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panning and psychoacoustics
Old 21st December 2002
panning and psychoacoustics

I was thinking today about stereo--- and a paper that i wrote a while back.

If i was listning to a single point source, and i moved to the left or right of it, not only would there be an amplitude difference, but there would be a time difference as well. So if a source was to the right of me, my left ear would recieve the information slightly later then the right ear.

Now when we are panning stuff around in studio applications, we only effect the amplitude of the signal between the left and right speakers. What we need to also do is to add a delay the the far speaker that increases the more hard panned the signal becomes.

This will only work with mono sources.. I'm not sure how to work with stereo sources.
Your thoughts?
Old 21st December 2002
The mono image will be comprimised, i agree. But, if this is a more accurate representation of what movement across the stereo field will be, then maybe its worth the loss of mono capatability
Old 22nd December 2002
Gear Nut
20to20's Avatar

Originally posted by Marshall Simmon
... a more accurate representation of what movement across the stereo field will be...
In regard to the movement of sound...

Perhaps we should also consider the
addition of the Doppler Effect...yuktyy

Not only would there be apparent level
and time changes, but also pitch shifts...

Probably be much more suited to SFX than Music...

But it would be 'a more accurate representation'...

I don't use a DAW+plug-ins,
but I assume somebody's got a 'Dopplerizer'...???
Old 22nd December 2002
is there a really big pitch shift for small distances? What are we looking at? one or 2 cents?

I'm honestly serious. What would happen if all this was taken into account in a pan control automatically? Lets face it, sans mono fm and tv, people listen in stereo
Old 22nd December 2002
Lives for gear
loudist's Avatar

Don't drive yourself so crazy.
If you have an electric guitar panned left of center, then a small bit of early room reflection effect (panned to your own taste) is all you need to give your ears the psychoacoustic pitch and phase cues you are talking about.
Besides, who wants to have sounds as they appear in nature anyhow? <-- half serious joke).

I usually like the sound of a snare drum close miked, but I would not want to be anywhere close to that puppy while it is being played.

The phase angles in the time differential between the ears is so small that digital at 44.1 or 48 will not capture it and reproduce it properly.
This is why real reverb (room, chamber, plate) will not come back with the same richness and energy after going through the a/d - d/a conversion process.
Old 22nd December 2002
Here for the gear
LuvToLaf's Avatar

I agree about the mono "compatablity be dambed" thing except sometimes you are in a location where even stereo speakers and room develop out a monoish sound. I say, make 2 versions one with mono compatability, the other with all the phase inversion's, and special effects you want, and just include a disclaimer.

Saturday, is way ok,

P.S. Loudist, I dig your sweet spot finder in your photo.
Old 22nd December 2002
Gear Nut
20to20's Avatar

Originally posted by mdbeh
...why not just record everything in stereo to begin with?
A few months ago I recorded an acoustic trio
[2 GTRs + Percussion] with a 'stereo-only' approach...

Some tunes were left as 'live-performance'
recordings [just the three players live]...

Other tunes were done via overdubbing,
but all 'panning' was done by positioning the
sound source relative to a fixed stereo mic set-up...

Likewise, the 'depth' of each track was achieved
by adjusting the distance of the source relative
to the 'mic-array'; using the room to supply most
of the ambience [I also used a little TC M3000]...

While most of the selections were instrumentals,
a couple of the tunes were actually songs,
and the vocals were also recorded in the same manner...

By placing the BGVocalists on either side of,
and back from the mic[s], with the Lead Vocal in the center
[one song done live, and the other one overdubbed/doubled]...

BTW, the stereo set-up consisted of a matched-pair
of Earthworks TC30k's and a Jecklin Disc...

The TC30K's aren't the quietest mics and when you
'pull-back' [for ambience, etc.] you can build up
a little noise when overdubbing like this...

A quiet mic-pre would be the best choice here,
but for us the 'build-up' functioned like tape hiss;
'glueing' the mix together nicely...

The whole process was very enjoyable, and the sonic
results pleased every one involved with the project...
Old 22nd December 2002
Gear Guru
Drumsound's Avatar
That sounds like a fun way to make a record. I may have to steal that ideayuktyy
Old 22nd December 2002
THat is usually the way i record. I mostly work with a pair of Schoeps.

The really neat thing to do is to record like that for all instrumentation and background vocals, and then record the main vocal in mono--- There is such a stark contrast that it will definitely stand out.

Old 30th December 2002
7rojo7's Avatar

hey marsh,
this is called MIXING
Old 30th December 2002
well, all sarcasm aside, i know very few people that record everything in stereo. panned mono does not sound the same, thus the comment
Old 30th December 2002
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
The time delay from the left ear to the right ear is in the sub millisecond range, way sub-millisecond range... there are also delays that have been calculated that give us the "up and down" perspective as well. Again, they're in the 'sub-millisecond' range, and are an additional event to the left and right information stuff.

Stereo recording, in my experience, will indeed sound way different than panned mono... even with some short room 'verb in the box' stuff added... however... the "Soundfield" mics do seem to be able to place the image in the place where you'd like it placed... neat tool to be sure.
Old 30th December 2002
Thanks fletcher.

I was actually looking at these the other night and they seemed quite intersting. How is the quality of the actual mic? Clean and on the uncoloured side i would assume? Is there anyway to use other pre's with each diagphragm?

Thanks marsh
Old 31st December 2002
Lives for gear

Originally posted by Marshall Simmon
Thanks fletcher.

I was actually looking at these the other night and they seemed quite intersting. How is the quality of the actual mic? Clean and on the uncoloured side i would assume? Is there anyway to use other pre's with each diagphragm?

Thanks marsh
If I may stick my 2 cents in, the mic sounds amazingly "neutral", as close to "one sound fits all" as I can imagine. About as uncolored a mic as I have heard, makes those who like extremely high end mics happy, and thrillls those who use lower end mics. I would say that from my experience sound quality is a non-issue, never had one one come back due to "tone".

Imaging however, is its unbeatable strength, and there is absolutely nothing like it available. Nothing images like a SoundField. The reason is that its the only 3 dimensional mic in existence, that places sources within an up/down, left/right, front/back single point referenced environment. It builds a 3D "model" of what the mic hears. That means that there is no phase issues to contend with whether its mono, M/S, stereo, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 or even 100.1.

As far as outboard preamps, its an argument we've had around here for a while, but its hard for me to see "your money's worth" out of the exercise...the unit really does sound good the way it is. Chances are with the various preamp combinations that are available it would only be "different" than it is, not always objectively better. The argument always ends here in the realm that exploring "imaging" rather than "tone" offers a more fruitful outcome. There are plenty of mics and preamp combo's one can employ to explore "tone", but none that can explore imaging quite like a SoundField. Simple, easy, and amazingly image accurate.

Old 31st December 2002
7rojo7's Avatar

no sacasm intended.
as knowers of hidden knowledge we must recreate that which does not penetrate the speakers with lazy ass techniques. go west young man. shmoundfield. your description of how you normally record sounds perfectly wonderful, maybe you need to adjust the position of the mics. or, if you use spot mics. maybe you should use a delay to time position them with the ambient signals, if you like that kind of sound. even if they're synthesized the reflections and reverb "fool" the human ear. 80's and 90's classical and jazz mastering as examples.
I prefer to control my space rather than depend on a 6 diaphragm box to do it for me.
Old 31st December 2002
I totally understand your point of view on the control aspect of mixing. There are lots of times when you don't nessesarily want to creat absolute realism, and instead go for a feel.

The soundfield mic does sound very intersting, especially for things that are normally recorded in stereo, such as drum overheads, acoustic guitars, ect ect ect. I would definitely like to learn more about it. When i do a three mic drum setup (overheads and kick) i place the overheads equidistant from the striking point of the snare, and then just try to get the best tone from the kick drum. I move the snare bleed of the kick to match the snare, and that seems to give alot of extra air and low mid body to the snare that i lack without the compensation. Perhaps, i could minimise my drum setup to one mic in front of the drum kit with the soundfield.

Thanks for all the replies
Old 31st December 2002
7rojo7's Avatar

I just read my reply, it seems to be a little edgy, sorry. I see your point but I don't have and have not heard the soundfield, so I shouldn't have given my opinion. Does it cost less than six mikes and does it have a multichannel.sub decoder? It would seem very interesting if it did.
I like the 3 mic. technique alot, most of the time I use a half omnis on the top and an omni on floor in front of the kit, I start my distance relationship by putting the front mic. at 3 times the distance of the overheads, which are pointed more to cover the instruments in the kit in a balanced way rather than for a stereo image. The acoustic space is very important.
I like to mix drums and many other instruments in mono, even if I'm using many mikes, and then pan them into a virtual space. Usually I'll put up an xy pair (maybe the soundfield would be better for this) and use it to help recreate the true space, while using the spots to reinforce other instruments.
It's funny, when I listen to stereo recordings of lots of insruments hard panned piled up on top of one another it sounds very mono to me, the sounds of the pno or tom toms sweeping around the room I feel is very distracting to the perfomancerollz . I save the extreme left and right of my mix for delays and ambience. Like this it really seems that the instruments are in a space and the perfomances remain detailed sounding. the rest of my mix lives between 3and9 O'Clock
It seems to me that one would have to have a "perfect" balanced acoustic space for such a sensitive accurate microphone, which is pretty hard to find and costs a boat full of money to build. I do some remote work in small operetta theatres and I'm always bringing a truckload of panels to adjust the acoustics for recording with microphones. These places are very balanced and characteristic when listening naturally, but when listening with microphones it needs some help. Microphones being reproduced through speakers or headphones simply don't supply the brain with the same info that you feel when you are there physically. The brain disregards much of the information from live sources, mics. pick up up everything and shoot it at you like laser beams at volumes that are unnatural. And there's the sweet spot issue which is getting more complex.
In my experience I've learned from some older guys and a lot on my own of how to deal with these issues.
Do you know anything about Pyramix?
happy new year
Old 1st January 2003
Hey its ok---- I'm not a total newbie, but i still have alot to learn. I have a ton of theory knowledge, but not as much recording knowledge as i do live work knowledge. Plus the holidays alwasy make me very edgy and short tempered, so i completely understand. I've never heard of the pyramix, what is it exactly?

As far as the drum kit, i would like to place my mic 3 times the distance as the overheads, but i've never been able to find a decent way to mesure it with the lip of the kick in the way usually. How do you get a good kick sound with the front of kit mic so far away.. I'm sure it'll be alot more natural, but there wont be as much oomph as it being relatively close miced.

I'd like to try a coincident or near coincident pair on the overheads, but i've always been afraid of there not being enough stereo space, thats why i kept the spaced omni setup. PLus, the schoeps omnis sound alot more natural and dynamic then the cardiods.

Thanks and happy new year. I'll definitely have to try the 9 and 3 setup on my new project.

Old 2nd January 2003
7rojo7's Avatar

Certainly near coincedent omnis would be redundant, you would have to change your OH mics. Most tube mics. come with a fully variable pattern box and U-89 s have a half omni or soft cardioid which I've always found useful in an A_B arrangement, this will help you get closer to the instrument with out off axis coloration happening. Don't put the "overheads" too far on top of the instrument, try to mike the instrument instead of finding the stereo image, then the front mike (omni or cardioid) wont get so far away, the kick sound has more to do with the tuning. There's really very little stereo going on in a drumkit the only people who ever hear it are drummers and hard panned drums sound a little juvenile (to me).
Just think about all of the samples used to create hip hop from JB or Led Zep that are way mono in the first place and made pure mono on the way in to the sampler, most laymen think that these are the best drum sounds.
It depends on the music, sometimes you want to make instruments sound like they're playing together in the same space and other times you need to use the speakers as the instruments and get everything real tight. There's no way that a 3 mic. setup is going to work for death metal. Mic. every drum top and bottom and every cymbal close, boundary mic. style (close to wall 1") rooms. Use a kik tunnel. You can burn 20 inputs and 6 busses easy on the drums alone. Make your own stereo!
Pyramix is a DAW that I want find out more about, just fishin.

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