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    Sony PCM-D50 noob


    So I have just started playing with my PCM-D50 and I think its friggin awesome. Am recording in 24bit 96 and the clarity from the onboard mikes is so much better than I was expecting. Been mooching about recording in cafes and restaurants and no one notices- someone asked whether it was a new type of walkman and thats about it. also using some shure in ears so am very inconspicuous. my question though is about mike setup. i am using the mikes in an xy position unless i am recording more spatial ambiance. is this correct and should i ever use the mikes in another combination say dead ahead- in which case what situations? thanks so much for your help.

    Keith

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    XY is the most generally useful; the two mikes are coincident (at roughly the same distance from the source), so you get a good stereo image (based on amplitude difference) without phase differences that can degrade mixdown to mono or playback through badly placed speakers.

    The two mikes straight ahead position is useful mainly for making mono recordings of a source that you can point at. (The D50 has no ability to record to one channel, but you can just throw out the other channel later.).

    The third position, with the mikes pointed outward, isn't really that useful. It's similar to XY, but without the advantage of being coincident, so you have the potential for phase cancellation problems. But the capsules aren't far enough apart that the phase difference adds much to the stereo image. There are stereo miking techniques, such as ORTF and various binural arrangements, that use separated mikes in a way that the L-R phase difference adds significantly to the image, but they require more separation than the D50 can do. But with this position on the D50 you have all the phasing complexities of non-coincident stereo, without any real advantage over XY.

    So do as you've been doing: use XY unless you have a good reason not to.

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    thanks so much for your help Mab, so even if I am recording general atmospherics eg a station forecourt I should still be XY?

    Keith

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    Right. About the only thing the pointing outward position is occasionally useful for, in my experience, is very close stereo miking where the capsule separation relative to the source distance is significant. But that's almost never going to be the situation with ambiance recordings of an environment.

    The D50 is a terrific recorder (I own two), but the movable capsules is basically just a gimmick. Recording other stereo arrangements properly really requires using external mikes. But XY is fine for most purposes, especially atmospheric ambiance. And for what it's worth, Sony's top of the line handheld recorder, the D1, just has the capsules fixed in XY, since that's what almost anyone who uses such a recorder wants.

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    I don't know this machine, but I'd say an outward position could be useful for recording a conversation between two people. One mic pointing to one speaker, the other at the other. Then in post-production, these two should be mixed to a mono track, alternating between the two mics depending on who speaks.

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    nemoDaedalus
    I don't know this machine, but I'd say an outward position could be useful for recording a conversation between two people. One mic pointing to one speaker, the other at the other. Then in post-production, these two should be mixed to a mono track, alternating between the two mics depending on who speaks.

    That might be a useful technique if the two capsules were 180 degrees apart, but the D50 "outward" position puts the capsules at (just about) the same angle as XY. It's effectively just a non-coincident version of XY, but without the separation required for, say, ORTF. So it's not useful for any standard stereo recording technique, and it invites phasing problems unless used with great care.

    I still think it's a great little recorder, but the movable capsules feature is not one of the things that makes it great (and, in fact, it can burn you if one of them gets inadvertently moved out of position).

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    mab

    I still think it's a great little recorder, but the movable capsules feature is not one of the things that makes it great (and, in fact, it can burn you if one of them gets inadvertently moved out of position).

    This question may be off-point... I just got the D50, and having heard this I'm tempted to go back to using the XY position. Have used the "out-turned" (120 degree spread) so far because I have been recording mainly live field shows for a marching band and was looking for maximum coverage of the field.

    My real issue, at this point, however, is optimizing the recorder (or doing something in post) to "cool down" the percussion elements in the raw audio. I'm such a recording noob that I'm not really sure where I should be looking online for discussions of how to deal with raw recordings where the percussion comes out a little too much in front.

    So far I've tried compensating for the hot percussion by applying/adjusting the noise gate filters that pop up as a standard FX when I edit these tracks on a Vegas 6.0 Pro timeline -- the audio is intended mainly for use in video of the band in question. I have two raw audio sources: (1) (better) is the D50 track recorded from a tripod set perhaps 10 yards in front of the football field's OOB lines, off to stage right of the drum major and fixed percussion line (xylophones, cymbals, gong and such). Source (2) is the worse audio coming from the on-camera boom mic of a Canon XL H1 ... very decent sound for an on-camera mic, but the placement is clearly totally wrong unless I'm *looking* for crowd noise, audience member chatter, 60Hz hum from light stands and other garbage sound.

    Question is: what ARE the standard, proven ways of bringing down or slightly de-emphasizing percussion in a large band when you have recorded sound from a single point source, and perhaps a tiny bit of directional focus to separate the channels?

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    I’ve read the microphones on a Sony PCM-D50 Portable recorder are not great and I was wondering exactly how “not great” they might be? Sound Designer Gordon McGladdery [url]http://www.ashellinthepit.com/[/url] mentioned something about binaural microphone recordings and I jumped at the chance to do a comparison recording. Plus I thought it would be a good excuse to hang out with Gordon :lol:

    [img]http://fyssas.dreamhosters.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Binaural-Sony.png[/img]

    River Ambience Recordings in North Vancouver

    We drove around until we found a location near Deep Cove with a large stream, away from busy car traffic. This was a good opportunity to record ambience with a lot of detailed information to highlight transient response in the test microphones.
    [img]http://fyssas.dreamhosters.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Binaural-Mics-Vs-960wide.jpg[/img]

    Traffic Drive-Bys in East Vancouver

    For this test we used two different recorders so we can compare the exact recording. Because we used 2 different recording devices simultaneously (Tascam DR-05 and Sony PCM-D50) we expected some difference in the mic preamps and D/A converters. It’s not 100% scientific but it’s a useful test.

    [img]http://fyssas.dreamhosters.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/East-Van.jpg[/img]

    Check out the blog to listen to the audio samples wink : http://hybridsoundworks.com/?p=1977

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    I have a D-50 and like spacing the mics for a more pronounced stereo feel when recording ambiances and, as mab said, close up where it would be almost between two sources. It's killer that way mounted above a drum kit as the overhead mics, right against a Leslie speaker cab, for a marimba. These sounds are of the same source with the mics in the two arrangements:

    http://www.freesound.org/people/stomachache/sounds/136652/
    http://www.freesound.org/people/stomachache/sounds/136653/

    (I should say that I don't care about mono compatibility and would only worry about phase complications when bringing additional mics into the equation (like the drum set). In which case, I'm comfortable enough on the sample level to nudge each channel's wavform to and fro so it works well enough).

    The mic are omnidirectional, meaning they pick up sound quite well from all directions. So you aren't going to "miss" or cancel sounds if it's not pointed directly at them. It's very forgiving in this respect.

    As to your other issue, the first step is to experiment with the mic position and distance to get the sound as best you can before having to deal with it in post. This might be as simple as standing further away from the percussion section or loudest drum. Beyond that, multiband compression would be a solution to where you could "clamp down" on very loud low end booms, or crashing, tinny cymbals that burst through. However, properly doing this take a bit of experience and if you won't know what your doing, the sound will probably end up worse for it. At the basic level, cut out excess low rumble (below 80-120hz, assuming you weren't getting any usable low end at this point from bass drums - don't cut out part of the signal that's meant to be there) and apply a level maximizer and pull down the threshold setting until it just acts on super-loud peaks.

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