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Stero pair to record classical music Condenser Microphones
Old 4th July 2018
  #211
Question and a comment. Has anyone tried the SE RN17 SD mics for classical recording? Sennheiser, Schoeps, and DPA obviously have the pedigree as veberated classics so maybe it's hard for newcomers to be fairly evaluated? Wondering if anyone has tried them, or the Charter Oak M900T for that matter.

My comment, with the caveat that I'm decidedly amateur as a recordist compared to others in this thread, for solo piano or small-med ensemble my preference is for a single pair of Blumlein Fig-8s. In situations where I've gone into a proper medium sized hall for archival recording, I have not found the need to augment the amount of reverb in the recording with room mics. David Spearritt's comments on reverb pickup above match my experience so far, I experiment with pickup locations listening for balance and timing relationships between direct and diffuse source. If I want more reverb I would prefer to move the mic back or higher than mix in a room mic.

For me, especially with chamber ensembles, localization of the source is critical. I want to hear the material being passed around from instrument to instrument, spatially. I've heard Decca Tree and AB recordings where there were many beautiful things about the recording - ambience, tonal balance - but it's not etched as vividly where everyone is sitting. Realism of the image I think is very powerful. I've heard recordings that I thought were totally ruined by spot mic-ing, where for example it was a piano trio but somehow the piano enveloped the whole soundfield at maximum width and the other instruments were artifically narrowed by comparison, because the perspective from the piano spots was oddly mismatched with the main pair. I've gotten back recordings from venues where spots were combined with an XY pair and flanking omnis and it just sounds like there's a bunch of different delays in place, the attacks are not crisp and detailed as with 2 mics.

I'm interested to try 2 omnis with a baffle in the middle though, haven't explored this yet.
Old 4th July 2018
  #212
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Bumlein fig 8’s has the best localization of any
stereo pattern. The pleasant spaciousness from
spaced omni’s comes at the price of less accurate/precise location.
Old 4th July 2018
  #213
When Blumlein fails

Blumlein pairs can produce lovely imaging with nicely-integrated reverberance... when they work. The trouble is, they don't always work.

The first thing to understand about a classic Blumlein array is that it has a fixed stereo recording angle. This means that if you want to fill the sound stage, there is only one place you can put the mics for an ensemble of any given width. (Of course it is possible to use angles other than 90 degrees between the two microphones, or to achieve a similar result through matrixing, but only small variations can be made without causing other issues.)

The direct-to-reverberant pick-up ratio of a true Blumlein array is likewise fixed. If one wishes to adjust the direct-to-reverberant sound ratio in the resulting recording, the only way to do it (excluding electronic reverberation in post) is to move the microphones closer or farther away from the ensemble.

The dilemma is now clear: We have two different sonic attributes which the recordist may wish to optimize, but only one "degree of freedom" with which to optimize them. Sometimes a good compromise is possible, but sometimes not.

I once watched an intern learn this the hard way. Having made some successful recordings in school, he arrived with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. For a "first run-through" rehearsal, I gave him two record channels of his own and said "do your thing". He switched two of my 414's to figure-eight pattern and made an excellent Blumlein recording. Later, we needed to make a recording of the same players rehearsing in a much more reverberant hall. Convinced that he knew the formula, he tried the same tactic again, and failed miserably because the hall acoustic was so wet. He ended up with the stand pretty-much right at the stage lip, but the result was still sonic mush. Given hours rather than minutes for set-up, he might have flown the mics and gotten them even closer, but for one problem: the ensemble already subtended an angle of nearly 90 degrees; any closer and the outermost players would have entered the anti-phase pickup quadrants and failed to localize properly. This was the moment at which I stepped in and flipped the capsules into hypercardioid pattern. If memory serves, I also moved the stand back a couple of feet and put a bit of space between the capsules. This action produced both a usable recording and an immediate change in the attitude of my intern.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 5th July 2018
  #214
That's an excellent post, and points well taken. I think it's totally right, but I would add there may be some flexibility in setting the width of the ensemble by having them sit closer or more spread. Perhaps they might object to a seating arrangement less ideal in terms of sightlines but maybe we're only talking about 1-2 feet here.

I've made dozens of recordings like this, not hundreds or thousands as you seasoned pros. In a less ideal space or in a live recording I've had some mixed results, some bad even. But I've never rented what I consider to be a very good space and been unable to find a good pickup location. It sounds like in your example the space was excessively wet, so maybe the caution is if you can't select your preferred space then it may not be the best technique?
Old 5th July 2018
  #215
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Mid side or Blumlein may be fixed in physics but there is always the golden spot which will reveal the performance in detail and depth
As always it is finding this spot that is the craft
Sometimes higher and slight birds eye is the answer, but geometry must always be kept in mind and critical distance
Just simple maths and good eyeline make for good placement, a pair of good fig 8s always helps
Roger
Old 5th July 2018
  #216
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Birds, eyeliner and a good pair...you make such sexy recordings Roger!
Old 5th July 2018
  #217
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkie View Post
Bumlein fig 8’s has the best localization of any
stereo pattern. The pleasant spaciousness from
spaced omni’s comes at the price of less accurate/precise location.
There is no "best localization" but there is most exaggerated localization.
Old 5th July 2018
  #218
The localization of a fig 8 pair is the most even. Most patterns will see an exponential increase of width as you reach the outer ends of the stereo recording angle. With Blumlein, it is pretty much a 1to 1 ratio all the way across.
Old 5th July 2018
  #219
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
The localization of a fig 8 pair is the most even. Most patterns will see an exponential increase of width as you reach the outer ends of the stereo recording angle. With Blumlein, it is pretty much a 1to 1 ratio all the way across.
We have seen the scientific charts. But not a "1 to 1 ratio" relative to what a human hears. We are not configured in Blumlein with fig 8 microphones cloned into our brains (yet).
Old 5th July 2018
  #220
Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
We have seen the scientific charts. But not a "1 to 1 ratio" relative to what a human hears. We are not configured in Blumlein with fig 8 microphones cloned into our brains (yet).
With a standard speaker set up of 60 degrees and similar orchestra angle. I thought that was self-explanatory since we are engineers, sorry for the confusion.
Old 5th July 2018
  #221
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
With a standard speaker set up of 60 degrees and similar orchestra angle. I thought that was self-explanatory since we are engineers, sorry for the confusion.
It is an exaggerated localization (an interesting and pleasing effect) relative to the way we hear. A closer resemblance on "a standard speaker etc." can be made relative to the way we hear.
Old 5th July 2018
  #222
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by augustusarnone View Post
I'm interested to try 2 omnis with a baffle in the middle though, haven't explored this yet.
I use a modified Crown SASS-P that is essentially what you describe. I also use it closer up for piano and drum kit recording. As long as you are thoughtful about placement of mic and performers, as usual, it can serve quite well. I prefer it as a "you are there" perspective to any other method. It's kind of a quasi dummy head/ORTF effect.

Last edited by Piedpiper; 6th July 2018 at 03:54 AM..
Old 5th July 2018
  #223
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Hi Tim,
How did you mod your SASS-P? Better capsules?
The original design was the SASS-B (using B&K
4006 mics). The SASS-P has less costly and noiser mics.
Thanks,
Bill H. (from the Cherry Tree)
Old 6th July 2018
  #224
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkie View Post
Hi Tim,
How did you mod your SASS-P? Better capsules?
The original design was the SASS-B (using B&K
4006 mics). The SASS-P has less costly and noiser mics.
Thanks,
Bill H. (from the Cherry Tree)
Hey Bill! Long time! PFF if memory serves...

The capsules are not bad. I've heard of the B&K model but never had the pleasure. I gut the electronics and replace them with better parts, separating the power for the two channels, running them strictly on batteries, dual mono, single ended, no transformers. I originally built integrated preamps with premium parts but now run them into the single ended inputs of my Manley tube mic pre. I also line the housing with sheet lead to kill resonances. I'm the sure the B&K mics are quieter, but I've used this for choirs and the like and it isn't bad. Premium caps and resistors make a nice difference.
Old 6th July 2018
  #225
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Yes, good memory. Thanks for the info!
More than I would attempt. I always wondered if
there was a way to physically fit my Josephson C617 omni’s in a SASS-shaped barrier?
Old 7th July 2018
  #226
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkie View Post
Yes, good memory. Thanks for the info!
More than I would attempt. I always wondered if
there was a way to physically fit my Josephson C617 omni’s in a SASS-shaped barrier?
I'd probably just start from scratch with some foam.
Old 8th July 2018
  #227
Have you guys seen this baffle for OSS recording?
Josephson Engineering OSSDISK stereo microphone baffle – Tidepool Audio

I'm interested to try this technique, have heard mixed feedback on the Jecklin disk. I'm assuming the size and dimension of the baffle, and the absorption used, can have a big impact. Have there been lots of experiments done on different baffles?
Old 8th July 2018
  #228
Jecklin and Schneider disks

Quote:
Originally Posted by augustusarnone View Post
Have you guys seen this baffle for OSS recording?
Josephson Engineering OSSDISK stereo microphone baffle – Tidepool Audio

I'm interested to try this technique, have heard mixed feedback on the Jecklin disk. I'm assuming the size and dimension of the baffle, and the absorption used, can have a big impact. Have there been lots of experiments done on different baffles?
Jecklin's original inspiration was the shadowing effect of the human head, which he approximated with a simple circular baffle. That makes sense for binaural reproduction, but not for playback over speakers. Later on, he migrated towards larger baffles, but commercially-available disks all seem to be sized according to his original paper.

You can easily build your own and save a lot of money. A plywood core is sturdier but, lacking a jigsaw, I used foam-core art board and a box cutter. David Josephson's disk is covered with open-cell foam, but one can find workable alternatives at any fabric shop. A clamping mic clip completes the job. While you're at it, make more than one size.

The Schneider disk is an alternative baffle made by MBHO that has a smoother diffraction characteristic. (In this case, I bought the commercial one.)

Baffled stereo array promises to combine the uncolored reproduction of omni microphones with the imaging of directional pairs. Would that it were really so! If a Blumlein array represents the pinacle of stereo imaging, a Jecklin disk represents the nadir. Fuzzy localization, with central sources pushed towards either edge. Best imaging requires placing it at correct distance from the ensemble which, as with Blumlein, ties your hands in controlling direct to reverberant balance. (Some control is regained by having wide- and sub-cardioid capsules on hand.)

If you already own a good omni pair, it's certainly worth building a Jecklin disk to experiment. But if you're considering spending real money without listening first, I recommend applying the funds toward a nicer stereo bar instead.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 8th July 2018
  #229
Thanks so much for all your helpful feedback!
Old 9th July 2018
  #230
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I did some recordings with variations of a Jecklin Disk. I actually found good results with a rectangular baffle. 10 inches tall and 7 inches wide and covered in foam over luan. Mics were a little above halfway. I have the same description David Rick gave. I find it almost has a hole in the middle quality. Like omni pairs too far apart. Maybe it needs a tree treatment. A third microphone at the forward edge mixed into each channel. Maybe an omni or maybe a cardioid. I never got around to the experiment. I do like the omni qualities for some purposes.

I did use it once where a couple musicians were to each side and a vocalist a few feet away from them. I spot miked the vocalist and captured the 4 musicians with the Jecklin disc (in my case rectangle). It worked nicely for that. I've used it with good results on seated guitarist/singers. Being up close the hole in the middle effect seemed helpful and the recording turned out nice.

Did some measuring once using a speaker as a source moving it around in a half circle to see where sounds appeared in the recording. Spacing from the front edge effected how accurate it was. Things from about 20 degrees off center to 90 degrees off center tended to show up over a narrowed area, and less than 20 degrees all sound seemed pretty much a blob in the middle. Almost like a less obvious left-right-center mix with the good qualities of omnis.

Still maybe I need to experiment with that third omni at the front edge mixed in at 3 db lower or something. Might work fine.
Old 9th July 2018
  #231
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I know I often chip in with this factoid, probably to the annoyance of regulars here: but there is the old JD and the new one...a 20% increase in disc diameter... a more than 100% increase in mic spacing. Endorsed/evolved by Jecklin himself.

So it's important to qualify whether it's the Old or the New Jecklin Disc you're talking about in any discussion: http://www.sengpielaudio.com/JecklinDisk.pdf
Old 3 weeks ago
  #232
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Tim,

You won't be happy because the (seemingly generally avoided) NT5 does not come with the (seemingly much vaunted) NT45-o capsule.

See this useful post from the Norseman which explains it perfectly...


So the NT55 is the one to go for if you want the omni capsule.


NB: I've never used this mic, I'm just sorting out the integers!
You can buy the NT45 capule separately.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #233
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
I did some recordings with variations of a Jecklin Disk. I actually found good results with a rectangular baffle. 10 inches tall and 7 inches wide and covered in foam over luan. Mics were a little above halfway. I have the same description David Rick gave. I find it almost has a hole in the middle quality. Like omni pairs too far apart. Maybe it needs a tree treatment. A third microphone at the forward edge mixed into each channel. Maybe an omni or maybe a cardioid. I never got around to the experiment. I do like the omni qualities for some purposes.

I did use it once where a couple musicians were to each side and a vocalist a few feet away from them. I spot miked the vocalist and captured the 4 musicians with the Jecklin disc (in my case rectangle). It worked nicely for that. I've used it with good results on seated guitarist/singers. Being up close the hole in the middle effect seemed helpful and the recording turned out nice.

Did some measuring once using a speaker as a source moving it around in a half circle to see where sounds appeared in the recording. Spacing from the front edge effected how accurate it was. Things from about 20 degrees off center to 90 degrees off center tended to show up over a narrowed area, and less than 20 degrees all sound seemed pretty much a blob in the middle. Almost like a less obvious left-right-center mix with the good qualities of omnis.

Still maybe I need to experiment with that third omni at the front edge mixed in at 3 db lower or something. Might work fine.
i got quite a bit of experience in using jeckin disks... - rather than repeating myself here, feel free to check out this thread

How would you approach this? Baroque music

see my post #21
Old 4 days ago
  #234
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I keep lusting after all of these excellent mics you folks use, but almost every time I put up my 4061s I am pleased with the results. I think I need to improve to the point where the mics are holding me back until I can justify buying something else.

Here is a track from a colleague's (very large) high school choir concert this past May. Skip 30 seconds in if you want to get past all of the soloists. Spacing was 38 cm; otherwise normal behind / above conductor position.

Dropbox - 01 Hlohonolofatsa.flac
Old 3 days ago
  #235
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic View Post
I keep lusting after all of these excellent mics you folks use, but almost every time I put up my 4061s I am pleased with the results. I think I need to improve to the point where the mics are holding me back until I can justify buying something else.

Here is a track from a colleague's (very large) high school choir concert this past May. Skip 30 seconds in if you want to get past all of the soloists. Spacing was 38 cm; otherwise normal behind / above conductor position.

Dropbox - 01 Hlohonolofatsa.flac
You keep on with that kind of attitude and you'll have your gearslutz membership revoked.
Old 3 days ago
  #236
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic View Post
I keep lusting after all of these excellent mics you folks use, but almost every time I put up my 4061s I am pleased with the results...Spacing was 38 cm; otherwise normal behind / above conductor position.
Very nice with a great sense of depth. Was it recorded to your DR-70D?
Old 3 days ago
  #237
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Very nice with a great sense of depth. Was it recorded to your DR-70D?
Yes. Mics into Naiant PFA converters, then to DR-70D (with the Jim Williams modification). Slight noise reduction to reduce HVAC drone; gentle EQ to compensate for treble boost.

Same thought there. I really was considering one of the new Sound Devices or even a Zoom F8, but cannot justify it unless I were to start recording in places that don't have noisy HVAC and require noise reduction. As it stands, I have to run almost every recording through iZotope RX.
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