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Often called a surround mic, an ambisonics mic, and a few other names I've heard and can't remember. It's a 4 channel microphone that can be perfectly folded down to mono or out to 10.2, or anywhere in between no phase issues whatsoever. Also, there are a bunch of different methods of recording / decoding, etc... Lots to learn. I have a chance to play with one for a bit, and I have to say, I'm quite excited about it.

Anyone here own one or use one before?

Here's one to look at. Tons of technical info here: http://www.core-sound.com/TetraMic/1.php

Thoughts? Comments? Snide remarks?

  • @Colin A guy I used to work with in Detroit has done quite a bit of testing with the TetraMic in use with a steady cam rig. He loves it. – user6508 Aug 24 '10 at 6:37
  • @colin Did you end up testing it? How was it? – Andrew Spitz Oct 8 '10 at 6:14
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I use the Soundfield sps200 and find it ideal. I just record it to a four track recorder and then use the plug-in in Pro Tools to convert the output to stereo, 5.1 or even 8 channel. I am about to experiment with ambisonics as well. I love the audio quality and the ease of use.

Soundfield SPS200 http://www.soundfield.com/products/images/sps200-main.jpg

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Hello, I use a ST350 with a Sonosax SX-R4 for two years now mainly for ambiences.

First of all, you should read some articles from Daniel Courville to well understand ambisonic http://www.radio.uqam.ca/ambisonic/

The ST350 microphone (Format B) is a all in one mic, very easy to use and manipulate but a little bit heavy. The preamp deliver 4 sources (WXYZ) to your recorder. With ST350 preamp you can monitoring a MS signal and some recorder like Sound Device, use their own software decoder.

The beauty of ambisonic is the decoding process ! When you decode the 4 trks in protools, you can "re-arrange" your recording. I mean you can rotate, zoom, use different pattern etc etc. Other great thing is the fold down.5.1 to MS to Mono.

The microphone sound really great but a little beat noisy when you rec room tone or low level ambiences. You can of course filter the 4 channel in post production.

Protools plug in is fine, but set it up in a session is not convenient. Nuendo or Pyramix is more flexible for that I think.

Other major deal is monitoring Ambisonic (like discret surround) in Soundminer. Need to open several rewire instance in protools and insert a plug for decoding in SM.

A new online library open with mainly ambisonic material, great site and great people. http://www.surround-library.com/

Otherwise, if someone need some samples, feel free to email me.

Bruno

PS : do you like my fabulous french accent ? ;-)

  • Nice info... merci. – Andrew Spitz Oct 8 '10 at 10:17
  • avec plaisir :) – Bruno Guéraçague Oct 8 '10 at 13:38
  • I'm currently investigating the purchase of a compact surround miking setup, but getting your hands on those things for testing is very difficult, so I'd love to get some sample recordings! – EMV Oct 8 '10 at 16:55
  • Hi EMV, I'll drop some Ambisonic recording on monday. Just send me ftp informations for upload. cheers – Bruno Guéraçague Oct 9 '10 at 8:20
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There is a nice piece about Chris Watson's exploration with surround in the field here:

http://www.soundfield.com/news/news_watson.php

Apparently he became a big fan of the Soundfield ST350 after he took it to Antarctica on a BBC project.

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I did some recording with Chris Watson a few weekends ago and he let us use his stereo field microphone. Very impressive, also extremely expensive. He tested them for the company and ended up keeping it as he was very pleased with the results. He recommended Daniel Courvilles Ambisonics studio for decoding. Funny though, meeting someone like this we were just as interested in getting good field recording stories from him as talking about tech, and did he have some great stories :-)

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Weird timing. I just spent a day recording with Soundfield's SPS422/SP451 combo straight to laptop audio interface. It was shockingly simple to set up, just takes a large number of XLRs. Easy to move if you put it on a cart. Overall, a really nice experience. The sound is great, totally immersive. It causes a rather intriguing dissonance between what your eyes are seeing (post audio room) and what you're hearing in 5.1 (place you've recorded).

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Thanks to Bruno for the heads-up, just note that you can download some b-format demos on our Surround Library website at : http://www.surround-library.com/demos

Also check Ambisonia : http://www.ambisonia.com, some great demos right there.

I love ambisonic too, and do all my ambiences with this system (Soundfield ST350 also, SPS200 is not so great as i've been told.). It's just sad that no other microphone manufacturers except Soundfield jump in the pit, as it would be great to have a wider range of mikes to choose from (say Neumann, DPA, Sennheiser, Schoeps, etc.). Maybe later, when the technology finaly gets adopted by most of the sound editors and mixers, when appropriate.

Ambisonic is also great for video game (realtime processings depending of the situation), check out Code Masters and some of its sound designers.

Bye.

  • I do believe Schoeps have a section on surround recording techniques in their reading materials online. You could always grab 4 (or more) of their mics and set up using one of the listed techniques.. I don't think if you're specifically targeting surround you would be thinking too much about folding down to mono. – georgi Oct 10 '10 at 13:54

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