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MS stereo does not collapse to mono at LF Condenser Microphones
Old 18th June 2018
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
In AB the variable spacing can be more or less desirable or realistic (unless extreme ie hole in the middle, or collapsed to mono), but it never sounds 'wrong' in the way that MS can and does, if the ratio is even slightly off...

I suppose we all have our own peculiar and personal sensitivities to departures from (and distortions in) so-called 'acoustic reality'
I suppose you are correct. I have exactly the opposite experience. In a good hall, MS works for me (tonally) from mono, to boosting the side too much (+3,+4 dB) so the sides of the source fall outside the speakers.

But I must confess I really like a good mono recording
Old 18th June 2018
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
My experience in listening to MS is that, for each recording using this method, there is only 1 particular and precise balance (ratio of mid to side) that 'works'. It needs to be carefully finessed for each recording, depending on the variables at play in that context. Any departure from this immediately sounds fake...in a way that a greater or lesser spacing in AB does not produce the same sensation.

In AB the variable spacing can be more or less desirable or realistic (unless extreme ie hole in the middle, or collapsed to mono), but it never sounds 'wrong' in the way that MS can and does, if the ratio is even slightly off...
i had to use m/s on most anything (including spots) for a radio broadcaster in the eighties: i felt there was little room for variation between center and side levels (so i often used them with the sides at least 6db down) while the spacing of an a/b array seemed less critical.
however, i mostly abandoned both m/s and a/b since then (i still do double mics on mains with 2 different systems whenever i get a chance though) and i just recall very few situation where i favoured m/s over other approaches; if so, m/s gets some use as center system of a wide l/c/r setup.

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 18th June 2018 at 10:14 AM.. Reason: detail added
Old 18th June 2018
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Sorry about this little rant, but I honestly see no real progress lately.
Royerlabs should have a SF1 mark II by now, Rode mic should not only make a already legendary M50 TF model, but a really good fig8 (they can do it, really), Sennheiser should have a MKH8030 plus a 8xxx multipattern etc etc.
MS has it's place...in movie soundtracks, radio plays, TV documentaries, sports coverage. That alone should be enough for a manufacturer to keep alive the idea of making a rugged, dependable fig 8, which can be used across various climatic (ie humidity) conditions without breaking down. Sennheiser seems to have the ruggedness aspect sealed up and conquered.

The non-appearance of the MKH8030 has been much discussed here, presumably technical hurdles in producing consistent performance in such a small device have prevented them from succeeding ?

Or else......the alternate explanation. That there simply isn't the market demand for a small, low profile fig 8 mic (think about it...in all the other fields of recording I listed above, the MKH30 is perfectly fine in a visual sense, as the mic is generally 'out of shot' for cameras)

It's only in live concert video production where the small form factor (think Schoeps Collette) becomes significant and desirable...hence Sennheiser's advance into Schoeps territory, with the MKH80x0 series. Perhaps there's so little use for Schoeps sized fig 8 mics in such a recording context that Sennheiser decided to opt out of the challenge..(if not for the technical hurdle mentioned above ?)

Which brings me to the deafening silence surrounding the performance of the B9 Audio miniature CM180 fig 8 mic by Tony ....looks like a Schoeps, seems to have good specs...yet no takeup here or elsewhere yet ? $500

Probably the closest thing you'll get to an MKH8030 replacement: https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/48a...9n1_635995.pdf

However, in the absence of even one credible audio sample here, I won't be buying.....
Old 18th June 2018
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
........ to boosting the side too much (+3,+4 dB) so the sides of the source fall outside the speakers.
That's worse for me than the 'too much mono' end of the scale...the only thing like it is after too much schnapps at Christmas and the room starts to turn, and I have to lie down immediately
Old 18th June 2018
  #65
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Positioning the main array in MS I always used to listen to M only ,knowing that when S was faded up to the same level it was always pragmatic
Now I gang M and S so the gain is always equal, I never tweak unless there is some serious off set in performance
It never sounds fake
Spaced can sound glorious in good halls, but it is fake
Its all fake anyway, we are just confusing our clever cortex and its signal recognition capacity
Fig 8 development is unlikely
There is widespread dislike of the pattern, perhaps even fear, the mantra is spaced omnis/near co incident Cards, on the same bar, 8s used to rule broadcasting, now they are history it seems
Sennheiser more interested in Radio mics and Headphones for a huge Global audience
Nobody doing modern 8s, sad.
Old 18th June 2018
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
There is widespread dislike of the pattern, perhaps even fear, the mantra is spaced omnis/near co incident Cards, on the same bar, 8s used to rule broadcasting, now they are history it seems
Sennheiser more interested in Radio mics and Headphones for a huge Global audience
Nobody doing modern 8s, sad.
Last time I recorded an orchestra, I had about 13 fig8 on stage. Admittedly, the M mic pattern (while it sounded glorious with fig8) was decided upon subcardioid.

There was a second non-fig8: the MKH40 cardioid M mic for the MS piano solo spot.

A good fig8 is the only mic with really natural sounding bleed. Together with the extremely controlled off-axis response and tight pattern = perfect spot/group mic. As a bonus, it always sounds more 'airy' then a cardioid at the same distance.
Old 18th June 2018
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
The non-appearance of the MKH8030 has been much discussed here, presumably technical hurdles in producing consistent performance in such a small device have prevented them from succeeding ?
Bogus. The MKH800 twin is actually quite small already. If they need an extra couple of mm they could make the head just a little wider etc.
It is the economical argument for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Which brings me to the deafening silence surrounding the performance of the B9 Audio miniature CM180 fig 8 mic by Tony
The off-axis plots look so awful I would not even call it a fig8 pattern !
Old 18th June 2018
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Positioning the main array in MS I always used to listen to M only ,knowing that when S was faded up to the same level it was always pragmatic
Now I gang M and S so the gain is always equal, I never tweak unless there is some serious off set in performance
It never sounds fake
Spaced can sound glorious in good halls, but it is fake
Its all fake anyway, we are just confusing our clever cortex and its signal recognition capacity
Fig 8 development is unlikely
There is widespread dislike of the pattern, perhaps even fear, the mantra is spaced omnis/near co incident Cards, on the same bar, 8s used to rule broadcasting, now they are history it seems
Sennheiser more interested in Radio mics and Headphones for a huge Global audience
Nobody doing modern 8s, sad.
I'm probably drawn intuitively to the 1:1 ratio as being the only believable mix...where I'll concede it can sound very good indeed ! Lack of fig 8 popularity also points to a scarcity of incentive to experiment (eg the deaf (null) side of the mic has great potential in many crowded stage settings: jazz, rock, classical as a problem solver !

An example: if the home bedroom, singer/songwriter self-recording folk adopted the double fig 8 mic approach, they'd end up with mixable, semi-commercial results with just a little intelligent application to mic placement...such as this example pic from Sound On Sound magazine July 2012....smart use of the 2 mic nulls.

The caption runs "If you're using a multi‑pattern mic on the guitar, you can often improve vocal rejection by switching it to figure‑8 mode and angling it as shown, so that the singer's mouth is in the null (which now lies along the plane of the mic diaphragm). The other guitar mic shown (upper left) is a stereo ribbon mic; again, the null is pointing towards the singer's mouth"

Royer and to a greater extent the cheaper Chinese ribbon copies have paved the way for a small scale ribbon revival in popular music, but it certainly hasn't flowed through to condensor models ?
Attached Thumbnails
MS stereo does not collapse to mono at LF-guitar-voice-sos-magazine-july-2012.jpg  

Last edited by studer58; 18th June 2018 at 11:37 AM..
Old 18th June 2018
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
As a bonus, it always sounds more 'airy' then a cardioid at the same distance.
But probably not as airy or natural as an omni at 1/2-1/3 the distance
Old 18th June 2018
  #70
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Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
But probably not as airy or natural as an omni at 1/2-1/3 the distance
I wouldn't know, I do not use omni spots. How would that work ?
Old 18th June 2018
  #71
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Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
I wouldn't know, I do not use omni spots. How would that work ?
You can go as close as you want to the desired instrument with an omni spot, as there's no proximity effect, and no problem with off axis colouration either.

Bleed from other nearby instruments ? Of course, but it's the ratio of that bleed to the desired sound that is important. Not for use as spots in PA reinforcement of course, but for recording can be remarkably good.

Try it sometime...especially good for trios or acoustic ensembles where volume of each instrument is fairly equal in output level
Old 18th June 2018
  #72
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PS...if you have doubts that the pictured process in my earlier post regarding the singer/guitarist works, as far as isolation and therefore mixing (or treatment of each mic re EQ or compression etc)...... then listen to the solo-ed mics in this short (3 minute) example, using 2x AEA ribbons:

YouTube

If it's a true (ie non-doctored) example, then the mic isolation is pretty shocking, actually ?
Old 18th June 2018
  #73
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That is exactly why I use fig8 almost exclusively
Old 18th June 2018
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
YouTube
If it's a true (ie non-doctored) example, then the mic isolation is pretty shocking, actually ?
His tests are about right for what I've experienced with dual fig-8s, but that also gives you just mono and you can't pan the two mics in any way but dead center. So you can have/ or need some room mics, because you need to start doing weird trickery to get stereo out of it, even with a good reverb plugin or unit. I've also experienced best results with making the two mics coincident so there's no time delay whatsover and also only one stand needed, otherwise the musician gets more and more claustrophobic as you start building contraptions around them. I never use this now as standard blumlein angled to the right spot is better, maybe in the vocal's favour with an omni guitar spot if you get nervous.

Ironically for all this discussion my favourite close up mic so far (although still problematic) for singer-songwriter with guitar/cello has been a mk2/mk8 (read: omni mid-side pair) at roughly the position that guy has the vocal mic, a bit further out.

Great vocal and instrument bass extension, nice smoothness of the instruments: if the person can balance themselves its beautiful and you can move the array vertically up and angle it to get a further refinement of balance. Image is good. Only some issues if they move a lot, at which point a close spaced pair of subcard or a wide room pair might be better or help. I need to do further tests on that. I think a fig-8 blumlein pair mounted in the normal direction is also a fairly good choice for this situation and ribbons help with being close up for bass extension and smoothness reasons.

I still want to find vocal/piano solutions that I'm happy with.
Old 18th June 2018
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
ronically for all this discussion my favourite close up mic so far (although still problematic) for singer-songwriter with guitar/cello has been a mk2/mk8 (read: omni mid-side pair) at roughly the position that guy has the vocal mic, a bit further out.

Great vocal and instrument bass extension, nice smoothness of the instruments: if the person can balance themselves its beautiful and you can move the array vertically up and angle it to get a further refinement of balance. Image is good. Only some issues if they move a lot, at which point a close spaced pair of subcard or a wide room pair might be better or help. I need to do further tests on that. I think a fig-8 blumlein pair mounted in the normal direction is also a fairly good choice for this situation and ribbons help with being close up for bass extension and smoothness reasons.

I still want to find vocal/piano solutions that I'm happy with.
I think the main appeal of the method with fig 8's at 90 degrees for singer/guitar is largely beneficial for 2 types of recording person:

i) someone not confident about being able to get the guitar/voice balance correct at the time of recording, and thus wants the ability to re-balance later

ii) someone who wants to dive in and apply substantial effects/eq/compression to either or both of voice and guitar later.

Your approach would be much more likely to get a better tonal balance and stereo spread, perhaps aided by room mics...if you're able to nail the voice/instrument balance with careful mic placement.
Old 18th June 2018
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
............
I still find it astonishing the big manufacturers do not seem interested in this concept. Not even Sennheiser themselves anymore, otherwise they would have based their "surround" mic not on the Soundfield principle, but on their own 3x fig8 + pressure omni ? As mentioned before, at one point they already had a MKH800 twin protoype based on a pure fig8 + a pure pressure omni.

Somehow recording history has been swamped by spaced techniques, and as we can clearly see, the entire economic model has been based around them. .................
Actually the “Soundfield” (aka Ambisonic) approach is an MS-based design and not a spaced mic approach. It is the simplest way to produce a coincident (allows for closer physical arrangement of the capsules than separate mics) mic array that allows for symmetry in ALL 3 dimensions. The Soundfield mic is essentially an MS array that can be virtually pointed in any direction in 3 dimensions PLUS the “mid” mic is virtually selectable to any pattern from omni to fig 8.
You can create horizontal ambisonics with 2 fig 8’s plus an omni that is symmetric in the horizontal plane (except for the deviation of omni mics from perfect symmetry at higher frequencies) BUT once you add a 3rd fig 8 for the vertical dimension you lose the ability to position the mics in an array that is symmetric in all 3 dimensions.

My only complaint about the Sennheiser version
(“Ambeo VR” mic) of the Soundfield mic is that
they could have used 4 MKH capsules for higher
quality (obviously cost/price was their deciding factor).
Old 18th June 2018
  #77
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The Soundfield uses MS style matrixing, but it is physically made of 4 cardioid (or almost cardioid ?) capsules, which are never truly coincident, not in any plane.

I never listened to more recent incarnations, maybe I should try. I do not know if I was originally put off by the current designs of the mid-90s by the quality of the capsules (are THEY truly cardioid to sub 40Hz ?), or the implementation of the matrixing (probably these days using DSP the quality is considerably better & more correct ?).
Old 18th June 2018
  #78
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The newer versions of the Soundfield are definitely an improvement, quieter and better phase accuracy. The best all analog
version is the portable ST450 MKII. The best
(and most expensive) is the DSF-1 which has
a preamp/digital processor with some circuitry designed by the Dave Hill. It has the best phase
accuracy and is the quietest. The DSF-1, which I own, is equal in quality to my separate MKH mics
(30, 8040 and 8050) used with Gordon preamps.
The earlier MKV (same quality as 422) which I previously owned was not as good as the MKH mics via Gordon preamp. Also given that the sound is captured symmetrically in 3 dimensions it is reasonable to expect to have polar patterns that are more equal at all frequencies.
Old 18th June 2018
  #79
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I enjoyed the Pearl DS 60 with 4 rectangular membranes of exceptional fidelity
However their capsule spacing gave me problems unknown with MKH30/30 sum and difference
The classic range of 1980s MKH were all MS compliant.....
Roger
Old 21st June 2018
  #80
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We use fig8s in our work with Cuban bands and find the pattern invaluable.

Here’s a video we did of Scottish folk artist Rachel Sermanni in a cozy cabin north of Vancouver. Soloing the vocal and guitar mics, the isolation is incredible and the little bleed that’s there is not a problem. We used the N22 on guitar and N8 on vocal. Room mic was an R88. Recorded on a Nagra VI.

We should have used N8 on the guitar and N22 on vocal, but that’s another story.

YouTube

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
PS...if you have doubts that the pictured process in my earlier post regarding the singer/guitarist works, as far as isolation and therefore mixing (or treatment of each mic re EQ or compression etc)...... then listen to the solo-ed mics in this short (3 minute) example, using 2x AEA ribbons:

YouTube

If it's a true (ie non-doctored) example, then the mic isolation is pretty shocking, actually ?
Old 22nd June 2018
  #81
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Jim, great job, the sound and video are really good and loved the performance. What was the temperature in the room, looks like steamy breath in the side shots.
Old 22nd June 2018
  #82
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I agree with sd270 Jim, a terrific capture, great atmosphere and intimacy.

Yes I was wondering if I heard an occasional crackle from an open fire....but her breath would seem to answer that in the negative I guess suffering produces great art !

Speaking of breath, I take it you filmed this one in the same session and setting ? : YouTube

I don't think I've ever heard a vocal and all its nuances rendered with such clarity before...and she wasn't even the 'couple of finger widths' away from the ribbon, that is typically required to get that sort of detail with a condensor. Almost as if she was in an invisible isolation booth. Great choice and deployment of mics...bravo !
Old 6th July 2018
  #83
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Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I do like m/s technique. It is an excellent solution. The Berlin Philharmonic sent me a beautiful LP set containing the nine Beethoven Symphonies. It was recorded with a single m/s stereo mic. The equivalent cd set was multi-miked. Seek it out if you can.
I know. Apparantly it was an eye-opener for them. They actually rehearsed in this context (no balancing after the fact).

They blame the superior quality of the direct-to-disc cut. No need to say it is probably the blumlein capture without spots that is responsible.

If I am not mistaken, this recording was done with two MKH800twin mics in fig8.

If it works for them it works for me.

As a side note: what is the stereo separation of the vinyl cut below 30 Hz ?
Old 6th July 2018
  #84
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This Berlin Phil Beethoven set is not a direct to disc recording. It sounds excellent as it should since the orch. balances itself very well.

The low end response is typical of any LP. In other words, not that great.

Overall, an excellent idea and good achievement.
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