Mid/Side Recording Questions Answered
Got an email from a reader about mid/side recording that I thought you might want to hear about.
It’s a multi-part question so I’ll address each part individually.
Question: Can you use mono or stereo mics for the mic with the figure 8 setting?
Answer: Use a mono condenser in the figure-8 setting. A stereo figure-8 pattern is a blumlein pair.
Question: For the mic with the figure 8 setting – does it matter if the front of the mic is positioned to the left or right when it is turned on its side.
Answer: Make sure it’s turned on its side and the sides are facing out to the left and right, and NOT up and down. Which side faces where does not matter.
Question: Do you have to use a mid/side decoding matrix when recording into your daw – there is mid/side decoding button in the motu cue mix – or does the process of duplicating the recording of the fig 8 pattern and inverting one channel of the recording and then pan hard left and right equate to what the mid/side decoding matrix does.
Answer: No decoding matrix is needed. I like it old-school manual aux routing style.
Question: How do you EQ a recording done with this technique?
Answer: That’s really hard to answer because there’s no hard and fast answer to the question. You would treat the cardioid(mid) condenser as the direct instrument mic, but the bi-directional(side) as more of a room mic.
Question: I’m recording sound sources which are pretty bass heavy in the outer areas of the stereo/panning field – as I’m more used to making and mixing dance music I’m in the habit of keeping bass elements away from the wider areas of the stereo field – so is mid/side a good mic-ing technique to use when recording these sort of sound sources ?
Answer: M/S works best in a good room because the figure-8 microphone will be picking up the room sound around the instrument. M/S processing during mixing is useful for separating bass frequencies out of the sides while keeping them in the middle of the spectrum. It might be unnecessarily complicated to use when you can just record your instrument in mono.
M/S is a very useful, but complex, stereo recording technique. It can work wonders for acoustic guitars and it sums to mono perfectly due to the double miking technique. (Hint: The cardioid mic is the mono mic).
Even if you think M/S is not the technique for you, knowing how to apply the Blumlein pair, an X/Y or just a simple spaced pair is crucial for a good stereo recording.
Learn how here:
Image by: Roadside Guitars