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M-S mic technique--the lazy man's lazy way Condenser Microphones
Old 1st March 2006
  #1
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Talking M-S mic technique--the lazy man's lazy way

This is such a scam--a foolproof, idiot-proof, idiot's delight.

It's guaranteed that everything will be properly in phase, it's guaranteed it will shrink down to mono and sound just the same, and it's guaranteed that it will be completely hostage to the peculiar spot where the mics were placed. If you have an ideal hall, ideal distance from the players who are ideally arranged, it will sound fine.

If not, you're stuck with a peculiar recording with uncontrollable everything. Brilliant!
Old 1st March 2006
  #2
UM.........

what?
Old 1st March 2006
  #3
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Well... I guess there is a backstory...

Someone handed me an unlabelled DAT the other day and needed a CD of it. Sound was okay, but kind of murky and mushy and distant a things seemed to zoom in and out depending on how loud it was...

And I discovered when I shrank it down to mono, half of everything disappeared, and that's when I began to suspect maybe it was M-S.

And so try as I might, it was terrible. Nothing was clear, even at it's clearest. And then you've got Electronic Musician with a big cover story on M-S.

That's the kiss of death, to me.
Old 1st March 2006
  #4
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if half of it disappeared when shrank down to mono, the problem isn't M-S, the problem is poor mixing and more specifically too much side mic in the mix.

i personally use the side mic as an effect of sorts. and of the 3 channels in a mid/side mix i'd say the side channels occupy 15-20% of the mix. Its purpose is to accentuate the mid mic, and nothing more.

that said, i don't use it that much. But not cause i think its a scam, and certainly not because i've based my opinion on an unlabelled dat. I just get better results with recorderman and spaced pairs.
Old 1st March 2006
  #5
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No, I meant that when I summed the two tracks off the DAT, one the center and one the figure-8 sides, it all (mostly) disappeared. Which is the idea, they're so phased-ly opposite they would cancel each other out? Or should? Mostly?

I just think the whole concept is laziness personified.
Old 1st March 2006
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson
No, I meant that when I summed the two tracks off the DAT, one the center and one the figure-8 sides, it all (mostly) disappeared.
If that's what happened, then it certainly wasn't an M/S recording. What made you jump to that conclusion?
Old 1st March 2006
  #7
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I dunno... just a habit of mine...

You mean to say the whole idea of M-S is not that there's an opposing tension in the phase between what the center mic gets and what the figure-8 side gets?
Old 1st March 2006
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson
No, I meant that when I summed the two tracks off the DAT, one the center and one the figure-8 sides, it all (mostly) disappeared. Which is the idea, they're so phased-ly opposite they would cancel each other out? Or should? Mostly?

I just think the whole concept is laziness personified.
well the mid mic shouldn't cancel the side mic. if it did then they're using the same mic for both.

i don't know how M/S = Laziness. you still gotta set up the mic's. you still gotta position them, you still gotta mix them. What's different in the amount of work versus a spaced pair? Oh, positioning for phase correctiveness? Fair enough, give me a mic cable and 15 seconds and i'll put your spaced pair into phase.

i'll start jogginb in place while i set up M/S so no one things i am lazy from now on.
heh
Old 1st March 2006
  #9
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You do that and they'll think you're testing the shockmount.
Old 1st March 2006
  #10
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I like M/S. But, then again, I'm an @sshole.
Old 1st March 2006
  #11
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Just cuz it's on the front cover of the latest Electronic Musician magazine, doesn't mean it's for lazy chumps.
Old 1st March 2006
  #12
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Uhhhh... I dunno but I think the point they're trying to make is that if summing just two tracks had the result you mention, then the original recording probably wasn't M-S.

For an M-S recording to fold down to the center mic in mono you need to use two copies of the side mic track in the stereo mix and reverse the polarity on one. Is that what you did?

Cheers

Vari-Mu
Old 1st March 2006
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson
You do that and they'll think you're testing the shockmount.
Maybe, but they won't think he's a lazy idiot, right?

I do the same whenever employing the m/s lazy idiots' technique........
Old 1st March 2006
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vari-Mu
Uhhhh... I dunno but I think the point they're trying to make is that if summing just two tracks had the result you mention, then the original recording couldn't have been M-S.

For an M-S recording to fold down to the center mic in mono you need to use two copies of the side mic track with opposite polarities in the stereo mix. Is that what you did?

Cheers

Vari-Mu
No, just searching blindly for some way to make sense of this mysterious DAT.

On the plus side... I did run the two channels through an M-S decoder and the image attained a richness and clarity that was missing before, and the customer wants a bunch of copies.

So... all's well that ends well. I have noticed that the cover of Electronic Musician is the last way-station for has-beens on their way to oblivion...
Old 1st March 2006
  #15
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What instrument(s) were recorded with those 2 channels, Joel? Drums? A whole band?

M/S is decoded to L=M+S and R=M-S. If you sum 'em to mono you get just the Mid. On the other hand, if you previously had just the M and S channels in your mix (no decoder or 3 channel phase inverted setup), then summing them to mono would give you only the left side of the instrument(s) (M+S).

Although I disagree that M/S sucks in any way (for drums at least, and acoustic guitar too, it sounds good to me!), I do agree that it's easy and designed for us lazy chumps who hate futzing / can't futz with phase meters and/or "searching for the sweet spot" while we're trying to record.

$35!
Old 1st March 2006
  #16
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Yeah... yeah! Only the left side! That's what I was hearing, big drop off in sound... only half of it was cancelling out.

God I'm glad someone understands this.

The concert was piano, violin & cello. Now, this $35... is that what I owe you?
Old 1st March 2006
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis
Just cuz it's on the front cover of the latest Electronic Musician magazine, doesn't mean it's for lazy chumps.
Unless it's Cheezy Poofs, then we'll all be lame.

War
Old 1st March 2006
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson
No, just searching blindly for some way to make sense of this mysterious DAT.

On the plus side... I did run the two channels through an M-S decoder and the image attained a richness and clarity that was missing before, and the customer wants a bunch of copies.

So... all's well that ends well. I have noticed that the cover of Electronic Musician is the last way-station for has-beens on their way to oblivion...
Glad you got the issue taken care of!

If the cover of EM is the last way-station for has-beens on their way to oblivion, that's good news for them! Every story gets re-circulated to the front page every two years or so (Mix is even less sometimes). Geriatrics for all eternity!
Old 1st March 2006
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead
Unless it's Cheezy Poofs, then we'll all be lame.

War
Follow your dreams.

You can accomplish your goals.

I'm living proof.

Beefcake...

BEEFCAKE!!!!!
Old 1st March 2006
  #20
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(Poor guys never even make it to oblivion! That's a grim fate right there...)
Old 1st March 2006
  #21
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There is a lot to be said for M/S techniques. Many engineers use it to assure Mono Compatability. If you use the Waves M/S methods, you take a mono channel, put the M/S plugin on a stereo aux, then do some processing (EQ, Dynamics, effects), then put the S1 Stereo imager on M/S mode after that, and you get stereo sound with phase coherency. Its a good trick but nothing to do with lazyness.

I also use a Sony M/S mic that works great on mono material (no mic matching or phase worries). The hard part is staying on axis
Old 1st March 2006
  #22
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Yeah, I once knew a girl named Axis... they must be all alike...
Old 1st March 2006
  #23
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Just last night I rolled off Axis, and went to sleep.

War
Old 1st March 2006
  #24
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I tend to agree with labeling M/S as lazy ... and I don't understand why it is seen as a good way to ensure mono compatibily. I see it as a good way to lose all your side information when mono'd - so how compatible is that? At best, it's preferable to wide stereo mixes that turn to flangey crap when mono'd.

I rank it right up there with Boss chorus pedals that lose their chorus effect when mono'd, because they simply phase invert one side.

I'm much more interested in stereo mixes that sound great in mono. (Or is that great mono mixes that sound better in stereo?).

Simply relying on M/S to give stereo with no mono problems is lazy. Agreed.
Old 1st March 2006
  #25
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Kalite Marka's Avatar
 

what are you talking about joelpatterson@mountaintop?
boy, change your ugly avatar and get a life!
Old 1st March 2006
  #26
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And... a cigar!
Old 1st March 2006
  #27
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And...a towel!

War
Old 1st March 2006
  #28
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jtienhaara's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson
Now, this $35... is that what I owe you?
No, that's what your mom... Oh wait, sorry, wrong board.
Old 1st March 2006
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtienhaara
No, that's what your mom... Oh wait, sorry, wrong board.
Do behave.
Old 1st March 2006
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShamansDream
There is a lot to be said for M/S techniques.
From time to time I’m playing with M/S. What’s disturbs me is that if I take a commercial recording (or my own masters without any stereo processing) it will always hang to the one side unless S. (L-R) is way down & useless. How can you explain that?

kurt
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