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Author Topic: An equalised “mix” between the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Set and… the Rode NT4  (Read 1650 times)

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Offline Overlay2009

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Dear Tapers,

I just subscribed to your wonderful forum

I had some years of experience of live recording in late 90s - early 2000s with my DPA 4060s, Rode NT4, Apogee Mi-Me and various recorders in chronological order like SONY TCD-D5, TASCAM DA-P1, Sony TCD-D100, Microtrack v1 (as bit-bucket), Tascam DR-100 MKII, Sony PCM-M10…
Now, after 15 years of working/travelling abroad with almost all my gear SADLY left in Rome to collect dust, I am back to Italy and I would like to start taping again this summer.

Might I ask you for some wisdom on a setup I intend to test when attending my next loud indoor concert with ugly acoustics
; - )

The key idea is to combine tracks recorded with
1) the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset (binaural)
AND
2) the Rode NT4 pointed to the source - the stage, but maybe also the PAs in really horrible boomy scenarios. Maybe as an alternative to the NT4 I would like to use two Bayer M201TG hypercardiods in X/Y configuration for more flexibility

My intention is to use a high pass filter plugin in DAW to make a sort of crossover between
the low and mid-low part of the binaural recording done with Ambeo Headset, which hopefully will have better bass and ambience
AND
the mids and highs of the XY recording done with the Rode NT4/Bayer M201TG, hopefully more crispy and somehow - if lucky - less subjected to bad reverb

Obviously, compared to a standard M/S configuration, in my setup the S is not given by a figure-eight microphone at 90° COINCIDENT with the mic pointed to the source, but by two omnis spaced by my head, i.e. by binaural recording somehow related to the stereo central mic capture, playing the role of a sort of extended (because stereo) central channel M

I understand reading the Forum since last week that I independently rediscovered what seems to be a quite common approach among tapers, and it can work, as confirmed by Gutbucket:

QUOTE
Re: Relationships between spaced omnis and center mic
https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=182579.15
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2017, 05:29:06 PM »
"Well in some cases it can be - low pass the added omni(s) around where the 2-ch setup naturally rolls off and that keeps everything relatively simple. 
It won't significantly change the way the 2-ch setup behaves in the range in which it is sensitive."
END OF QUOTE

I understand after a still superficial reading of the treasure of infos in this forum that Gutbucket has since more than a decade developed the strategy I am naively starting to explore at intriguing levels of complexity…
                                       
===============================================
MORE DETAIL ON THE SETUP(s) I would like to test, three versions with different SIDEs S

SETUP 1 - SIDE S is given by Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Set     
(simple and stealth, I expect less phase issues but less stereo separation)

SETUP 2 - SIDE S is given by two DPA 4060 at the ends of the longest possible telescopic arm
(more cumbersome, it needs two recorders (or something like a Zoom F6 that I do not own) and a longer arm. It could give more stereo separation but maybe it will show comb effect)

SETUP 3 - SIDE S (extended) is given by two hypercardiods (Beyerdynamic M 201 TG) at the ends of the longest possible telescopic arm
(even more bulky, it needs two recorders and heavier mics and arm, but it can be good to catch a PA in desperate reverberant cases)
                                                                                   
The FRONT MIC(s) M would be in all three cases

One hypercardioid (Beyerdynamic M 201 TG) or a shotgun (*) pointed to the source
OR                                     
(“extended” M) Two cardioids X/Y (Rode NT4) or two hypercardioids X/Y (Beyerdynamic M 201 TG) pointed to the source

(*) I understand that  DSatz – thank you for the beautiful informative encyclopaedic posts! - suggests to avoid shotguns for indoor concerts from far distance. As opposed to good hypercardiods, shotguns' directivity is highly dependent of frequency, so that sounds arriving off axis and reverberant sound are recorded with STRONG colouration.

MY RECONSTRUCTION of DSatz’s reasoning to test if I understand it well
 
in loud indoors live concerts, for average tickets, with even a good shotgun, whe have

1)   THE WEAK DIRECT SOUND of the FAR stage captured as a STRONG uncolored (flat) on axis response

2)   A STRONG REFLECTED SOUND FIELD of the same FAR stage captured as a WEAK highly colored (frequency dependent) off axis respose

These two vectors (sound sources) INTERFERE, giving strong frequency-dependent phase cancellations -
with a good hypercardiod, these phase cancellations would be frequency-INdependent.

DSatz’s conclusion: shotguns work only with a ON AXIS CLOSE source surrounded by DIFFERENT off axis sources

OBJECTION by Gutbucket: "the other mics in the array help to hide the off-axis issues of the shotguns"

MY COUNTER-OBJECTION:  Are not the other mics in the array subjected by frequency-dependent phase cancellations when combined with the centre mic already "distorted"?

CONCLUSION
what do you guys think of my three configurations, especially the first "stealth" one, namely
Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset + Rode NT4  <----->  S + “extended stereo” M (4 tracks in total) ?

All the best
Overlay 2009

Offline DSatz

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Hello, welcome to this forum, and (soon) welcome back to live recording.

Just to clarify--the more microphones that you set up close to one another, whose signals you then combine into the same playback channels, the less any theory of stereophonic perception applies. When portable digital recorders began to offer four, six, or eight tracks, many people here started using four, six or eight microphones and combining their signals in various ways. Any two or more microphones that are near each other, (depending on their directional characteristics and how they're aimed and whether you apply crossover filtering as you are thinking of doing) will pick up basically the same sound field. So when you mix their signals together, you will get some really complicated patterns of cancellation and reinforcement. Phase, amplitude and frequency relations become more nearly random.

Personally I don't like the effect, but no law says that anyone else has to agree. Plus in a given situation there really can be some advantages along with the disadvantages. This is a hobby for most people here; we try to be friendly toward one another and generally hold back from criticizing one another's opinions. But I find that it makes little sense to obsess about the quality of your equipment, then use it in ways that tend to negate that quality. There's a lot of "streetlight effect"--ignoring the weakest link in the chain while obsessively strengthening the already strong links.

One thing that I try to emphasize is that microphones don't only do what you want them to do--they do everything that they do, irrespective of your intentions. When you have a basic two-mike stereo recording and you add signals from additional microphones, you don't just get more of what you particularly wanted the added microphones to pick up; you get a mix that doesn't know and doesn't care which signals came from which microphones for what purpose. Likewise, in a reverberant space and at some distance from the sound sources, the off-axis response of your microphones becomes at least as important as their on-axis response, and some people simply don't want to consider that--they would rather imagine that their microphone "sounds" a certain way, irrespective of the kind of space it's in and how the sound is arriving. Your brain has a huge effect on what you think your ears are hearing, but your brain doesn't exist within preamps and recorders, and can't discount what your nervous system would consider to be irrelevant information; it all goes into the mix together.

Because of their highly irregular off-axis response, certain types of microphones that make good sense in special situations, such as large-diaphragm microphones or shotguns, don't generally make good sense as main microphones for stereo recording in reverberant spaces. Of course they can "work" and even produce very nice-sounding results sometimes--no one should deny that. But the odds of getting such nice-sounding results are quite a bit lower than they would be with well-placed, small-diaphragm microphones that have smooth response both on- and off-axis.

It's one thing to be hampered by the high cost of certain equipment, but to misunderstand how microphones work is another thing entirely. Unfortunately there are some misunderstandings (about microphones, about how digital audio works on a basic level, and others) that have an astonishing "holding power" in audio. It's maybe even comparable to people's opinions about Covid-19 vaccines and mask-wearing--some people strongly prefer to follow their own opinions based on their personal intuition and feelings, even when the evidence of science says something sharply different. Especially we Americans find something admirable in such tenacity, independence of spirit, and willingness to live with the consequences of one's choices. Fortunately, with mistaken beliefs about audio, such character traits generally won't kill you or your loved ones.

--best regards
« Last Edit: April 06, 2022, 02:58:52 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline Overlay2009

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Dear DSatz,

thank you very much for the answer - I agree on the dangers of pseudoscience, from physics to covid treatments
 
and from several of your posts and others I am finally aware of the shotgun issue

My question above is especially focused on the possibility to use binaural + cemter mic (let us say hypercardioid to avoid the shotgun issue)

The aim is to record in indoor concerts with bad acoustics far from the stage

1) The standard SM configuration seems out of question, because it is effective only close to the stage

2) An alternative "old" solution was
“The once common 3-mic outdoor Grateful Dead taper setup of two PAS shotguns + one center omni” (Gutbucket)

3) A modern (range of possible) alternative(s) - well researched/summarised by Gutbucket and others seems to be
“2meter spaced mini omnis with a center supercard”
“The single forward facing center directional mic plus spaced omnis works especially well at a distance”

I understand that for Gutbucket a shotgun can be an alternative to the HyperCard when used as the center mic to record far from the source in a boomy environment, “limiting the problematic attributes of the pattern, providing clarity from the centrally located, directly forward-facing directional mic without phase interaction problems with another shotgun, or with the omnis since they are spaced far enough to either side of the shotgun-mic.”

My question focused on the possibility of
4) a binaural configuration (Ambeo Smart Headset or DPA 4060s) instead of two 2m-spaced omnis - to add to the center hypercadiod mic
IN ALL THE CASES WHEN an ideal 2m distance between the L & R omnis is not possible for stealth reasons.

I am aware that configuration 4) is NOT ideal because of “phase interaction problems” between the centre mic C and the two quasi coincident omnis (*),
but did somebody in the forum try that configuration?

Best regards
Ovderlay2009

Offline Overlay2009

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I forgot to add the (*) note:
(*) I am not dealing with the issue of the reproduction of the binaural recording on loudspeakers, I had good experiences with it and anyway it seems that the "personalized" HRTF Head-Related Transfer Function is not always a big issue because it can be at least partially inverted, see https://www.dpamicrophones.com/mic-university/binaural-recording-techniques

Offline kuba e

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Thank you DSatz for very nice post. I understand what you are explaining us. I appreciate it. I have one question about spaciousness - depth, the feeling like you're in the place of recording. Do professionals compromise on the accuracy and clarity of the recording to achieve this feeling?

I ask this because I think Gutbucket's audience multi-microphone array is also motivated by this effect that even in stereo playback we feel more like we're in the middle of a music hall (I wouldn't like to speak for Gutbucket, I hope he will join).  I believe that when the audience microphones are well placed and spaced and then very carefully mixed, it could create this special effect. From my point of view, the disadvantage may be a certain loss of clarity of the recording. But I like this spatial effect a lot. My listening skills are not good, so I can overhear things that are over the edge for someone else.

As you mentioned, it's mostly just a hobby for us. I usually have a predetermined place from which to record. Quite often it is not ideal. I also can't take the test and listen to it while recording. So my recording can be creative only when I record with a multiple microphones. I understand the dangers you mentioned. Perhaps this can be partially reduced by careful placement. Then at home, I can choose one of the pair or try to mix it. When mixing, I try to compare it carefully with a simple pair. It has advantage, I can train my listening skills by this. And I understand, a professional would proceed completely differently.

Overlay 2009, I once recorded with multiple microphones that were hidden. I put two omni on my shoulders, one cardiod between my shoulders towards the front and one between my shoulders towards the back. It was difficult when recording, there were too many wires. But I had fun processing it. In the end, I used an omni, and on the edge of audibility I mixed a cardiod that was pointing forward. I try to setup the main pair that I would use if I had only one option. And try to add a other pair in a totally different configuration - placement and pattern.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2022, 03:13:24 AM by kuba e »

Offline Gutbucket

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Welcome to the forum Overlay2009,

It's somewhat of an odd thing we do here, each person involved having somewhat different goals, motivations, ways of thinking and going about it.. and I value and appreciate the differences in taste, approach, and musical focus of all contributors.  Thankfully, or regrettably depending on your perspective, there is no one single correct answer (thankfully I say).  Much of how to best go about this is driven primarily by practical constraints and secondarily by one's personal thresholds in dealing with those constraints.

I try to determine important foundational relationships between the experience of being at a live performance, acoustics, recording technique, and the playback listening experience as a way of working toward understanding and attempting to describe those relationships in useful ways to myself and others.  I tend to post about the more complex and unusual approaches around here in part because they interest me, yet also because many have proven useful in pursuit of my own goals.  That said, the way I approach things will not necessarily be the best approach for others.  Beware of the perils. Most often simple is best, all things considered.. just not overly-simple for the sake of simplicity.

Here are a few things I consider to be the most important because they precede and set the stage for everything else, including which approaches will be most appropriate for you: Know yourself; Know the situations in which you will be involved; Learn to correctly discern what you are hearing (both at a live event and upon playback); Trust your ears and how you hear things (corollary is to question what you think you are hearing); Keep things simple enough to remain manageable and fun (recognizing that simple means different things to different folks); Perfection is attainable, yet often an unreasonable goal and the enemy of the good; Be pleasant and respectful with everyone regarding the way in which you go about pursuing whatever it is you do (to the musicians, audiences, venues, folks here, folks listening at home..)

Some more specific, if less fundamentally important insights:
A perfect stereo recording can be made with just two microphones (corollary- To do so consistently requires near-perfect situations); Having options is good, especially when you are working with otherwise limited ones; The more channels and microphones used, the more complicated things get (which presents increasingly complicated problems in addition to additional opportunities);  The complications of additional microphones and channels intended to be mixed together tend to increase in a geometric or even exponential way;  Seek a balance of simplicity and complication which works appropriately for you, your situations and goals.

More on your specific questions to follow..
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<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline Gutbucket

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Somewhat more specific answers-

The recording position in the venue tends to be the most important thing we as tapers (sometimes) have control over.  Effort put into recording from a more favorable position tends to pay greater dividends in the quality of the resulting recording than most everything else.

The simplest and most appropriate ways to use multiple channels tends to be:
1) Record two (or more) stereo pair configurations that work well on their own, then compare then afterward and choose the best sounding one. This is not only the best way I know of to figure out the differences between various stereo microphone configurations, it serves to usefully "hedge the bet" given the taper constraints under which we are making recordings.
2) Record a direct feed from the soundboard (mixing desk) if possible, in addition to the audience perspective pair of microphones.  Unless you've really nailed the multichannel approach, this works as well or better than combining multiple microphones out in the audience.  This also serves to greatly "hedge the bet", particularly in not so great reverberant rooms.

More complications begin arise when mixing multiple microphones that all share the same general position placed out in the audience.  However, it sounds like this is what you want to explore (and it is what I like to do) so enough disclaimers, let's get on with that-

My recommendations for tapers pursuing an audience-position multichannel microphone approach:
1) Four channels is enough to start (ok, six if 2 are SBD feed)
2) Forgo your usually preferred near-spaced stereo pair.  It is optimized in terms of pickup-pattern, spacing, and angle for a single pair of microphones alone.  You are now re-configuring to optimize for four microphones instead of two. Different game.
3) Instead of a 2-channel near-spaced microphone configuration optimizing for both spacing and angle, use a wider than normal spaced configuration plus a coincident configuration in the center.  Even though there are now 4 microphone channels, this represents just one additional microphone position in space (3 rather than 2) which in combination with the increased spacing reduces the potential for phase interaction complexities.  If you have it, a soundboard feed can take the place of the coincident center pair.
4) Outdoors or in a good room start with 3' wide omnis and a coincident pair in the center (Mid/Side or X/Y).  Go up to 5' wide with the omnis. If you can't arrange get the omnis wide enough, put a baffle between them (such as your head using the Senn Ambeo headset), or use somewhat more directional microphones and angle them apart to compensate.
5) Indoors in a less than stellar reverberant room, get as close to the sweet spot as you can. Get a SBD feed if you can. Replace the omnis with directional microphones spaced somewhat less far apart, but still twice as far or more than a typical near-spaced stereo pair.  If the room is decent, angle them +/-45 degrees. If the room is challenging, point all microphones directly at the sound sources of interest - that is, at the band itself, back-line cabinets and PA speakers.  Point the spaced directionals directly at the PA speakers (PAS)   If this results in a particularly narrow angle between the microphones, compensate by increased the spacing between them if you can.

The above is something of a condensed conclusion of my OMT multichannel microphone array approach developed over the years - based in theory, verified empirically.

Almost time for me to head out.  I'll address your specific questions about mixing and unconventional Side channel options tomorrow.
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<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline Gutbucket

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To get some of this out of the way..

Quote
MY RECONSTRUCTION of DSatz’s reasoning to test if I understand it well
 
in loud indoors live concerts, for average tickets, with even a good shotgun, whe have

1)   THE WEAK DIRECT SOUND of the FAR stage captured as a STRONG uncolored (flat) on axis response

2)   A STRONG REFLECTED SOUND FIELD of the same FAR stage captured as a WEAK highly colored (frequency dependent) off axis respose

These two vectors (sound sources) INTERFERE, giving strong frequency-dependent phase cancellations -
with a good hypercardiod, these phase cancellations would be frequency-INdependent.

DSatz’s conclusion: shotguns work only with a ON AXIS CLOSE source surrounded by DIFFERENT off axis sources

OBJECTION by Gutbucket: "the other mics in the array help to hide the off-axis issues of the shotguns"

MY COUNTER-OBJECTION:  Are not the other mics in the array subjected by frequency-dependent phase cancellations when combined with the centre mic already "distorted"?

For the purpose of our discussion, the on-axis and off-axis response of a single microphone isn't interfering with itself.  Technically it is, but that's all happening "within the microphone itself" and this is something beyond our control, other than choosing a different microphone all together.  One of the primary concerns when mixing multiple microphones together is the interaction between them (the sum of all left panned mics in the Left channel, the sum of all right panned mics in the Right channel, and the sum of any center panned mics with both Left and Right channels).

In most indoor rooms, the reverberant sound heard in most audience locations is far stronger than most folks realize (in comparison to the level of direct-arriving sound).  However, the presence of a PA system can change this balance significantly, and is one of the things that makes taping amplified performances which feature PA reinforcement considerably different than recording a fully acoustic performances.

Specifically on the bit quoted above.  I've not actually used traditional shotgun mics in my arrays and am not specifically recommending them. However I have heard numerous recordings that have used them successfully.  I also have experience with how a multiple microphone technique can serve to "hide" the less than good off-axis behavior of other microphones in the array when arranged and mixed appropriately.  Based on that I have speculated about their potential use, yet use supercardioid as the most-directional pattern in my own setups.

Specifically on your counter-objection: This is where "arranged and mixed appropriately" comes in to play.  To avoid the problem, it is advantageous for the channels which will be summed together to feature content which differs sufficiently from each other (even if they all sound similar in isolation).  To achieve that essentially means spacing them far enough apart from each other, angling them in sufficiently different directions from each other, or both.
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<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline DSatz

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> For the purpose of our discussion, the on-axis and off-axis response of a single microphone isn't interfering with itself.  Technically it is, but that's all happening "within the microphone itself" and this is something beyond our control, other than choosing a different microphone all together.

Please check your logic here. It makes zero difference whether two signals mix within a microphone or within a mixer or recorder; the outcome will be the same, including any and all destructive interference.

The old adage about the hammer and the nails applies here quite directly--things don't obligingly turn themselves into nails just because you have a hammer in your hand--even a very good one. If an option exists to choose "a different microphone [al]together", why rule that out in advance? Microphones with special characteristics (e.g. a polar pattern that varies greatly at different frequencies) can be problem-solvers for particular types of situations, but outside of those situations, such microphones are far less likely to deliver optimal results.

(Please excuse my picking on just this one part of an otherwise highly informative post ...)

« Last Edit: April 13, 2022, 10:32:10 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline Gutbucket

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^Yes, yes. All true and agreed.  Thanks for calling this out.

I sort of held my nose when typing that.. in an attempt at directing attention to the interaction between multiple microphones based upon how they are arranged, without confusing things by getting into what is going on within each microphone itself (even though in both cases the underlying basis of constructive/destructive interference is the same).

My "For the purpose of our discussion" disclaimer doesn't actually stand up in terms of the underlying physical interactions.  It was only meant to avoid a complicating side-discussion on shotgun/interference-tube microphones.

Overlay2009, if you are going to try using these multichannel microphone array techniques, use supercardioids/hypercardioids rather than of shotguns in them!
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<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline Scooter123

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I'm not much of an open taping guy with stands and the like, but do have solid recording experience from 1970 to today. 

Take as many microphones and put them in any array you would like, just put them on separate channels on a multi-channel recorder. 

On the other hand if you're trying to load more than one microphone per channel, I think you will not get as good results as you would with one microphone per channel.  It is similar to on the fly soundboard mixes to two channel, with lots of room for error. 

I may not be reading the question very well, so excuse me if I've answered incorrectly. 
Regards,
Scooter123

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Offline Gutbucket

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That's actually an excellent point, one that has been presumed in the discussion so far, but should be clarified.

In this day and age of relatively inexpensive multichannel recorders I just assume tapers are recording each input channel separately.  That includes all microphones and soundboard feeds.  For folks wanting to combine mics, or even mics + SBD, save all mixing decisions until afterward when you can do it right, monitor clearly and play around with various level combinations and other things until you find the most appropriate combination prior to committing to any sub-mix or final stereo mix.  These days I can't imagine ever suggesting to sum anything prior to recording, and likely wouldn't have suggested trying to do so it "back then" either.

To do so otherwise (mixing channels ahead of the recorder) is just asking for trouble and very difficult to get right IMO.  Yet in the past, before multichannel recorders became common, inexpensive and of good quality, doing it that way was not unknown in the taper community.  One particular instance that comes to mind, which older tapers will recall and younger tapers may have heard about is the Nakamichi 3-channel microphone mixer that was packaged with the Nakamichi microphone set (similarly a number of 2-ch Nakamichi tape recorders featured 3-inputs) which some Grateful Dead tapers employed in the 1980's for recording 3-microphone setups directly to 2-channel cassette (this is veering dangerously close to the shotgun discussion).  Another is a few Oade GD tapes from the mid 80's where Doug combined spaced omnis and a center hypercardoid pair ahead of the recorder, and in interviews talks about about putting a lot of thought, time and effort into determining the exact spacing and mix levels beforehand. That they didn't continue to use that technique tells you something.

Record all channels separately, mix them later by ear.
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<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline Gutbucket

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I have one question about spaciousness - depth, the feeling like you're in the place of recording. Do professionals compromise on the accuracy and clarity of the recording to achieve this feeling?

I suppose it depends on how one defines accuracy.  Or rather, accurate in what sense? Clear, accurate diction?  Accurate sense of space and place? Timbre? Imaging?  All of these?  If so in what order of importance?

I find the most appropriate amount of depth-dimension and spaciousness - the "you are there-ness" qualities - to vary with the way in which the recording is intended to be experienced.  Playback over quality headphones or a really good stereo playback allows for more of it.  True surround playback allows for more still.  More compromised listening situations do not, in which case the listening experience is better with greater emphasis on direct sound clarity.  On better systems, recordings optimized for those compromised situations will sound flatter and less involving than they otherwise would be.  In the compromised playback situations. recordings optimized for really good systems can sound less clear and more distant.  It's difficult to determine a compromise that is "just-right" and works decently well most everywhere - which is an important part of the art of mastering.

This gets back to recording everything on separate tracks to defer mix decisions until later when you can scratch your head over it all you like.  I find that trying to dial in a decent mix live (made to a stereo mix track on the same multichannel recorder, or to create a live-mix to patch out to another taper) just doesn't ever seem to work out just right.  Even if I'm returning for something like a second night run, and have dialed in a good mix of the previous night's performance (same band, same venue, same recording location), often that won't translate to the second night without some careful listening and adjustment.

Quote
I ask this because I think Gutbucket's audience multi-microphone array is also motivated by this effect that even in stereo playback we feel more like we're in the middle of a music hall (I wouldn't like to speak for Gutbucket, I hope he will join).  I believe that when the audience microphones are well placed and spaced and then very carefully mixed, it could create this special effect. From my point of view, the disadvantage may be a certain loss of clarity of the recording. But I like this spatial effect a lot. My listening skills are not good, so I can overhear things that are over the edge for someone else.

That's it in a nutshell, and what I seek in my own recordings.  The spatial qualities are no substitute for clarity, which I consider to be more fundamental, and can at times be at odds with it with lesser playback systems as mentioned above. This is one of the blessing/curse things about these techniques.  The extra "realness element" they can provide I find delicious and worth the effort, but in turn demands attention and a careful touch to dial it in just right. Without making that effort you can easily end up with a mess.  Along with the additional freedom comes a need to responsibly manage it well.  Using these methods requires additional commitment that cannot be avoided, but I feel that is a good problem to have as long as one is okay with dealing with it!  Know yourself.

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[..]Then at home, I can choose one of the pair or try to mix it. When mixing, I try to compare it carefully with a simple pair. It has advantage, I can train my listening skills by this. And I understand, a professional would proceed completely differently.

This is what I do as well.  If I find my multi-microphone array recording effort doesn't sound significantly better than a straight two-microphone recording made at the same performance from a similar location, I know I'm doing something is wrong.

Thanks for interest and post.
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<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline Overlay2009

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Dear Gutbucket,
thank you very much for the detailed multi-post answer   
I am eager to test a “fine tuned” setup based on your wide-range suggestions in the present post– plus other posts of yours I read last week, including the fascinating “Oddball Microphone Technique” pdf summary …
After reading your present post, maybe because of a my background (a BA in physics almost completed before trashing everything for the misguided choice of working in advertising :-( ) the only part that was a bit unclear for me is precisely the same passage commented by DSatz, namely that “For the purpose of our discussion, the on-axis and off-axis response of a single microphone isn't interfering with itself”… but I now understand that you want to consider the single microphone interactions as an independent variable for practical purposes
More on this later I hope
Thanks also to ‘kuba e’ for the comment and regarding Scooter123’s reminder about independent channels, I would be forced to do it anyway because the Sennheiser Ambeo records independently using my ipod as bitbucket…
All the best
Overlay 2009

Offline Overlay2009

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Just a short comment on this,
Gutbucket: “The spatial qualities are no substitute for clarity, which I consider to be more fundamental”
I entirely agree. Moreover, the attempt to be faithful/to reconstruct the soundstage is strongly genre-dependent
Only for classical music and partly Jazz/acoustics a realistic reconstruction of the live spatial image is meaningful, for rock concerts or other sources the spatial dimension is imagined/artificially created from the start, and the live version is not meant to carefully reproduce an “original” source /”studio” version.  The live performance is always artificial compared with a studio recording that is itself “artificial”, I mean constructed. this I think is well known - the point I want to make
with my maybe trivial comment is that our recordings are themselves, in a sense, creative reconstructions where we can try to place instruments/events where we prefer/hope/can strating from an already highly artificial live dimension...

 

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