Hello fellow Sound Designers and Recordists,

I'd like to throw this out there and ask:

Do you ever use the Blumlein Stereo technique while recording in the field?

I like the sound of it on Choir for music, but has anyone applied this technique to anything in terms of SFX for a film?

I suppose a small room or tight space like a submarine would sound great with this technique. Or maybe an elevator. I used it on a loop group for a film not too long ago for a party ambience where the director wanted the listener "Inside" the crowd and this had great results.

What's your favorite stereo recording technique? Or do you use all kinds depending on the situation?

4 Answers 4


I personally, in my new career, have not had the project in need of true field recording as I usually use library for everything sfx unless I can record it inside. However, I have practiced field recording to build onto my own sfx library. So take my answer however you may like.

By the polar pattern associated with the Blumlein, it screams stereo imaging. Even though you have front and back, you also have side to side with the help of the 2nd mic. This creates 4 points of overlap information, and 4 points of distinctly unique information.

Say an explosion - you can use the mic pointing at the point of explosion to create a front to rear image of the explosion blowing past and a side to side of the explosion radiating off of mountains/buildings/or any other surface you choose to process the information of the mic facing the intersecting direction. Panning in this situation would create a really cool effect.

That may be a bit more over budget than most people would have to try out, but if it can be used on as complex sonic event as an explosion, and make a simple guitar cab sound pretty cool, im sure you can find some pretty interesting applications for any type of situation.




I like using M/S recording when capturing some effects out in the field. It gives me the option of building it into the space or using a more isolated mono sound. I'm typically doing this with a single point M/S mic (like the MKH 418-S), but I've plans to get some higher end mics which I will be using in a Blumlein configuration. If you have the track availability, it can provide you with some additional flexibility. I like to prepare for more than I need across the board.

When it comes to recording ambiences, I prefer to use simpler stereo recording practices (coincident x/y, single point stereo, etc.). Typically I don't want to mess with the stereo width of these types of recordings. If I feel I need to for some reason, I can always create the Mid and Side out of the stereo file. Then it's a simple matter of making the adjustments that I want.


you can always use blumlein when worldizing...my 7 cents


When I've been out doing nature recordings or effects-gathering with others, I see everything from Jecklin discs to XY to spaced pair to ORTF, but I've not come across Blumlein stereo techniques in the field. This seems like one of those techniques where its lack of popularity in SFX is a mix of available equipment (I know very few people with two identical, much less factory-matched, figure-eight mics!) and in-the-field "fiddle factor" (e.g., even ORTF with small capsule mics can fit in a single Rycote with almost-zero setup time). It'd take quite a burly windscreen, too, to fit two MKH30's or similar in a coincident pattern... :-D (Full disclosure: I'm a mid-side fella, myself.)

  • Hah! Thanks - good points in there. I guess I'll always have my Music recording roots with me.
    – Utopia
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 18:53

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