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M/S use today


filippo toso
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What do you think about using ms mics today? A rerecording mixer said to me they normally prefer mono sources (as in ortf or ab setup) then ms. he told that with ms sometimes they have problems of phase and position in 5.1 mix. so ms is ok for stereo products, but not for surround. What do you think about that?

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MS doesn't have any issues as long as it is matrixed before mixing. it is perfectly fine in all mix environments when care is taken. truth be told you can have phase issues with any recording even mono recordings.

 

personally i think MS is more useful in most cases because it gives you better mono compatibility then anything else. AB & XY recording techniques don't do this very well. Although each has their place and one is not always better then the other.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

So the "issue" with M-S in a mono mix down is that the resultant sound could possibly have a different sound content than the stereo playback.  The phase cancellation of sound predominantly in the side component will null out and disappear.  The phase artifact of other stereo recordings such as X-Y, ORTF, AB, etc... is that a mono mix down may have out of phase artifacts.  Some music guys don't like M-S and the mono-folddown side-effect of missing sound because what they mix and master could actually sound different than what they intended, like shimmering highs on a drum kit being totally absent.  When talking about surround mixing, specifically the C component in LCR soundstage, your basically talking about the same exact mono compatibility issue above.  But then the C component is almost always dialogue anyways.  Stringent dolby down-mix testing I guess can get people's panties in a bunch, does anyone actually have 3.1 (center, 2 surrounds, LFE) installed?  I doubt it, but you can test your mix for that scenarios and a heavily M-S dependent recording might sound flat in that particular instance.

 

With typical field recordings, done with balance, your not going to have a sound that is nearly all in the side component, but once heavily processed, especially with effects capable of further amplifying changes discretely in the S or M components exclusively, the engineer could end up building a house of cards that will all fall apart if ever played in mono.

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I heard too, from re-recording mixers that MS doesn't do well in the Dolby matrix. This probably was from the days of Dolby Surround, but may be different with Dolby Digital and other. Now this may be old information, but that's what I heard. DoubleMS on the other hand works well with Dolby.

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i personally have never had someone tell " we had issues with your BG's" and i us MS a ton! additionally a lot of sound recordist built huge libraries based off of MS recordings (your probably cutting with those now) and so much as a second thought going to the stage with those.

 

yes if MS is not setup correctly you can have major issues. but the same goes for AB, XY, Blum etc. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Haven't read Tim's article, but sadly, there is a lot of misunderstanding about MS mic techniques.

Of course, the major advantage is the ability to change the pickup pattern after the recording has been done, but there can be a lot of issues if everyone is not on board all the way through post.

I have had very good results with the technique in situations when I have control over the post process. However, things have not always gone well in situations where I haven't had luxury of following through. Just too many places for things to go wrong.

I have also found that most coincident mic techniques don't translate very well to a theatrical environment, where the imaging tends to get lost (unless you are very close to the screen). We did a whole series of tests of various techniques years ago, which we listened to at dub stage B at the old Warner-Hollywood sound facility, and Zi must say that I was rather disappointed at the outcome. This is due in part to the distance of the viewer from the speakers, as well as problems related to the perforated screens.

OTOH, I have been very pleased with coincident techniques for the small screen, where the viewer is closer to the speakers.

-S

"I don't care what they're talking about, all I want is a nice fat recording".

Harry Caul "The Conversation"

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I have also found that most coincident mic techniques don't translate very well to a theatrical environment, where the imaging tends to get lost (unless you are very close to the screen). We did a whole series of tests of various techniques years ago, which we listened to at dub stage B at the old Warner-Hollywood sound facility, and Zi must say that I was rather disappointed at the outcome. This is due in part to the distance of the viewer from the speakers, as well as problems related to the perforated screens.

 

What stereo techniques did best in your tests? Did you do surround setups too?

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Wide spaced cardiods seem to work best (obviously not workable for dialogue pickup). Also did some wide spaced 3 channel L/C/R which worked quite nicely.

Although I'm still a bit fan of M/S, I just haven't found it to be very effective for theatrical exhibition.

-S

"I don't care what they're talking about, all I want is a nice fat recording".

Harry Caul "The Conversation"

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Wide spaced cardiods seem to work best (obviously not workable for dialogue pickup). Also did some wide spaced 3 channel L/C/R which worked quite nicely.

Although I'm still a bit fan of M/S, I just haven't found it to be very effective for theatrical exhibition.

-S

"I don't care what they're talking about, all I want is a nice fat recording".

Harry Caul "The Conversation"

That makes sense. Although in the real world it can be real tough to set that up in fast paced environments. i tend to go for space omni when space is permitted. 

 

Sounds like a really interesting test. could you give more details about the test, mics used, program, and such? 

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