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Spaced Pair Stereo Microphone Considerations

Spaced-pair stereo miking involves placing two microphones at a distance in front of the instrument(s) that you want to record and at a distance from one another. This approach can work well if you record an ensemble that takes up a lot of room. The following illustration shows a top view of a typical spaced-pair stereo mic setup.

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Keep the following things in mind when using the spaced-pair stereo-miking technique:

  • Follow the rule. One of the most important things to consider when stereo miking with spaced pairs is that you will experience phase problems if you don’t space the mics properly. Fortunately, experienced recordists have discovered a basic guideline that makes it easier to place the mics.

    Called the 3:1 rule, this guideline says that you should place the mics three times farther apart than they are from the sound source. Doing so minimizes potential phase problems.

  • Break the rule if necessary. As handy as the 3:1 rule is, it isn’t foolproof. At times, this rule doesn’t produce the best sound. Use the rule as a guide, but trust your ears to determine the best place to put a spaced pair of mics (or a single mic, pair, or group of mics).

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