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M/S in Protools session - 2 track or 3 track ?
Old 27th November 2009
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gato sapato View Post
(Thanks to everyone for contributions, recordings and links, this was my first post , it is being very interesting.)

About the potential problems with Dolby:

I have most of my ambience tracks recorded with MS ( Rode NT2 and KM184, I know, very different mics, what I had available...), so if I downmix it from 3 tracks to 2 tracks in Protools will I still be running into trouble regarding phase issues and the Dolby matrix ? Will my ambiences all go to the back ? Or once it`s in two tracks the Mid mic information that goes to L and R prevents it from happening ?
I´ve already answered this earlier in this thread.
Old 27th November 2009
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
apple-q, here's the recording:

http://www.danijelmilosevic.com/MSvsXY.mp3

Every clip that you hear will be immediately repeated summed to mono (dual mono). Tell me your observations about voice colour and loudness, and also about ambiance and reverb.
Thanks. I´ll listen in later today. Was out of town...
Old 27th November 2009
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
I've got to say that this discussion is extremely esoteric. To my mind, MS doesn't buy me anything but more hassle.

If a track is recorded properly using XY or ORTF, then I can easily fold it down to mono or create a stereo center by collapsing the track using only panners. Why in the world would I want to bother with MS? All it does is add unecessary complexity. I've got enough things to deal with without bothering with a format that does little more than complicate my work flow for minimal, if any benefit.

Let's get real here. If you are recording things in a way that slows down or complicates the process without appreciably improving the outcome, then you aren't an artist, you are an obstacle, because every job I do has strict time restrictions that require incredible efficiency in order to turn out good work. Every unnecessary extra step or complicating factor just means I have less time to devote to making it sound good.
For you it might be one knob more to twist for the recordist it´s A LOT easier to handle in the field.
It´great for documenatry-shoots where you can use your favorit mono boom-mic for dialog and if you find something worth recording in stereo you simply record the S-signal as well. There is no time to swap mics in a run-and-gun situation. And for this MS is great.

It´s not unnecessary complexity IMO unless you find adding an additional bus that works as a matrix "extremely" complex.

I know a lot of (post) mixers that like the option to control the stereo-width during the mix. It´s not an extra step it´s a creative option.
Old 27th November 2009
  #34
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan

Let's get real here. If you are recording things in a way that slows down or complicates the process without appreciably improving the outcome, then you aren't an artist, you are an obstacle, because every job I do has strict time restrictions that require incredible efficiency in order to turn out good work. Every unnecessary extra step or complicating factor just means I have less time to devote to making it sound good.
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I agree with you ggegan, that is why I record my ambience with MS. Not owning a stereo pair, leaves me with two options: recording MS or getting (geographically inappropriate, often lousy-sounding) ambience tracks from sound libraries.

apple-q: I will go through the posts again and try to make sense of it using my head and not while sitting in front of my PT session paying attention to a million other things.

thank you everyone for contributions
Old 27th November 2009
  #35
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ggegan's Avatar
I can understand the point that it is easier to record using MS, but I would definitely expect those tracks to show up in my mix session pre-decoded as either a mono or a stereo.

I work on feature films. Often I have to mix the FX/BG/Foley using 2 HD6 Pro Tools because of the number of voices. I can't always even enable all the basic plugins I need because I run out of DSP resources. Generally I have at most 5 days to predub everything, and that isn't usually enough time to cover everything the way I would like to. If an editor gave me a session with a lot of MS tracks that needed to be decoded or a bunch of LCR tracks when all I needed was either a simple mono or strereo, I would be pissed off, because they have basically just screwed me. Often the FX editors are struggling just to deliver reels on time, I really don't think they need the extra hassle of decoding a bunch of MS tracks.

If you want to shoot MS, fine, but I suggest you decode and master them before delivery rather than passing the added workload onto the next guy.
Old 28th November 2009
  #36
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This is slightly OT with respect to the original question (and to the impact of mic technique on downstream workflow), but regarding the discussion about sonics....

The choice of coincident technique should also be based on the soundfield we're trying to capture. If the content we're recording has critical elements spanning from +90 to -90 that must be preserved even when downmixed to mono, then XY probably is a better bet -- at the cost of optimal on-axis accuracy -- since nothing in the 180º arc will be too drastically off-axis from SOME pickup in the array.

If the soundfield we're recording is mostly center-focused, with ambient elements spanning, say, +/-45º (approximately the same perspective as a medium-wide shot onscreen), then MS may be a better bet, since the on-axis reproduction will be most accurate, and any off-axis sounds within the target arc will still be captured with pretty good accuracy by the M mic (within reason, depending on pattern) when downmixed to mono.
Old 29th November 2009
  #37
ruy
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i'm with gary on this

in my experience, a professional sound editor makes the choices and sets up the session in a way that makes a great mix easier to achieve. that is how you get called back for more jobs.

sessions often move through multiple set-ups, surprise conformations and customized mix templates as it is. unless you are doing a very personal project or working with a very close-knit team, extra plugins and unconventional bus assignments are an invitation for trouble.

i'm a big believer in experimentation and i love processing sounds, but i also make sure to deliver only final mastered audio files that will play by themselves and if i suspect any possible conflict, i leave an un-processed version muted in an adjacent track or an alternative (documented) playlist.
Old 4th December 2009
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
I dare you find a reliable resource stating that "MS is the most mono-compatible stereo technique".

"Maybe stereo" is a phrase I like because it raises awareness on this often misunderstood concept of summing MS-originated recording to mono.
http://www.reddingaudio.com/schoeps/...reo_and_MS.pdf
Field Recording-part 3
Stereo Recording Techniques
MS Stereo Basics*|*Sound Notes*|*Sound Devices, LLC
mid-side (M-S) stereo recording technique
Microphone Placement Seminar::Oct. 30th 2004 Hyde Street Studios
http://www.wesdooley.com/pdf/technique.pdf
http://www.neumann.com/download.php?...d=lect0016.PDF

At the BBC (I was there for 17 years) the MS technique was favoured for a long time as a stereo acquisition format because of A: the good mono compatibility and B: the ability to have a more directional microphone as the Mid microphone, allowing a directional pickup pattern with some sense of stere image. The technique has largely fallen out of favour, except for atmosphere recording, due to the practicalities of even getting good enough mono dialogue without worrying about picking up extraneous and often unwanted pickup on the Side microphone. Both coincident (XY) recording and MS recording have (given microphones with good polar responses for the XY) good mono compatibility and are to a large extent (with cardioid Mid and figure of 8 Side microphones) interchangeable using an MS/XY matrix decoder (which are self-inverting). Your "maybe stereo" contention doesn't hold up. With both techniques you have the option - with possible matrixing inbetween - of taking a forward facing M or a sum of Left and Right for monaural output. Here's hoping you change your sig!


Pete
Old 4th December 2009
  #39
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danijel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdbase View Post
Here's hoping you change your sig!
No. Heck, I will launch a world-wide campaign against calling MS "mono compatible"!

BTW, I know of BBC's prior dedication to MS - it was one of the evangelized concepts at my film school by one of the professors who was in a visit to BBC back in the days. I even have the sense that BBC contributed a lot to spreading MS in TV and film world.

BTW, your "Microphone Placement Seminar" paper has it right - it states that XY is very mono compatible, not MS. As with any "common misconception", the others are just repeating the "mono compatibility" buzzword that they heard without thinking it out, while the more in-depth papers you linked to (Neumann, Dooley and Redding Audio) go on to explain how much of the reverberation is cancelled out in the mono downmix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdbase View Post
interchangeable using an MS/XY matrix decoder
This is another common misconception. Why call the process MS/XY encoding/decoding? MS can only be decoded to LR, not XY. XY is a recording technique, MS is a recording technique, and LR is, let's say, a monitoring configuration. MS and XY are not interchangable. They produce very different results.

I will give an example - bear with me:
- We have a kick drum on the far left side of the stereo image.
- When recorded XY, the waveforms on the L and R channels will show similar amplitudes. Our localization when listening will be based on the spectral difference, because the Y mic (that ended up in the R channel) was pointed away from the drum and has captured less high frequencies than the X microphone.
- When recorded MS and then decoded to LR, left channel will show high amplitude, while the right channel will show almost nothing because the body of the drum sound was canceled out by subtracting S from M. When you listen to the L speaker only, you will hear a clear loud drum - when you listen to the R speaker only, you will hear only some high frequencies and reverberation. When you listen to the complete stereo recording, localization will be based on amplitude difference.

This is why I love MS - it gives surgically-clear stereo localization, especially on low frequencies in compared to the other techniques.

This practical example, which anyone can repeat at their homes (well not really homes, an exterior space or a large hall would give much clearer results due to to the amount of early reflections in small rooms) shows that XY and MS are NOT interchangable, they are not the same.
The fact that XY can be "decoded" to MS has no practical implications other than to prove that they are not the same. When XY recording is encoded to MS, the M channel will carry all the low-frequency content, which is not the case when recording true MS.
The technique of MS encoding/decoding can be, in the same vain, used on ORTF, AB or any other recording, or on any sound with two tracks, synthesized or real. MS encoding and decoding can be used to combine and then split back two video streams or whatever. Pure mathematics.

Whoever cannot grasp the concept in verbal/scientific terms should be able to hear XY vs MS mono compatibility in the example recordings I posted above. And here they are again:

www.danijelmilosevic.com/MSvsXY.mp3
^ after every stereo recording, comes the mono downmix. Listen!
XY only colapses to center. In the on-axis recording, MS loses ambiance and room, and in the 90° recording, voice gets attenuated, darkened and roomy.

M/S = "Maybe Stereo"
Old 4th December 2009
  #40
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danijel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdbase View Post
Your "maybe stereo" contention doesn't hold up.
Of course, it doesn't hold up. It's a joke (not invented by me, unfortunately), and a good hook for whoever feels like arguing
Old 4th December 2009
  #41
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danijel's Avatar
I'm sorry - this discussion is almost entirely off topic, but that's a part of the nature of the international forums where stubborn peoples of all countries come united

Old 4th December 2009
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
BTW, your "Microphone Placement Seminar" paper has it right - it states that XY is very mono compatible, not MS.
In that paper - "M/S has a more centered and stable middle image with excellent mono compatibility"

Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
As with any "common misconception", the others are just repeating the "mono compatibility" buzzword that they heard without thinking it out, while the more in-depth papers you linked to (Neumann, Dooley and Redding Audio) go on to explain how much of the reverberation is cancelled out in the mono downmix.
Reverberation is cancelled if you take the forward microphone alone. If you take a mono combination of the MS decode to LR (I previously and yes, incorrectly, used the term XY as that was the term everyone was throwing around) it's exactly the same as summing an XY pair. This is because in one part of the algebraic summing the Side signal is phase inverted to give you an in-phase left and right signal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
This is anther common misconception. Why call the process MS/XY encoding/decoding? MS can only be decoded to LR, not XY. XY is a recording technique, MS is a recording technique, and LR is, let's say, a monitoring configuration. MS and XY are not interchangable. They produce very different results.
Due to practicalities of microphones XY and MS are not 100% interchangeable but mathematically they have a very close relationship. They don't produce hugely different results in practice. On AMS-Neve desks you can take an LR signal in and have width control of it which is done by converting to MS then giving you control of the S then converted back or you can switch the channel to be an MS input with all the same features.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
I will give an example - bear with me:
- We have a kick drum on the far left side of the stereo image.
- When recorded XY, the waveforms on the L and R channels will show similar amplitudes. Our localization when listening will be based on the spectral difference, because the Y mic (that ended up in the R channel) was pointed away from the drum and has captured less high frequencies than the X microphone.
- When recorded MS and then decoded to LR, left channel will show high amplitude, while the right channel will show almost nothing because the body of the drum sound was canceled out by subtracting S from M. When you listen to the L speaker only, you will hear a clear loud drum - when you listen to the R speaker only, you will hear only some high frequencies and reverberation. When you listen to the complete stereo recording, localization will be based on amplitude difference.
Once again this is incorrect, the model that works for coincident pair microphones (MS decoded or XY) replaying through a stereophonic loudspeaker system (not headphones) is by recording a level difference between channels not a time or spectral difference, this is then reproduced through a system (the loudspeakers) where the louder wavefront dominates the the lesser one and due to time of arrival difference at your ears from the 2 speakers localisation information is reproduced. Due to the physical construction of most pressure gradient cardioid microphones there are inconsistent lobar responses across the audio spectrum but these are not required for stereo reproduction. To support this, the following quote from DPA microphones -
Quote:
The stereo image is produced by the off-axis attenuation of the cardioid microphones. While A-B stereo is a difference-in-time-stereo, the XY stereo is a difference-in-level-stereo. But as the off-axis attenuation of a first-order cardioid microphone is only 6 dB in 90°, the channel separation is limited, and wide stereo images are not possible with this recording method. Therefore, XY stereo is often used where high mono-compatibility is needed - for example, in broadcasting situations where many listeners still receive the audio on mono equipment.
Regards,
Pete
Old 4th December 2009
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdbase View Post
In that paper - "M/S has a more centered and stable middle image with excellent mono compatibility"
Oh, that's true, I've misread it - so they're part of "the big scheme" as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdbase View Post
Once again this is incorrect.....
It is not, because I'm talking from experience - I may even find a concert recording to post here.

As for the rest of your post - some of it I don't quite get, but even if I did, it is extremely difficult to argue this without us all standing around microphones and actually recording.
I have said what I know, I hope others will listen to the examples, think, and try to record their own. Also, taking my XY recording and encoding it to "faux MS" would be revealing and in line with what I wrote.
Old 12th February 2010
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
I've got to say that this discussion is extremely esoteric. To my mind, MS doesn't buy me anything but more hassle.

If a track is recorded properly using XY or ORTF, then I can easily fold it down to mono or create a stereo center by collapsing the track using only panners. Why in the world would I want to bother with MS? All it does is add unecessary complexity. I've got enough things to deal with without bothering with a format that does little more than complicate my work flow for minimal, if any benefit.

Let's get real here. If you are recording things in a way that slows down or complicates the process without appreciably improving the outcome, then you aren't an artist, you are an obstacle, because every job I do has strict time restrictions that require incredible efficiency in order to turn out good work. Every unnecessary extra step or complicating factor just means I have less time to devote to making it sound good.
If you aren't astute enough to have actually tried MS and compared it to XY and ORTF, then you ARE a liability to the quality level of the projects you are working on.

MS does not add any complexity - unless of course you don't know how to use a plug-in. Compare XY and MS for yourself here:

Recording the Wren Organ · TechDeck: XY and MS
Old 13th February 2010
  #45
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Surely the MS / mono thing comes down to personal preference combined with circumstance?

It's often said that the loss of side information in a mono version of an MS recording is a good thing, as in some circumstances at least, that side information simply muddies a mono reproduction of the sound.

A mono version of an MS recording is precisely the same as a mono (single mic) recording made at time would have been. A mono version of any other stereo technique is a multimic recording mixed to mono.

Heh, perhaps as well as defining "compatible" we also need to define "mono"...
Old 14th February 2010
  #46
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I'm just gonna chime in here and say that in my opinion, M/S is mono compatible. As someone said earlier in the thread, mono compatibilty refers to comb-filtering artifacts, of which there are none in M/S - which, to me, is as mono compatible as you can get.

Although I understand what Danijel is saying, and is completely correct, in that you WILL get a different sound from summing it to mono - I still feel the most important factor of mono compatibility is comb-filtering.

Peace
Old 16th February 2010
  #47
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sticky note in support of Gary's comments-

NEVER, EVER SEND AN M/S PAIR TO THE DUB STAGE UNLESS MIKE MINKLER DEMANDS IT.


no disresepect intended to anyone here- Minkler is one of the very few mixers out there who would make the time to deal with MS recordings.
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