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    583 sounds
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    XY stereo recording mic setup advice


    Hi everyone,

    After some time recording with the built-in mics of my Zoom H4n I'd like to improve the quality of my field recordings using external mics. I have a matched stereo pair of Oktava MK 012-01 MSP2 (cardiod capsule) that I normally used for music recording, and now I'm re-purposing them for field recording. For now I'm arranging them 90º like in the pictures below (yes, I know....). Also you can see the wind shield I use which well, it is probably not the best.

    Any suggestions for improvement? I might be doing it completely wrong, let me know if that is the case hehe

    Thanks in advance!!!



    frederic
    the freesound team
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    500 sounds
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    I like it. If they are strapped with the rubber bands, though, it's going to be a pain in the ass to rearrange the mics if you ever want to adjust them to a wider width for ambient recording type stuff.

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    3478 sounds
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    Nice setup. Arranging the caps right at 90º is ok but, frankly, I don't think its justified since the cardiods are not much directional. Have you considered placing the caps looking in opposite directions? That would be simpler, and more effective regarding the stereo image IMHO. Most importantly, what kind of signal and in which context are you planning to use it? Field, music in venues...? Parallel mics with caps looking in opposite directions would mean easier protection from wind (for example inside a blimp), which is a must for field recording.
    Hope this helps

    D
    edit: now I see you explicitly say field-recording, I should read before posting smile

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    111 sounds
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    I'd advise you to sell that Oktava RIG and get an Audio Technica BP4025 stereo mic instead. Much smaller footprint, less hassle to carry & move it around and the most important of them all: much less self noise. I used Oktava MK012 before and its self noise was above tolerable levels for me.

    It becomes much more obvious when you do field recording. If you crank up the gain to capture some distant village, owls in the forest at night or any kind of similar scenario the noise will be apparent.

    There's one other solution, you can try to mod them. I saw some pretty great Oktava MK012 mods that makes them indistinguishable than Neumann KM184s.

    If you go for the BP4025 route, I'd suggest this cable too: https://www.thomann.de/intl/tr/pro_snake_splitkabel_stereomono_xlr.htm

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    583 sounds
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    Thank you very much for your comments stomachache, dobroide and CaganCelik,

    @dobroide: I set 90º angle but I have not thought much about it. I guess it comes from previous experience in music recordings to keep mono compatibility. But I don't really care about that here. I like the idea of mics looking in opposite directions, that would also make mic positioning simpler although it would require different solution for wind protection. I guess I could use something like this: https://www.thomann.de/intl/rode_blimp_mkii.htm This seems to be for one mic only but I guess there are versions for 2 or I can simply hack it and make the two mics stand together. I'll experiment!

    @CaganCelik: BP4025 looks great but it is a bit more expensive that my Oktavas. I've heard about oktava mods. I'll investigate more as I've been doing some DIY electronics recently so I guess it should be relatively easy. Also thanks for the cable suggestion. I already noticed with the first few experiments I did that the "two cables tied together" solution is not very nice hehe

    I'll share some recordings as soon as I'm more confident with the rig. Now I'm mostly waiting for spring to advance so the trees in my garden get populated with many birds and I can wake up early in the morning to record them smile

    Thanks

    frederic
    the freesound team
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    CaganCelik wrote:
    I'd advise you to sell that Oktava RIG and get an Audio Technica BP4025 stereo mic instead. Much smaller footprint, less hassle to carry & move it around and the most important of them all: much less self noise. I used Oktava MK012 before and its self noise was above tolerable levels for me.

    In my experience, you can only notice the Oktava's self noise if you have a relatively quiet preamp. That is not the case of the Zoom H4n, the preamp noise will be higher than the mic self noise. And the self noise difference between the Oktava and the Audio Technica is no more than 4-5 dB. It can be a big difference, if you have a preamp that is clean enough to notice it. And no, the H4n's is not that clean. If you want to worry about mics self noise you'd need a recording unit with better preamps, and that means $$$. Maybe a good cheap solution is a second hand Fostex FR-2LE. I've had two of them and they have relatively quiet preamps for the price. But I had phantom noise issues in one of them, so I don't know if these units are that reliable (in any case, they are more reliable than a H4n).

    I've never liked XY for field recording, except in some situations. I'd rather try the Oktavas in some semicoincident setup (ORTF, NOS, DIN...). like @dobroide writes, it depends on situation.

    I don't like too much the Oktavas in cardioid mode, I find it's top end a little dirty. But I love them in omni mode, I don't find the dirtness of the MK012's cardioid capsules in the omnis.

    About your XY setup. I'd place the capsules as close to each other as possible, mantaining your chosen angle, in order to minimize phase issues.

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    2281 sounds
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    Frederick I love your setup. And for sure it works.

    To hear, you first have to listen
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    583 sounds
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    I just uploaded some sounds using this setup mentioned above (XY 90º).
    https://freesound.org/people/frederic.font/sounds/485440/
    https://freesound.org/people/frederic.font/sounds/485439/
    https://freesound.org/people/frederic.font/sounds/485438/

    For next recordings I'll try with the caps looking opposite directions smile
    Thanks for your input!

    frederic
    the freesound team

    8 posts