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Speaking of MS
Old 8th October 2019
  #1
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Speaking of MS

Last month I did a production recording of Brahms Symphony No. 2. Tons of microphones were set up. However, the main pair is comprised of MS. M is a MKH20 and S is a MKH30. They are 5 meters above the stage, facing straight down. Instead of standing behind the conductor, it is in front of the conductor, in the middle of the strings. It is about where the middle mic of the Decca tree would be. Lastly, the HPF are removed from both microphones and their high ends are extended to 50KHz, similar to MKH800. Here is the MS pair with no process of any sort, other than mp3 transcoding.


The orchestra strings seat like the Vienna Phil.



Best regards,


Da-Hong
Old 8th October 2019
  #2
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there is quite an odd combination of instruments scrunched together at the
right boundary of the stereo image
Old 8th October 2019
  #3
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boojum's Avatar
Pretty nice, but it is no secret that I am an MS fanboy. It is a nice comfortable recording. It sounds free of strain and artifice which I would ascribe to the simple MS array.

And I will spare you the "great minds think alike" comment because I had arrived at a similar solution to a funky little Monday night blue-grass/folk jam I sometimes record at a local American Legion. We are hardly in the same venues. ;o) These fellows gather around a square table and face inward. Their backs are to the audience. In the past I had dropped a Pearl DS 60 into the center of them but you know the flipping problems with that. And as they have grown in size and are more an oval than round group a Samar VL373A horizontally above them across the short side of the oval and the S sides of the array oriented to the long side of the oval seems the best way to go. The main problem will be counterbalancing the mic. I am encouraged in my approach by seeing you using it. Thanks for that.
Old 8th October 2019
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Thank you for posting this Da-Hong; I like it very much.
Since Steve's reorganization of the Remote Possibilities forum, some interesting old things have floated to the top. I recently rediscovered the thread "MS or Coincident vs Spaced in Pro or Majors recordings". After wading through all eight pages (and I obviously read it previously as I had posted therein!) I have come to the conclusion that some of us listen to recordings with our mind's eye as well as with our ears and I am sure that colours our preference for Blumlein techniques. As soon as you noted 'Vienna Phil seating' I locked in on all the various instruments in the soundfield, much as I might focus on a specific instrument in the orchestra during a live performance by employing my 'opto-aural lens'. I find only Blumlein techniques really lend themselves to this type of listening. I am sure there is thesis material for a psychology doctoral candidate in all the discussions of spaced omni versus coincident arrays...
Old 8th October 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Thank you for posting this Da-Hong; I like it very much.
Since Steve's reorganization of the Remote Possibilities forum, some interesting old things have floated to the top. I recently rediscovered the thread "MS or Coincident vs Spaced in Pro or Majors recordings". After wading through all eight pages (and I obviously read it previously as I had posted therein!) I have come to the conclusion that some of us listen to recordings with our mind's eye as well as with our ears and I am sure that colours our preference for Blumlein techniques. As soon as you noted 'Vienna Phil seating' I locked in on all the various instruments in the soundfield, much as I might focus on a specific instrument in the orchestra during a live performance by employing my 'opto-aural lens'. I find only Blumlein techniques really lend themselves to this type of listening. I am sure there is thesis material for a psychology doctoral candidate in all the discussions of spaced omni versus coincident arrays...
there are indeed studies on this topic - what i find even more interesting is that 'knowing' what technique was used on a recording does mostly influence the way we're hearing things (as it's hard to suppress preference and taste)! lots of studies on this topic as well although rarely stemming from our field of work afaik...

(funny you mention blumlein as it's mostly my 'best hated' technique...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
Last month I did a production recording of Brahms Symphony No. 2. Tons of microphones were set up. However, the main pair is comprised of MS. M is a MKH20 and S is a MKH30. They are 5 meters above the stage, facing straight down. Instead of standing behind the conductor, it is in front of the conductor, in the middle of the strings. It is about where the middle mic of the Decca tree would be. Lastly, the HPF are removed from both microphones and their high ends are extended to 50KHz, similar to MKH800. Here is the MS pair with no process of any sort, other than mp3 transcoding.


The orchestra strings seat like the Vienna Phil.



Best regards,


Da-Hong
thx for posting! 'interesting' setup... - imo downfacing mics/positioned relatively high can lead to a somewhat unusual stereo spread - did you get to try a different position and/or use an alternate main pair or could you post any other mix which includes some of the other mics?
Old 8th October 2019
  #6
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Beautiful sound and natural balance, but speaking of the "hole in middle" effect, that is what I actually hear here. I would not have expected that with MS. Is the S signal louder than the M?
Old 8th October 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister View Post
Beautiful sound and natural balance, but speaking of the "hole in middle" effect, that is what I actually hear here. I would not have expected that with MS. Is the S signal louder than the M?


Three pieces of info;


Well, if you would to imagine looking down from where the microphones are, you would see the floor of the stage. The microphones are literally in the middle of a hole. However, being MS, you can easily dial down the stereo width to narrow the image.


The MKH20 used in this sample has 0.6-0.7 dB lower output. It is from one of the older production runs. I didn't compensate for it in this post. That might also contributes to what you hear.


I wish I had a taller mic stand. 5 meters is not quite high enough for the size of the orchestra and the hall. 7 meters would be really nice. The hall is big with 2000 seats.
Old 8th October 2019
  #8
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If you're anywhere between DC and Atlanta, I'll bring you as tall a stand as you need, Da-Hong!

Last edited by Klimermonk; 8th October 2019 at 05:20 PM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 8th October 2019
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klimermonk View Post
If you're anywhere between DC and Atlanta, I'll bring you as tall a stand as you need, Da-Hong!


Thank you, I will take you up on that next time.




But, it was overseas. They only could find 5 meter ones locally.
Old 9th October 2019
  #10
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by going high up, one looses most early reflections and hence localisation within the soundfield gets poor, even when using coincident mics...
Old 9th October 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
by going high up, one looses most early reflections and hence localisation within the soundfield gets poor, even when using coincident mics...
I'm sorry, but I don't understand this statement. Can you refer me to something that explains the relationship of early reflections and "localization within the soundfield"? Does this mean there would be no directional cues using an MS array to record in a an-echoic chamber? This seems counter-intuitive...
Old 9th October 2019
  #12
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The beauty of MS is that there is a mic pointed right at the sound source. The side channels flesh out the field with stereo info. I am puzzled by the MS naysayers but while I disagree with them I sure do not deny them their opinions. And with Roger and now Da-Hong we have samples which illustrate just how good the array is.

It is not the only solution to the problem. But it sure is one which works well very often.
Old 9th October 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
The beauty of MS is that there is a mic pointed right at the sound source. The side channels flesh out the field with stereo info. I am puzzled by the MS naysayers but while I disagree with them I sure do not deny them their opinions. And with Roger and now Da-Hong we have samples which illustrate just how good the array is.

It is not the only solution to the problem. But it sure is one which works well very often.
I can't say exactly why, but it (MS) never sounds right to me. It could be because there are so many nulls involved....the rear of the mid mic (if it's cardioid) and those of the fig 8 are even more significant too. I don't think you can omit so much 'information' and pull off the trick successfully ?

Does that by definition make spaced AB Omni 'too much information'....or Jecklin Disc 'just right' (and no, it isn't) due to the emulation of head shadowing ? These are all flawed, simplistic analyses of complex, well thought out miking techniques. I just see MS as more of a problem-solver than a satisfying method in its own right.
Maybe, if I had a third ear in my forehead, I'd be declaring MS as the only miking method that sounds 'natural' ?
But, what do I know....
Old 9th October 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I can't say exactly why, but it (MS) never sounds right to me. It could be because there are so many nulls involved....the rear of the mid mic (if it's cardioid) and those of the fig 8 are even more significant too. I don't think you can omit so much 'information' and pull off the trick successfully ?

Does that by definition make spaced AB Omni 'too much information'....or Jecklin Disc 'just right' (and no, it isn't) due to the emulation of head shadowing ? These are all flawed, simplistic analyses of complex, well thought out miking techniques. I just see MS as more of a problem-solver than a satisfying method in its own right.
Maybe, if I had a third ear in my forehead, I'd be declaring MS as the only miking method that sounds 'natural' ?
But, what do I know....
I am using the two ribbon figure eights in the Samar VL373A. I include the forward-facing Mid and the two sides, the Side once as-is and again phase inverted. I do not use the phase inverted rear channel of the Mid mic. If you have listened to Roger's recent postings and also to Da-Hong's and can hear nulls I am stumped. Mathematically the MS is the same as a Blumlein.

Question: have you ever listened to a pair of double-blind presented simultaneous recordings of MS and ORTF or NOS or DIN or AB or XY? You have mentioned your reservations before. Could it be that Oz is upside down?
Old 9th October 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
I'm sorry, but I don't understand this statement. Can you refer me to something that explains the relationship of early reflections and "localization within the soundfield"? Does this mean there would be no directional cues using an MS array to record in a an-echoic chamber? This seems counter-intuitive...
i didn't say or mean one gets 'no' directional cues higher up but one gets less early reflections - these ADD to our ability/we heavily depend on them to localize a source within the stereo or surround soundfield, independent of mic system/technique.

this effect can get experienced both on the way in (recording) and out (playback) - the latter is reflected (sorry for the pun) in some studio control room designs.
adding (artificial) reflections to mono sources during mixing is a simple but very effective tool and common practice.
the virtual surround panning algorithm of my studer vista desks is based on the same principle (frequency dependent, intensity-based AND delay-based panning to be precise), just to give some examples. - but i haven't been digging into any literature on this topic in years so i'm sorry, i can't offer anything else than close to four decades of experience.

going high up has some merits but NOT in terms of localisation and width! if ever putting mains high up, i'd add efx to compensate for the loss of early reflections (and still get a wide but somewhat less realistic/'natural' image) and most likely wouldn't use any (otherwise mostly much preferred) coincident mic system (and certainly not for surround rears unless rear localisation is needed)...
___

when using m/s, i never push the sides at high levels (in mixdown); if i'd need to go so high to cover an ensemble, i'd swap to a different technique - using a soundfield mic easily let's me do so or then i rely on the secondary system, using a spaced technique or l/c/r.
___

regarding this recording, it certainly does NOT lack stereo width: imo it rather offers a über-realistic/spectacular stereo soundfield which i'm not sure every producer would want to deal with when broadcasting; getting things more narrow is easy though (but if those timpanies will fall back into their position in which they could get experienced when using a mic system not pointing down but positioned further back? i doubt it... - btw: were they close to a reflective wall? a pic would help to reveal some of the mystery)

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 9th October 2019 at 08:49 PM.. Reason: edited three times, sorry...
Old 9th October 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
Pretty nice...
I beg to differ -- that is excellent! Nicely done Da-Hong. Nicely done indeed.
Old 9th October 2019
  #17
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emrr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I can't say exactly why, but it (MS) never sounds right to me. It could be because there are so many nulls involved....the rear of the mid mic (if it's cardioid) and those of the fig 8 are even more significant too. I don't think you can omit so much 'information' and pull off the trick successfully ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
If you have listened to Roger's recent postings and also to Da-Hong's and can hear nulls I am stumped. Mathematically the MS is the same as a Blumlein.
Interesting to think about that in relation to Roger's opinion, which I (mostly) share, that a pair of matched figure 8's deployed MS sounds better than the same pair oriented Blumlein. But they are the 'same' in simple terms! Interesting to think about Blumlein center image being a blend of the two 45º off-axis signals....not unlike XY.....
Old 9th October 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
Interesting to think about Blumlein center image being a blend of the two 45º off-axis signals....not unlike XY.....
Yes, and not a problem, because the fig 8 pattern out to 45 deg is perfect and constant at all frequencies, as inspection of any polar plots will attest, as well as listening.

Blumlein with crossed fig 8's is far superior to MS Blumlein as the comb filtering from matrixing two signals together is absent. A profound benefit.
Old 9th October 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Blumlein with crossed fig 8's is far superior to MS Blumlein as the comb filtering from matrixing two signals together is absent. A profound benefit.
...and as has apperently been belabored in other threads, Roger and I disagree completely with you.
Old 9th October 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
...and as has apperently been belabored in other threads, Roger and I disagree completely with you.
Disagreeing with the laws of physics is a road to nowhere.
Old 9th October 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Disagreeing with the laws of physics is a road to nowhere.
Disagreeing with practical sonic results is a fool's game. Happy?
Old 9th October 2019
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
Disagreeing with practical sonic results is a fool's game. Happy?
Old 9th October 2019
  #23
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The ultimate prove is in the recording itself, regardless whatever the mics or microphone techniques were used. If you can make a good sounding recording with a carbon microphone I will buy it and listen to it. You probably can't.
Old 10th October 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
The ultimate prove is in the recording itself, regardless whatever the mics or microphone techniques were used. If you can make a good sounding recording with a carbon microphone I will buy it and listen to it. You probably can't.
I'm on board, again.

Regardless of how it is made if the recording captures the "moment" I consider it successful. Victory at Sea was a marvelously recorded LP, very exciting as a musical piece. But I really like wonderful work of the type that Roger posts. He is the Merlin of MS. Looks like Da-Hong is closing. My limited experience includes multi-mic'ed tracks. But I fall back on two techniques on a regular basis: MS and ECA. Earcatcher's ECA posts are transcendant. They present a very real image and feel of the musical event. What else would I want? The days of exciting stereo demonstration recordings have long past. Let me feel I am there. As usual, YMMV, as that's what this forum is about.
Old 10th October 2019
  #25
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Originally Posted by boojum View Post
Question: have you ever listened to a pair of double-blind presented simultaneous recordings of MS and ORTF or NOS or DIN or AB or XY? You have mentioned your reservations before. Could it be that Oz is upside down?
I may have tried that comparison, wasn't it posted here several years ago ? If I recall the MS was (surprisingly) tucked in amongst the near coincident set (ORTF, DIN, NOS) in terms of difficulty of detection, compared with the more extreme diversions of XY and AB. Easier to detect with headphones too, much more difficult with speakers.

I'm not saying that the best of any of these deployments aren't extremely pleasant to listen to, including those of Da Hong and Roger, as well the Blumlein and AB experts here, but that MS is the most like sitting in a movie theatre with no dialog and the fx track being given full rein (ie overstretched stereo reality)
Old 10th October 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I may have tried that comparison, wasn't it posted here several years ago ? If I recall the MS was (surprisingly) tucked in amongst the near coincident set (ORTF, DIN, NOS) in terms of difficulty of detection, compared with the more extreme diversions of XY and AB. Easier to detect with headphones too, much more difficult with speakers.

I'm not saying that the best of any of these deployments aren't extremely pleasant to listen to, including those of Da Hong and Roger, as well the Blumlein and AB experts here, but that MS is the most like sitting in a movie theatre with no dialog and the fx track being given full rein (ie overstretched stereo reality)
Unlike so many other arrays MS is quite flexible. In post it can have its width changed and with it the center can advance and recede. The interplay of the figure eight with the mic, card or figure eight is variable. For quick and dirty two matched figure eights will always work quite well. I like the Samar double figure eight for that reason. And I like how it records. Unless one has a lot of time to try figure eight and cardioid combos the matched figure eight is safest. That wiley Roger has the two Sennheisers working very well even when they are two different mics. Maybe the Sennies have a family resemblance. Using two different mics just adds another variable to the mix.

But unlike you I lilke the natural sound of MS. I do not get the overstretched sound you note. Maybe the batteries in my deaf-aids are shot.
Old 10th October 2019
  #27
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One more sample of MS as well as its full mix. No EQ or reverb. It is something I did this past summer. The musicians are all fantastic players as you can hear. That piece of music has rather complicated rhythm.



Again, MS consists of MKH20/30.


The full mix is basically MS plus MKH800 omni spots on every instruments.



The MS does provide a very accurate stereo image. It makes panning the spots very easy in post.




Best regards,


Da-Hong
Old 10th October 2019
  #28
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The musical line seems to be clearer with the MS recording, more focus. If I hadn't heard the first recording the 2nd would be excellent too. Great performance too.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
Last month I did a production recording of Brahms Symphony No. 2. Tons of microphones were set up. However, the main pair is comprised of MS. M is a MKH20 and S is a MKH30.
Thanks so much for sharing, dseetoo. I enjoyed listening to it. Great example of great placement with great mics! I'm sure the orchestra will love it.
Old 4 weeks ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Blumlein with crossed fig 8's is far superior to MS Blumlein as the comb filtering from matrixing two signals together is absent. A profound benefit.
No comb filtering in MS because M and S are in-phase at any frequency.
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