sense of up front presence and excitement.  For my uses, this option is more important than using an X/Y or M/S center because I'm using this to provide discrete 3-channel front stereo for surround playback, while it also works well for mixing to 2-channel stereo. Unlike the other options this requires a 5th channel since it's adding two mics instead of one, so a recorder with more than 4 channels is required.  I don't find a compelling need to do this and use an M/S or X/Y center pair, instead I'd add the rear facing mic as the 6th channel.

Perfect summery to this thread!  I just printed it. 
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Offline Limit35

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #47 on: September 02, 2016, 03:56:50 PM »
I thought I should update here since I have been playing with this awhile, its been my go to setup this summer.

From the options available to me I really like X/Y 90* cards with the omnis spread out 1+ meters, up to 3m at stage lip.  I found I like the sound a bit more than using a single center card. The single card didn't really add enough to justify using only one mic, maybe at stage lip perhaps but i wasn't impressed at 10m back. I'll stick to near coincident cards with an omni center for a three mic mix.

I really like the cards 0/180* with the omnis 1m+ out, really nice. The only drawback I found with this setup so far is it needs a good recording environment. I used 0/180* cards and hypers at a few chatty shows and the result was little distracting.  The sound stage was great but the chatter was being picked up by 3 mics. I find it really amazing how even a slight amount of rear mic in the mix really fills out the sound.

I still want to play with hyper/card, card/card, or hyper/hyper front and back more. My area is pretty windy so I don't get the hypers out to much but like what I heard so far.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #48 on: September 02, 2016, 04:26:00 PM »
..From the options available to me I really like X/Y 90* cards with the omnis spread out 1+ meters, up to 3m at stage lip.  I found I like the sound a bit more than using a single center card. The single card didn't really add enough to justify using only one mic, maybe at stage lip perhaps but i wasn't impressed at 10m back. I'll stick to near coincident cards with an omni center for a three mic mix.

I really like the cards 0/180* with the omnis 1m+ out, really nice. The only drawback I found with this setup so far is it needs a good recording environment. I used 0/180* cards and hypers at a few chatty shows and the result was little distracting.  The sound stage was great but the chatter was being picked up by 3 mics. I find it really amazing how even a slight amount of rear mic in the mix really fills out the sound.

[snip..] like what I heard so far.

Thanks for the feedback and your impressions, and so glad this stuff is working out well for you!  As I see it, one may as well record a 4th channel if doing 3, so the question becomes whether to do X/Y, M/S, or the rear facing mic.  My impressions agree with yours concerning when the rear facing mic is most useful.  I'm fortunate to have some quite good sounding locations in which I use these things so I'm rather fond of that channel and don't want to give it up, plus with multi channel playback it makes for excellent surround when the omni channels are dedicated Left/Right channels without the sideways facing supercards.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #49 on: September 02, 2016, 04:26:57 PM »
Perfect summery to this thread!  I just printed it. 


Thanks!  Just added a couple minor edits in italics to clarify the descriptions a bit, no major change though.

BTW, my current avatar photo shows what options 3 and 4 look like as realized in my rig.  The smaller windscreens to the sides are on the sideways facing supercards (4), mounted a bit less than half-way out the same telescopic antenna arms which support the omni, which are cropped from view in that photo.  The big Shure windscreens are on the front and rear facing center mics, which in my case are also supercards.

..except there is more than meets the eye in that photo.  That was taken when I was testing adding a bidirectional to the front center mic to make it a M/S pair (1), and the listening comparisons which that allowed are what informed the conclusions I'm talking about here.  A big Shure windscreen is large enough that it fit over both the supercard and the bidirectional.  So it's actually showing all these options except (2) X/Y.

.. and actually there is also a bidirectional mounted with the rear facing center mic make that a M/S pair in that photo as well.  I consider that a less important experiment and haven't even assessed the recordings using that option yet, but figured I should go ahead and try it since I had to move from 6 to 7 channels anyway to test center M/S without giving up the side-facing supercards (since they are part of my current "reference rig") so might as well record 8.  And I had the extra bidirectional on hand, so why not?  I hope to determine if a rear-facing M/S pair in combination with the omnis is useful for deriving a wide stereophonic ambience across the back for surround playback (instead of a pair of spaced rear-facing surround mics), and for adjusting width of the rear ambience for 2-channel stereo mixes.  But that's probably pushing the limit of what makes sense.  I'll probably settle on my current standard of 6 channels using options 3 and 4, maybe switching to 1 and 4 for some things, which is what I ran for Wanee a month or so after that photo was taken.  But if I were to pickup an F8, who knows.  I may never end the experimentation with variations, but I do feel I've determined where the efforts are best placed and where diminishing returns become significant.
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Offline Limit35

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #50 on: September 02, 2016, 05:11:22 PM »
Ill have to put up a picture of my current set up. At the moment (version2), I have AT8438s mounted backwards, one with riser, on a K&M bar. Along the edge is two telescopic antennas that are zip tied to the K&M edge. The AT853s can be mounted in the backward AT mounts and run X/Y, with a little gaff tape to secure them when using screens. The inverse of this I noticed is NOS so it can be setup near coincident if needed, just did that when I was late for a bluegrass band last weekend.  The omnis are out 90* (180* as pair) spaced up to 1.5m on the telescopic outrigger. Until I replace the telescopic antenna I found on axis at 0* they can droop in the heat, I guess tape can solve that. But that isn't a concern since I am wanting the low end and ambiance from those omnis anyways.

I've also ran the same mic setup on 3 stands on stage with the great results; omnis 4m apart on separate stands with the X/Y pair in the center.

What is nice with the spaced omnis is they don't really effect the lack of low end if I choose to run hypers since I am just filling in the center space with that 0/180* or X/Y pair. That allows one to tune the X/Y part of the recording +-90*  or cards/hypers, which is great because you get freedom to setup wherever and tune the X/Y pair as narrow or wide as needed.

As also mentioned MS decoding can stand on its own with a fill in from the omnis. I don't see a plug in for Linux Audacity so I will have to learn that by hand or decode during recording. But on the DR60 playback it sounds good, yet with its own totally different sound experience. I think I want to experiment with that for small indoor acoustic ensembles at on stage/stage lip and keep straight X/Y for when on stands from distance. So far that was the only experience I had that seemed to benefit from the addition of MS decoding.

Pretty versatile setup I think. More work in post however but, it is something to do between shows.

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #51 on: September 02, 2016, 05:22:53 PM »

Thanks for the feedback and your impressions, and so glad this stuff is working out well for you!  As I see it, one may as well record a 4th channel if doing 3, so the question becomes whether to do X/Y, M/S, or the rear facing mic.  My impressions agree with yours concerning when the rear facing mic is most useful.  I'm fortunate to have some quite good sounding locations in which I use these things so I'm rather fond of that channel and don't want to give it up, plus with multi channel playback it makes for excellent surround when the omni channels are dedicated Left/Right channels without the sideways facing supercards.

Agree, I recorded a Moonalize show that was a free family friendly event, so a lot of chatter. I couldn't drop the rear mic in post because what it did add sonically was beneficial even with the chatter. I don't really understand why, but even at really low dBs it filled out the sound of the other three mics. You could barely hear it on its own, but if I muted that channel when all channels where mixed it was obvious it dropped out.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #52 on: September 02, 2016, 06:55:43 PM »
Yep. You totally "get it".  Congratulations!
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #53 on: September 02, 2016, 07:31:07 PM »
Okay you guys.  Now that you have some 4 channel recordings using these techniques in hand, if you have a home theater setup you might as well play these recordings through it to what that sounds like.   It's fun to hear, even if your HT setup is sub par. Through a quality surround system it can be amazing.. the musical teleportation time-machine.  And I think listening this way helps to further understand what's going on with all this even if your intention is just mixing to 2ch stereo. If your home theater receiver/amp has multichannel analog RCA inputs for a DVD player or whatever, you basically just plug the the discrete channel outs from the recorder in there and play the files back from the recorder.  Of course if you have multichannel output capability from your from your DAW machine, by all means plug that into the receiver and gain far more control.

Here's the basic routing to the receiver inputs, depending on the mic setup you used-

Omnis + one center mic:
Route the center mic channel to the Center speaker
Route the omnis to the Left and Right speakers
(result = three channel LCR stereo)

Omnis + X/Y:
Ignore the center speaker
Route the X/Y pair to the Left and Right speakers
Route the omnis to the Surround speakers
(result =four channel quad surround)

Omnis + front and rear facing center mics:
Route the center mic channel to the Center speaker
Route the omnis to the Left and Right speakers
Rout the rear facing center mic to the Surround speakers, using a Y-cable (or 3)
(result = four channel LCRS > 5 channel surround)

Omnis + center Mid/Side pair (option 1):
Route the Mid mic channel to the Center speaker
Route the omnis to the Left and Right speakers
Rout the Side channel to the Surround speakers, using a Y cable (or 3)  For extra credit, swap the wiring to the surround speaker(s) on the right side to invert polarity)
(result = four channel LCRS > 5 channel surround)

Omnis + center Mid/Side pair (option 2, probably not doable directly from the recorder):
Either ignore the center speaker or better, route the Mid mic channel there
Decode the Mid/Side to L/R and route that to the Left and Right speakers
Route the omnis to the Surround speakers
(result = four channel quad, or five channel LCRLsRs surround)



What I do with my 6 channel recordings:
Center mic to Center speaker
Sideways facing supercards to Left / Right speakers
Omnis to side surround speakers
Rear facing center mic to rear center surround speaker(s)


A few things-
> You'll have overall volume and probably EQ control via the receiver.  You may or may not have individual channel level control, depending on the reciever (I don't when using the 5.1ch RCA inputs).  But balancing levels channel to channel is very important for good results. You may have control over individual channel level and possibly EQ on your recorder:
      DR-680 provides no control over individual channel level balance or EQ.
      Not sure about the 4ch Tascams except the DR2d which has only stereo playback (I use an DR-680 or R-44 to playback 4ch recordings made with the DR2d)
      R-44 provides both level and EQ for each channel.
      F8 (I don't have one) provides only 4 outputs unfortunately, but I think provides level, EQ, delay, etc, by channel.
     
> I sometimes route the surround channels through another recorder (an old R-09, line-in > headphone out) which provides level control and introduces a short delay which can be useful in the surround channels.  Don't do that for the front channels or the delay messes things up.
>Using a small mixer between the output of the recorder and the input of the receiver can provide easier control of individual channel level balance and EQ.
>Way more control and flexibility if you have a multichannel output card or interface for your DAW! But this method works.
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Offline Limit35

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #54 on: September 03, 2016, 12:35:58 AM »
Cool playback tip, thanks.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #55 on: September 06, 2016, 09:18:30 AM »
We'll, it's certainly not necessary, it's just something I enjoy greatly and hope others might enjoy as well.   I hesitate to suggest it here, simply because I don't want to scare anyone off who may have no interest in that stuff from trying these techniques purely for 2-channel stereo.  But besides being a lot of fun, I feel I've leaned a lot about recording and reproduction by listening that way.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #56 on: September 06, 2016, 09:30:16 AM »
^^^^^^^^
Gutbucket, I was just telling an old friend of mine who used to tape about the mic techniques and he asked about multi channel playback. I showed him the above post and he really likes the possibilities this presents us when using the oddball mic techniques. His impression after hearing several shows recorded with the varying configurations we've been doing was that almost all of the recordings, even the ones with no rear facing mic had a "3d" presence, not just "flat stereo" (his words). (listening via 2 channel AudioEngine A2's with no subwoofer)
He was really impressed with the Phish from SPAC in that although you can tell it was made from the lawn, as opposed to 40 feet from stage, the quality of the vocals and less obtrusive audience noise made it one of the better Phish AUD's he's heard from this summer.

I wish I had a 5.1 system, I would be checking out these recordings that way for sure!
Thanks again for all the inspiration!
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Card+Omnis from the lawn
« Reply #57 on: September 06, 2016, 11:00:39 AM »
His impression after hearing several shows recorded with the varying configurations we've been doing was that almost all of the recordings, even the ones with no rear facing mic had a "3d" presence, not just "flat stereo" (his words). He was really impressed with the Phish from SPAC in that although you can tell it was made from the lawn, as opposed to 40 feet from stage, the quality of the vocals and less obtrusive audience noise made it one of the better Phish AUD's he's heard from this summer.
 
That's a good description of what I like to hear in general from any really good audience recording, what I was attempting to optimize by way of these techniques, and what I get more often from them when everything works out well.

Recording position is still the most important aspect we have some control over.  There is no substitute for placing the mics in the best sounding spot.   Not much we can  do to make a bad spot good, but this can help make the best of a decent recording position, making a good position better and a great one fantastic when it all works out.

Thanks again for climbing aboard this crazy train and generating enthusiasm for these techniques here at TS.
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