Microphone Set-up for Audio System Recordings

Ron Resnick

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In a couple of weeks I will be ordering a complete set of video recording and audio recording components to conduct interviews of high-end audio designers and prominent audiophiles. I have selected the Canon XA-50 camcorder and Sennheiser AVX wireless receivers and Sennheiser MKE-2 lapel microphones for interviewing. (Yes, I am going "high-end" with this project.)

To record audio systems I selected the Sennheiser MD 421-II dynamic cardioid monaural microphone.

My current plan is to purchase two of these mics, and mount each one on a collapsible mic stand. (Eventually I hope to make this interview project a traveling show, and I need the entire equipment kit to be easily transportable.)

I would like us to achieve a consensus on the recording technique from the beginning, so the recordings will be as much of an apples-to-apples comparison across systems as possible.

How should the mics be spaced apart and how should they be positioned vis a vis the loudspeakers of a high-end audio system? Should the mics be spaced wide apart, or should the mics be spaced just a few inches apart, replicating the distance between a listener's ears?

Should the "left" mic be treated as the left channel, and the "right" mic be treated as the right channel, so I will be making a stereo audio recording?
 
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jfrech

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Cool project Ron. I'm interested to see and hear your results. Just curious, for the music did you consider a Nagra Seven recorder? It fits your criteria for being rugged and portable and may improve the audio portion of your project.

https://www.nagraaudio.com/product/nagra-seven-music/

As far as mic spacing, I'd reach out to Rene at Nagra North America. He is doing quite a bit of recording and bet has some insights for you.
 

Ron Resnick

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Thank you for the suggestion, but I was not planning on employing a separate audio recorder.
 

PeterA

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Ron, I agree with jfrech that it sounds like an interesting project. One stumbling block it seems to me is that so many here discredit system videos and find them useless (though surprisingly, they do seem to listen to them and comment). Have you explored the potential market for this and found people willing to have their systems recorded and publicized? Are you thinking about members here and various manufacturers, and perhaps even other reviewers?

I applaud the effort and willingness to record with a high standard and maintain some consistency between recordings. I can not offer any advice in that area, but I do wish you success with this project. Give Peter B some competition and increase the value and interest in WBF.
 
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Ultrafast69

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To use better equipment than a smart phones ahould yield better results, although I curious about the new iPhone.

In terms of placement, I would try both to satisfy curiosity but ultimately record at listening level/distance/left/right

(Peter - I’m ok with phone videos, IMO it gives a real taste of the systems sound quality attributes)
 
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Carlos269

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In a couple of weeks I will be ordering a complete set of video recording and audio recording components to conduct interviews of high-end audio designers and prominent audiophiles. I have selected the Canon XA-50 camcorder and Sennheiser AVX wireless receivers and Sennheiser MKE-2 lapel microphones for interviewing. (Yes, I am going "high-end" with this project.)

To record audio systems I selected the Sennheiser MD 421-II dynamic cardioid monaural microphone.

My current plan is to purchase two of these mics, and mount each one on a collapsible mic stand. (Eventually I hope to make this interview project a traveling show, and I need the entire equipment kit to be easily transportable.)

I would like us to achieve a consensus on the recording technique from the beginning, so the recordings will be as much of an apples-to-apples comparison across systems as possible.

How should the mics be spaced apart and how should they be positioned vis a vis the loudspeakers of a high-end audio system? Should the mics be spaced wide apart, or should the mics be spaced just a few inches apart, replicating the distance between a listener's ears?

Should the "left" mic be treated as the left channel, and the "right" mic be treated as the right channel, so I will be making a stereo audio recording?

Use the X-Y arrangement microphone technique as it will yield the best results for quickly recording the music systems. Properly done, X-Y microphones arrangement avoids the phase cancellation of spaced microphones and collapses well for mono compatibility.

There are other more advanced microphones arrangement techniques that will yield greater space and a wider sound field, such as M-S and Blumlein, but those are more involved and require greater set up time and more equipment for post processing to extract the Left and Right signals.

Good luck and look forward to the results of your endeavor. And I hope that the subjects are not the usual suspects as those have been overexposed, and most of us would love to be exposed to, and learn, something new from this.
 
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sbnx

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Hi Ron, Sounds like this will be a fun project. Perhaps someone could ask Peter McGrath at Wilson audio. I believe he used to be a recording engineer and I'm sure he would have some thoughts on recording loudspeakers. Just a thought.
 
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Ron Resnick

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Ron, I agree with jfrech that it sounds like an interesting project. One stumbling block it seems to me is that so many here discredit system videos and find them useless (though surprisingly, they do seem to listen to them and comment). Have you explored the potential market for this and found people willing to have their systems recorded and publicized? Are you thinking about members here and various manufacturers, and perhaps even other reviewers?

I applaud the effort and willingness to record with a high standard and maintain some consistency between recordings. I can not offer any advice in that area, but I do wish you success with this project. Give Peter B some competition and increase the value and interest in WBF.

Thank you for your kind wishes, Peter!

Recording the systems of prominent audiophiles is a relatively low priority for me. I am more interested in interviewing people.

If someone would like the sound of his/her system to be recorded, I will be happy to oblige, but recording systems is not the basis of this video interview project. In fact, as you know, I am a skeptic of videos of audio systems, and if videos of audio systems weren't so seemingly popular here I wouldn't even bother thinking about recording audio systems.
 
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Ron Resnick

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I see that Totaldac uses the recording arrangement I have been contemplating:


AB8039CD-F6B4-4AEF-953F-43131FAD74E5.jpeg


This is a good enough endorsement for me!

That dual-mic rack on a single tripod stand with two identical mics is exactly what I am planning to order.

Totaldac says these are omni-directional microphones. I am currently planning to order Sennheiser MD 421-II cardioid mics.

But I will be recording audio and video into a 4K Canon XA50 camcorder, not an iPhone. I do not need to record video in 4K, of course, but this pro-sumer camcorder records audio in:

-- MP4: MPEG-2 AAC-LC (16-bit 2CH), and
-- XF-AVC: LPCM (24-bit 4CH)

and has direct XLR inputs (much better than mixing audio into a DSLR).
 
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sbnx

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That setup looks interesting. I assume he is recording the bongos and then plays them back through the system(s) and compares live vs. playback.
 

bazelio

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Sep 27, 2016
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I see that Totaldac uses the recording arrangement I have been contemplating:


View attachment 72519


This is a good enough endorsement for me!

That dual-mic rack on a single tripod stand with two identical mics is exactly what I am planning to order.

Totaldac says these are omni-directional microphones. I am currently planning to order Sennheiser MD 421-II cardioid mics.

But I will be recording audio and video into a 4K Canon XA50 camcorder, not an iPhone. I do not need to record video in 4K, of course, but this pro-sumer camcorder records audio in:

-- MP4: MPEG-2 AAC-LC (16-bit 2CH), and
-- XF-AVC: LPCM (24-bit 4CH)

and has direct XLR inputs (much better than mixing audio into a DSLR).

Ron,

Fun project! I'd suggest a bit of reading on recording techniques. Total DAC is using a simple A/B setup with omnis. You may get some ideas from a simple primer such as this, and may want to dig a bit deeper from there:

https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/stereo-microphone-techniques/

Prior to COVID, I was going to buy a Sony PCM-D100 for recording my favorite show rooms. (I don't care about recording video of the equipment while music is playing). I was planning to mic in ORTF, record PCM lossless at 192 kHz / 24-bit, and allow the device to do the stereo mixing.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Ron,

Fun project! I'd suggest a bit of reading on recording techniques. Total DAC is using a simple A/B setup with omnis. You may get some ideas from a simple primer such as this, and may want to dig a bit deeper from there:

https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/stereo-microphone-techniques/

Prior to COVID, I was going to buy a Sony PCM-D100 for recording my favorite show rooms. (I don't care about recording video of the equipment while music is playing). I was planning to mic in ORTF, record PCM lossless at 192 kHz / 24-bit, and allow the device to do the stereo mixing.

Thank you! I will look at that link!
 

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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Ron,

Fun project! I'd suggest a bit of reading on recording techniques. Total DAC is using a simple A/B setup with omnis. You may get some ideas from a simple primer such as this, and may want to dig a bit deeper from there:

https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/stereo-microphone-techniques/

Prior to COVID, I was going to buy a Sony PCM-D100 for recording my favorite show rooms. (I don't care about recording video of the equipment while music is playing). I was planning to mic in ORTF, record PCM lossless at 192 kHz / 24-bit, and allow the device to do the stereo mixing.
I bought the TASCAM DR-100 MKIII for this purpose. Sounds great as it has good mic preamps and a top notch AD.
 

planarman

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Apr 30, 2017
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Hi Ron:
I I found that using dual mics creates a very unusual soundstage unlike what we hear at the seated listening position. Therefore, the best microphone for the situation that we actually use at sound insight is the Shure MV 88+ microphone.
This microphone is a true stereo microphone that has various settings in the app that you can download on your phone.
There are numerous videos on the web concerning this microphone that will help you understand how easy it is to set up and it’s different settings.
Please listen to this video that we made recently with this microphone. Obviously headphones are a must.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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I bought the TASCAM DR-100 MKIII for this purpose. Sounds great as it has good mic preamps and a top notch AD.

Great!

Which microphones do you use?

How do you place them vis a vis the loudspeakers?
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
Hi Ron:
I I found that using dual mics creates a very unusual soundstage unlike what we hear at the seated listening position. Therefore, the best microphone for the situation that we actually use at sound insight is the Shure MV 88+ microphone.
This microphone is a true stereo microphone that has various settings in the app that you can download on your phone.
There are numerous videos on the web concerning this microphone that will help you understand how easy it is to set up and it’s different settings.
Please listen to this video that we made recently with this microphone. Obviously headphones are a must.

Thank you very much for this suggestion! I read up on this Shure microphone, but I am confused as to what it does.

This microphone seems to have a built-in DAC and on-board DSP. I want to use an analog mic that captures and sends an analog signal.

Which do you think is the highest quality (most natural sound) analog stereo microphone?
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
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Great!

Which microphones do you use?

How do you place them vis a vis the loudspeakers?
Hi Ron,
I use the built-in high quality microphones. It has a pair of uni-directional condenser mics. Of course I can upgrade later with outboard condenser mics as it has phantom power.
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
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503
Switzerland
Hi Ron,
I use the built-in high quality microphones. It has a pair of uni-directional condenser mics. Of course I can upgrade later with outboard condenser mics as it has phantom power.
I usually place the recorder at the listening position at ear height.
 

planarman

Well-Known Member
Apr 30, 2017
37
32
98
Thank you very much for this suggestion! I read up on this Shure microphone, but I am confused as to what it does.

This microphone seems to have a built-in DAC and on-board DSP. I want to use an analog mic that captures and sends an analog signal.

Which do you think is the highest quality (most natural sound) analog stereo microphone?
Yes I agree but Found that if you use either the flat setting or live instrument settings.
If you use the flat setting the only thing that you can do is adjust the sound field all the way up to 135°. You can’t do anything else including increasing the Mic gain.
On these types of speakers are use the live instrument setting and set it to either 120° or 135° Sound field and I increase the mic setting to about 28.
You don’t have to use the DSP settings at all.
It is uncannily very close to what you hear in the room.
I ordered them Through B&H photo
I believe They have a 30 day return policy.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
Hi Ron,
I use the built-in high quality microphones. It has a pair of uni-directional condenser mics. Of course I can upgrade later with outboard condenser mics as it has phantom power.

I don't understand. Which microphone are you talking about now?
 

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