How many of you actually do this, recording with three mics (LCR)? I'm talking about using techniques like OCT (Optimized Cardioid Triangle)...

I could see the logic of this for recording moving vehicles and things like that (to not depend solely on a phantom center). Tomlinson Holman on his book on Surround Sound is quite ferocious on defending an LCR approach against a phantom center approach.But I don't see anyone really doing this kind of recording... In the case of the pass by, we would mostly pan a mono source, that's how it works for the majority of us. Hence my question, why LCR? Who does it and could talk about its advantages?

2 Answers 2


I have done a bit of ambience recording in LCR - but mostly only on a project where I knew there was going to be a lot of ADR due to bad production sound, and the centre channel would need more support than usual... (Even if I was recording only LR I would still obviously not rely on phantom centre, other dedicated elements would be cut for the C channel)

But eg for vehicles when in a film mix, the source sounds are often repanned to follow picture (as you say using a mono recording, or stereo) So it isn't that there is a phantom centre in the final result - a stereo or mono recording is panned L>C>R or whatever follows the onscreen action. So the answer really depends on the onscreen action eg capturing LCR is not so much use IF the source of the sound onscreen is a point source and the best outcome will be via panning to picture...

  • Thanks for your input, Tim! I really respect your work. Could you please tell me what set up exactly did you use?
    – Rodrigo
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 3:16
  • soundworkscollection.com/videos/the-sound-of-man-of-steel Could anyone also identify what's the set up that shows up at 2:15 on this video.
    – Rodrigo
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 3:24
  • I was recording in Papua New Guina and used MKH8040 L, MKH8050 C, MKH8040 R, and MKH70x2 for spot/surround elements
    – user49
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 21:06
  • Not sure re that ManofSteel rig - could be LCR or could be parallel LR and MS, I've emailed one of the crew to ask....
    – user49
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 21:12
  • Thank you, Tim! Please share the info about Man of Steel when you have it.
    – Rodrigo
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 1:14

Just FYI, its easy to derive a good LCR recording from a simple MS setup.

  • L = Mid plus side
  • C = Mid
  • R = Mid plus polarity inverted side

As such, any ambiance library that is distributed with the M and S undecoded can be derived into a proper LCR placement. Schoeps also has a free and very well implemented plugin that can both decode and manipulate this derivation.

I'm more of a quad guy myself though. :)

  • I'm not sure about this, but as far as I understand you can still restore the M- and S-signals from an encoded MS recording by sending it through the MS-chain the other way around, right? So it shouldn't matter if a MS-recording has been encoded into Left-channel/Right-channel or not. Or am I getting something wrong? Don't worry, I don't want to start that 'MS-to-LCR'-discussion from 'Designing Sound'all over again =). Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 17:08
  • LCR in a stereo LR environment would not be useful, but in a 5.1, sending that dedicated Mid up the C channel in a true LCR layout would definitely sound different than the phantom center Mid generated from the MS matrix. That's what I believe everyone is getting at Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 17:55

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