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Another method of stereo recording is the ORTF system, which uses two cardioid mics angled at 110 degrees apart and placed 7 inches apart horizontally. Let's look at how it works. ORTF stands for the Office of French Radio and Television Broadcasting and is sometimes confused with the X-Y configuration. This method tends to sound very accurate since the capsules are as far as your ears and many believe that it's the best sounding of all stereo miking configurations. To set up an ORTF configuration, walk around the room and listen to where the instruments or sound source sounds best.
Note the balance of the instrument to the room and stereo image. Now set up two identical cardioid mics in an ORTF configuration where the middle of your head was. Set the trim or gain control and fader levels, so both mics are at the same level. Now pan the channels hard left and hard right. (music playing) Just to hear what it sounds like, replace one of the mics with a different cardioid model.
Notice how much the stereo image changes? (music playing) Let's use the identical mics again. Now we're going to pan both mic channels to the center. As you can hear, the sound definitely changes when we switch to mono.
(music playing) That's one of the reasons why X-Y is used instead of ORTF if mono is a priority. In mono it just sounds better. To sum it all up, the ORTF stereo mic and configuration is used because many believe that it best emulates how we hear. Walk around the room find the sweet spot, then place the mics there, set the preamp and fader levels so each channel is exactly the same then, pan both hard left and right.
Finally, be careful if you are going to use the track in mono because the sound might change.
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