A new mic is in the works!
This post is probably not helpful for rock vocalists
trying to be heard over significant stage volume…
First, an article by the remarkable microphone designer Bruce Bartlett:
(Sometimes a stereo Spaced Pair, Mid/Side, or other technique suits a particular situation better than coincident X/Y.)
The Rode NT4 is a useful, modest cost, X/Y stereo microphone.
It sounds very good, has a good windscreen, is well built, and
can be powered by a 9V battery for field use.
Royer has the SF-12, and there are several other X/Y stereo mics.
Several handheld recorders, like the Tascam DR-44WL, have X/Y mics and
Zoom has the iQ6 X/Y mic module to mount on an IOS device.
(Some microphones listed as X/Y use some alternate definition.
You want to know what’s behind the screen!)
General comments about coincident(XY) stereo:
) This mic capsule orientation offers minimal phase interference in mono.
(And the smaller and closer the capsules, the higher the frequency before
phase interference starts.)
) Great for mono, but may not have as much of a stereo representation as some other techniques.
) For a fairly wide section of a circle around the front of the mic,
volume is fairly consistent with source position, which can be useful for
small choral groups, ‘one mic’ Bluegrass bands and more.
) For use with duos, getting mic placement is important but not quite so critical,
as you have a bit of left/right level control to balance volume.
) Note that monitor levels may have to be lower to avoid feedback, or,
because of minimal phase issues, it’s possible this is less of an issue.
When used for covering a larger area of singers/musicians,
stage wedges aren’t an option.
Specific NT4-style X/Y stereo microphone benefits:
) There is one mic body, though you still need two mic elements and
two mixer or recorder channels.
(While this is more convenient, a stereo pair of mics can sound just as good.)
) The mic element angle and height are precisely set, no adjusting mics on a stereo bar.
(While placement is consistent, a stereo pair can sound just as good,
and offers the possibility of different mic element spread angles.)
) The mic can be used as a Drum Overhead.
Or over a Xylophone, or a number of other instruments.
(This is possible with a sturdy stereo bar and stand, though
I would be more comfortable using a mic like the NT4.)
) With the mic body horizontal, the elements can be rotated 90 degrees, for
a vertical axis orientation; great for a Clarinet, and some other instruments.
(This may be possible with a really sturdy stereo bar, mic clips, etc., though not so easy.)
In vertical orientation, the NT4 can pick up the voice of a singer AND their Guitar.
Want more Vox in the mix, relative to the Guitar? Just bring up the Vox a bit and turn down the Guitar.
Instead of two mics on two stands, only one mic/stand is needed.
(Note that neither the mic element facing up, or the one facing down, or both,
are as close to the mouth or instrument as is possible with two separate mics.
Singers can’t eat the mic and get a low frequency boost from proximity effect.)
Thanks to Dan Richardson for turning me on to my first X/Y mic, the NT4.
Are you using an X/Y stereo pair, or mic?
Have you discovered any cool live audio or recording uses for Stereo X/Y?
Some singers/musicians appreciate relatively large mics like the Rode NT4.
(Partly it has to be big to fit the 9V battery.)
Others prefer something smaller, lighter and black so
LiveEdge Audio is developing such a mic!
Bruce Bartlett is doing much of the heavy lifting with both creative design ideas, and
specifics, including mic element, electronics and materials selections.
A great shop is cutting/bending prototypes for the project:
Laser Precision Cutting
If you find such a mic interesting, please send an e-mail to:
Thanks and good health, Weogo, for LiveEdge