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Which would you use for the Mid mic in MS setup
Old 7th June 2017
  #1
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Which would you use for the Mid mic in MS setup

The side mic is Sennheiser MKH30. The options I'm considering are
  • MKH40, the classic, flat response matches the 30, but some think it's boring
  • MKH50, supercardioid might come in handy as a mono mic for other things, some like that it's "punchier", but maybe you lose something with that polar pattern as a mid in MS
  • MKH8040, some say it's just a better mic, nicer low end, smaller, but maybe smaller doesn't matter since it's going with the 30 anyway

I might be buying a stereo pair of 8040s so I could at least have that option sometimes if I'm not trying to do all four channels at once. So perhaps it just comes down to what's lost/gained by the different polar patterns of the 40/50. I can't find any MS comparisons that would show me this.

Any advice would be appreciated, and any comparisons where the mid mic is the only variable would be EXTRA appreciated. I've been looking but haven't found anything.

Thanks
Old 8th June 2017
  #2
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Another MKH 30 or a MKH 80
Roger
Old 8th June 2017
  #3
0VU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapes View Post
The side mic is Sennheiser MKH30. The options I'm considering are
  • MKH40, the classic, flat response matches the 30, but some think it's boring
  • MKH50, supercardioid might come in handy as a mono mic for other things, some like that it's "punchier", but maybe you lose something with that polar pattern as a mid in MS
  • MKH8040, some say it's just a better mic, nicer low end, smaller, but maybe smaller doesn't matter since it's going with the 30 anyway

I might be buying a stereo pair of 8040s so I could at least have that option sometimes if I'm not trying to do all four channels at once. So perhaps it just comes down to what's lost/gained by the different polar patterns of the 40/50. I can't find any MS comparisons that would show me this.

Any advice would be appreciated, and any comparisons where the mid mic is the only variable would be EXTRA appreciated. I've been looking but haven't found anything.

Thanks
What do you want to use this MS pair for? The choice for music recording wouldn't necessarily be the same as the choice for atmos/fx/dialogue/whatever, or waving it around on a boom.
Old 8th June 2017
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0VU View Post
What do you want to use this MS pair for? The choice for music recording wouldn't necessarily be the same as the choice for atmos/fx/dialogue/whatever, or waving it around on a boom.
No boom work, recording the unique sounds around me (sometimes mono but might keep an MS config at all times and just drop the sides if I don't want them) for use in sound design and music (found sounds). Also might try to get nice nature ambiances, and might mix an MS stereo recording with an 8040 pair in ORTF. Trying to get some experience getting great clean field sound with killer mics.
Old 12th June 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapes View Post
No boom work, recording the unique sounds around me (sometimes mono but might keep an MS config at all times and just drop the sides if I don't want them) for use in sound design and music (found sounds). Also might try to get nice nature ambiances, and might mix an MS stereo recording with an 8040 pair in ORTF. Trying to get some experience getting great clean field sound with killer mics.
The "classic" pair for this kind of work is the MKH 40 / 30 pair for MS. That said, there's nothing wrong with using an MKH 20 for the mid mic when needed, or an MKH 50 if you want more reach. But the thing to consider IMHO, is a second MKH 30. A pair of figure 8s in MS is hard to beat if you want a razor sharp stereo image.
Old 12th June 2017
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
The "classic" pair for this kind of work is the MKH 40 / 30 pair for MS. That said, there's nothing wrong with using an MKH 20 for the mid mic when needed, or an MKH 50 if you want more reach. But the thing to consider IMHO, is a second MKH 30. A pair of figure 8s in MS is hard to beat if you want a razor sharp stereo image.
i'm having a hard time envisioning how this works, is it decoded differently? seems like a quad or ambisonic solution rather than stereo? I'm not immediately finding sound examples, there's a thread on here but the track isn't on soundcloud anymore.
Old 12th June 2017
  #7
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I am using MKH800twin as mid mic, and find myself using the twin on the supercardioid setting (cfr MKH50) a lot. Especially in Challenging Acoustics.

It is a bit more precise, lean and more reach, which can be handy for outdoor use as well.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, in an MS setup, the MKH50 would give about the dryest combination of all patterns, dryer than double fig8.

Another advantage of MS with more directive mid capsules is that you can aim to the front or back of the ensemble and get meaningful balance changes between front and back.
Old 13th June 2017
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapes View Post
i'm having a hard time envisioning how this works, is it decoded differently? seems like a quad or ambisonic solution rather than stereo? I'm not immediately finding sound examples, there's a thread on here but the track isn't on soundcloud anymore.
A pair of figure 8s in MS the oldest stereo pair known. Blumlein invented it. Look for posts from Rolo 46, Roger knows more about this than anyone, and has posted a boat load of samples.
Old 13th June 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapes View Post
i'm having a hard time envisioning how this works, is it decoded differently? seems like a quad or ambisonic solution rather than stereo? I'm not immediately finding sound examples, there's a thread on here but the track isn't on soundcloud anymore.
No, MS with fig 8 as Mid is decoded the same as any other MS patterns. You can't separately decode the rear (negative lobes) of a fig 8 mic.
For horizontal-only Ambisonics you would need 2 fig 8's PLUS an omni.
Old 13th June 2017
  #10
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All these fellows replying have more experience than I do. I love the MS for many things. The advice to get another figure 8 and do MS in the Blumlein arrangement is good advice. It gives nice clean, solid stereo images with great predictability. That predictability is a big plus when starting to learn how this works. Later with more experience you'll learn about cases where a card or super card mid is beneficial. Or as I often am, you'll be so happy with the crossed figure 8s in MS you will not need others very often.
Old 13th June 2017
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
All these fellows replying have more experience than I do. I love the MS for many things. The advice to get another figure 8 and do MS in the Blumlein arrangement is good advice. It gives nice clean, solid stereo images with great predictability. That predictability is a big plus when starting to learn how this works. Later with more experience you'll learn about cases where a card or super card mid is beneficial. Or as I often am, you'll be so happy with the crossed figure 8s in MS you will not need others very often.
I think it's kind of odd that in all the research i've done on pro field recordist's rigs, this is the first i've heard of it. Maybe because they deal in sound FX where a more precise mono would be preferable? It's interesting though. Also kind of weird that one of the sides is directly facing the other mic, the only blumlein style things I had seen up to this point were the vertical meeting-in-the-middle-style. But obviously it works.

I'm leaning toward the MKH50 to get my feet wet with this stuff, i've heard some recordings of MKH30/8050 and it certainly sounds many degrees better than what I can get now. I could see myself occasionally using an 8040 as a mid if needed, and maybe getting a second 30 down the line, maybe used.
Old 13th June 2017
  #12
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MS is almost distrusted despite the fact that there are plenty of good recordings made with an MS array. Follow Rolo 46's threads and listen to his work. That work is masterful and magic. Roger really can get a pair of figure-8's to work for him.

There is some disbelief in the audio and RE community that MS will give you good stereo, or even stereo at all. Listen to Roger's recordings. I put up two tracks recently in MS and while not in Roger's category they show that even an amateur can get a pretty good recording with MS. I love the naturalness of the technique and the superb location of performers in the soundfield.
Old 13th June 2017
  #13
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esldude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tapes View Post
I think it's kind of odd that in all the research i've done on pro field recordist's rigs, this is the first i've heard of it. Maybe because they deal in sound FX where a more precise mono would be preferable? It's interesting though. Also kind of weird that one of the sides is directly facing the other mic, the only blumlein style things I had seen up to this point were the vertical meeting-in-the-middle-style. But obviously it works.

I'm leaning toward the MKH50 to get my feet wet with this stuff, i've heard some recordings of MKH30/8050 and it certainly sounds many degrees better than what I can get now. I could see myself occasionally using an 8040 as a mid if needed, and maybe getting a second 30 down the line, maybe used.
A word about the predictability I mentioned. With two matching fig 8s they both have the same directional characteristics so you have fewer variable interactions. Sometimes matching a fig 8 for the side and a cardioid for the mid mike the sound isn't exactly what you thought. Usually not a big problem. You also will likely run into a situation where the rear sound pickup from the mid fig 8 will be a problem or unwanted. In those cases the cardioid or super card mid mike is better.

As someone of not great experience I find it easy to get nice recordings using a pair of fig 8s in mid/side configuration. Others who have commented can tell you more than I can. Rolo 46 especially when it comes to mid/side issues. As Boojum says, his work is masterful.
Old 13th June 2017
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Another MKH 30 or a MKH 80
Roger
just wanted to let you know i've been listening to your examples on here and i'm pretty blown away. i don't think 30/30 is what i need right now, but i can see getting another 30 in the future. thanks for sharing your work.
Old 13th June 2017
  #15
0VU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapes View Post
kind of weird that one of the sides is directly facing the other mic, the only blumlein style things I had seen up to this point were the vertical meeting-in-the-middle-style. But obviously it works.
At risk of upsetting the peanut gallery, I'd just point out that the reason that the vertical style MS mounting is the one you're used to seeing is that the side by side, with one mic shadowing the on axis response of the other, is simply bad practice that really shouldn't be encouraged. It's a technically flawed setup and the frequent promotion of this method in this forum is something which, for me, just devalues the knowledgebase here. (Rather like the increasingly common tendency to use 'ORTF' or 'ORTF but....' to describe any old near coincident pair of mics.)

I understand that it's perhaps one person's pragmatic solution to a perceived mounting problem but that doesn't make it the best, or the most technically correct, (or even acceptable) method if one is looking for the best possible results from a given pair of mics in MS. Whilst it may work, I'd suggest that unless you have a wish to use the shadowing as a technical effect (or it's inaudible to you/doesn't bother you) then the results with the mics vertically aligned, capsules unobstructed, should be even better. Call me old fashioned but, either way, it grates with me every time I read about/see pictures of it.

However, if you can't hear any difference, or it doesn't bother you, or you actually find the shadowing a useful effect, then that's fine. Just bear in mind that it's not the only/best way to do MS, nor that it's a technique which is grounded in best technical practice.
Old 13th June 2017
  #16
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0VU View Post
At risk of upsetting the peanut gallery, I'd just point out that the reason that the vertical style MS mounting is the one you're used to seeing is that the side by side, with one mic shadowing the on axis response of the other, is simply bad practice that really shouldn't be encouraged. It's a technically flawed setup and the frequent promotion of this method in this forum is something which, for me, just devalues the knowledgebase here. (Rather like the increasingly common tendency to use 'ORTF' or 'ORTF but....' to describe any old near coincident pair of mics.)

I understand that it's perhaps one person's pragmatic solution to a perceived mounting problem but that doesn't make it the best, or the most technically correct, (or even acceptable) method if one is looking for the best possible results from a given pair of mics in MS. Whilst it may work, I'd suggest that unless you have a wish to use the shadowing as a technical effect (or it's inaudible to you/doesn't bother you) then the results with the mics vertically aligned, capsules unobstructed, should be even better. Call me old fashioned but, either way, it grates with me every time I read about/see pictures of it.

However, if you can't hear any difference, or it doesn't bother you, or you actually find the shadowing a useful effect, then that's fine. Just bear in mind that it's not the only/best way to do MS, nor that it's a technique which is grounded in best technical practice.
Hear, hear!

0VU works commercially in our industry on albums for labels we have all heard of and as such I would recommend that the vast majority take heed of this generously offered professional advice.

Outside of the above I would add that pretty much any microphone can be used as a mid mic and have had good results with everything from a U87 to a DPA 4006. My only caveat would be to recommend extreme caution in using fig 8 mid mic's as they exhibit pattern flip. If your performers are pretty centred this may not be a problem, however, anything not within a 90 deg arc can really mess with your imaging, e.g. Using a ms pair with a fig 8 mid mic as a centre pair for an orchestra and outriggers or where the placement means there is meaningful/perceived audio level outside of the 90 deg arc.
Old 13th June 2017
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0VU View Post
At risk of upsetting the peanut gallery, I'd just point out that the reason that the vertical style MS mounting is the one you're used to seeing is that the side by side, with one mic shadowing the on axis response of the other, is simply bad practice that really shouldn't be encouraged. It's a technically flawed setup and the frequent promotion of this method in this forum is something which, for me, just devalues the knowledgebase here.
Hear, hear. Its even more puzzling that the symmetrical response of Senn is rated above the tiny asymmetry of Schoeps MK8 and then the Senn's are arranged with on axis shadowing. A completely inconsistent point of view.

Last edited by David Spearritt; 13th June 2017 at 05:43 PM..
Old 13th June 2017
  #18
Gear Addict
I just got a pair of MKH30's and am awaiting a revised version of a 3D printed vertical mount for MS/Blumlein. Scott from SRS is incredibly helpful and responsive!
(I already have and love his 3D printed MKH8040 ORTF and XY mounts-used with a Rycote INV7 lyre shockmount).
http://mymic.rycote.com/products/invision-inv-7-/

Will let you know my thoughts on the revised version (plus a picture) as soon as I get it. For the MKH30 MS/Blumlein
vertical mount I will be using a Rycote
INV 7HG-MKIII lyre shockmount (the standard Sennheiser MKH30 shockmount is not stiff enough to hold the weight of 2 mics in the 3D printed mount.
http://mymic.rycote.com/products/inv...inv-7hg-mkiii/

For MS with MKH30 plus MKH8020/8040/8050 Mid you can use
Rycote "Back-to-Back clips" to piggyback the mics
http://http://mymic.rycote.com/products/back-to-back-clips/
and the Rycote INV7 or INV 7HG MKIII
lyre shockmount.

Last edited by Folkie; 13th June 2017 at 06:17 PM.. Reason: added URL's
Old 13th June 2017
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0VU View Post
At risk of upsetting the peanut gallery, I'd just point out that the reason that the vertical style MS mounting is the one you're used to seeing is that the side by side, with one mic shadowing the on axis response of the other, is simply bad practice that really shouldn't be encouraged. It's a technically flawed setup and the frequent promotion of this method in this forum is something which, for me, just devalues the knowledgebase here.
Actually, while you are correct in argumenting against this incorrect setup, it is not so much the shadowing that is the problem. One mic is unobstructed, with the other one in its null (which is almost the same as sitting above it in its null). The other one also has a clear view into the ensemble with its positive lobe (good), BUT the back (negative lobe) picks up HF reflections of the other fig8 mic, which should/could cause HF problems.

However, I do not get the panic about the "shadowing", as placing a shadow in a shadow basically does not change much.
Old 14th June 2017
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0VU View Post
At risk of upsetting the peanut gallery, I'd just point out that the reason that the vertical style MS mounting is the one you're used to seeing is that the side by side, with one mic shadowing the on axis response of the other, is simply bad practice that really shouldn't be encouraged. It's a technically flawed setup and the frequent promotion of this method in this forum is something which, for me, just devalues the knowledgebase here.
Feh. The old "we've always done it that way" argument. Great. But it's not 1932 anymore, and we aren't all hanging big honking ribbons one over the other because there's not any other way to get the job done. We have other options now, like these small diaphragm condensers.

While there's some truth in what you say, there's also quite a lot of truth in the side-by-side method. Roger has posted an large number of examples which are exemplary. The proof of the recording technique is in the listening. Not only does side-by-side work, it works exceptionally well -- all you have to do to verify that is to listen to his files.

Roger's "technically flawed setup" is exactly what makes this Gearslutz knowledgebase valuable. It's just this kind of knowledge that I'm after. I never would have considered MS without Roger's postings with both sound files and photographs of his side-by-side setup with dual MKH 30s. Roger has been really generous in sharing this technique and his results with us.

Bottom line: "If it sounds good, it is good." -- Duke Ellington.

Last edited by Bruce Watson; 14th June 2017 at 08:55 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 14th June 2017
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
The old "we've always done it that way argument".
Ovu gave a clear, valid technical reason for his opinion. This is an unconvincing misquote of yours, directed at one
of the most interesting and creative engineers on the forum.
Old 14th June 2017
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Actually, while you are correct in argumenting against this incorrect setup, it is not so much the shadowing that is the problem. One mic is unobstructed, with the other one in its null (which is almost the same as sitting above it in its null). The other one also has a clear view into the ensemble with its positive lobe (good), BUT the back (negative lobe) picks up HF reflections of the other fig8 mic, which should/could cause HF problems.

However, I do not get the panic about the "shadowing", as placing a shadow in a shadow basically does not change much.
Isn't this the sort of controversy which could be quelled with a carefully controlled blind AB comparison of the vertical vs side by side methods, with as many variables controlled for as possible... eg record a rehearsal session of a choir using both mounting options, and give us a few samples of each, and put it to a poll ? Several attempts from various locales across our vast geo-spread would lend additional power, supported by close up photos of each array.

Is this for fear of toppling Roger from his exalted throne...nay, I'm sure Roger would indeed welcome this, as healthy field input, grist (or lubrication) for the GS gears...and, whatever the result, would not diminish his already-posted recordings one iota. Iconoclasts (and scientific method) to the fore !
Old 14th June 2017
  #23
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The reason I have sometimes used the 'incorrect' method rather that vertical is when using condensers with circular diaphragms you can get the center of the diaphragms closer to each other that way than you can in a vertical arrangement. Depends on how the screen of the mike is made.
Old 14th June 2017
  #24
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The thing is, I don't need to do this to know that Roger's setup is only very slightly compromised. Unless you start doing that in MS or change the stereo width of the Blumlein in post.

Then funny stuff and awkward imaging will happen.
But not if you play back the L mic on the L speaker and vice versa.

Except the tiny possible reflections on the backside of one mic (coming from another mic part that should be quite acoustically transparant)
Old 14th June 2017
  #25
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I figure old Roger knows a thing or two. He is a true sound hound and would not compromise his capture for the sake of easy setup. And while we are here to sometimes debate the theory of RE in actual practice Roger has great captures with his "heretical" array. They are wonderful recordings that most of us we be delighted to be getting ourselves.

There is supposed to be a plack at MIT to the bumblebee to the effect that by all laws of physics he is unable to fly. But the bumblebee does not know physics and merrily flies anyway. Roger's "heretical" array should not work as well as it does, but like the bumblebee it works just fine. I may try it with a pair of Mk8's.
Old 14th June 2017
  #26
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Ignore the sceptics please chaps
Ive done Vertical MKH 30/30 (which is clumsy for performance) and side by side ,back to back MKH30/30 and really cant tell any perceptible differences
Ive also done 20/30 ,40/30, 50/30 MKH all very useful indeed
Remember the UHJ Soundfield mic , Mr Gerzons capsules are all over the place
Beauty is Truth
Truth is Beauty
Nothing can defeat the beauty of Mr Blumleins simple matrix
Roger
Old 14th June 2017
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Ignore the sceptics please chaps
Ive done Vertical MKH 30/30 (which is clumsy for performance) and side by side ,back to back MKH30/30 and really cant tell any perceptible differences
Ive also done 20/30 ,40/30, 50/30 MKH all very useful indeed
Remember the UHJ Soundfield mic , Mr Gerzons capsules are all over the place
Beauty is Truth
Truth is Beauty
Nothing can defeat the beauty of Mr Blumleins simple matrix
Roger
Believe, buy, and troubles disappear.
Old 14th June 2017
  #28
Gear Addict
If you are going to put it in a windshield, then MKH 20/40/50, depending on what you are recording. I tend to prefer the MKH50 myself. MKH8040 works very well also, but your gain for the 8040 will be offset, since it needs a little more gain than the MKH40. If you're going to use an 8040 and put it into a windshield, then you will need something like a Neutrik NA3FM to make it fit on the Lyre clip.

MKH30/MKH30 pair sounds lovely, of course, but cannot be put into a windshield and you will need a spacebar or SRS 3D printed clip described above.

And yes, MKH8040 has a richer, fuller low end then MKH40. Good when used at a distance, proximity effect can be overwhelming up close. The 8000 series doesn't get much love here, but I personally love the sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tapes View Post
The side mic is Sennheiser MKH30. The options I'm considering are
  • MKH40, the classic, flat response matches the 30, but some think it's boring
  • MKH50, supercardioid might come in handy as a mono mic for other things, some like that it's "punchier", but maybe you lose something with that polar pattern as a mid in MS
  • MKH8040, some say it's just a better mic, nicer low end, smaller, but maybe smaller doesn't matter since it's going with the 30 anyway

I might be buying a stereo pair of 8040s so I could at least have that option sometimes if I'm not trying to do all four channels at once. So perhaps it just comes down to what's lost/gained by the different polar patterns of the 40/50. I can't find any MS comparisons that would show me this.

Any advice would be appreciated, and any comparisons where the mid mic is the only variable would be EXTRA appreciated. I've been looking but haven't found anything.

Thanks
Old 14th June 2017
  #29
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The MKH8040 is especially good in the 8000 series, probably the best and favorite cardioid mic in my collection. Works in all types of rooms for me, lots of reach and excellent bass extension.
Old 15th June 2017
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
If you are going to put it in a windshield, then MKH 20/40/50, depending on what you are recording. I tend to prefer the MKH50 myself. MKH8040 works very well also, but your gain for the 8040 will be offset, since it needs a little more gain than the MKH40. If you're going to use an 8040 and put it into a windshield, then you will need something like a Neutrik NA3FM to make it fit on the Lyre clip.

MKH30/MKH30 pair sounds lovely, of course, but cannot be put into a windshield and you will need a spacebar or SRS 3D printed clip described above.

And yes, MKH8040 has a richer, fuller low end then MKH40. Good when used at a distance, proximity effect can be overwhelming up close. The 8000 series doesn't get much love here, but I personally love the sound.
If you are going to use an MKH30 plus
MKH8020/8040/8050 for MS in a windshield you don't need the Neuman
extension. Just put the MKH30 in the lyre mount and use 1 or 2 Rycote Back-to-Back clips to attach the MKH8xxx to the MKH30.
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