Pan Noir

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Re: Pan Noir

Postby fl » Tue Jan 14, 2014 19:05

Shure makes a shock mount for end-address cylindrical microphones, which is essentially a hollow rubber ring mounted inside a metal ring - no strings to resonate. For such a simple design, it works surprisingly well.

My standard practice with the Audio Technica 8410a mounts I use, is to pull, slightly, the various elastic string lengths different amounts so that they resonate at different pitches, and quite possibly damp each other's resonance to some degree. It also helps to arrange things to that any motion generated in the stand-mount-mic system is parallel to the mic diaphragm surface. To a degree, omni-directional mics tend to be less sensitive to mechanically induced vibrations due to the higher diaphram tension.

Ideally, I could just levitate my mics by pointing my finger at them. Or better yet, use some sort of laser/refraction interference scanning device to instantly translate the air pressure variations and particle velocities occurring at a selected point in space to signal voltage. Yeah, that's the ticket.
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Re: Pan Noir

Postby charlienyc » Thu Jan 16, 2014 18:59

we're getting off-topic, but here are some suggestions of microphone stand isolators:
http://www.primacoustic.com/tripads.htm
http://www.auralex.com/platfeet/

this is the sort of thing i believe SoundKlang is thinking about. i also use 8410a, and have heard excellent things about Rycote shockmounts.
alas, perhaps it's time to take this to the Merging Cellar?
cheers,
-c
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Re: Pan Noir

Postby SoundKlang » Mon Jan 20, 2014 15:40

If you wanted to share tips and tricks about improving microphone recordings at the Merging cellar, I am open to that idea.
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Re: Pan Noir

Postby SoundKlang » Tue Apr 08, 2014 15:21

After some more testing I found a solution which gives me the result I was looking for. I am sharing it here, to complete this thread.

Somewhere I found the information that pzms (Pressure Zone Microphone, boundary layer microphone) allow for very natural sounding recordings. Makes sense, no reflections from that wall, less phase cancellation, less comb filtering. While that pzm sound may not always be what is wanted for the main microphone it is still true that pzm give a very good impression of a room. Which makes this microphoning technique an interesting room microphone.

I placed two AT 4021 flat on a tile, 90 degree, 17.5 cm distance and hang that tile on a wall, not too near a corner. I choose positions considering the panorama position for the main mic. Then adding just the right amount, not too much, of the room mic gives body and improves localization to the main mic's mono signal. Even though this surely is not the best configuration for this approach, for my taste it gives better results than any artificial ambient processing I ever tried. I have to add that the quality of the microphone preamp and converter contribute to the amount of details in the result. There's a huge field for experimentation with the room mic: place it in different sounding rooms (and leave the door open), and so on ...

Too much of the room mic has the opposite effect: the result is too "roomy" and looses its precise definition. But in all my tests so far, there always was a sweet spot.
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Re: Pan Noir

Postby fl » Tue Apr 08, 2014 16:10

Two questions:

1. Is the wall position far enough from the main microphone that it introduces an audible delay or "slap echo" to your pickup when the two signals are combined? Also, boundary placement can result in the pickup of a very coherent reflection from the opposite wall, which gives you a second, focused echo.
2. Is phase coherency really what you're after with a room mic, or do the more incoherent and diffuse reflections found closer to the centre of the room provide more of the ambiance, and less of the slap?
Frank Lockwood, Toronto, ON, Canada
http://LockwoodARS.com
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Re: Pan Noir

Postby SoundKlang » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:18

Thanks for answering. I hope we may continue with this discussion, even though it is no longer about the pan noir (=off-topic). If not, maybe one of the administrators just tells us and deletes this post?

I did not think of it in terms of phase coherency, slap echoes or diffuse reflections. Quite an amount of work went into the room's acoustics but it still is a small room, far from perfect. A situation many people have to deal with these days. Rgearding the sound of popular music recordings, my prime target is to get close to the cinematic image heard on records like Esperanza Spalding's "Ponta de Areia", Bob Marley's "Jamming", Sting's "La belle dame sans regret", Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Over the rainbow" or Stevie Wonders "If it's magic". Just giving a few random examples.

You gave me the hint to use a room mic instead of using a synthesized signal resulting from center anbience processing. That was the right direction, thank you for that, again. To describe the whole process would be too much here, but at some point I came back to the insight that microphone recording and monitor playback deal with the same types of acoustic challenges. So if flush-mount speakers greatly improve the playback situation because there are no first reflections from the adjacent walls, then some useable effect could be expected with "flush-mount" microphones. I also remembered having read that Nirvana's "Nevermind" album, I think, was recorded in a studio where the engineer had microphones all over the walls. PZMs can be seen as "flush-mount", so I tried this appraoch and got an excellent image of the room.

On the other hand room mics closer to the center of the room gave me a more reverb-like result. (Which I can imagine would be nice in a bigger, better sounding room than mine is. Quotation from Stevie Wonder: "You got to work with what you've got to work with, so work with it." ;) ).

At this point my conclusion is, for localization of sound sources it is important to have only a few, very defined first reflections. That's what I think I am getting from the PZM approach. For a feeling of spaciousness, reverb is more important, but also tends to blur the signal from the instrument's main mic (when recording single instruments for popular music multitrack arrangements). Then again, microphones tend to pick up much more room information than I want, so for my approach I can use the PZM approach in a more lively room to get spaciousness and still have good localization.

What I think is working in this approach is that is "real". When the microphones are set up properly, there is no unreal infromation disturbing the hearing. On the other hand the strength of artificial ambient processing is to create rooms impossible to capture with microphones, unless we have access to a variety of cathedrals, caves, gyms, clubs and so on.
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