Saturday, December 16, 2006

Scott Gara's Favorite Mic Rigs

When listening to the plethora of different recordings that we had to go through I decided to look particularly for the specifics of microphones that did a good job of picking up strikes from the 11 o'clock position to the 1 o'clock position. Most of the tests that we recorded had very muddy results in these particular positions. They seemed to blend together as one sound instead of being three very distinctly different sounds. I have picked here four tests that do the opposite of most of the "muddy middle" recordings that we have. In attempting to explain what sets these rigs apart from the other rigs that we have I think it would only be fair to point out some of the other obstacles that we had when recording. I don’t think that it was only a particular rig that was at fault but also the space and the direction of the mics which may be equally to blame for the 3 middle positions blending together.

For Test #03 Sta #2 Anthony C. Front facing Baffle with 21" spread https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/smgara/public/media/T03-02.mov?uniq=aim1fs
In Anthony's rig I think that it is interesting to point out that this was the only rig I found that was front facing microphones. I think that it picked up good distinction of sounds due to the fact that it had a baffle and such a wide separation on the dowel. I picked this one not only for its great separation of positions 11-1 but also for its stereo imaging. Every sound has a distinctly different spot when one listens to it.

For Test # 07 Sta #4 Josh Boundary Mic 160 degrees rear facing EM158 - 9" separation https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/smgara/public/media/T07-04.mov?uniq=aim1fy The first of Josh's tests I found the 12 o’clock sound to be a dull sort of noise. Yet it was still able to separate itself from the surround two positions. I think 12 o’clock had a dull noise for a number of different reasons. First the microphones are rear facing so they will not pick up the strong sound that may have been directly in front of them because they are picking up the echo or the bounce back from the wall. I did find it amazing t that they are able to pick up bounce back and separate between these three different areas. Again the separation of the sounds in relation to the separation of microphones comes into play.

For Test # 08 Sta #4 - Josh Boundry Mic 160 degrees- rear- EM158 - 11" separation https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/smgara/public/media/T08-04.mov?uniq=aim1g4 On the next test Josh stays in the same spot only separates the mics more. Some of the problems still occur at the 12 O'clock sounding. Yet the separation of 11 and 1 is greater. I think that is due to the separation of the microphones.

For Test #09 Sta #14- Rob -Side Facing Shure 183's Omni Mics 9 " Separation https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/smgara/public/media/T09-14.mov?uniq=aim1ga
The last test I have is Rob's Shure headphone Mics. They are the only side facing that I have and I think that they did a very nice job in picking up sounds. Again you lose some middle ground in getting a dull 12 o’clock sound but I think that the separation between the top three is the best out of all the rigs. Part of the reason that I feel that way about these is because they have great stereo imaging due to the fact that they separated like the human ears.


1 comment:

us said...

Hi Scott--

Very interesting study. I blind tested all four by removing the video ID. I figured out that the left side was alot more undefined due to the room shape, so I eliminated all strikes but 12-2 o-clock. Josh's two rigs stood out as clearly better to my ears. I'm not surprised, however, that the "anti-wedge" boundary was my preference over the side facing headphone mounted 183's or the 21" front-facing spread with baffle in a localization test because the boundary rig tends to add more Hi Hz "bite" to the strike and create a closer presence. It seems like the closer presence creates a more dramatc impression of movement from 12 to 1 o-clock and 1 to 2 o-clock. Your test samples provide the best example of this closer presence phenomenon with parallel and near parallel rigs I've heard.

We are in agreement about the oddity of the 12 o-clock position of Josh's "Anti-Wedge" rig being warmer at 12 o-clock yet still defining "center" very well without any direct sound reaching the mic capsules. I'm looking forward to reading Josh's report! Rob D.