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Low cost field recording rig?

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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby MOF » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:00 pm

Arpangel wrote:
I could go M&S as that’s easier to mount, butI don’t want to bother with decoding etc.
Don't know why you feel this is a 'bother'?

If the device you're recording with supports M/S it will do the decoding for you, back in your DAW you just insert the free MSED plug-in - job done. From your point of view it's just 'normal' stereo.

It’s not the first thread I’ve seen where someone thinks it’s a chore to decode M/S recordings. Pre DAW days it was, but so easy now.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Dan LB » Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:45 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:I wouldn’t want to use shotguns or omnis for stereo field recording (unless you’re thinking binaural).

Why so Bob?

I use a pair of omni SDCs spaced around 20cm for stereo field recording and find the results very natural. They are also a bit less susceptible to wind noise than cardioids but I use them with softies all the same.

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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:27 pm

I think it comes down to what you want to achieve. A spaced-omni technique doesn't give any front/back separation. If you're just recording a general ambience effect that obviously won't matter and may even be a bonus. But if you're after a sound in a specific location, some directivity to focus on the wanted source and reduce any unwanted ambient sounds may be more useful.

Using shotgun mics for stereo can be done, but it's very easy to have a big hole in the centre if you're not very careful, and off-axis sound sources can be very phasey-sounding, especially if they're moving in relation to the mic array.

Personally, when I'm out and about recording natural sounds I tend to use an MS pair (Sennheiser MKH 30/40 or 30/50 usually, sometimes a 30/20 combo) in a Rycote Cyclone windshield, supplemented with a pair of spaced DPA 4060 Cores (personal mics) which are mounted on FM radio aerials to allow me to easily adjust their positioning. All recorded onto a Nagra VI.

Image

Or if I need to be more compact, I'll use one or other of those rigs feeding into a Sound Devices two-channel preamp with MS decoding and monitoring, and record its (unbalanced) output onto an Olympus LS11.

H
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Dec 23, 2019 9:26 pm

Dan LB wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:I wouldn’t want to use shotguns or omnis for stereo field recording (unless you’re thinking binaural).

Why so Bob?

I use a pair of omni SDCs spaced around 20cm for stereo field recording and find the results very natural. They are also a bit less susceptible to wind noise than cardioids but I use them with softies all the same.

Dan

What Hugh said.

I like some directional information and have found the wide cardioids of the MKH8090s give me that whilst still giving an expansive soundscape.

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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Dan LB » Mon Dec 23, 2019 9:36 pm

Ah yes of course! Makes sense! :thumbup:
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:30 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I think it comes down to what you want to achieve. A spaced-omni technique doesn't give any front/back separation. If you're just recording a general ambience effect that obviously won't matter and may even be a bonus. But if you're after a sound in a specific location, some directivity to focus on the wanted source and reduce any unwanted ambient sounds may be more useful.

Using shotgun mics for stereo can be done, but it's very easy to have a big hole in the centre if you're not very careful, and off-axis sound sources can be very phasey-sounding, especially if they're moving in relation to the mic array.

Personally, when I'm out and about recording natural sounds I tend to use an MS pair (Sennheiser MKH 30/40 or 30/50 usually, sometimes a 30/20 combo) in a Rycote Cyclone windshield, supplemented with a pair of spaced DPA 4060 Cores (personal mics) which are mounted on FM radio aerials to allow me to easily adjust their positioning. All recorded onto a Nagra VI.

Image

Or if I need to be more compact, I'll use one or other of those rigs feeding into a Sound Devices two-channel preamp with MS decoding and monitoring, and record its (unbalanced) output onto an Olympus LS11.

H

I’ve got the MKH30/40 combo too, it does seem a shame not to use them in this role, I think I’m going to have to persevere with M&S until I get it right, I think my Tascam DR100 does support it.
My experience with omni's for recording outdoors so far has been bad, the sources are always (mostly) in a situation where there is a road, or unwanted sound source somewhere, and cardioids always help to minimise these sounds.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby MOF » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:38 am

I’ve got the MKH30/40 combo too, it does seem a shame not to use them in this role, I think I’m going to have to persevere with M&S until I get it right, I think my Tascam DR100 does support it.
You put the mid mic’ on channel 1 and the side mic’ on channel 2. The gain settings are typically identical and this also typically looks like the side channel is lower level.
I don’t think you’ll be able to monitor in stereo with that recorder as you’re listening to an un-decoded M/S recording.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:59 am

MOF wrote:
I’ve got the MKH30/40 combo too, it does seem a shame not to use them in this role, I think I’m going to have to persevere with M&S until I get it right, I think my Tascam DR100 does support it.
You put the mid mic’ on channel 1 and the side mic’ on channel 2. The gain settings are typically identical and this also typically looks like the side channel is lower level.
I don’t think you’ll be able to monitor in stereo with that recorder as you’re listening to an un-decoded M/S recording.

I get M&S completely, on a mixer, I have a mixer with built in M&S decoding, but it’s not portable. Maybe someone can tell me how it works on the DR100? Do I just select M&S and it automatically records a stereo file? It’s not clear in the manual, all a bit confusing.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby MOF » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:58 pm

I get M&S completely, on a mixer, I have a mixer with built in M&S decoding, but it’s not portable. Maybe someone can tell me how it works on the DR100? Do I just select M&S and it automatically records a stereo file? It’s not clear in the manual, all a bit confusing.
I've already answered this, you can't monitor in stereo on the recorder on the headphones, you will hear M on channel 1 and S on channel 2. without spending a lot more money on a recorder/mixer that has the M/S decoder built in you will have to put up with this limitation.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Arpangel » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:19 am

MOF wrote:
I get M&S completely, on a mixer, I have a mixer with built in M&S decoding, but it’s not portable. Maybe someone can tell me how it works on the DR100? Do I just select M&S and it automatically records a stereo file? It’s not clear in the manual, all a bit confusing.
I've already answered this, you can't monitor in stereo on the recorder on the headphones, you will hear M on channel 1 and S on channel 2. without spending a lot more money on a recorder/mixer that has the M/S decoder built in you will have to put up with this limitation.

Oh dear, I’m sticking to cardioids.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:09 am

Arpangel wrote:
MOF wrote:
I get M&S completely, on a mixer, I have a mixer with built in M&S decoding, but it’s not portable. Maybe someone can tell me how it works on the DR100? Do I just select M&S and it automatically records a stereo file? It’s not clear in the manual, all a bit confusing.
I've already answered this, you can't monitor in stereo on the recorder on the headphones, you will hear M on channel 1 and S on channel 2. without spending a lot more money on a recorder/mixer that has the M/S decoder built in you will have to put up with this limitation.
Oh dear, I’m sticking to cardioids.
Just monitor mid and side solo. The point is that you can sort out the stereo width back at base, so no need to worry about monitoring in stereo while you're recording - assuming each mic is working as it should.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:02 pm

Back in the late 80s and early 90s when the BBC were starting to make TV programmes in stereo, location mixers had no MS decoding or monitoring, so we simply ganged the two channels together with the same gains, panned each hard over (Mid left, Side right), and just monitored the Mid mic on the left output. The side channel would then take care of itself, to be extracted into stereo loveliness in post-production.

If the location mixer didn't have headphone monitoring facilities that allowed soloing of just the Mid (left) channel, we used an adaptor plug/socket in the headphone cable that routed the left channel to both sides. Simples.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby forumuser840717 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:22 pm

Arpangel wrote:
MOF wrote:
I’ve got the MKH30/40 combo too, it does seem a shame not to use them in this role, I think I’m going to have to persevere with M&S until I get it right, I think my Tascam DR100 does support it.
You put the mid mic’ on channel 1 and the side mic’ on channel 2. The gain settings are typically identical and this also typically looks like the side channel is lower level.
I don’t think you’ll be able to monitor in stereo with that recorder as you’re listening to an un-decoded M/S recording.

I get M&S completely, on a mixer, I have a mixer with built in M&S decoding, but it’s not portable. Maybe someone can tell me how it works on the DR100? Do I just select M&S and it automatically records a stereo file? It’s not clear in the manual, all a bit confusing.

If you're up for a little DIY, then you can buy (for £31.71) from the lovely people at Sowter a Type 8392 transformer which is specifically designed as a fixed ratio MS matrix for headphones. Just add a suitable box, a resistor, a few bits of wire, a couple of connectors and an hour or two with a drill and a soldering iron and you're away.

I have one in my bodgit box and another in my general toolkit - one in a little diecast box a smidge bigger than a credit card and around 20mm thick, which has a 1/4" TRS socket and RCA/phono connectors for inputs and 1/4" and 1/8" TRS for output, the other in a metal tube (an offcut of electrical conduit) with a 30cm flying lead to male 1/4" TRS plug for input and a 1/4" TRS socket for output.

If you want to experiment with varying the L-R width on headphones, you'd need to be able to vary the balance/levels between the the left and right channels of the headphone feed separately but for a quick and simple monitor matrix to headphones of an MS pair it works fine.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:17 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Back in the late 80s and early 90s when the BBC were starting to make TV programmes in stereo, location mixers had no MS decoding or monitoring, so we simply ganged the two channels together with the same gains, panned each hard over (Mid left, Side right), and just monitored the Mid mic on the left output. The side channel would then take care of itself, to be extracted into stereo loveliness in post-production.

If the location mixer didn't have headphone monitoring facilities that allowed soloing of just the Mid (left) channel, we used an adaptor plug/socket in the headphone cable that routed the left channel to both sides. Simples.

Thanks for all your help folks, I think I'm right in saying, the Tascam DR100 will record a mid and a side signal, undecoded for monitoring. I import into my DAW the two raw tracks. I then split the side mic into two tracks, inverting the phase of one of those, then I put the mid mic on a third track. Stereo width is achieved by raising or lowering the levels of the two side mic/tracks.

:?:
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:34 am

Arpangel wrote:I then split the side mic into two tracks, inverting the phase of one of those, then I put the mid mic on a third track. Stereo width is achieved by raising or lowering the levels of the two side mic/tracks.

:?:
No - just download the free MSED and slap it over the raw stereo file - and set it to decode. Job done!
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:41 am

The Elf wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I then split the side mic into two tracks, inverting the phase of one of those, then I put the mid mic on a third track. Stereo width is achieved by raising or lowering the levels of the two side mic/tracks.

:?:
No - just download the free MSED and slap it over the raw stereo file - and set it to decode. Job done!

Thanks Elf, much appreciated, as you say job done!
Like the interface, and stereo field display, and, it’s free!

:thumbup:
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:52 am

Arpangel wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I then split the side mic into two tracks, inverting the phase of one of those, then I put the mid mic on a third track. Stereo width is achieved by raising or lowering the levels of the two side mic/tracks.
No - just download the free MSED and slap it over the raw stereo file - and set it to decode. Job done!
Thanks Elf, much appreciated, as you say job done!
Like the interface, and stereo field display, and, it’s free!
And it's also useful for other mid-side tricks. I often use it for mastering, and for sorting out spatial oddities. Was using it last night, in fact, to help out a stereo recording where dry was in one side, but reverb was in both L/R.

Don't underestimate the power of MS manipulation - once you grasp it you begin to understand the possibilities.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:56 am

Hear hear!
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:11 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Hear hear!

Hear "here" even.....

:)
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby blinddrew » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:18 pm

Surely Hehearar?
;)

Anyway, there was a really good article from Zukan on creative uses for MS in the November issue: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... techniques
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