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I just got the DPA SMK4060 Stereo Kit. As many of you know, these are terrific and lovely mics. I love the detail I've been able to pull from them. I have a question about using these in a handheld configuration for ambient recordings.

I read that Chris Watson mounts them on a wire coat hanger. This works really well: it spaces the mics about 40cmm, achieving a nice stereo image. Plus, the magnetic mounts that ship with the stereo SMK kit work really well. I have one slight problem with this: it seems a little susceptible to handling noise. My guess is that I'll just be more careful, but I wonder how others run the 4060s in a handheld AB configuration. Would a stereo bar with a Rycote grip work better?

Alternatively, I was thinking about achieving AB by clipping each mic on my shoulders, right/left, AB. I'm interested to see how my head/neck work as a baffle. Has anyone tried this?

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is there a reason that you MUST hand hold them? mic stands were invented for a reason... especially if its recording ambiences ie do you really want to hold a position for 10+ minutes? –  user49 Jul 19 '12 at 8:39
    
@tim no, it's not imperative to handhold them and a stand is preferable, for sure. i figured that i wanted to take advantage of their small size and run a small handheld system sometimes. –  sans-un Jul 19 '12 at 16:14
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3 Answers 3

I haven't gone with the shoulder mount, but I have gotten a pair of budfits. They work relatively well, achieving a decent L/R separation. Although it may be too binaural for your needs. Here's an example of a recording I made near the Plaza Del Sol in Madrid last year during the protests.

[soundcloud]steve-urban/uap-fx-4[/soundcloud]

I've also attached my 4060s to the horizontal mount bar of my Rode Blimp in a roughly estimated ORTF. For me, I found that using Bostik Blu Tack with the standard mount was preferable to the magnetic mounts as it reduced the handling noise slightly. Perhaps going with the Blu Tack and the hanger would be an affordable next step? Unless of course you already own the Rycote.

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@Steve, thanks for the budfits link, that's helpful. I haven't looked into binaural recordings and will have to see about getting them to translate. I'll look into the Blu Tack option, which is a good one. –  sans-un Jul 19 '12 at 16:15
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Hi,

This is not so much a recommendation for a technique but more a sharing of experiences. When I just got the DPA's I've had a lot of success with doing handheld recordings. Not so much for outdoor ambiences, but when recording indoor spaces underground. Exploring tunnels and bunkers with the dpa's in hand (and the foam windscreens). Not your everyday sound excursion ofcourse, and being flexible was really important. I needed to move quickly sometimes so setting up a tripod or anything like that was not an option.
By holding them in hand (instead of using a wire coat hanger) you can adjust the spacing really easily. This makes it possible to adapt the audio depth of field when you move from a small tunnel to a new room (you have to monitor with headphones). You do have to concentrate on not changing the spacing in one room. But the thing is, I got really into 'the zone' and my dpa's became my ears so I was super sensitive to the acoustics and the sounds in the spaces. And I never had any real issues with handling noise, just keep them between your fingertips about 3 cm's from the capsule. Just try it and maybe you'll notice that 40cm is only a starting point for AB recordings.

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@Arnoud a very interesting idea! I'll try this for sure, as it's the cheapest solution for me, and a very practical one, so long as I'm able to keep my arms still. –  sans-un Jul 19 '12 at 16:17
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my tip would be to use a table-tenis (ping-pong) bat as a make-shift Jecklin-disk-cum-handle.

Stick the DPA's either side and you have a great portable hand-held stereo mic.

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Hi, I think this will not achieve the best stereo image. The spacing is simply to small. It will sound like the Sony PCM-D10 this way, great dual mono recorder but a little noisier probably.. –  Arnoud Traa Jul 20 '12 at 9:17
    
then you'd be wrong. Do you know what a Jecklin disc is??? –  analoghell Jul 21 '12 at 10:22
    
The ping pong bat would work partially, it is a little small and does not absorb all of the required frequencies. If you built the absorption up with an additional layer of foam/padding and increased the size to match a human head then the bat would work really well. –  Iain McGregor Jul 24 '12 at 8:10
    
agreed - technically it's not perfect. however, i am quite surprised at quite how good the results usually are. it's great for a quick and dirty portable solution. –  analoghell Jul 27 '12 at 13:43
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