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Straus Paket trial with Line Audio mic pairs
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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๐ŸŽง 10 years
Straus Paket trial with Line Audio mic pairs

I'd be interested in your thoughts on Straus Paket trial I made today at a baroque concert, with violin and cello.

For those not familiar with the concept, Volker Straus approached the absence of wide-cardioid mic (before they appeared on the market) by summing a pair of coincident omni and cardioid mics for each L/R channel, in a typical AB array, so that effectively he got a 50/50 blend of each...thus creating a wide-cardioid mic, by adding the 2 patterns together electrically.

Needless to say, once this mic pattern appeared for sale from the likes of Neumann and Schoeps, the method fell away into the dusty pages of history...after all, why tie up 4 channels of input when you can use a single mic pair which achieves the same end ?

Here's an exploration of the concept, in a prior GS thread from this forum (which also contains several photos illustrating the method):
Kudos to Mr. Straus... (DIY wide cardioid)

I was curious to try this nevertheless...since I don't have a wide cardioid pair. For the purposes of this exercise, I'm going to call the pair of Line Audio CM3's I used here "cardioid"....anyone wanting to debate that is free to do so, I simply contend that they're intrinsically still closer to cardioid than to wide cardioid in nature (although the newer CM4 is probably 'yet more cardioid again' !)

I also wanted to investigate how amenable the pair of OM1 and CM3 would be to selectively varying the ratio of each...in the same way as one might tweak the balance of an inner directional pair against an outer omni pair on a Boojum/Norman/Faulkner single bar/4 mic array.

Unfortunately, I chose a very ambient/reverberant church for the exercise...which perhaps 'clouds' the results somewhat ?

I'm thus providing you with 3 audio files for comparison: an OM1 omni only pair, a CM3 only pair, and a 50/50 OM1/CM3 Straus Paket mix.

The mics were 2.5m high (one paket pair per stand), 72cms apart and about 2.5m from the pair of players. The 2 mics of each channel were simply taped together, and shared the same mic clip...and adjusted for equal gain on 4 inputs of a DAV mic preamp. A single 72cm bar could have achieved the same spacing, rather than using 2 stands...

Your observations and comments will be of interest. There is no added reverb, compression etc...these are the direct mic feeds. Sometime later I'll post some audio samples from the pre-concert rehearsal...using the same method, but with 1 metre spacing between the pairs, for imaging comparison.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Head
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Thanks for posting.
Really enjoyed the sound from the "Straus packet"; a fine mix of room and direct sound. Nice playing also. I bought a pair of Neumann kk143 last summer and have enjoyed using them both for spots and mains. Really versatile mic.

All the best,
Knut
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Head
Hi Studer58,


Thanks for posting this,

for my taste the 50/50 pair sounded good, an alternative to the over reverberant space ...the cards have a nice color but sometimes the violin gets a bit "harsh" which is not so obvious in the 50/50 pair .... the all omni take sound's a bit far in that space.

nicely done,

Ray
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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didier.brest's Avatar
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Nice ! The mixing of the omnis and the cardioids achieves an intermediate balance of the direct and the ambient sounds with respect to the omnis and the cardioids alone as expected. Is there any daw or plugin for doing such a mixing with a single control while maintaining constant the level of the mix ? We would get something equivalent to the continuous control of the directivity of a M 49, but limited between omni and cardioid instead of between omni and figure-of-eight.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #5
Gear Guru
 
๐ŸŽง 5 years
use dual-diaphragm microphones with dual outputs if you dunno what pattern to choose for tracking/want to have some options for mixing but stay clear of straus-paket if you can...

mics in a straus-paket combine less well than mics in a m/s array as in case of the latter, the omni or cardioid is in the position of the largest attenuation ('null') of the fig8 capsule...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest โžก๏ธ
Nice ! The mixing of the omnis and the cardioids achieves an intermediate balance of the direct and the ambient sounds with respect to the omnis and the cardioids alone as expected. Is there any daw or plugin for doing such a mixing with a single control while maintaining constant the level of the mix ? We would get something equivalent to the continuous control of the directivity of a M 49, but limited between omni and cardioid instead of between omni and figure-of-eight.
A 'constant mix level' facility would indeed be handy...probably acting a little like the centre-dip in level you get on a pan pot which is conforming to pan-law summing (usually 3-6dB)...except that this would be a simple linear level drop across both pairs as the fader level approaches unity, rather than a panorama control with a dip-trough in the centre ?

As is often the case with these 'experiments' the stand placement choice was quite limited, but it's pleasing that many of you are still able to discern a preference between the 3 options (all Omni, all cardioid, 50/50 blend)...and of course there's still the ability for variable blend between the 2 pairs as well.

One thing I noticed in this capture is there's a little more tendency for 'ghost' or 'double' violin images to occur....occasionally there seem to be 2 violins playing at different locations in the left/right spectrum. I don't know if that's due to the body movements of the violinist, the spaced nature of the mics, or the differing stereo image renditions of the 2 pairs (particularly in the 50/50 blend) ?

Would you expect to have less of this with the '4 mics on a bar' phased arrays....or with greater/lesser AB spacing ?

Is this sort of ghost doubling more a feature of AB miking in general...if so you might expect it to be much minimised in XY or ORTF...and probably entirely absent in M-S ?

Later today I'll add a sample with 1 metre spacing, and we'll see how that compares with the 72cm AB samples above...

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 04:31 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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jnorman's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
๐ŸŽง 15 years
It seems quite similar to blending the omnis with the center ORTF cards in the Faulkner/Boojum/jnorman array. It can be very effective and is an excellent way to cover your butt when recording in an unknown venue to control how much room ambience you want/need.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #8
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๐ŸŽง 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman โžก๏ธ
It seems quite similar to blending the omnis with the center ORTF cards in the Faulkner/Boojum/jnorman array. It can be very effective and is an excellent way to cover your butt when recording in an unknown venue to control how much room ambience you want/need.
That's pretty much the situation I'd see myself using the method in...there is probably an 'optimal AB width' for any given set of players and width of ensemble. That might be guided by the usual recommendations for AB width...while aiming to avoid the 'hole in the middle effect' at the wider end of the scale.

Perhaps the addition of the cardioid pair is akin to dialling up the 8kHz far-field bump that's already inbuilt on the KM183's ? The net effect is to give a little more focus to the sound, while preserving the bloom, ambience and LF reach of a spaced Omni pair.

For that reason, it might be advised to use a flat response Omni for the Paket pair (as I did with the OM-1) ? Another possible use could be as a 'zoomable spot mic'. The argument against this is that it ties up additional mic channels...so why not just get a wide cardioid and be done with it !

Jim...do you ever experience this 'phantom image doubling' phenomenon with flute players...perhaps down to the player's body swaying or variable propagation of notes in several directions (or other reasons) ?
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Nut
 
I find all three recordings very nice. In the cm3+om1 track I can hear the fullest tone while keeping a nice focus, which I think is your intent; the sound of the cello is, to my ears, very good while there is something I cannot explain and doesn't convince me 100% related to the violin sound. Maybe somewhat a little bit "unnatural", like featuring at the same time the sound you may typically hear staying close and the one you get at a distance.
It's just my impression, maybe wrong as I'm a musician but not that expert in evaluating technical differences in professional recordings like most guys are here.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #10
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๐ŸŽง 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by carpa โžก๏ธ
I find all three recordings very nice. In the cm3+om1 track I can hear the fullest tone while keeping a nice focus, which I think is your intent; the sound of the cello is, to my ears, very good while there is something I cannot explain and doesn't convince me 100% related to the violin sound. Maybe somewhat a little bit "unnatural", like featuring at the same time the sound you may typically hear staying close and the one you get at a distance.
It's just my impression, maybe wrong as I'm a musician but not that expert in evaluating technical differences in professional recordings like most guys are here.
Your observation might indicate the value of selective hpf and lpf for the Omni pair only, so that the directional CM3 pair provides the majority of the signal, while the OM-1 'gets out of the way' ...apart from supplying the LF and HF room ambience information only ?

It could also be argued that, for a strings duo, a narrower AB spacing of around 40cm might have been more appropriate, as suggested in this related thread: Kudos to Mr. Straus... (DIY wide cardioid)
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #11
Gear Nut
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 โžก๏ธ
Your observation might indicate the value of selective hpf and lpf for the Omni pair only, so that the directional CM3 pair provides the majority of the signal, while the OM-1 'gets out of the way' ...apart from supplying the LF and HF room ambience information only ?

It could also be argued that, for a strings duo, a narrower AB spacing of around 40cm might have been more appropriate, as suggested in this related thread: Kudos to Mr. Straus... (DIY wide cardioid)
Itโ€™s just an impression of a slightly less โ€œ naturalโ€ sound, but I cannot tell why... in any case all three recordings are very nice and I noticed that om-1 work great even at not too close distance.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Addict
 
๐ŸŽง 5 years
Thanks for posting this studer. This is really interesting. I must have had my head in the sand because this is the first I've come across this technique. I'm not seeing it in the books I have on mic technique - but then again I don't have a large number of them. Anyway, I do like the Straus Paket. I like that it retains much of the effortless sound of the omnis (that's how omni AB sounds to me - effortless, which is one reason why I love it) while providing some focus as well. Cards to me, as a main pair on their own, tend to sound "uptight" - not sure how else to say it - but I think I could live with them when paired with the omnis like this.

The ghost images I am pretty sure are coming from the movements of the violin player. I can almost see it in my head as I listen. I think she/he is changing the angle of the fiddle and occasionally pointing it to the right channel mics when turning left so you get a bit of a double image. That's my theory anyway.

But very nice capture of the tone of the instruments in all three samples. I didn't notice the violin sounding bright but when someone mentioned it I can see what they mean. I'm used to hearing violinists up close in chamber music so to me that is how the violin sounds before the air has the chance to absorb high frequency content. Personally, I find it realistic IMO.

Interesting, thanks.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shosty โžก๏ธ
Thanks for posting this studer. This is really interesting. The ghost images I am pretty sure are coming from the movements of the violin player. I can almost see it in my head as I listen. I think she/he is changing the angle of the fiddle and occasionally pointing it to the right channel mics when turning left so you get a bit of a double image. That's my theory anyway..
I'm glad you enjoyed the samples shosty ! While the single wide cardioid mic would get you most of the advantages of this pair, I still believe you can't beat the LF extension afforded by an SD Omni !

You're very likely correct in your analysis of the image-scattering/doubling of the violin in tandem with the player's movements...and I don't think it's confined to AB omni miking either...I've heard it with NOS and ORTF too. I'm interested to discover from others here whether XY, M-S or Blumlein are immune ?

I'm hoping Jim Norman will also chime in with his experiences re flute imaging...although flute players perhaps sway around a little less than violinists ?
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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esldude's Avatar
 
๐ŸŽง 5 years
I found the violin too bright. I thought the mix of both microphones handled this in the best way.

As I was thinking of how you did this and listening it occurred to me I'd try an LP filter on the omni mics or maybe let them run, but shelf them down somewhere around 500 hz. I think this might help with the doubling you pick up in spots.
Old 3 days ago
  #15
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๐ŸŽง 10 years
As a promised addendum, the samples in post#1 were all AB =72cms.

This very brief pre-concert rehearsal sample is with the AB at 1m width, and also features HF rolloff above 5k on the OM-1 pair only...to offset any combing interactions between the 2 mic pairs.
Attached Files

rehearsal 1m AB Straus Paket.mp3 (2.17 MB, 101 views)

Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #16
Gear Nut
 
I like it very much! Can't tell why, but here I hear a spacious yet still very focused sound without the very slight feeling of being there/being distant I seemed to get from the first clip you posted.
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by carpa โžก๏ธ
I like it very much! Can't tell why, but here I hear a spacious yet still very focused sound without the very slight feeling of being there/being distant I seemed to get from the first clip you posted.
Yes...I suspect it might be down to letting just one mic pair shoulder the load of reproducing the upper audible range...rather than having both pairs fighting over it, and mangling the sound via mutual combing-interference

That may not be the technically correct rationale, but empirically it seems to work....unless it's the greater width of the mic pairs, affording more spaciousness and less crowding ?
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