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Author Topic: 4-channel mic config suggestions?  (Read 1890 times)

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Offline CorFit Chris

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4-channel mic config suggestions?
« on: January 08, 2017, 02:28:01 PM »
If you were to run a pair of AKG 461's and a pair of shotguns (Rode NTG3) in a mid-sized theater venue (Granada Theater-Dallas), how would you configure the mics?  It is what I would guess is considered a "boomy" venue and I want to bring in the vocals as well as possible since they are what generally lack in this venue.  The taping location is typically centered about 60 feet from stage just in front of the SBD.  The band will be loud jam/punk bluegrass and americana.  I assume the shotguns will be PAS about as far apart as the small mic bar allows, but not sure what is best for the AKG cards (XY, PAS, AB)?

I'm new to shotgun mics, and still trying to determine if I want to keep them or trade in for ck63's.  This will be my 2nd and final trial with these mics before my 30 day trial is up, so I'm looking for the best performance scenario as possible to make my decision.  Thanks for advice.
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Offline morst

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 02:29:20 PM »
I'm new to shotgun mics, and still trying to determine if I want to keep them or trade in for ck63's.
Unless you are recording in stadiums from the back, personally, I'd dump the shotguns. I don't find them to be very musical.
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Offline darby

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 03:17:44 PM »
I'm new to shotgun mics, and still trying to determine if I want to keep them or trade in for ck63's.
Unless you are recording in stadiums from the back, personally, I'd dump the shotguns. I don't find them to be very musical.

except when mixing with another different pair
I think the cardioids will still sound boomy, but the shotguns will help with that
I ran shotguns (a60/ck8s) PAS with hypers (ck63 or a60/ck3) DIN in a boomy theatre in my town,
but eventually went to just running the hypers Pointed Outside Stacks (DIN/PAS hybrid)
the main reason I switched is because I grew tired of carrying all the extra gear and found the POS method to sound similar to mixing the 2 pairs
I say get the ck63s and keep it simple and they can be used in many other situations

EDIT:
here are some matrix samples:
hyper/shotgun matrix:
https://archive.org/details/RailroadEarth2014-01-16.MTX.Darby.Flac1644
https://archive.org/details/nrps2013-12-08.MTX.Darby.Flac2448
https://archive.org/details/GreenskyBluegrass2013-10-23.AKG.MTX.Darby.Flac2448

I also ran a few shows with the SBD as a third source as well, but that isn't what you asked about
« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 03:37:23 PM by darby »

Offline OS_Taper

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2017, 03:36:36 PM »
Chris,
Why not grab the 63s and run 3 sets using the 63s and guns primary in your mix and the cards to add ambience and color where needed?
You have the 680, come on man!!! 
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Offline CorFit Chris

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2017, 04:08:03 PM »
Chris,
Why not grab the 63s and run 3 sets using the 63s and guns primary in your mix and the cards to add ambience and color where needed?
You have the 680, come on man!!!

Come on Don, you know how much trouble I have packing it all up after the show, the extra gear would just be "the straw".  Lol

On a serious note, I can't get the ck63's if I keep both shotguns.  However, I could return one and get the 63's.  That may open up most every option.  I just need to figure out the Granada since most of my favorite bands play there.  How did you guns work in there?  Have you tried the single center shotgun?
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Offline OS_Taper

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2017, 04:14:09 PM »

On a serious note, I can't get the ck63's if I keep both shotguns.  However, I could return one and get the 63's.  That may open up most every option.  I just need to figure out the Granada since most of my favorite bands play there.  How did you guns work in there?  Have you tried the single center shotgun?

I have only run NAK guns (304s) but I have used them both as single and in pairs.  If I was stuck with only 4 mics I would go with the 63s and guns, I just think the cards add too much boom for the venues we frequent. ..especially the Kessler, jeez!

If you have to choose between the guns and hypers, like Darby I would probably go with the hypers, they just open up so many more options at our smaller venues.
If you can run 63s, 61s and a single gun pointed center, that would be good as well.  That is what I will be running at Yonder and Spafford (cards-hypers-single gun)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 04:16:54 PM by OS_Taper »
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Offline CorFit Chris

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2017, 04:19:44 PM »

except when mixing with another different pair
I think the cardioids will still sound boomy, but the shotguns will help with that
I ran shotguns (a60/ck8s) PAS with hypers (ck63 or a60/ck3) DIN in a boomy theatre in my town,
but eventually went to just running the hypers Pointed Outside Stacks (DIN/PAS hybrid)
the main reason I switched is because I grew tired of carrying all the extra gear and found the POS method to sound similar to mixing the 2 pairs
I say get the ck63s and keep it simple and they can be used in many other situations

EDIT:
here are some matrix samples:
hyper/shotgun matrix:
https://archive.org/details/RailroadEarth2014-01-16.MTX.Darby.Flac1644
https://archive.org/details/nrps2013-12-08.MTX.Darby.Flac2448
https://archive.org/details/GreenskyBluegrass2013-10-23.AKG.MTX.Darby.Flac2448

I also ran a few shows with the SBD as a third source as well, but that isn't what you asked about

Thanks Darby.  As I just responded to OS_Taper, I may return one NTG3 and pick up the ck63's.  You ever try a single center shotgun?  My concern with having all akg's is that I do 3-5 festivals each year and I've heard they don't respond well to humidity.  The NTG3's are supposed to be bombproof in damp conditions.  Keeping a single one to run with split omni's in damp conditions may be what is needed for the festival situation.  Ultimately, I think I'd like to have the ck63's and ck61's as actives in a single Shapeways mount like Bean uses with his schoeps.  So, this poses the dilemma of having to keep one set of AKG caps on the sideline until I can afford the active cables and PFA to run them. 

Or, I could return both shotguns and get the ck63 caps and an Sound Devices USBpre 2!  :yahoo:
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Offline CorFit Chris

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2017, 04:27:37 PM »

If you have to choose between the guns and hypers, like Darby I would probably go with the hypers, they just open up so many more options at our smaller venues.
If you can run 63s, 61s and a single gun pointed center, that would be good as well.  That is what I will be running at Yonder and Spafford (cards-hypers-single gun)

Good input Don.  I think that is the way I will go.  I may have hypers in time for both of those shows if I return one of the guns tomorrow.  Did you get the AKG ck69?  Do you have AKG c460 amplifiers?
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Offline OS_Taper

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2017, 04:33:22 PM »

Good input Don.  I think that is the way I will go.  I may have hypers in time for both of those shows if I return one of the guns tomorrow.  Did you get the AKG ck69?  Do you have AKG c460 amplifiers?
[/quote]

Yep, I have 3 460 bodies and a set of ck1s ck3s and 1 ck69. 
Depending on the venue I will switch between the KM140s and the NT2As.
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Offline connloyalist

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2017, 04:18:25 AM »
How exactly do you configure the cards, hypers and single shotgun? What I have experimented with is a pair of long shotguns (picked up a pair of Sennheiser MKH816T's) parallel at 30 cm, and a pair of cardioids in NOS (also 30 cm) directly under the shotguns. Mix to taste. Worked OK-ish.

The venue isn't huge, but I have to be at the back of the room about 10 meters (30 feet) away.

Any new ideas are welcome!

Regards, Christine


Offline CorFit Chris

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2017, 09:34:50 AM »
How exactly do you configure the cards, hypers and single shotgun? What I have experimented with is a pair of long shotguns (picked up a pair of Sennheiser MKH816T's) parallel at 30 cm, and a pair of cardioids in NOS (also 30 cm) directly under the shotguns. Mix to taste. Worked OK-ish.

The venue isn't huge, but I have to be at the back of the room about 10 meters (30 feet) away.

Any new ideas are welcome!

Regards, Christine

I see many others use the hypers in DIN and the cards in NOS.  I imagine the single shotgun would be centered pointing directly at the center of the source. 

I recently used a pair of Rode NTG3's with my AKG 461 cards with both pointed just outside stacks.  This was also a small venue about 40ft from stage and 8ft high.  It was mostly done to compare the sound differences between the two styles of mics.  But, the mix came out well.  Here is a photo of the setup, and a link to the show.
https://archive.org/details/UL2016-12-30.AKG461_RodeNTG3

« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 09:36:50 AM by CorFit Chris »
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Offline kingdong

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2017, 10:59:09 AM »
I have a question about the picture Chris just posted.  It looks to me like the interference slits of the two shotguns are roughly perpendicular to each other.  Does the orientation of a shotgun matter?  I've not yet used a shotgun, but I would think that the orientation might have some affect on the off-axis sound.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2017, 11:35:33 AM »
I find the addition of a center microphone position to be one of the most useful things when running multi-mic stereo configurations (configs meant for mixing together, rather than those intended for comparison or back-up purposes).  It provides control over dialing in the most appropriate balance between a solid phantom center and a nice wide stereo feel, allowing optimization of both qualities in a recording without compromise.  Just be prepared to space the mics sufficiently so that the center mic has room to do it's job, at least twice the total spacing you would use for a two microphone configuration.  You want the L/R pair arranged in such a way that if the center mic was not present you'd get a hole in the middle of the playback image.  If the L/R mic pair configuration would work fine without the center mic, then it's not an optimal configuration for 3-microphone stereo.

I use either a supercard or cardioid in the center, but a single shotgun should substitute, possibly working better in some situations if not behaving as well in others.  I've not used either the ck63 nor the NTG3 myself, but write this assuming the ck63 has superior performance in terms of the quality of it's off-axis pickup and how it sounds when used as a straight stereo pair in a good acoustic.  If that's indeed the case, then I'd either:

Let one of the NTG3s go and pickup the pair of ck63s..
        -or-
consider letting both NTG3s go to pickup three ck63s


Below is what has worked for me and seems applicable here.  My intention in outlining this is more to illustrate how one can build on and extend the basic 3-microphone configuration as a starting point rather than offering specific suggestions for doing so, because I think the basic concept is what is most important and should work well for anyone even though the specifics of how it's implemented will  vary-

In a boomy mid-sized room,  I've had good results running three supercards in a spaced configuration with the center mic pointed directly forward and the left/right mics pointed +/- 45 degrees (not overly far from PAS, mics ending up pointing maybe +10 degrees or so outside of the hanging PA arrays), spaced as far apart as I could manage on the bar I use for doing that, which is around 2' apart or so total.  You could try something similar substituting the single shotgun for the center supercardioid and I'd expect it to work in much the same way.  In your case the spaced/angled L/R supercard pair should help smooth the off-axis irregularities which the center shotgun might exhibit.

In better sounding rooms, switch the L/R supercards to cardioids, angled the same +/- 45 degrees and spaced a bit further apart, or spaced the same and angled further apart.

Outdoors, switch the L/R pair to omnis and space them even further if you can, like up to 5' or so.  But if you can't don't sweat it, the same 2' total spacing will still work when using omnis.

..and in any of those situations, turning that single center microphone, regardless of pickup pattern, into a coincident stereo arrangement becomes a very useful advantage and takes things to the next level.  Consider picking up a single inexpensive figure-8 to play around with doing that.  I use a Naiant X-8S, which cost just $150, and place it directly beneath my center mic.  It's acts as a totally optional Side channel, and allows me to blend the solid central image provided by the single forward-facing microphone outwards into the wide left/right stereo field "bed" by dialing as much mid/side width as necessary to get a seamless image across the entire stereo field.  I don't have to use that channel at all, in which case the microphone config is straight 3-mic stereo, but I almost always end up using some of it.  That allows me to use more center mic in the stereo mix, enhancing center solidity and clarity, without the center sticking out and sounding isolated and "unglued" from the left/right image.  It takes what the addition of the center mic contributes and makes that even more useful by providing a center blend control. The resulting microphone configuration might be best described as still being 3-point stereo, consisting of a single-point M/S pair placed between a spaced L/R pair, only using 4 microphones instead of three in a way which retains the superior qualities of the simple 3 mic arrangement. 

Without a bi-directional (fig-8) to turn that center mic into a M/S pair, you can still do something similar with the mics you'll already have on hand, but it will require recording an extra channel.
To do so, use either the cardioids or supercards- 

When using the supercards as your wide PAS L/R pair, arrange the cardioids in X/Y directly under or over the forward facing center microphone, but angle that X/Y pair 180 degrees apart, each mic facing directly to the side.  Don't worry about trying to do any M/S stuff, instead just route the pair to Left/Right as you would any typical stereo pair and add just as much as you need to widen the strong, solid center you get from main forward pointed center mic until it blends perfectly with the L/R ambient bed.

When using the omnis as your wide L/R pair, arrange the supercardioids in X/Y exactly the same way.   You can also play with arranging this sideways pointing (center stereoizing) mic pair so that the mics are are spaced rather than coincident, which works well when using very widely-spaced omnis as your L/R mics outdoors.  In that case, you can space the sideways facing pair up to ~2' apart or so if the omnis are at least 4' apart or more.

All those options build upon a simple 3-microphone starting configuration.  All but the last suggestion retains the use of just 3 mic positions in space - Left, Center, and Right - even though some of them may use 4 or 5 microphones.  The last suggestion uses 5 microphone positions, but only once the omnis are spaced far enough away that there is room in the center to branch out without turning things into a mess.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 04:10:15 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2017, 11:49:09 AM »
I have a question about the picture Chris just posted.  It looks to me like the interference slits of the two shotguns are roughly perpendicular to each other.  Does the orientation of a shotgun matter?  I've not yet used a shotgun, but I would think that the orientation might have some affect on the off-axis sound.

It does seems as if the rotational orientation of the interference tube slots should matter, but it doesn't.  The frequency range affected by the interference tube effect lies between two thresholds- the length of the tube determines the low frequency limit and the width of the tube determines the high frequency limit.  Between those limits the wavelength is long enough to "wrap around" the tube without "seeing it". Below that frequency range the capsule acts as a standard supercardioid without an interference tube.  Above that frequency range, the tube has a shadowing effect on the capsules's standard supercardioid pattern, but the slots no longer play a role in that.
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Offline CorFit Chris

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2017, 04:06:18 PM »
Thanks again Gutbucket for the great info and detailed overview of multi-mic setups for different rooms and conditions.  I will definitely try out all three of these over the coming year.  Now, I'm not sure I should keep either shotgun, especially given how expensive they are.  I'm thinking, return them both and exchange them for the DPA SMK4061 and 2 ck61 caps. 

This will give me an excellent pair of:
Cardioids: ck61
Hyperscards: ck63
Omni's: DPA 6061

What else would I ever need for indoor/outdoor recording?
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2017, 04:35:18 PM »
^ That would cover things quite well and provide lots of options to play around with.   If you decide to exchange the Rodes yet have a chance to record a few things before you must return them, I'd jump on the opportunity.  Besides simply giving you an idea of what that mic is capable of, it will provide something of a base-line against which you can compare the ck63 as used in the same mic config and maybe even the same room.

Again just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that shotguns cannot work well, but they are always going to be something of a special application microphone.  Omnis, cards and hypers are much more general purpose patterns which can be used in many more ways, both as straight pairs or in various combinations, and also generally sound better.  I think going that route represents both a better return on your microphone investment and a stronger potential for making better quality recordings in most situations.
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Offline CorFit Chris

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2017, 05:57:38 PM »

Again just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that shotguns cannot work well, but they are always going to be something of a special application microphone.  Omnis, cards and hypers are much more general purpose patterns which can be used in many more ways, both as straight pairs or in various combinations, and also generally sound better.  I think going that route represents both a better return on your microphone investment and a stronger potential for making better quality recordings in most situations.

Yep.  I've wanted the DPA 4061 for awhile.  The ck63's will do what the shotguns would and more.  Plus, I want to downsize to 2 active setups.  I guess it's a no brained really.  And I have recorded a few shows with the Rodes.  They help with vocals, but likely not any more than the ck63's would.  Gracias
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Offline F.O.Bean

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2017, 02:55:11 PM »
I'm all for trying new things to find what you prefer the best! That said, I listened to bunches of your festie stuff from 2016 and I personally loved the SPC4/AKG mix. The SPC4 omnis gave a really nice lowend/bass response, but with that classic AKG highend sizzle! But I do agree with basically what everyone else said. Shotguns never really had a great "live" feel to me either, since they were usually sooo lacking in the lowend and too much high end fatigue IMO, unless they're mixed with some cards/omnis!

I think you'd have way more options getting rid of the shotguns and getting some hypers/ck63's! Those were total workhorses when I had my old 480 bodies! Basically, once I bought some ck63 hypers, my ck61's and ck62's BARELY saw any live music lol ;D Then like you just said, you'd have a pair of 4061 DPA Omnis, a pair of ck61 cards and ck63 hypers! IMO, that will cover you for ANY situation! I've run omnis/subcards/cards/hypers/supercards, and now I ONLY own mk4 cards and mk41 supercards for a reason! Because they BOTH pull VERY consistent results. Period. Yeah I'd like an mk8[fig8] or two, but it's definitely not NEEDED! Omnis/Cards/Hypers, check! They'll get the job done. ALWAYS ;)
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Offline CorFit Chris

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2017, 09:37:23 AM »
I'm all for trying new things to find what you prefer the best! That said, I listened to bunches of your festie stuff from 2016 and I personally loved the SPC4/AKG mix. The SPC4 omnis gave a really nice lowend/bass response, but with that classic AKG highend sizzle! But I do agree with basically what everyone else said. Shotguns never really had a great "live" feel to me either, since they were usually sooo lacking in the lowend and too much high end fatigue IMO, unless they're mixed with some cards/omnis!

I think you'd have way more options getting rid of the shotguns and getting some hypers/ck63's! Those were total workhorses when I had my old 480 bodies! Basically, once I bought some ck63 hypers, my ck61's and ck62's BARELY saw any live music lol ;D Then like you just said, you'd have a pair of 4061 DPA Omnis, a pair of ck61 cards and ck63 hypers! IMO, that will cover you for ANY situation! I've run omnis/subcards/cards/hypers/supercards, and now I ONLY own mk4 cards and mk41 supercards for a reason! Because they BOTH pull VERY consistent results. Period. Yeah I'd like an mk8[fig8] or two, but it's definitely not NEEDED! Omnis/Cards/Hypers, check! They'll get the job done. ALWAYS ;)

Thanks Bean.  This past festival season was a roller coaster ride with trying to figure it out, malfunctioning caps, rain, etc.  I don't know if I ran the same configuration twice.  But, I know how I want it done in the future. 

The SPC4's are near and dear to me as they were my first set of real mics (3rd hand), and have been in the trenches without any sort of issue for 2 years.  They have definitely been my most consistent recording tool thus far.  They came to me with the omni and card caps.  I was surprised at how well they sounded with the omni's, but want something smaller and cleaner for splitting out wide.  For some reason I am stuck on the DPA 4061's for that purpose.  I just want to get my 3 basic patterns covered so I can stop obsessing online.  I think the DPA's and AKG's will get me through the next few years without "Jonesing" for another upgrade. 

On a side note, thanks for all your contributions on this site and the LMA.  You provide a lot of great input, perspective, and music!  Cheers
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 09:59:02 AM by CorFit Chris »
LMA: https://archive.org/details/@corfit
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Mics: AKG 460 (ck61 & ck63) | Studio Projects C4 (cards & omni's) | CA-14 cards | SP-SPSM-9
Recorders: Tascam DR-70d  |  Tascam DR-60d  |  Tascam DR-2D
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Offline Life In Rewind

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2017, 11:27:13 PM »
It does seems as if the rotational orientation of the interference tube slots should matter, but it doesn't.  The frequency range affected by the interference tube effect lies between two thresholds- the length of the tube determines the low frequency limit and the width of the tube determines the high frequency limit.  Between those limits the wavelength is long enough to "wrap around" the tube without "seeing it". Below that frequency range the capsule acts as a standard supercardioid without an interference tube.  Above that frequency range, the tube has a shadowing effect on the capsules's standard supercardioid pattern, but the slots no longer play a role in that.

I've wondered about that as well - it looks like there is all kinds of stuff happening on shotguns - but its all gas! - just a tube...but - Gut...some of these have slot that runs the length of the tube - shouldn't THAT rotation/symmetry matter!?

EDIT - did not read your reply properly - you do mention the slots...how can they NOT matter!?
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 11:28:48 PM by Life In Rewind »
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Offline boa

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2017, 11:55:27 PM »
Highly recommend the split 4061's with hypers in between. You can view a few DIY mounts I have used for the 4061's when using them on a stand: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=40705.0
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2017, 10:29:25 AM »
It does seems as if the rotational orientation of the interference tube slots should matter, but it doesn't.  The frequency range affected by the interference tube effect lies between two thresholds- the length of the tube determines the low frequency limit and the width of the tube determines the high frequency limit.  Between those limits the wavelength is long enough to "wrap around" the tube without "seeing it". Below that frequency range the capsule acts as a standard supercardioid without an interference tube.  Above that frequency range, the tube has a shadowing effect on the capsules's standard supercardioid pattern, but the slots no longer play a role in that.

I've wondered about that as well - it looks like there is all kinds of stuff happening on shotguns - but its all gas! - just a tube...but - Gut...some of these have slot that runs the length of the tube - shouldn't THAT rotation/symmetry matter!?

EDIT - did not read your reply properly - you do mention the slots...how can they NOT matter!?

The slots matter of course, or holes, or other opening shapes. It's not the shape of the openings so much as the geometry of the openings with respect to the capsule that's producing the interference effect. The primary aspect of the design is introducing different path lengths for sounds arriving from angles other than directly on-axis as it passes through those openings to the capsule diaphragm. The phase differences between those different path lengths interact with each other as they are summed at the capsule in a destructively interfering way, effectively lowering the signal level for off-axis sounds within the effective bandwidth of the tube in a rather crude but useful way, while on-axis sound arrives without path length differences and without the same destructive interference occurring at the diaphragm.

Here's a couple links which popped up in a quick search of interference tube principle explaining a bit further, mostly in non-technical terms.  The Randy Coppinger site mentions an original design by Harry Olson (The RCA engineer who IMO should get as much credit as Alan Blumlein for his contributions to audio, but isn't as well known) from which modern interference tube microphones were developed a decade or so later.  His design used a number of tubes of differing lengths in front of the capsule.  The later extension and simplification was to substitute a single tube with multiple slots, where each slot effectively forms a different tube length.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/q-how-do-shotgun-mics-work
https://randycoppinger.com/2012/04/05/how-a-shotgun-mic-works/
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Offline waltmon

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Re: 4-channel mic config suggestions?
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2017, 04:26:50 PM »
I used to run hypers pretty much exclusively ORTF 110, but to my ear the music sounded ok, but the vocals were distant...not sure if distant is the word. I switched to 90 DIN and immediately heard a difference. I've been using the 12" followingbob bar with 480 ck63 90 degree din on top and a cardioid pair (currently borrowed KM140s) also din below.   My Grand Prairie Phish pulls from October were really strong as was this configuration also ran for the MSG NYE run...
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