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Author Topic: Why a Coincident(X/Y) Stereo Microphone?  (Read 1276 times)

Weogo Reed

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Why a Coincident(X/Y) Stereo Microphone?
« on: April 04, 2018, 01:59:13 pm »

Hi Folks,

This post is probably not helpful for rock vocalists
trying to be heard over significant stage volume…

First, an article by microphone designer Bruce Bartlett:
 http://audioundone.com/types-of-stereo-mic-techniques
 https://www.bartlettaudio.com/
(Sometimes a Stereo Pair, Mid/Side, or other technique
suits a particular situation better than coincident X/Y.)

The Rode NT4 is a useful, modest cost, X/Y stereo microphone.
 http://www.rode.com/microphones/nt4
It sounds very good, has a good windscreen, is well built, and
can be powered by a 9V battery for field use.
Royer has the SF-12, and there are several other X/Y stereo mics.
Several handheld recorders, like the Tascam DR-44WL, have X/Y mics and
Zoom has the iQ6 X/Y mic module to mount on an IOS device.
(Some microphones listed as X/Y use some alternate definition.
You want to know what’s behind the screen!)

General comments about coincident(XY) stereo:
) This mic capsule orientation offers minimal phase interference in mono.
(And the smaller and closer the capsules, the higher the frequency before
phase interference starts.)

) Great for mono, but doesn’t have as much of a stereo representation as
some other techniques.

) For a fairly wide section of a circle around the front of the mic,
volume is fairly consistent with source position, which can be useful for
small choral groups, ‘one’ mic Bluegrass bands and more.

) For use with duos, getting mic placement is important but not quite so critical,
as you have a bit of left/right level control to balance volume.

) Note that monitor levels may have to be lower to avoid feedback.
When used for covering a larger area of singers/musicians,
stage wedges aren’t an option.

Specific NT4-style X/Y stereo microphone benefits:
) There is one mic body, though you still need two mic elements and
two mixer or recorder channels.
(While this is more convenient, a stereo pair of mics can sound just as good.)

) The mic element angle and height are precisely set, no adjusting mics on a stereo bar.
(While placement is consistent, a stereo pair can sound just as good,
and offers the possibility of different mic element spread angles.)

) The mic can be used as a Drum Overhead.
Or over a Xylophone, or a number of other instruments.
(This is possible with a sturdy stereo bar and stand, though
I would be more comfortable using a mic like the NT4.)

) With the mic body horizontal, the elements can be rotated 90 degrees, for
a vertical axis orientation; great for a Clarinet, and some other instruments.
(This may be possible with a really sturdy stereo bar, mic clips, etc., though not so easy.)
In vertical orientation, the NT4 can pick up the voice of a singer AND their Guitar.
Want more Vox in the mix, relative to the Guitar? Just bring up the Vox a bit and turn down the Guitar.
Instead of two mics on two stands, only one mic/stand is needed.
(Note that neither the mic element facing up, or the one facing down, or both,
are as close to the mouth or instrument as is possible with two separate mics.
Singers can’t eat the mic and get a low frequency boost from proximity effect.)

Thanks to Dan Richardson for turning me on to my first X/Y mic, the NT4.

Do you use an X/Y stereo pair, or mic?

Some singers/musicians appreciate relatively large mics like the Rode NT4.
(Partly it has to be big to fit the 9V battery.)
Others prefer something smaller, lighter and black...

Thanks and good health,  Weogo

LiveEdge.net

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Art Welter

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Re: Why a Coincident(X/Y) Stereo Microphone?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2018, 03:09:04 pm »

Hi Folks,

Thanks to Dan Richardson for turning me on to my first X/Y mic, the NT4.

Do you use an X/Y stereo pair, or mic?
Weogo,

I have arranged mics in an X/Y stereo pair for a variety of uses from choirs to orchestras, and some "wide" instruments like vibraphones.
The ability to vary the angle of coverage, get a "stereo" image, yet maintain coherent summing is useful.

For the relatively few times an X/Y stereo pair comes into use, I would prefer the flexibility of coverage of two mics over the convenience of a single mic with a fixed 90 degree angle of incidence.

Art

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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Why a Coincident(X/Y) Stereo Microphone?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2018, 04:41:44 pm »

Do you use an X/Y stereo pair, or mic?
I have used a Shure VP88 for drum overhead(s?) before, but not X-Y.
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Jordan Wolf
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Why a Coincident(X/Y) Stereo Microphone?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2018, 05:47:14 pm »

How often are drum overheads panned in SR?  I've recorded drums with the Royer X/Y ribbon overhead but in SR tend to orient overheads more according to the cymbal set up and whether I'm bothering with a hi-hat mic.  And then everything is panned to the middle.
FWIW my Zoom recorder has a M/S mic that lets you vary the image width.  Very useful for "focusing" on the sound of what I'm trying to record.
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Weogo Reed

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Re: Why a Coincident(X/Y) Stereo Microphone?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2018, 09:45:53 pm »

Hi Art,

Yep, I can see situations where a spread angle other than 90 degrees would be useful, for instance a choir on a wide, shallow stage.

At 90 degrees, with the summing of the two elements, a singer who is on-axis with the left or right element, or
off-axis dead-center, will be picked up at similar volume.

Building a mic that keeps the mic centers coincident, and allows for varying the spread angle could be an interesting design challenge!

Jordan,
From what I've heard the VP88 is a good mic.
Volume control between the two channels would be more or less of both sides vs. the front of mic.
This could work nicely for two singers on one side of the mic, and a third directly in front of it.

Stephen,
I work on a lot of mono systems.
Even with Left/Right speakers, I tend to mix more to mono, with stereo used for a little audio localization, or effects.
Last week I had the NT4 on a Drummer and was surprised how good it sounded picking up percussion 'toys' at the far side of the Drum kit.

An alternate way of thinking about this mic may be as a mono mic, with some unique variables.

Thanks and good health,  Weogo
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Hanno Meingast

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Re: Why a Coincident(X/Y) Stereo Microphone?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 11:18:55 pm »

Weogo,
I believe one of the members here, Scott Helmke, has made such a mic, if I remember correctly,in a side address body. He has a website.


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Weogo Reed

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Re: Why a Coincident(X/Y) Stereo Microphone?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2018, 11:34:59 am »

Hi Hanno,

Thanks for noting Scott's mic, I had forgotten about it.
Found a couple cool DIY mic links there.
 http://www.scotthelmke.com/microphones.html

For what I have in mind, mostly end address will work better.

Good health,  Weogo


Weogo,
I believe one of the members here, Scott Helmke, has made such a mic, if I remember correctly,in a side address body. He has a website.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Why a Coincident(X/Y) Stereo Microphone?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2018, 12:04:55 pm »

Weogo,
I believe one of the members here, Scott Helmke, has made such a mic, if I remember correctly,in a side address body. He has a website.

Thanks for the mention, Hanno.  I basically gave up selling the stereo mics, though, because it was not that much better than two mono mics on a stereo bar and a lot more work to build.  A stereo mic is a visually better thing to put in the middle of a string quartet than a stereo bar, and I've done that a few times.

It's actually not that difficult to make an adjustable coincident stereo mic, though - just make it side address and have a rotating joint between the two sections. Just google "stereo large diaphragm recording mic" for examples.
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Tim Halligan

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Re: Why a Coincident(X/Y) Stereo Microphone?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2018, 12:13:21 pm »

Building a mic that keeps the mic centers coincident, and allows for varying the spread angle could be an interesting design challenge!

AKG and Neumann have already done it...

Cheers,
Tim

PS. The VP88 can be useful in certain circumstances, but it is quite a noisy beast, and so is of limited use in a recording situation.
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