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Here's another stereo microphone configuration that's pretty easy to set up but is actually a lot harder than it seems. In this movie, I'm going to show you how to set up and use the spaced pair configuration. With the spaced pair technique, two identical mics are played several feet apart aiming straight ahead towards the instrument or musical ensemble. The mics can have any polar pattern, but an omni- directional pattern is the most popular for this method. The greater the space in between mics, the greater the stereo spread, although it's usually somewhere between 3 and 10 feet.
This may seem like such a simple setup, but getting the spacing right is actually pretty difficult. If the spacing between mics is too far apart, the stereo separation seems exaggerated. On the other hand, if the mics are too close together, there will be an inadequate stereo spread. To set this configuration up, first set up two identical mics about 3 feet away from instrument or ensemble and 9 feet apart. Make sure that the instrument or ensemble is in the middle of the two mics. While a spaced pair is usually used when recording an ensemble, you can use it for recording single instruments as well, as we've done here with an acoustic guitar.
Bring up the level of both mics so they're identical. Pan them hard left and hard right, have the players or players play, and listen. (music playing) Pan each channel to the center to check how it sounds in mono.
(music playing) Sometimes combining both mics and mono causes phase cancellations to occur at various frequencies which can become exaggerated as more instruments are added or the music becomes more complex.
Return the panning to hard left and hard right. Now move the mic so they're about 12 feet apart. (music playing) As you can hear, the stereo image becomes exaggerated and unnatural.
You also start to hear what seems to be a hole in the middle where the phantom image isn't as prominent as it was before. As you can see and hear, the spaced pair stereo miking technique is easy to set up and sounds great if you get the distances right. It's difficult to say what the correct spacing is since every situation is different, where if the mics are too close together your stereo sound field won't be as wide. If they're too far apart, you get a hole in the middle. With that said, placement is relatively easy, so don't be afraid to experiment.
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