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wide cardioid for ambient recording


haifai
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hello,

next year i gonna have to record some classical concerts for a documentary. i did some orchestra recordings for tv this year and used a pair of wide cards as main mic, i loved the sound... now i am thinking of buying a pair, but as i work mainly for documentaries i would like to justify the investment for a longer term- do some of you made recordings for ambiences/ atmospheres with a pair of wide cards and how you liked it?

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I think it depends much on the ambient environment in which you find yourself and what you want to record in it. Do you want the ambience or something IN the ambience?

I recorded an outside ambience some years back with an Audio-Technica BP4025 stereo mic. https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired_mics/5bbed15003fe56a2/index.html

You have to be careful when using two or more mics that phase coherence doesn't spoil your day. I like the BP4025 because of the phase coherence of the XY pattern and the large diaphragm capsules had very low selfnoise. Also, it's a stereo mic; everything in one body.

 Ambi08.wav

If the upload doesn't work, here's a link: https://freesound.org/people/Ty Ford/sounds/116660/

When I recorded Madrigal singers in a large church, there was no congregation so I din't have to worry about their noise or getting in their way. I used a pair of Schoeps CMC641 mostly in coincident XY. Tight pattern. For each piece they sang, I listened on headphones, If the tempo was faster, I had to move the mics closer so the room ring didn't make things blurry.  Slow tempo? Move the mics back a bit and let the sustain from the room ring work more. 

Ambi08.wav

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As far as I can recall the only wide cardioids I currently own are in my ambisonic soundfield- although as I principally use omnis (Bruel & Kjaer and DPA) and cardioids (Sennheiser and Schoeps etc) for ambience I would also eventually like to pick up at least a stereo pair if not a stereo quad or more. I've looked at several cheaper options but in the end it is a question of how much you want to spend on a 'not so versatile' mic or mic set, especially in my case when I already have an excellent set of omnis and a pair (+ extras) of quality cardioids.

 

For ambience there is a lot to be said for them though - a certain 'directionality' especially in stereo use whilst preserving some of the benefits of omnis. You already know the benefits of the type/pattern though as regards classical recording - for atmos there is no difference there. For orchestral stuff I would even be considering three mics, for a Decca like arrangement.

 

Outside of music and ambience of course a single wide cardioid is sometimes advantageous as a centre MS mic and perhaps in plant situations (though I doubt over an omni for the latter).

 

I realise I haven't helped much there but probably backed up your own thoughts! But if you're recording music and atmos enough you will probably never be upset with having a quality specialist pair in your kit.

 

Jez

 

 

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The main advantage of omni and wide-cardioid is the absence of proximity effect. One think first to the accentuation of low freq when the microhone is  placed close to the source, but at the contrary, the main problem with pressure gradient microphones is the lack of low end when placed far from the source. Thus, using omnis for ambiance or classical music is a real advantage for the rich low end. Also, spaced microphones give really nice sense of depth and envelopment, really nice for ambiances. Here is what one can read on Schoeps’s website about wide cardioids:
- extremely consistent polar response leads to a very natural sound
- combines the advantages of the omni (warm sound) and the cardioid (directivity)
- popular as a main microphone pair e.g. at a spacing of 30 cm, angle +/- 45°

 

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