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Author Topic: Baffled omnis far away indoors?  (Read 335 times)

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Offline prepschoolalumniblues

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Baffled omnis far away indoors?
« on: August 15, 2019, 11:03:38 AM »
In an indoors arena show with an official tapers section, it seems like most tapers who are using omnis are typically running them with a three feet or greater split. My understanding is that, in contrast, those using a Jecklin-inspired setup (or similar configurations) are running it either very close to the performers (e.g. on-stage) or are using it as part of a multichannel setup with more directional mics.

I’ve been speaking with Cheesecadet who has been finding success with this setup outdoors: DPA 4061’s (Matched - Healy Method w/ Foam Ball Baffle @ 180˚ - 35’ FOB - 35’ From Stage - 9’ High - Center) — see this tape for an example https://archive.org/details/motherhips2019-08-10.dpa4061healy.flac.

I’m curious if anybody has tried a similar setup both a) indoors and b) at soundboard-distance from stage. My fear is that it might sound too distant or pick up too much room reverberation... but maybe not?

Mics
Omnis: Church Audio CA-14, Sound Professionals Ear-Hook Ultra Low Noise Binaurals (MS-EHB-2-PREM)
Cards: Sound Professionals ATU853 (SP-CMC-4U) with low-sensitivity mod

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Offline heathen

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Re: Baffled omnis far away indoors?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2019, 12:56:47 PM »
I'd be hesitant to try omnis in an arena at the usual soundboard distance, at least on their own.  When used along with directional mics, though...different story.
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Baffled omnis far away indoors?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2019, 01:11:13 PM »
My take on baffled vs wide-spaced omnis (used on their own)-

Baffled omnis represents something of a pseudo dummy head approach.  The technique works well where a dummy head recording would work well, providing imaging cues more similar to human hearing than other stereo recording techniques.  It does a good job of translating what it sounded like at the recording position.  Put it on stage or up front and it sounds like you are there, with a wide soundstage and good imaging cues.  Put it far in back and it will sound like it did in back.  If it sounds good and "close" from back there in terms of timbre and direct sound, the recording can too, but the reproduced soundstage is likely to be narrow, just like it was in real life back there.  Because it uses omnis, it can sound more natural in terms of timbre and off-axis response than stereo recording arrangements using directional microphones. 

Wide spaced omnis is not an attempt at emulating the human hearing geometry or achieving "accurate" imaging.  It doesn't work like a dummy head does, yet produces an attractive "natural seeming" sound.  It can work better from further back precisely because it is not accurately reproducing the sound as it would be heard by a dummy head (or human listener) back there, but can produce a better sounding, if less "accurate" recording in such a situation.  If the microphone spacing is sufficient it can produce a wide soundstage even if the recording position is quite distant from the source.  You can compensate for the narrowness of the distant source by increasing the spacing between the microphones to stretch it into an attractively wide playback image (Stereo Zoom stuff)

From further back I'd choose spaced omnis, but would consider a baffle when I could not otherwise space the omnis as far apart from each other as I'd like (generally, the further back the wider they should be).  From close up it sort of depends on what type of sound you prefer: sharper, more human-hearing-like directional imaging produced by a baffle and near-spacing, somewhat darker and with a less "open sounding" ambience - verses the less precise imaging of wider spaced omnis, brighter sounding and with a bigger, more open sounding ambience.

Much taper stuff comes down to practicality first and foremost.  For many tapers it is more practical to use a baffle than to space the omnis sufficiently far apart (like on a single stand in back), other times its easier and less invasive to space the omnis far enough apart than to use an unwieldy and visually-intrusive baffle between them (such as on-stage).
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 03:27:45 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Baffled omnis far away indoors?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2019, 01:26:01 PM »
My fear is that it might sound too distant or pick up too much room reverberation... but maybe not?

The reverberant pickup will sound quite different, even though both baffled omnis and wide-spaced omnis will pick up the same amount of room 'verb when used from the same position.  Ignoring the differences attributable to pickup pattern, ambient reverb through baffled omnis (near-spaced) is more like that from near-spaced directional microphone setups that use a similar spacing between the microphones.  Low frequency pickup tends more toward monophonic. With wide-spaced omnis the reverberation remains more highly decorrelated down to a lower frequency (determined by the spacing), making the ambient audience sound and reverberation sound "bigger and more open", even though the direct:reverberant ratio is the same.  Low frequency pickup is more stereoized. 

Neither choice is necessarily wrong or right, but more about what you prefer.  Complicating that, in a straight 2-channel recording setup, the difference in reverberant pickup is lumped in with the direct sound  aspects such as imaging and timbral differences.

..or are using it as part of a multichannel setup with more directional mics.

Spaced omnis are generally better suited for use in multi-microphone setups partly for the above reason.  More on this if you want..
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 03:46:04 PM by Gutbucket »
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 Gutbucket

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Re: Baffled omnis far away indoors?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2019, 01:29:35 PM »
I'd be hesitant to try omnis in an arena at the usual soundboard distance [snip] on their own.  When used along with directional mics, though...different story.

Inside a reverberant arena I agree completely, outdoors omnis work very well at a distance, especially if spaced sufficiently.  In some ways more of an "improved reality" than "accurate reality" portrayal though.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 06:55:07 PM by Gutbucket »
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 prepschoolalumniblues

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Re: Baffled omnis far away indoors?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2019, 05:31:13 PM »

..or are using it as part of a multichannel setup with more directional mics.

Spaced omnis are generally better suited for use in multi-microphone setups partly for the above reason.  More on this if you want..

Thank you so much for the insight you've already shared on this! If you have time, I'd love to hear more about why spaced omnis might be better in the context of a multi-microphone setup. (I'm limited to two channels right now, but this info will be helpful as I continue to try things out.)
Mics
Omnis: Church Audio CA-14, Sound Professionals Ear-Hook Ultra Low Noise Binaurals (MS-EHB-2-PREM)
Cards: Sound Professionals ATU853 (SP-CMC-4U) with low-sensitivity mod

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Marantz PMD620 MKII

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Baffled omnis far away indoors?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2019, 09:07:35 PM »
In a few important ways, a typical Jecklin-disk baffled omni stereo microphone setup (which is what we are talking about here, in contrast to using a baffle to modify the behavior of a single omni for other "non-stereo" reasons) is similar to near-spaced directional microphone stereo setups (ORTF, NOS, DIN, etc) in that they all represent reasonably optimized configurations designed to provide a good balance of trade-offs between contradictory aspects.

Contradictory aspects?

For example- Coincident configurations generally provide sharp directional imaging, yet often a somewhat flat and lackluster portrayal of ambience and revererance, while wide spaced configurations provide big lush ambience and an attractively open-sounding portrayal of reverberance, but with rather fuzzy, imprecise imaging.  Near-spaced configurations try to find a reasonable balance between these things, while not being the best at either.  Near-spaced configurations are a search for an optimal tradeoff between several important aspects which are basically in conflict with each other, trying to get each of them "right enough" simultaneously.

If you are no longer tied to a single two-channel microphone configuration designed to provide optimally "pre-baked" 2-channel stereo direct into the recorder, you can attempt to better optimize seperate microphone arrangements for one specific aspect or another, with the intent of combining them to get the best of both.  Done correctly, each of the separate parts provides what it does best.. and hopefully covers the weaknesses of the others, such that their sum is greater than any of the individual parts in isolation.  If not done correctly you can get a mess, and a well-optimized 2-channel microphone configuration would be better.. and simpler.  Preschool analogy- We want to be careful to color between the lines rather than mush to much together into a big blob of brown fingerpaint.

Consider that we get the cleanest direct sound from a SBD patch.  We get the sharpest directional imaging from a coincident pair of directional microphones. We get the most enveloping and open ambience from a pair of spaced omnis. If I have SBD or a coincident pair, it makes sense to mix in a pair of wide-spaced omnis which are most optimal for providing the ambient stuff those things lack.  Any lack of close sounding clarity and fuzzy imaging from the wide-spaced omnis doesn't matter because the SBD or coincident pair provides the clear direct sound and sharp imaging. The spaced omnis are relieved of the burden of providing clear direct sound on their own or good directional imaging and even the need to provide a solid soundstage without any "hole in the middle".  In fact, I can now space the omnis even farther apart than I would other wise dare, such that the portrayal of ambience and reverberance is even more open and diffuse.  I wouldn't otherwise do that without having the coincident pair or SBD available because it produces a hole in the middle.  But when combined with my other source(s) that hole in the middle can be an asset rather than a liability. It makes room in the middle for the clear directional imaging stuff.  Likewise the coincident pair can be better optimized for clean pickup of direct sound and directional imaging (angled less wide, say PAS) without worrying about the recording sounding too monophonic and dimensionally flat.  In that way such liabilities can actually be leveraged as assets, as they help keep each part from conflicting with and "stepping on" the other when they are combined.

This is the basic idea behind OMT, which seeks to optimize each part separately for a particular role while staying out of the way of the others, making combination afterward easier.  And hopefully in such a way that the resulting mix works out better than attempting to find a good "pre-baked" trade-off using just two microphones that produces a mix of those aspects directly.

Lots more on this idea in the OMT threads, especially part 2.

But no need to get overly complicated.  If you can record a SBD patch along with your pair of omnis, try mixing that with wide spaced omnis a few times, and with a similarly placed Jecklin-disk baffled pair a few times and decide for yourself which combination works out best.
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 prepschoolalumniblues

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Re: Baffled omnis far away indoors?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2019, 09:31:47 PM »
This is so helpful — thank you. I’ve read some of the recent posts in the OMT thread (which have been really inspiring for this new taper!)  but I haven’t read the complete archive. This post was a very clear framing of that content for me, so I’m excited to dig in now that I have a clarified sense of the theory behind it.
Mics
Omnis: Church Audio CA-14, Sound Professionals Ear-Hook Ultra Low Noise Binaurals (MS-EHB-2-PREM)
Cards: Sound Professionals ATU853 (SP-CMC-4U) with low-sensitivity mod

Recorder
Marantz PMD620 MKII

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Baffled omnis far away indoors?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2019, 09:54:48 PM »
Happy to help, and welcome to TS.

The multichannel stuff is interesting, but simplicity and practicality rule for the most part. You can do much and go far with just two channels. It's good to get a conceptual handle on all this stuff to understand whats going on in the big picture, but don't get overly consumed with complications.  My recommendation for a new taper is to wring as much as you can out of two mics, and that may be all you ever want or need.  By example, that recording of Cheesecadet's using just two microphones you linked above needs no improvement. It stands quite nicely on its own. 

If you have a pair of omnis, or plan to pick up a pair, figure out a way to play around with the spacing between them so you can develop a hands-on feel for how changing the spacings effects various aspects of the sound.
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<<

 

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