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Old 19th December 2018
Gear Maniac
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Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Is the 75% measurement sufficient to give good image spread in speakers....or is the 100% better in that regard ?
It really depends on what’s being recorded. For me, a large orchestra, choir or similar ensemble is okay at 100%, but a string quartet sounds too weird that way and I’m more interesting in about 67% (2/3). Some things sound better letting the outer extremes go beyond 100% in order to keep the bulk of it around the 67% region. If I’m recording and filming at the same time, with social media being the destination, I might set the image width to suit how it appears on video.

Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I like that your mic placement method still relies on in-ear (ER4) empirical judgement for best sound, before going to the app for the optimal widths and angles: the best workflow possible
I’m very much about taking strategic and methodical approaches to this stuff, making clear distinctions between what is objective and what is subjective. That partly came from years working all night sessions in recording studios and all night live sets, where it’s 4am and you’re struggling to stay awake but have to set up to record drums or something. Reducing as much of the process as possible into step-by-step methodical approaches means you can work on auto-pilot and get the job done (thank you Sherman Keene!).

Also, I really hate it when the best advice some experienced engineer has to offer a novice is “just use your ears”. Really not helpful and just basically lazy, IMHO. So the novice rolls up to his/her first choral recording with a pair of mics, some cable, a field recorder, a pair of headphones and a pocketful of “just use your ears”. LOL! There is so much helpful information that can be given long before it’s time to let your ears be the final arbiter - which they should always be.

Most of my recent recordings (the endangered music of SE Asia) is of small ensembles (one to four people) sitting on the ground performing. For those recordings I don’t need a tall stand and can take a different approach. I’ll still use the first part of the process (both mics side by side to find the right distance and height) but then loosen up the mics on the stereo bar so I can hold one in each hand and slide them along and rotate and angle them as desired while listening. That’s possible in those situations because I’m using a Nanostand and so the mics are within arms’ reach. Once I get the mic placements sorted, I lock them in and get on with it.

The interesting thing is that with both approaches I rarely ever end up with any of the standard configurations (ORTF or whatever). They are, after all, just presets that can make good starting points.

Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Out of interest, have you tried the free Neumann equivalent, cited in post #15 above ? Despite not having the camera performer angle feature, it offers easier adjustment of the mic type/angle/spacing parameters...the 2 could work well in tandem ?
I do use them in tandem!

I find the Neumann app is great for determining ratios of mono compatibility and so on due to the way it shows the balance of time and intensity differences for any given set up. But that’s normally when I’m planning in advance to get an idea of what technique I would be leaning towards on a certain recording. I had to record a series of taiko drum performance in Bangkok earlier this year with flying mics. My first approach, a variation of Faulkner’s side-by-side bidirectionals, was a disaster. That’s not a criticism of the technique but my own fault for not ‘reading’ the room correctly during my preproduction visit. So before the second performance I used a combination of those two apps and arrived at a pair of forward-facing cardioids about 52cm apart. Worked wonderfully well - although that’s not always the case. Sometimes I find that the method tested in the apps doesn’t work at all - which usually means I didn’t read the situation properly in the first place.

Once I’m on the ground, at the location, I’ll take the approach I mentioned earlier to find the distance and height, then I’ll put the mics into the stereo technique I thought would work best, then I’ll tweak from there. I find the Neumann app is more useful as an insight in advance.

I didn’t want to mention the Neumann app here because this thread is about the MARRS app, which I think is excellent from an educational point of view. I often play with MARRS, building ensembles and tweaking parameters to see how things change, and then also cross-referencing the same set up in the Neumann app to check for the balance of time and intensity differences. It really helps to provide a deeper understanding of how all the different things interact.

Good luck with the choir recording!