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Small comparison Forssell SMP-2 vs. RME Micstasy - Tabla samples
Old 23rd July 2009 | Show parent
  #61
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt
The ears are designed to detect small L/R differences and minute changes in the time domain,

Wrong, its the brain which detects it, the ears are just the receptors
Talk about splitting hairs... If you want to get pointless, the ears DO detect the information, the brain interprets the information, which can change depending on the size of the ear lobe, and the facial features, in addition to the direction and distance of the sound source and the room.

But since everyone already knows this, I just wasted everyone's time in posting it. Maybe we should try to avoid correcting the obvious with the obvious.

On the topic, I would rather have a stereo pair to get a sense of imaging, which is clearly discernible even with a single source. Though I don't think it matters to much in determining the character of a preamp. Microphones, yes, preamp, ehhh...
Old 27th July 2009 | Show parent
  #62
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Originally Posted by jormedinavic View Post
For about two weeks I had the opportunity to test a dream setup for a Harpsichord recording. GS member adebar sent me 2 Josephson C617 a Forsell SMP-2 and a Meitner Converter ADC8 MK IV. I wanted to compare in some way the results again 2 Schoeps MK2-S, and a Micstasy.
Great sound with both setups, surprisingly similar when level matched. What's the piece played in the clip?
Old 28th July 2009 | Show parent
  #63
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Originally Posted by Welkin View Post
What's the piece played in the clip?
No piece at all, just a very basic rhythmic pattern.
Old 30th July 2009 | Show parent
  #64
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I think the important thing to take away from this is that differences between preamps are not so enormous... in the scheme of things, "preamp differences" --- of little consequence.

So long as one has a good , modern design(and I only say that because the technology has advanced so much that many of the older designs are somewhat noisy in comparison) a good head on his/her shoulders, and a good ear, professional recordings, dare I say fantastic sounding recordings are possible(of course source should be great, and room)

yes, I laud the BG stuff(for many reasons including cost, Mick's history, etc), and others that I have direct experience with..but I see now more than ever that my ignorance in the past caused me to over-emphasize differences that were not there.


id feel no shame using either the micstasy or the forsell.

in an ABX, I have no doubts whatsover that I would fail miserably.


edit:

a mono sample is plenty. I feel that if no difference is observed in mono, than stereo would not do much to change that. it confuses matters actually.
Old 30th July 2009 | Show parent
  #65
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Can't help agreeing with Teddy here, I must admit..
Old 31st July 2009 | Show parent
  #66
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Can we not just settle this by agreeing to always record Tablas in M/S configuration? That way the mono brigade are good-to-go, and the stereophiles can add as many degrees of stereo spread as they wish = everyone's happy!
Old 31st July 2009 | Show parent
  #67
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Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Can we not just settle this by agreeing to always record Tablas in M/S configuration? That way the mono brigade are good-to-go, and the stereophiles can add as many degrees of stereo spread as they wish = everyone's happy!
Not an alternative IMHO... For a Tabla Solo recording where it's in the center, maybe, but when it's accompanying, it's usually on the left side of the stage. How do you properly pan an MS signal to one side?
Old 3rd August 2009 | Show parent
  #68
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Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
No piece at all, just a very basic rhythmic pattern.
Sorry, I was referring to jormedinavic's harpsichord clip.
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #69
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Mono is as valid a way of testing as any. In fact, a case could be made that it is probably better to test in mono than stereo.

When we hear a sound source, say flute, voice, violin in a room it originates as a mono signal and is then modulated by the room and our ears into a stereo image (or perhaps we should say multi-sourced signal, as it appears from everywhere). The singer does not have two mouths.

When we go to listen to a flautist playing solo, his sound does not eminate from two sources, but one.

For a preamp mono is fine, and under the circumstances of Daniel's test, far more helpful. Microphones would be another matter.
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #70
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Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
Mono is as valid a way of testing as any. In fact, a case could be made that it is probably better to test in mono than stereo.

When we hear a sound source, say flute, voice, violin in a room it originates as a mono signal and is then modulated by the room and our ears into a stereo image (or perhaps we should say multi-sourced signal, as it appears from everywhere). The singer does not have two mouths.

When we go to listen to a flautist playing solo, his sound does not eminate from two sources, but one....
If you think about this statement a bit more it is not true. The sound of a flute does not eminate from a single point source (there is no such thing in acoustics anyway) - the instrument is a three-dimensional object so the sound cannot eminate from a 1D point (front to back, but no up/down or left/right).

Even if it were possible to defy the laws of physics with an instrument, unless it was played in an anechoic chamber, the sound of the room will always form part of the sound.

Humans have 2 ears, why not make use of both of them when doing critical analysis, after all, millions of years of evolution have proved stereo is better than mono...

Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #71
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Originally Posted by matt_r View Post
If you think about this statement a bit more it is not true. The sound of a flute does not eminate from a single point source (there is no such thing in acoustics anyway) - the instrument is a three-dimensional object so the sound cannot eminate from a 1D point (front to back, but no up/down or left/right).

Even if it were possible to defy the laws of physics with an instrument, unless it was played in an anechoic chamber, the sound of the room will always form part of the sound.

Humans have 2 ears, why not make use of both of them when doing critical analysis, after all, millions of years of evolution have proved stereo is better than mono...


Yes, thank you, I have thought about it for years and not just for this offering.

What you say is not precisely true, and what part of this are you going to be critically analysing, the preamp, or the room?

My point is that the sound source is a single source and not two spaced points creating a central point. I think we all realise that sound radiates, and radiates very early in its production, but the origin of the sound is a single point. Where does it start?

You can adequately hear what a preamp is doing in mono, being in mono does not eliminate this radiation, it's there in the mono signal.

The evolution of the human ear enables us to pin point directionality and distance through reflections and their time delays, but for the testing of the qualities of a preamp, this can be done perfectly well in mono. Transients are still present in a mono signal.

Don't forget, we are looking at a preamp here, if you have or are using only one channel of this particular preamp you're a bit snookered by your logic.

The test done by Daniel (d-fu) was better conducted in this fashion because of the limited number of channels he had, and by doing it this way we have two mono signals with matching microphones done at precisely the same time in almost the same space, instead of two separate performances to take into consideration too.

I've heard samples on this site made on separate days with different mic positions and different performances, in an attmept to make assessment on the performance of a preamp (of all things). How far do these changes of mic position and performance recorded on different days help in assessing a mic preamp?......................very little.

In any case, what the testing of a preamp with one particular microphone will tell you, is how that microphone performs with that preamp on that instrument in that room. Change one of those things, the microphone, preamp, intrument, the perfomance or room and it's next to useless for critical analysis.
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #72
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Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
What you say is not exactly true, and what part of this are you going to be critically analysing, the preamp, or the room?
...
You can adequately hear what a preamp is doing in mono.
I respectfully disagree - we are used to hearing in stereo with both ears. Yes we are hearing the room along with the instrument etc... But without this it would not be possible to evaluate the preamp! Should we just listen to the preamp with nothing plugged in??

To take your argument further, if we are not evaluating the room etc, then why not just feed a signal generator or sampler through the preamp in mono? - because that would not be the best way to evaluate how it might work in real applications.

To give the fairest trial and to glean as much information as possible surely it's best to record in stereo, then we have more information to work with and evaluate. I believe it's possible to hear many more subtle differences when using both ears to evaluate a stereo signal. The human sense of hearing was designed like that.

Also, mono just sounds inherently less interesting, less real.

"Stereo - it's the natural choice" © 2009
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #73
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Originally Posted by matt_r View Post
I respectfully disagree - we are used to hearing in stereo with both ears. Yes we are hearing the room along with the instrument etc... But without this it would not be possible to evaluate the preamp! Should we just listen to the preamp with nothing plugged in??

To take your argument further, if we are not evaluating the room etc, then why not just feed a signal generator or sampler through the preamp in mono? - because that would not be the best way to evaluate how it might work in real applications.

To give the fairest trial and to glean as much information as possible surely it's best to record in stereo, then we have more information to work with and evaluate. I believe it's possible to hear many more subtle differences when using both ears to evaluate a stereo signal. The human sense of hearing was designed like that.

Also, mono just sounds inherently less interesting, less real.

"Stereo - it's the natural choice" © 2009

Both preamps are on the same footing here in mono, one is not disadvantaged over the other, so you will be able to assess both by using the same parameters.

You mention nothing of the two separate performances that would have had to be taken into account with the limitations of the equipment available to Daniel.

I've heard samples varying so much with two performances that no meaningful assessment could be made. Arpeggios with the first low note missing on some samples and on others a good solid note an octave lower. From this we would have had overtones, and that was the least of it, but we are asked to assess a micpre without it.........useless.

Mono is ok. Daniel made the right decision with the gear he had. Even with extra channels and microphones, I would still have appreciated mono as long as I was hearing the same performance, but would need to close my mind to the fact that the mic/preamp combination would have made its own contribution.

If you listen to a mono recording in a room, your own room will be adding its own stereo, the only thing that stereo will give you over mono is the placement of the instrument being recorded in the space it was recorded. Now if you don't know the instrument or the space, how are you going to assess whether the micpreamp has recorded it at all successfully? Transients are still present in a mono signal.


How wide did the instrument actually appear to be in real life. It's bad enough not knowing the actual sound of the sound source itself that someone else is giving you, other than saying it's maybe a flute, without adding to the confusion by bringing in time delays, phase cancellation and the rest.

Mono is the least of our worries in this scenario.
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #74
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Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
Both preamps are on the same footing here in mono, one is not disadvantaged over the other, so you will be able to assess both by using the same parameters.

You mention nothing of the two separate performances that would have had to be taken into account with the limitations of the equipment available to Daniel.
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
Mono is ok. Daniel made the right decision with the gear he had.
.
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
Even with extra channels and microphones, I would still have appreciated mono ...
Mono is adequate for you and your requirements but stereo is ultimately better, all else being equal. This is what it ultimately boils down to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
If you listen to a mono recording in a room, your own room will be adding its stereo, the only thing that stereo will give you over mono is the placement of the instrument being recorded in the space it was recorded. Now if you don't know the instrument or the space, how are you going to assess whether the micpreamp has recorded it at all successfully?

How wide did the instrument actually appear to be in real life. It's bad enough not knowing the actual sound of the sound source itself that someone else is giving you, other than saying it's maybe a flute, without adding to the confusion by bringing in time delays, phase cancellation and the rest.
How does this argument relate to stereo but not mono - what is your point? time delays, phase cancellation and the rest are all 'part of the picture' and a natural element of most recorded sound. It's how we are used to hearing things, why try and over simplify by going mono?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
Mono is the least of our worries.
Maybe, but it's not the best way to critically evaluate music/audio. I'm not going to repeat previous posts but for saying we have 2 ears and we are used to hearing in stereo!
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #75
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Originally Posted by Nobilmente
If you listen to a mono recording in a room, your own room will be adding its own stereo, the only thing that stereo will give you over mono is the placement of the instrument being recorded in the space it was recorded. Now if you don't know the instrument or the space, how are you going to assess whether the micpreamp has recorded it at all successfully?

How wide did the instrument actually appear to be in real life. It's bad enough not knowing the actual sound of the sound source itself that someone else is giving you, other than saying it's maybe a flute, without adding to the confusion by bringing in time delays, phase cancellation and the rest.

How does this argument relate to stereo but not mono - what is your point? time delays, phase cancellation and the rest are all 'part of the picture' and a natural element of most recorded sound. It's how we are used to hearing things, why try and over simplify by going mono?




Stereo spacing of mono microphones and the phase cancellations inherent therein are quite different from a forward facing mono microphone. Even M&S will give a side signal that has more to do with room than content and placement of the original sound source.

Where does this stop, why stop at stereo? Why not get a large ensemble into a very large hall, because that is the real world I work in.

Mono on a single sound source is more then adequate for evaluating a preamp, which is exactly what Daniel was doing.
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #76
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Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
Stereo spacing of mono microphones and the phase cancellations inherent therein are quite different from a forward facing mono microphone. Even M&S will give a side signal that has more to do with room than content of the original sound source.
Why do you keep insisting that we should ignore the room!!! It's part of the sound of any instrument! To try and create some sterile mono recording of an instrument is not how I normally listen to music - especially acoustic music! To me that would be harder to evaluate a preamp if the sound is not natural.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
Where does this stop, why stop at stereo? Why not get a whole orchestra into a very large hall, because that is the real world I work in.
Yes, well in an ideal situation that would be best, in stereo obviously. People have done that. Not that the opportunity arises quite so often!

This could obviously go on ad-infinitum. I will take note that you prefer to listen to gear in mono. I like stereo better whether I'm creating a record or evaluating a piece of kit.
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #77
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Originally Posted by matt_r View Post
Why do you keep insisting that we should ignore the room!!! It's part of the sound of any instrument! To try and create some sterile mono recording of an instrument is not how I normally listen to music - especially acoustic music! To me that would be harder to evaluate a preamp if the sound is not natural.



Yes, well in an ideal situation that would be best, in stereo obviously. People have done that. Not that the opportunity arises quite so often!

This could obviously go on ad-infinitum. I will take note that you prefer to listen to gear in mono. I like stereo better whether I'm creating a record or evaluating a piece of kit.


I prefer to listen and record in stereo rather than mono, but mono holds a lot of information which I don't dismiss and is not sterile as you say, and when listening to some of the mono recordings of Sinatra et al, I don't yearn for them in stereo.

I don't mind listening to evaluate a piece of equipment such as a preamp in mono or stereo, but I am not the one who dismissed the efforts of Daniel (d-fu) saying that they were unrealistic in mono.

The chap made the best decision for the equipment he had to hand, and to criticise him for doing that seems a bit crass to me. In addition, it is far better for him to have done it that way than to have presented two wildly differing performances to evaluate the things, which has about as much to do with A/B-ing something as wearing a funny hat does.

I have said that mono is adequate for me, I'm quite happy with mono to evaluate a micpre, and in some respects I find mono better.......but either stereo or mono I'm ok with.

I'm not the one who has the problem with the mono recordings - and don't worry about getting the room, you'll get the room with mono if you're in the room when you record.

If you don't get this, I don't know how I else I can put it really, we should just leave it and do something far more interesting.

And if that is Daniel's lad with headphones on, I think he's a smasher, and I've got pictures of my son with headphones on just like that and with just the same expression, but he's older now
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #78
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Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
but I am not the one who dismissed the efforts of Daniel (d-fu) saying that they were unrealistic in mono
Neither did I, just to set the record straight. I already said thanks to him!



ps. I thought we had gone on to discuss the hypothetical merits of stereo vs. mono in a general 'preamp evaluation' context? We were talking flutes, voice and orchestra etc....

Don't make this personal, because it was not meant to be.... Just talking tech theory...

Last edited by matt_r; 5th September 2009 at 07:48 PM.. Reason: post script
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #79
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Originally Posted by matt_r View Post
Neither did I, just to set the record straight. I already said thanks to him!


Yes, I think thank you is what needed to be said to him, and it was an appreciated contribution.
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
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Some people would call my test invalid, because they would consider differences caused by the two LDCs' distance from each other to be greater than those the preamps could cause... A stereo setup through a mic splitter might have been less controversial...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
And if that is Daniel's lad with headphones on, I think he's a smasher, and I've got pictures of my son with headphones on just like that and with just the same expression, but he's older now
Thanks for the compliment - but the lad's a lass...
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #81
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Most of the posts of this topic are about the stereo vs. mono issue, while it was initially dedicated to a shootout between the Micstasy and the Forsell. That's mono, it might have been better in stereo. But it's much better than nothing. Let us accept this limitation, if any. And let us tell what our minds about Micstasy vs. Forsell comparison from Daniel's recordings.
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #82
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Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
Some people would call my test invalid, because they would consider differences caused by the two LDCs' distance from each other to be greater than those the preamps could cause... A stereo setup through a mic splitter might have been less controversial...


Thanks for the compliment - but the lad's a lass...
Hi Daniel

Invalid it is not.

And at this age, gender from a small picture is a bit confusing, she's still a smasher anyway! It's just the joy and glee on her face, this innocence is not quite the same later in life, make the most of it now and don't miss a minute.
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #83
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Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Most of the posts of this topic are about the stereo vs. mono issue, while it was initially dedicated to a shootout between the Micstasy and the Forsell. That's mono, it might have been better in stereo. But it's much better than nothing. Let us accept this limitation, if any. And let us tell what our minds about Micstasy vs. Forsell comparison from Daniel's recordings.

Ok, I've never offered an opinion on micpre comparisons before, although I have them. I see the problems inherent in giving opinions on a recording of something that you haven't heard in the flesh, but for me the RME has a better overall balance from these samples, the transients are sufficient and realistic and the overall frequency sounds balanced and musical.

The Forssell in these particular samples sounds overly bright and lacking in body compared with the RME, also the transients sound over exaggerated, perhaps due to the brightness. I can see the Forssell being useful in a large reverberant room at a distance from the source from this test.

I find the RME more inherently musical.

But again, how valid this is when one hasn't heard the original is the question?
Old 5th September 2009 | Show parent
  #84
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Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
The Forssell in these particular samples sounds overly bright and lacking in body compared with the RME, also the transients sound over exaggerated, perhaps due to the brightness.
I never have the impression the Forssell is overly bright. Remember, the AD conversion of the SMP-2´s output was done via the line in to the mictasy.

How would it sound with Forssell´s AD converter?

Especially musicality and body with relief I consider one of the strength of the SMP-2.

Quote:
But again, how valid this is when one hasn't heard the original is the question.
Yes, that´s the question always you have to have in mind listening to samples where you don´t know the room and the real sound. Therefore I prefer to do comparisons bymyself.
Old 6th September 2009 | Show parent
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Originally Posted by Adebar View Post
Remember, the AD conversion of the SMP-2´s output was done via the line in to the mictasy. How would it sound with Forssell´s AD converter?
I was trying to compare preamps, not Pre/ADC combinations. The SMP-2 doesn't have AD conversion anyhow, so there was no other choice. And I don't think the SMP will require specific proprietary conversion to sound good, will it?

Quote:
Yes, that´s the question always you have to have in mind listening to samples where you don´t know the room and the real sound. Therefore I prefer to do comparisons bymyself.
Good point... I was quite close to the source to minimize room sound, but not knowing the "real" sound (many listeners may not be familiar with Tabla) is a point that will render my test, if not invalid, at least not useful as an "absolute" comparison or reference.
Old 6th September 2009 | Show parent
  #86
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I ought to add that I did not regard one or the other of the pres as having faster or slower transients, just that the RME sounded more natural to me.

Transients are present throughout the frequency range, but if you have a bright sounding preamp or microphone those in the higher range are brought forward and can sound false, giving "rise" to the impression that it has faster transients.

The RME seemed to have found a more musical balance to me.
Old 6th September 2009 | Show parent
  #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Most of the posts of this topic are about the stereo vs. mono issue, while it was initially dedicated to a shootout between the Micstasy and the Forsell. That's mono, it might have been better in stereo. But it's much better than nothing. Let us accept this limitation, if any. And let us tell what our minds about Micstasy vs. Forsell comparison from Daniel's recordings.

I haven't seen it as a limitation you see, that's the point, anyway I have at least given some consideration to the comparison too.

All the best
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
  #88
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Polyphonic - stereo
Monophonic- mono

Percussion is a monophonic occurrence. Where as strings for example like a guitar is polyphonic.

Percussion - One Action (hand hitting drum head) causes One Reaction (single sound occurrence)
Strings - One Action (hand moving in a downward motion-strum) causes Many Reactions (each string causing their own sound occurrence from ONE action)

Drums(drummers essentially) try to behave like polyphonic instruments , in so much that hand movements, try to "make up" for each hand only causing ONE sound by creating Many ONE sounds in a very short timeframe...mimicing a polyphonic instrument, when in actuality it is a sequence of very quick monophonic instruments.(each sound source) .

recording tabla in stereo helps because of the succession of "hits" creates a false polyphonic interpetation.
recording tabla in mono works because tabla is a monophonic instrument
nothing is ever B&W in music.

mono sources do benefit however from being captured in stereo...but all depends on what is needed and what context is seeked. Put this way, the more occurrences happening at once , 2 note takers are better than 1 at accurately capturing all that is happening and fewer chances something is missed.

It's all about perspective....

capturing the stereo image
creating the stereo image (from mono sources)
Old 19th January 2010 | Show parent
  #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuRnitUpsuM View Post
Polyphonic - stereo
Monophonic- mono

Percussion is a monophonic occurrence. Where as strings for example like a guitar is polyphonic.

Percussion - One Action (hand hitting drum head) causes One Reaction (single sound occurrence)
Strings - One Action (hand moving in a downward motion-strum) causes Many Reactions (each string causing their own sound occurrence from ONE action)

Drums(drummers essentially) try to behave like polyphonic instruments , in so much that hand movements, try to "make up" for each hand only causing ONE sound by creating Many ONE sounds in a very short timeframe...mimicing a polyphonic instrument, when in actuality it is a sequence of very quick monophonic instruments.(each sound source) .

recording tabla in stereo helps because of the succession of "hits" creates a false polyphonic interpetation.
recording tabla in mono works because tabla is a monophonic instrument
nothing is ever B&W in music.

mono sources do benefit however from being captured in stereo...but all depends on what is needed and what context is seeked. Put this way, the more occurrences happening at once , 2 note takers are better than 1 at accurately capturing all that is happening and fewer chances something is missed.

It's all about perspective....

capturing the stereo image
creating the stereo image (from mono sources)

Jay the choice here, due to the of limitations of available equipment, was between two mono recordings done simultaneously coincident, or two stereo recordings made with the performances recorded separately. The aim of this was to see how a couple micpres performed. For me the mono recordings simply reduced the number of variables. Two separate stereo performances will performance differences would have been far less meaningful - I think so at least.
Old 19th January 2010 | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobilmente View Post
Jay the choice here, due of limitations of evailable equipment, was between two mono recordings done simultaneously coincident, or two stereo recordings made with the performances recorded separately. The aim of this was to see how a couple micpres performed. For me the mono recordings simply reduced the number of variables. Two separate stereo performances will performances differences would have been far less meaningful.

Quote:
two mono recordings done simultaneously coincident, or two stereo recordings made with the performances recorded separately
Hi Nobilmente,

I agree, getting the same performance was paramount in this context ie. micamp comparison. I was merely commenting on the generalizations that were being discussed.

cheers

p.s Thank you D_fu !
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