String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by James Perrett »

There are two ways of using M-S. You can either have an M-S source as we are talking about here with microphones or you can have a normal stereo source which you want to process with M-S. The encoder is needed for the second scenario where you want to convert from normal stereo to M-S.

If you already have an M-S recording you just need the decoder but, as Hugh says, the encoding and decoding processes are identical if the decoder settings are left at their defaults so you could actually use the encoder to do the decoding.

The Reaper M-S decoder expects both the M and S signal in the same audio stream. This can either be in the same file or, if recorded to separate files, you could combine the two tracks, putting them on opposite channels in a folder track and put the decoder into the folder processing.

If you want to process everything as normal stereo then put the decoder at the start of the processing chain but any processing that you want to do in M-S needs to go before the decoder.
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Arpangel wrote: Sun May 21, 2023 8:26 am What track do I put the decoder on? the master?
Or just the mic track?

Stereo mic channel.

If you were recording normal Left-Right stereo, you'd bring the two mic signals into reaper on a stereo track.

You do the same with Mid-Sides — bring the mics into a stereo channel — but you need to convert to Left-Right to mix with other signals, so you drop an MS decoder in as the very first plugin on that stereo channel so that your MS mics are immediately converted to left-right and can be used in the normal way.

The decoder pluhin will have controls to adjust stereo width and, possibly, other parameters too.

I take it the figure eight goes on just one channel?

Yes, channel 2, with the mid mic on channel 1.

I’m just confusing out of phase etc, as in the hardware set-up maybe.

That's the beauty of DAW plugins. All that complicated channel duplication, polarity inversion, panning and routing all goes away. The plugin does it all for you. MS goes in, LR comes out.

Do I have to use the JS Encoder and Decoder together?

No, just the decoder. The signals are already encoded as MS because of your mic array, so you just need to decode back to LR.

The encoder is for when you have a normal LR stereo track that you want to process as MS (and then you'd use the decoder after the processor to return to the LR format again.
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by forumuser840717 »

Carmelious wrote: Sat May 20, 2023 4:23 pm THE RECORDING WENT NICELY as such:

ortf se08s at 90*
....

Good that it went well but what's ortf ____ at 90*?
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Wonks »

Indeed. ORTF is a very well defined mic arrangement, with the mics splayed out at 110° with the capsules 17cm apart. Anything else isn't ORTF as you aren't mimicking the way our ears hear things (without the use of a dummy head).
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

forumuser840717 wrote: Good that it went well but what's ortf ____ at 90*?

:lol: You and me both, eh? :D

For the benefit of others, the French ORTF mic array has a very precise specification: 170mm capsule spacing with a 110 degree mutual angle.

If the stereo mic array doesn't have that exact spacing and that exact mutual angle, it ain't ORTF... it's simply a near-spaced stereo pair of your own design.

For reference, there are several other precisely defined near-spaced mic arrays, such as the Dutch NOS (300mm and 90 degrees), or the German DIN (200mm, 90 degrees)... etc

Varying the capsule spacing and mutual angle alters the stereo acceptance angle and the imaging, and altering these parameters along with the distance from the source helps to find the optimum sound stage and aural perspective. So there's nothing wrong with altering the mutual angle or capsule spacing of an array to achieve the desired sound... just don't call it a defined array when it isn't because it causes unnecessary confusion (and sometimes mirth ;-) )!
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Arpangel »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Sun May 21, 2023 2:13 pm
forumuser840717 wrote: Good that it went well but what's ortf ____ at 90*?

:lol: You and me both, eh? :D

For the benefit of others, the French ORTF mic array has a very precise specification: 170mm capsule spacing with a 110 degree mutual angle.

If the stereo mic array doesn't have that exact spacing and that exact mutual angle, it ain't ORTF... it's simply a near-spaced stereo pair of your own design.

For reference, there are several other precisely defined near-spaced mic arrays, such as the Dutch NOS (300mm and 90 degrees), or the German DIN (200mm, 90 degrees)... etc

Varying the capsule spacing and mutual angle alters the stereo acceptance angle and the imaging, and altering these parameters along with the distance from the source helps to find the optimum sound stage and aural perspective. So there's nothing wrong with altering the mutual angle or capsule spacing of an array to achieve the desired sound... just don't call it a defined array when it isn't because it causes unnecessary confusion (and sometimes mirth ;-) )!

I’ve used the ORTF system and even got the measuring tape out! and it’s worked fine, but I’m wondering, how much does it have to be out so you’d hear a difference?

:)
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Not much... Try it!
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Aural Reject »

Arpangel wrote: Sun May 21, 2023 9:36 pm
Hugh Robjohns wrote: Sun May 21, 2023 2:13 pm
forumuser840717 wrote: Good that it went well but what's ortf ____ at 90*?

:lol: You and me both, eh? :D

For the benefit of others, the French ORTF mic array has a very precise specification: 170mm capsule spacing with a 110 degree mutual angle.

If the stereo mic array doesn't have that exact spacing and that exact mutual angle, it ain't ORTF... it's simply a near-spaced stereo pair of your own design.

For reference, there are several other precisely defined near-spaced mic arrays, such as the Dutch NOS (300mm and 90 degrees), or the German DIN (200mm, 90 degrees)... etc

Varying the capsule spacing and mutual angle alters the stereo acceptance angle and the imaging, and altering these parameters along with the distance from the source helps to find the optimum sound stage and aural perspective. So there's nothing wrong with altering the mutual angle or capsule spacing of an array to achieve the desired sound... just don't call it a defined array when it isn't because it causes unnecessary confusion (and sometimes mirth ;-) )!

I’ve used the ORTF system and even got the measuring tape out! and it’s worked fine, but I’m wondering, how much does it have to be out so you’d hear a difference?

:)

As Hugh has said, using your ears and fiddling on appropriate lab monkeys is the best way....but if you cba or don't have a home office licence....

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/HejiaE.htm
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

The sengpiel calculators are very good, but I mostly use the Neumann Recording Tool app on my phone to visualise mic arrays tweaks as it's interactive and quicker to use (and easier to do when on location).

As a general rule, though, reducing either the mutual angle or the capsule spacing of a stereo array reduces the source width as heard over stereo speakers (and vice versa).

This is because reducing the mutual angle (or spacing) means the interchannel level (or timing) difference for an off-axis source also reduces. Smaller level /timing differences between channels produce images closer to the centre — hence a narrower source image.

Thinking of it on a different way, if you reduce the mic angle/spacing then to appear fully in one or other speaker the off-axis source has to go even more off-axis.

As a guiding technique to optimal mic array placement, I'd suggest rigging what you think might work — ORTF or whatever — switch the monitoring to mono, and move the array nearer or further from the source until the perspective (direct/reverb balance,) is just on the dry side of ideal.

Then revert to the monitoring to stereo and notice the slightly more reverberant character. Repeat adjustments until happy with the mono/stereo compromise.

Next, consider the stereo imaging. Does the source fill the soundstage appropriately?

If it's too narrow, try increasing the mutual angle and/or capsule spacing slightly (5 degree and 1cm increments) — being mindful that more direct signal is potentially being captured off-axis and with more risk of comb-filtering, so generally with more colouration. Check mono compatibility again.

If the source is overly wide then consider reducing the mutual angle and/or capsule spacing.

Also, be aware that changes to the mutual angle and capsule spacing not only alter the stereo recording angle (and thus source image width), but also the image linearity or 'spatial distortion' — the relationship between the incidence angle in the recording environment and the perceived angle in the stereo image portrayed by the speakers.

Spatial distortion can be significant in some configurations, which is why we have different standard arrays optimised for different stereo recording angles.

For more on that, see Michael Williams' books and articles.
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Aural Reject »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 1:35 pm The sengpiel calculators are very good, but I mostly use the Neumann Recording Tool app on my phone to visualise mic arrays tweaks as it's interactive and quicker to use (and easier to do when on location).

Totally agree…but I’m, er, cough on a coffee break in the office and had that bookmarked 🤣
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 1:35 pmAs a general rule, though, reducing either the mutual angle or the capsule spacing of a stereo array reduces the source width as heard over stereo speakers (and vice versa).

I do find this weirdly counter-intuitive. My primitive brain says that if you narrow the mutual angle, the actual source takes up more of the space between the on-axis lines of the microphones, therefore when you play it back it should come out as a wider sounding source. A bit like zooming in with a camera lens.
I understand why this isn't the case, from your answer below, but my brain is really not happy about it! :D
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Drew Stephenson wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 1:59 pm I do find this weirdly counter-intuitive.

You're not alone. Most students of the subject struggle too.

My primitive brain says that if you narrow the mutual angle, the actual source takes up more of the space between the on-axis lines of the microphones, therefore when you play it back it should come out as a wider sounding source.

What matters to the speaker image is the interchannel level difference. More width needs more difference... but a narrower mutual angle gives less difference — and when the angle is zero, no difference and thus dual mono.
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Wonks »

I often find things are often easier to understand if you take them to one extreme or another. in this case, assume that both mics are parallel to each other and close together. It's easy to see that the stereo image width would be small/almost non-existent and you'd get close to a mono image.

Moving the mics apart, or widening the angle between them (within reason), can then only give you a wider stereo image.
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Drew Stephenson »

:thumbup:

(still don't like it though!)
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by Arpangel »

Drew Stephenson wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 3:07 pm:thumbup:

(still don't like it though!)

I’ve tried a textbook ORTF pair on our piano and it didn’t cut it, I’m using a wide, spaced pair of cardioids about 18 inches off, and it sounds like our piano, perfect.
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Re: String quartet - 3 condensers, some 57s\58s

Post by tea for two »

Zoom H2n has M/S facility which I wasn't aware of until now.

Reviewed 2012
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/zoom-h2n
"Initially I wondered if the M/S facility would work properly or be a marketing gimmick, given that this is a budget product. I'm happy to report that I found it extremely effective. Although the parameters can be adjusted on-board, in RAW mode, I found leaving this until the mixing stage was the best option, and the M/S decoder was joyously simple to use.

The quality of the mics is about the same as those on similarly-priced products I've tested: sound quality is reasonably good, and certainly usable, but not exceptional. Importantly, handling noise is very low — all the more impressive when the entire recorder is about the price of a typical budget condenser mic!"

So now I'm interested in acquiring H2n 2nd hand so as to checking out its M/S facility.
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