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Author Topic: Improved PAS setups - better imaging with higher direct-sound/reverberant ratio  (Read 12968 times)

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Offline Gutbucket

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Interesting streaming listening comparison of a few different microphone setups allowing one to listen to the way they capture stereo ambience at Helmut Wittek's Hauptmikrofon website, here- http://www.hauptmikrofon.de/audio/stereoambience.html

Granted none of the samples are of music, but they do provide a useful basic comparison for hearing the differences between X/Y coincident, two near-spaced setups (ORTF and improved-PAS-like), and a spaced omni configuration.

I'm posting the link here because I find I personally prefer the setup labeled "quasi-ORTF" for all samples there except the construction site, and that "quasi-ORTF" setup closely resembles a typical "Improved-PAS" configuration (40cm / 40 degrees) with the microphones angled only 20 degrees away from center - which is a pretty typical PAS angle from the taper section or soundboard area further back in the room.  Only on the construction site sample did I prefer the ORTF sample for it's more distinct left/right imaging width.  For all the other samples I felt the quasi-ORTF samples produced a better balance between sharp imaging (X/Y furthest to that extreme) and natural sounding diffuse ambient openness (spaced omnis furthest to that extreme).


A few comments-

I was listening on headphones.

There is no right or wrong choice here, only personal preference.

I like the improved-PAS-like quasi-ORTF samples here because of their stereo qualities - that is to say, how they reproduce the sound, even though it is not actually being leveraged for the reasons we'd choose PAS!  It just sounds better to me than the other samples.  Where as the primary purpose for choosing PAS is to either simplify setup, or maximize the direct/reverberant ratio as much as possible.  It's very encouraging that it also simply sounds better and more natural to me when in a prefered recording location without the ease of setup constraint.

I like to angle spaced omnis apart from each other rather than pointing parallel to each other, especially if that pair is the only mics I'm using.  That provides some additional level difference information at high frequencies which makes the imaging somewhat less washy and more distinct.  I think that would improve the spaced omni samples here, but the way its been done here more clearly represents the basic differences between setups without that kind of modification.

I wish there was a way to play both the spaced omnis and X/Y samples simultaneously.  I like that setup for live music recording because it sort of gets the best of both worlds.  There was a sample player page at the Schoeps website at one point (may still be up) which allowed similar samples to be played singly or simultaneously.   I don't think it was intended for simultaneous playback of more than one sample at a time but it worked.  It was very interesting hearing the difference between each setup on its own as well as combinations of two setups, as in a four microphone configuration.  It helped confirm my suspected preference for X/Y + spaced omnis over near-spaced + spaced omnis, and over all of the two mic configurations alone.  Best of both worlds from a harmonious combination.
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Offline heathen

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Do you know what they mean by "open cardioids" in the quasi-ORTF examples?  I'm assuming it's a wide cardioid or the like.  I'd be curious why they didn't use a the same cardioids for the quasi-ORTF as they used for XY and ORTF.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Good catch, I didn't see that.  That would be the Schoeps mk22, which is between a cardioid (mk4) and subcardioid (mk21) in pattern.  I didn't realize they'd used different capsules for the ORTF and modified-ORTF samples.  That does complicate things and make the comparison a bit less useful for our purposes by introducing another variable.  I generally like the sound of the mk22 better, as long as it works in the acoustic and assuming all else is equal except the setup configuration, so I now need to take that into consideration in my preference for modified-ORTF in these samples.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline morst

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Quite frankly unless you're an imaging nut like I am most wouldn't tell the difference.

I'm definitely an imaging nut too.    ;D
Not me. I go for even channel balance. Don't really even consider imaging in post. And my mic placement is pretty much point & shoot. I used to use cards in ORTF exclusively, until I lost the mounting bar, now I run X/Y, and place them where it might sound the best and not be a hassle to maintain the spot.

The stereo zoom info has only just crept into my thinking. Maybe it will affect my setups and mixes, maybe not...  ???
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Offline noahbickart

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Good catch, I didn't see that.  That would be the Schoeps mk22, which is between a cardioid (mk4) and subcardioid (mk21) in pattern.  I didn't realize they'd used different capsules for the ORTF and modified-ORTF samples.  That does complicate things and make the comparison a bit less useful for our purposes by introducing another variable.  I generally like the sound of the mk22 better, as long as it works in the acoustic and assuming all else is equal except the setup configuration, so I now need to take that into consideration in my preference for modified-ORTF in these samples.

To my ears and to my playback transducers, the mk22 is the finest capsule Schoeps makes and can be used in the widest possible scenarios.

I *always* run a pair of mk22 no matter what.
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
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Offline morst

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I *always* run a pair of mk22 no matter what.

Do you have a standard way of positioning them? I just got a pair of Neumann KM143's, their Wide Cardioid condensers, and have only used them a few times, and all but once, on stage. Very interested in practical experience with the Hypocardioid (!) pattern!!
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Offline noahbickart

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I *always* run a pair of mk22 no matter what.

Do you have a standard way of positioning them? I just got a pair of Neumann KM143's, their Wide Cardioid condensers, and have only used them a few times, and all but once, on stage. Very interested in practical experience with the Hypocardioid (!) pattern!!

I try to use the PAS theory with them. I've found that a 35cm spread at 70 degrees tends to work well from the OTS at MSG. FOB, I've used them with a NOS setup with good results. Onstage I've used them at 21cm and 110 degrees.

Basically apply the stereophonic zoom, knowing that you'll always want a little wider spacing than regular cardioids.
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10

Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> McIntosh MC162> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-4XX / Beyerdynamic DT880

Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701 / Hifiman HE-400

Offline Gutbucket

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^ And that's what this Improved PAS technique does.  It makes the application of Stereo Zoom to Point At Stacks simple.

I'm posting to notify thread readers of an edit I just made correcting a minor copy/paste typo in the extended table GIF and PDF in the initial post.  Previously the SRA numbers for the 50 degree PAS angle column were off by 10 degrees, copied from the cell immediately above without modification.  Nothing major, the edit doesn't effect the recommended spacing numbers and that column is mostly just informational, but has now been corrected.  Typo was pointed out to me by a TS member earlier today (thanks man).

musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline dyneq

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I finally got around to trying this technique using Gutbucket's chart. Here is the result: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=188097.0

I need to listen to it some more, then put it away for a while and listen again before I can say what I think of it...

I think that the caps were most likely pointing slightly outside of the stacks (couldn't check during the show). One thing I noticed during mastering was that the vocals were much higher than the instruments at times. I'd expect that since the drums and guitars were already very loud from the stage so the vocals were turned up to be able to be heard.

 

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