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Figure-eight and Omni LCDs

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by jkowtko, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    Redwood City, CA
    (sorry ... LDCs)

    Forgive me for sounding naive, but mics (other than lavs) are one area where I haven't spent much time yet, and I am now just starting to dig into it more.

    As I look for new mics to add to my growing arsenal, there are versions with pad, HPF, and multi-pattern. I somewhat know the use of HPF and pad -- but could use some more basic guidance on multi-pattern.

    What are the common uses for a figure-eight pattern, for example?

    Also, how about omni?

    Is it simply based on where the sound source(s) is/are relative to the mic, or is the tonal quality also significantly different between the different patterns? Or are there certain types of vocals and/or instruments that work better with one pattern vs another?

    Thanks. John
  2. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
    Marietta, GA
    Probably one of the most common uses is a Blumlein pair, two figure eight mics crossed at 90 degrees, or a Mid-Side, a figure eight sideways with a cardioid, omni or figure eight on axis, used for stereo recording. Another common use would be in an interview situation with one person to either side of the mic. But you might also put one between two toms to pick up their sound and reject everything from the front and back.

    Used for many things, often a good general choice unless you need directionality. Omnis are often less susceptible to breath noise and have better low frequency response as well as not exhibiting proximity effect (see below). The reasons to avoid omnis are usually more gain and feedback related, or simply avoiding picking up off axis sounds, than they are sound quality related.

    All of the above and more. It's not just where the sound source is relative to the mic but also where any other sources are, for example using a cardioid for a vocal mic is often desirable if you are using floor monitors as you typically want a fairly forgiving pattern to the front and rejection off the back where the monitor is located and an omni or hypercardioid would not provide those characteristics. Another example is that directional mics such as cardioid and hypercardioid mics usually exhibit a phenomena called proximity effect, as you get close to the mic there is a bass boost. This can be desirable or undesirable depending on the application. There are many resources online and in reference books on mics and mic applications but the best way is often just to try it, sometimes what seem like very odd approaches work amazingly well for specific applications.
    jkowtko and (deleted member) like this.
  3. howlingwolf487

    howlingwolf487 Active Member

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    Collingswood, NJ
    Another person and myself just recorded a vocal ensemble using a Mid-Side setup (a pair of Sony C48 mics). I'll have to try a Blumlein configuration next time...

    I really like using figure-8 patterns for duets. The singers can take cues from each other and can balance themselves as if they were singing next to each other (AND you only have to use 1 channel!).

    Omnidirectional mics can impart a more open sound than microphones with a pattern. I've heard some good uses on guitar cabs. I haven't had too much experience with them, but I would never rule them out except maybe for an event where I need a TON of GBF. Also, you can use spaced omni mics for stereo recording (following the 3-to-1 rule, of course).

    Here are the mics I would go for if I wanted flexibility and ruggedness:

    Sony C48
    AKG C414B-XLS
    Audio-Technica 4050

    I would consider any of them a good investment that would make a great ROI for many, many years. Put 'em on guitar cabs and pianos, use them as overheads, room/ambient mics, recording...the uses are endless!

    Words of the day: Mid-Side Stereo Technique, Blumlein Stereo Technique, Spaced Omni Stereo Technique, 3-to-1- Rule

    For future reference, DPA Microphones has a GREAT page on mic techniques and technology. Also, many pro audio manufacturers have white papers and articles on typical topics in recording and live sound - look for them!
    jkowtko and (deleted member) like this.

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