Question: What stereo microphone techniques can be used with Audio-Technica microphones? (Part 1: Spaced Pair)
Answer: Stereo microphone techniques were developed when audio recordings transitioned from mono to stereo, and were used to create special sound imaging that more faithfully replicated the quality of live sound. Humans have two ears, which means that a sound will generally arrive at one ear milliseconds before it reaches the other, allowing the brain to determine the direction from which the sound originated. Stereo microphone techniques bring this sense of directionality to audio recordings. There are several popular stereo microphone techniques, but this week we will take a look at the A/B technique, which is often referred to as “spaced pair.”
The spaced pair microphone technique usually consists of using two matching microphones, such as the AT4049b omnidirectional condenser microphones, which are placed a distance apart in front of the source. (Audio-Technica also offers the convenient AT4041SP Studio Microphone Pack, which includes two AT4041 cardioid condenser microphones that are appropriate for spaced pair recording.) The distance between the two microphones and between the microphones and the sound source should follow the 3:1 Rule. This rule prevents phase cancelling issues, while leaving the engineer with plenty of room for “artistic creativity.” Always check phasing while setting up stereo microphones to make certain the placement is providing a realistic stereo image and will not cause phasing issues. The two microphones are panned in the mixing console or in post-production left and right to reflect their true relation to the sound source. The closer the microphones are to the source, the tighter the stereo image; the farther the microphones are from the source, the wider the stereo image.
If you have any questions about stereo recording microphone techniques, feel free to contact our Audio Solutions Department to discuss some creative solutions.