Mid-Side Field Recordings


Tiny desk and NPR field recordings are really interesting applications of MS. Most other YouTube recordings of live performances are tracked and mixed more like a studio, with many microphones. I’ve been interested in MS lately. Here’s a recording we made in a living room. Instead of a cardioid or omni ‘mid’ channel, I use an MKH416 shotgun. This makes the recordings remarkably low-noise and allows some degree of separation and a way of choosing a primary source (for me it’s usually the voices). The high end of the MKH416 is really nice and very narrow at short distances. Pointing right at someone’s mouth, you can get the voice to sparkle the way it would with a dedicated vocal mic, while other source sit slightly behind. The danger is that bad mic placement can be almost unrecoverable. Here’s one of the first experiments we tried in an apartment with lots of noise.

All of these recordings feature Gillian Grogan, who (I’m thankful) puts up with all my tinkering around with microphones and cameras.

Later on, we tried a few takes outside. It was a really educational experience— on this one the angle of the mic is such that we get way more guitar than voice. Alas, now we know for next time.

And as a comparison, here’s an XY recording using two Senn. MKH40s with the Kent pres connected directly to the camera (a 5D). Because the audio in on the camera is a bit noisey, this one required some cleanup with iZotope RX.