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Old 01-24-2021, 09:54 AM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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Default stereo recording XY

How far back from the mics do you have to be to get a true stereo recording? I'm recording an acoustic guitar with a matched pair of Oktavas. Thanks.
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:37 AM
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Technically a couple or three inches I suppose. You do need to be further back though to get something that sounds natural (getting sound
from a larger area of the guitar, avoiding overwhelming proximity effect and maybe to get some recording room reflections acoustic effect).
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Last edited by rick-slo; 01-24-2021 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 01-24-2021, 04:24 PM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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Thanks rick- slo. I've heard everything from a foot to 3 feet.
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Old 01-24-2021, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenB View Post
Thanks rick- slo. I've heard everything from a foot to 3 feet.
Try spacing them out about a foot or so back, one pointed at the neck body joint, one pointed at the bridge. Engage a high pass filter for the the one aimed at the bridge, cutting off the low end around 80hz. It depends on your playing style and the guitar so those suggestions are simply a place to start.

I've grown to like a spaced pair much more than X-Y.
Maybe you will too.
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Old 01-24-2021, 09:36 PM
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While you are experimenting try ORTF as well. It gives a slightly wider stereo field.
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Old 01-24-2021, 09:51 PM
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You asked about XY but if you're open to a spaced pair setup I think you will get a better sound from the instrument.
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Old 01-24-2021, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenB View Post
Thanks rick- slo. I've heard everything from a foot to 3 feet.
It's a tradeoff, and up to the sound you want. In a really good studio, you could put them back 3 feet and it might sound great. The guitar has a chance to "bloom" at that distance. In most home environments, you'll get too much of the room, and thing will sound distant, or lots of other bad things. As you get closer you get more of the guitar, less of the room. As you get closer than about 16 inches, proximity effect starts kicking in, which increases bass response. So you get a tonal change depending on how close you get - totally up to you what sounds good. You'll also get an increase in stereo width as you get closer - think about how wide your computer screen looks to you from 3 feet away compared to 3 inches away. Nothing wrong with any location, from inches to feet, it all depends on your room, mics, guitar and the sound you want.

You also have choices of where you put the mics. For solo guitar, I'd suggest even with the waist of the guitar, above the soundhole as a starting point. And of course you can also get a wider sound with ORTF or spaced pairs.
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Old 01-25-2021, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
You asked about XY but if you're open to a spaced pair setup I think you will get a better sound from the instrument.
I agree.
I’ve used XY (my album of Miles Davis tunes) and ORTF ( my Ballads and Blues record) but if I had them to do over I’d use a spaced pair as I have on other records. Or maybe mid/side. That said, when I have used X/Y and ORTF I preferred not thinking of them as a more distant stereo technique as I believe they we originally intended, but rather have them close enough the they’re posted roughly as neck joint and just behind the bridge. Seems like if you pull them back another foot or so and you’re pointed at the fifth fret and empty space beyond the endpin..

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.. As you get closer you get more of the guitar, less of the room. As you get closer than about 16 inches, proximity effect starts kicking in, which increases bass response..
A little off topic; but lately I’ve been playing around with a very close spaced pair in Omni. Since one characteristic of omni is seemingly almost no proximity effect, I find I can get them as close as four inches. And yet they seem to be taking a pretty wide picture of the guitar, maybe like a wide-angle lens used for a very close portrait photo. My room is not ideal, by any stretch, so I was worried about that with omni, but that close I don’t think I’m hearing it remotely as negative way I thought I would.. Doug, have you played around with omni pairs? Maybe I’ll start another thread
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Old 01-25-2021, 10:15 AM
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You can also try the vertical ORTF and the inverse vertical ORTF (near-coincident pair) .



Why vertical? Because with any spaced pair the biggest negative is spectrum differences as one mic points at the body and the other at the neck or headstock. By turning the array on its ear you insure that approximately the same spectrum will be presented to the mics. It feels weird at first, but remember: the mic doesn't know its spacial orientation, only the sound presented to it. Why the inverse ORTF? IF you use the spacing and angles for the ORTF and simply invert from obtuse to acute, the phase properties of the ORTF are maintained but in a small room the cardioid patterns end up focused on the place where you point the mics rather than on the room.


Bob
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Old 01-25-2021, 10:21 AM
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I've tried X-Y a few times, but as others have posted I feel A-B spaced pair works better for solo acoustic guitar. With a spaced pair you can set the distance from the mics to the guitar, the distance between the mics, and the angle of the mics to best accommodate (1) balance between the direct sound from the guitar and the room sound, (2) control proximity effect, (3) control the stereo width, and (4) point the mics at the primary areas of the that you want to pick up. Space pair arrangement also allows choice of mic polar pattern (cardioid, omni, etc).
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Old 01-25-2021, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
I agree.
A little off topic; but lately I’ve been playing around with a very close spaced pair in Omni. Since one characteristic of omni is seemingly almost no proximity effect, I find I can get them as close as four inches.
I was at a friend's place a few years ago and he had a pair of Schoepes with the omni capsules. I tried out a spaced pair super close, like a few inches. Basically just far enough away that I wouldn't brush them with my hand.

I'll see if I can find a track. I didnt spend as much time tweaking things as I would have liked, but i recall getting a big and intimate sound.
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Old 01-25-2021, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
That said, when I have used X/Y and ORTF I preferred not thinking of them as a more distant stereo technique as I believe they we originally intended, but rather have them close enough the they’re posted roughly as neck joint and just behind the bridge.
My impression is that we're sort of "abusing" these techniques when applied to close micing solo acoustic guitar. They were developed to record from a distance, like orchestras. When you're feet or inches from a guitar, it does seem like the effect is somewhat different than intended, and maybe more about where it's aimed at the guitar.

Quote:
My room is not ideal, by any stretch, so I was worried about that with omni, but that close I don’t think I’m hearing it remotely as negative way I thought I would.. Doug, have you played around with omni pairs? Maybe I’ll start another thread
Yes, but it's been a while. I have omni capsules for my Schoeps and my Brauner's are multi-pattern. I like the idea of being able to really close mic - a few inches. I have gotten some nice results with omnis and a Jecklin Disk in the past. I should revisit all that.
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Old 01-25-2021, 06:46 PM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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Thanks everyone for your ideas. This isn't for solo guitar, but rather guitar as a backing instrument, sometimes fingerpicked, sometimes strummed. I'm not sure yet what the final arrangement will look like. Many of the songs will have other instruments and voices.
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Old 01-25-2021, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenB View Post
Thanks everyone for your ideas. This isn't for solo guitar, but rather guitar as a backing instrument, sometimes fingerpicked, sometimes strummed. I'm not sure yet what the final arrangement will look like. Many of the songs will have other instruments and voices.
In that case, you may just want to record in mono - one mic. Stereo's good when the guitar is the featured instrument. In band-type arrangements, you usually end up panning instruments around to create an artificial sound stage, and that's easier to do when each instrument is mono.
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Old 01-25-2021, 09:00 PM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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Doug, since the guitar will be the main instrument, I do like to have it a little wider than smack dab in the middle. Though it surely is easier to record in mono! It's a folk-ish album I'm working on.
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