Old 07-29-2019, 10:39 AM   #1
kirk1701
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Default Mid/Side Mic leslie sound

I love the leslie guitar effect. I use the Strymon Lex through my main amp. I've tried just miking the amp with a single mic. That was a little thin, but it worked okay.

I've tried a stereo amp setup with a mic on each amp plus a room mic. That also worked okay, but it was really wide. Almost too full a sound.

I tried the Mid/Side technique with a figure 8 ribbon mic and SM57. I recorded two tracks: the 57 is the mid mic, the ribbon the sides. Once I'm done tracking, I copied the sides track and flipped the polarity of the first sides track.

These I put in a folder/buss. The side tracks are panned hard left and right; the mid is panned centre. Should I use stereo pan on the buss?

Also, I looked at the phase of the 57 and ribbon mics, which were out of phase with each other. Should I have flipped the phase of the 57, even though I flipped the sides track?

I could've also used the mid/side encode/decode, but that's more confusing for some reason. Thoughts?
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Old 07-29-2019, 11:12 AM   #2
karbomusic
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The pan knob on the folder can be whatever you want.

You could as easily:

1. Record M and S to a stereo track and just drop a decoder on the track.
2. Separate files/tracks, put in a folder, drop a decode on the folder - I think M=left and S=right (IIRC).
3. Do like you did which is a manual decoding method - it simply gives finer-grained control.

As far as the phase between 57/side - the position of the side in relation to the 57 is in the null point of the side so chances are you see timing differences from sound bouncing then hitting the sides etc. AKA that phase difference is the phase difference M/S is exploiting to be begin with. Just feel reasonably comfortable you have the capsules for 57/sides aligned before recording and you should be good.

Side note: If I mic an amp with M/S I like to get the mic back a little bit as M/S can be a little weird if too close.
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Old 07-29-2019, 11:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
The pan knob on the folder can be whatever you want.

You could as easily:

1. Record M and S to a stereo track and just drop a decoder on the track.
2. Separate files/tracks, put in a folder, drop a decode on the folder - I think M=left and S=right (IIRC).
3. Do like you did which is a manual decoding method - it simply gives finer-grained control.

As far as the phase between 57/side - the position of the side in relation to the 57 is in the null point of the side so chances are you see timing differences from sound bouncing then hitting the sides etc. AKA that phase difference is the phase difference M/S is exploiting to be begin with. Just feel reasonably comfortable you have the capsules for 57/sides aligned before recording and you should be good.

Side note: If I mic an amp with M/S I like to get the mic back a little bit as M/S can be a little weird if too close.
Good notes!

I lined the capsule/ribbon up as I saw it in online photos. I'm pretty certain I got it. What you're saying confirms what I was also thinking. Also it sounded weird when I reversed polarity on both.

I was about a foot and a half back from the cabinet. I never close mic amps anymore. It sounds claustrophobic to me somehow. I like the amp to do what it does, then mic that.

As for the Leslie sound, I got quite a bit more whoosh than gurgle. I prefer the gurgle for this particular project, but it's always good to know how to get the whoosh should I want it.
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirk1701 View Post
... I recorded two tracks: the 57 is the mid mic, the ribbon the sides. Once I'm done tracking, I copied the sides track and flipped the polarity of the first sides track.

These I put in a folder/buss. The side tracks are panned hard left and right; the mid is panned centre.
this is correct. the two side "copies" must always be of opposite polarity! Never set both side channels to the same polarity! This destroys MS stereo. If you decide to swap both their (opposite) polarities, this will swap left and right in the final L/R stereo signal. Switching the polarity of the M channel will also swap the final left and right signal.

Recording both MS channels into a single 2-channel ("stereo") wave file on a single track instead of two separate tracks/files greatly simplifies editing and avoids the need for numerous tracks (folder/children). M channel will get recorded on the "left" (channel 1), S channel on the "right" (channel 2). Then, simply put an MS decoding plugin into the track (followed by other plugins like eq, comps, etc.). You can also pan the signal once it has been converted to L/R.

When recording stereo signals (be it LR or MS streo), you should always check mono compatability with a stereo scope (free Melda bundle) or goniometer plugin to avoid phase issues which may cause cancellation of frequency ranges while listening back in mono! For correct mono compatibility, the stereo scope should never show horizontal drawings but always more or less upright shapes! A correlation meter (like in Voxengo SPAN) should always show values between 0 and 1 and never values between 0 and -1.

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Old 08-01-2019, 12:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SonicAxiom View Post
this is correct. the two side "copies" must always be of opposite polarity! Never set both side channels to the same polarity! This destroys MS stereo. If you decide to swap both their (opposite) polarities, this will swap left and right in the final L/R stereo signal. Switching the polarity of the M channel will also swap the final left and right signal.

Recording both MS channels into a single 2-channel ("stereo") wave file on a single track instead of two separate tracks/files greatly simplifies editing and avoids the need for numerous tracks (folder/children). M channel will get recorded on the "left" (channel 1), S channel on the "right" (channel 2). Then, simply put an MS decoding plugin into the track (followed by other plugins like eq, comps, etc.). You can also pan the signal once it has been converted to L/R.

When recording stereo signals (be it LR or MS streo), you should always check mono compatability with a stereo scope (free Melda bundle) or goniometer plugin to avoid phase issues which may cause cancellation of frequency ranges while listening back in mono! For correct mono compatibility, the stereo scope should never show horizontal drawings but always more or less upright shapes! A correlation meter (like in Voxengo SPAN) should always show values between 0 and 1 and never values between 0 and -1.

.
Excellent advice.

I recut the track and I'm much happier with the sound. I haven't checked against any metering, other than my ears. If it sounds weird to me, I figure I've screwed something up.

I also recorded some shaker with the same m/s setup. That really worked well. Percussion is difficult. I've never felt I got an accurate recording with mono. The highs didn't seem to translate.

Next question: should I be using m/s eq/comp on the buss? Or would I only use that if I bounced the three tracks down to one stereo track?
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:19 PM   #6
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Hmmm...

You can close mic the top of the leslie with two mics 90 deg apart on 2 adjacent sides to avoid the 180 deg cancellation issues. I've seen this advice often enough. But then you sort of only have one corner of the full rotation whereas 180 deg from opposite sides would center it more. I think most people just put a single mic on the low speaker and call it a day.

Close mic at 90 deg or 180 deg? (Reverse polarity or not on one of the mics for 180 deg?) Or MS mic'ing some short distance away? You'd be recording the room too with MS. (More so than with close mic'ing anyway)
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:50 PM   #7
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My favorite stereo micing setup is using Jecklyn Disk. Works for most sources. Less hassle with phase issues. When you hit the sweetspot IMO the stereo image sounds more natural than any other stereo micing technique.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:16 PM   #8
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Hmmm...

You can close mic the top of the leslie with two mics 90 deg apart on 2 adjacent sides to avoid the 180 deg cancellation issues. I've seen this advice often enough. But then you sort of only have one corner of the full rotation whereas 180 deg from opposite sides would center it more. I think most people just put a single mic on the low speaker and call it a day.

Close mic at 90 deg or 180 deg? (Reverse polarity or not on one of the mics for 180 deg?) Or MS mic'ing some short distance away? You'd be recording the room too with MS. (More so than with close mic'ing anyway)
Sorry, not a physical Leslie cabinet. I'd love one, but they're not practical for my setup right now. If it were, I'd just mic top and bottom with 57s and be done with it.

I'm using the Strymon Lex through my standard guitar amp/cab. The sound in the room is very convincing, but it's a little trickier to record. Direct is an option, but I find the direct sound just too synthetic. You have to push real air in some way. Since the sound is only coming out of one 12" speaker, the M/S technique made most sense to me.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirk1701 View Post
Sorry, not a physical Leslie cabinet. I'd love one, but they're not practical for my setup right now. If it were, I'd just mic top and bottom with 57s and be done with it.
Well, you'd lose the stereo/surround effect doing that... Would seem a shame after lugging an actual leslie to the gig I'd think. Wiring up that 2nd '57 for the top isn't exactly much more work!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirk1701 View Post
I'm using the Strymon Lex through my standard guitar amp/cab. The sound in the room is very convincing, but it's a little trickier to record. Direct is an option, but I find the direct sound just too synthetic. You have to push real air in some way. Since the sound is only coming out of one 12" speaker, the M/S technique made most sense to me.
Reducing the sim to mono?! Again, you'd be throwing away a lot. The sim might be somewhat anemic out of the box but you'd be getting even further away! I'd dial it in to taste and preserve the stereo/surround elements.

Leslies have been recorded dirtied up and mono before and in some mixes it might be the right thing of course. If it sounds right, it is right.

Just my 2c
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by serr View Post
Reducing the sim to mono?! Again, you'd be throwing away a lot. The sim might be somewhat anemic out of the box but you'd be getting even further away! I'd dial it in to taste and preserve the stereo/surround elements.

Leslies have been recorded dirtied up and mono before and in some mixes it might be the right thing of course. If it sounds right, it is right.

Just my 2c
I gotta tell you, the figure of 8 mic does an excellent job of picking up the swirl.

I can also try a stereo amp setup, but that's even more of a phasing headache. This doesn't work so bad.
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