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Author Topic: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions  (Read 5137 times)

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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2015, 07:40:11 PM »
Blumlein crossed figure-8s is an exception in my opinion, and a very good one.  It can sound fantastic, the problem is that it's rarely appropriate for most recording situations.  But when it is appropriate, M/S is a great way to do it.  Even if recorded as an X/Y pair instead of an M/S pair, it can be M/S adjusted afterwards without the 'inverse relationship' problem.  It is the one exception to that rule- the pickup patterns of the two virtual microphones do not change but remain figure-8s at all mix ratios, with only the angle between them changing.

I don't consider M/S to be much different from X/Y in terms of the resulting recording.  X/Y recordings can be 'ratio adjusted' after the recording has been made just like a M/S recording.  The most only significant difference, assuming all else is equal, is that with M/S the mid mic is pointed directly on-axis with the source, which can be helpful, and pair matching isn't important for stereo image stability as any mis-match artifacts will manifest symmetrically between the center and sides of the resulting stereo image rather than on one side verses the other.

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Offline voltronic

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2015, 07:51:45 PM »
X/Y recordings can be 'ratio adjusted' after the recording has been made just like a M/S recording.
How do you go about doing this without affecting the L-R balance?  The only way I could think of would be a mid-side stereo width processor plugin.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2015, 08:41:14 PM »
That's it.

You first convert X/Y to M/S, then adjust the M/S mix ratio as you like, then convert from M/S back to X/Y again.  It's the same sum/difference matrix math going both ways.

Rather than panning from left to right it essentially allows for 'panning' between the center and the sides instead.

That's what a mid-side stereo width plug in is doing 'under the hood'.  You can do other things besides adjusting the mid/side level balance if you like, such as EQing the center differently than the sides, applying different dynamics adjustments or whatever.  You may have noticed that many plugins offer a M/S mode in addition to an L/R mode.  They just do the XY>M/S matrix conversion prior to doing whatever the plugin does, then do the M/S>X/Y conversion back again afterwards.
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Offline voltronic

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2015, 09:01:19 PM »
OK, well in that case I have some experience doing that.  I've played with this in Izotope Ozone before which has that choice of modes - it is really handy to be able to EQ the mid and sides separately as you say. 

Perhaps it's odd that I've never used mid-side processing on an actual mid-side recording - I prefer to make my own matrix, maybe because visually it helps me keep track of what I'm doing.

I'm surprised to hear you say that you find M/S and X/Y recordings to sound similar.  I feel like they have the opposite issues to deal with: M/S can have tons of room ambiance at the expense of focus and clarity, and X/Y can have great localization but very poor ambiance and sense of space.  I'm generalizing of course, and my experience is usually recording at a fairly significant distance.  Closer to the source, I could see how the results could be much more similar, especially after some processing.
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Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2015, 10:35:58 PM »
I haven't figured out how to directly quote Gutbucket's post in the omni mic bar thread, but I've copied it for discussion here:   

If you have the capability to record more than 2 channels and another microphone, give it a try with a single directional mic in the center facing forward.  A cardioid or supercard with a rolled off bottom end works well for that. You could simply clamp it to the supporting stand directly under the omni bar and best if your clamp allows you to place that mic about 8" to 20" forward of the omnis.

The setup pulls heat from music with ruthless efficiency like a good-cop/bad-cop interrogation team shaking down a perp.  The omnis contribute the spaced omni goodness- openess, naturalness, deep dimensional bottom-end and evelopement.  The directional mic brings out the clarity, details, and presence from the direct sound and solidifys the imaging.  Since it is pointing directly ahead it maximally excludes ambience and leaves that to the omnis, and instead focuses on the sound arriving from dead ahead.  It's a complementary match like sweet & sour, chocolate & peanutbutter, rock & roll.

Pull up the the omnis and pan them hard left/right, adjust balance (and EQ if you do that), then pan the directional mic to center and bring it up until it blends best and brings out the "oh yeah!" in you.  Also try going louder than you think the center directional should be and bring it down to what sounds good.  Play with it a bit and be amazed.

Avoid the strong temptation to add a typical near-spaced stereo pair in the center unless that's just for comparison.  If you feel you simply must use four mics instead of three, run the two in the center as X/Y  or M/S.. or point the fourth one directly away from the stage opposite to the center one and gain creative control over front/back depth, audience reaction and ambience.

Achieve mastery over the outdoor ampitheater, Ian, like a taper god.

Or just enjoy running two split omnis. ;)


I think this is pertinent to the discussion of m/s here and to Voltronic's four mic array thread as well. 

Ditch the m/s idea and go with omnis with a center directional mic? 

Offline capnhook

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2015, 11:01:10 PM »
......go with omnis with a center directional mic?

Here's one that way, mixed live to two tracks:

https://archive.org/details/nrps2007-09-22.nak303.flac16

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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2015, 10:51:39 AM »
Ditch the m/s idea and go with omnis with a center directional mic?

Another way of thinking about it is that spaced omnis with a center directional is only one figure-8 away from being MS + spaced omnis.  For me the two spaced omnis are my starting point, and adding a directional mic in the center improves upon that significantly.  Those three channels are the core of my setup and anything else in addition to that core-3 is gravy.  From there it depends on how many channels I have available to me and what else I would like to do. 

If I'm recording 4 channels, the three most attractive good options for that 4th channel are: a mono SBD feed, a figure-8 coincident with the center directional (forming a M/S pair) or a rearward facing cardioid.

I typically choose a rearward facing cardioid for more control over direct/reverberant balance, front/back dimension, audience reaction and room ambiance.  I'm happy with the imaging I get from balancing the contribution of the omnis and the center directional, so control over those things is more useful to me than turning the center mic into a M/S pair for sharper forward imaging.  And if I'm getting a SBD feed, that's usually going to another recorder.

After that, I'd consider adding a fig-8 to the forward facing directional for some M/S width adjustment if recording more than 4 channels.  I'm looking forward to playing around with the pending Naiant figure-8 as lightweight and inexpensive way of doing that.

I'm surprised to hear you say that you find M/S and X/Y recordings to sound similar.  I feel like they have the opposite issues to deal with: M/S can have tons of room ambiance at the expense of focus and clarity, and X/Y can have great localization but very poor ambiance and sense of space.  I'm generalizing of course, and my experience is usually recording at a fairly significant distance.  Closer to the source, I could see how the results could be much more similar, especially after some processing.

It's all in the M/S ratio.  M/S with no side but all mid is 100% forward-facing Mid microphone, presumably a directional mic.  If that Mid is a super or hyper (or a shotgun) it's going to have the most focus and clarity of anything you could do from that particular location.  By contrast if you take an X/Y pair, and either point the mics directly to the sides 180-degrees apart, or convert a more typically angled X/Y recording to M/S and adjust the ratio to 100% Side, you're going to hear a lot of ambient room information without forward focus, the equivalent of a single sideways facing figure-8.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 10:54:53 AM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
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Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2015, 12:59:35 PM »
I very much appreciate your taking time to help me understand this.  This is very helpful. 

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2015, 02:56:45 PM »
Happy to help.

Others are working from sort of the opposite conceptual starting point than I am.  They're beginning with a coincident or a near-spaced stereo pair, and building upon that by adding the spaced omnis.  Some of the solutions end up being the same working either way, for example a M/S pair between spaced omnis.  But they get to that solution in a different way, and with a different emphasis.   

That way prioritizes the stereo pair in the center over the wide-spaced pair as the foundation of the recording, then builds upon that.  That's a logical extension of standard taper stereo microphone setups, and I think partly explains why a near-spaced pair with spaced omnis added to it is such a common four mic main setup around here.  My approach prioritizes the spaced omnis as the foundation and builds upon that, so it opens up various less specific options for what is added in the center.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2015, 03:10:53 PM »
That's looking at the different approaches in terms of how they are applied.  In terms of the different underlying philosophies, starting with the center pair and adding omnis prioritizes stereo imaging over other aspects.  By contrast, my approach prioritizes control over the direct/ambient balance over imaging.  Neither approach excludes control over the other stuff, it's just where the emphasis is placed and the additional flexibility is leveraged.   To me the direct/ambient balance is a more critically important thing I'm happy to gain a bit more control over.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
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Offline phil_er_up

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2015, 03:25:06 PM »
......go with omnis with a center directional mic?

Here's one that way, mixed live to two tracks:

https://archive.org/details/nrps2007-09-22.nak303.flac16

Thanks to all for this discussion.

===========================================

Checked the NRPS 9-22-07 recording and it states:

"NAK CM-300 x3 (CP-3, CP-1, CP-3) -> mic/line mod MX-100 -> oade line-mod SBM-1 -> Sony TCD-D8 -> DAT"


What was the spacing of the mics and were they all A-B?

===========================================

Thanks.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 03:27:38 PM by phil_er_up »
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Offline DSatz

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2015, 09:14:14 AM »
I was just looking back at this thread and realized that something important was left out of the discussion: If your main activity as a musician is to sing in choruses or to conduct a chorus, you probably want a recording that spotlights the chorus, makes them the heroes of the evening, and spreads them all the way across the stereo image so that each member of the chorus can hear just where he or she was. Even though the orchestra is in front of the chorus, and sometimes plays louder than they sing, you want the chorus to have the sole focus whenever their precious mouths are open. You want to hear words; you want to hear what kind of spirit the singers are projecting; you practically want to hear what colors they were wearing. The rest is accompaniment (from that perspective).

The "problem" with a simple, two-microphone, coincident (including M/S) or near-coincident recording is that it will rather realistically portray the balance of the musical event according to the microphones' location. But such realism isn't everyone's goal. For that reason the idiom has evolved in which the chorus is miked by several hanging spot mikes--typically at least three, and maybe four or five. By the time you mix enough randomly-phased sound into a recording, the listeners's brains will no longer expect phase perceptions to make any sense; instead, the senses are beaten down to where they respond to amplitude (prominence in the mix) alone.

The result may well be a technical horror if you're a purist, but it will get you asked back to record the next concert. So think carefully about whether you want that or not ...

--best regards
« Last Edit: June 14, 2015, 09:16:21 AM by DSatz »
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Offline capnhook

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2015, 01:30:03 PM »

By the time you mix enough randomly-phased sound into a recording, the listeners's brains will no longer expect phase perceptions to make any sense; instead, the senses are beaten down to where they respond to amplitude (prominence in the mix) alone.

The result may well be a technical horror if you're a purist, but it will get you asked back to record the next concert. So think carefully about whether you want that or not ...


 :thinking:

I want that.

Now I know why that works for me.....thanks DSatz
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Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: m/s --room reverberation and large choir recording questions
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2015, 06:03:23 PM »
The architecture of some newer, larger churches seems to dictate the use of multiple mics for sound reinforcement.  The reason I say this is because they incorporate these fixed choir lofts at the back of the platform that seem linear and leave no space for instruments except the space on the platform in front of the choir.  By the time it all gets processed through the mixing board, I'm not sure what we have.  The acoustics of some of these boxy church sanctuaries appear dependent on PA systems. 

Am I being too cynical, but why spend much on a recorder and mics when a soundboard patch is about what we're going to get?

The local 20-30 member choir in the 1880's sanctuary---is a different story.

 

 

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