By Bruce Bartlett • December 6, 2012 Renowned recording engineers Jack Renner of Telarc Records and Marc Aubort of Nonesuch Records describe spaced omnidirectional microphones as their favorite technique for stereo recording of symphonic ensembles. Of all the stereo mic techniques available, the “spaced-omni” method is especially good at providing a warm, full sound (deep low-frequency response) and a spacious sense of ambience. It adds up to a pleasant listening experience. We’ll explore how this technique – and others – can be beneficial. Spaced Pair With the spaced-pair method (also called AB), you place two identical mics a few feet apart and aim them straight ahead (Figure 1). The mics can have any polar pattern, but omni is most popular for this method. The greater the spacing between mics, the greater the stereo spread. How does this method work? Instruments in the center of the group produce the same signal from each mic. When you monitor the mics, you hear a phantom image of the center instruments midway between your loudspeakers. If an instrument is off-center, it is closer to one mic than the other, so its sound reaches the closer microphone before it reaches the other one. Both mics produce the same signal, except that the farther mic’s signal is delayed compared to the closer mic’s signal. If you send the same signal to two speakers with the signal in one channel delayed, the sound image shifts off center. With a spaced-pair recording, off-center instruments produce a delay in one mic channel, so they are reproduced off center. Figure 1: Spaced-pair technique. (click to enlarge) The spaced pair codes instrument positions into time differences between channels. During playback, the brain decodes these time differences back into corresponding image locations. A delay of 1.2 millisecond (msec) is enough to shift an image all the way to one speaker. You can use this fact when you set up the mics. Suppose you want to hear the right side of the orchestra from the right speaker. The sound from the right-side musicians must reach the right mic about 1.2 msec before it reaches the left mic. To make this happen, space the mics about 2 to 3 feet apart. This spacing makes the correct delay to place right-side instruments at the right speaker. Instruments partway off center produce interchannel delays less than 1.2 msec, so they are reproduced partway off center. Read the rest of this post 1 2 3 4 5 About Bruce Bruce Bartlett Recording Engineer AES and SynAudCon member Bruce Bartlett is a recording engineer, audio journalist, and microphone engineer. His latest books are Practical Recording Techniques and Recording Music On Location. http://www.bartlettaudio.com Comments Have something to say about this PSW content? Leave a comment! Cancel reply Scroll past the ”Post Comment” button below to view any existing comments. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Dennis Buhrmann says Great article! Covered many techniques and methods and explained the what and why of how they work. I'm dying to try some of them out. Tagged with: Bruce Bartlett Microphone World Microphones Recording Techniques · all topics Subscribe to Live Sound International Subscribe to Live Sound International magazine. Stay up-to-date, get the latest pro audio news, products and resources each month with Live Sound. Subscribe Today!