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COURSE DETAILS: Microphone Polar Patterns and Stereo Configurations Video Course

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Microphone Polar Patterns and Stereo Configurations

COURSE INTRODUCTION [2:17]
Course introductionAn introduction to this course, which will help you understand and develop an aural awareness of microphone polar patterns and stereo configurations. The course features audio and video recordings made in Abbey Road Studio 2, which is one of the best studios in the world, made famous by the Beatles.
MODULE 1 - SECTION 1:
Introduction to polar patterns [2:50]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video explains the importance of achieving an understanding and aural awareness of microphone polar patterns. The video also describes how the various tests of this course were performed and how you should listen to and interpret the results.
MODULE 1 - SECTION 2:
Omnidirectional polar pattern [7:10]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video demonstrates the omnidirectional polar pattern using the Schoeps MK 2 H microphone capsule. You will see and hear that the response is even all the way round. At high frequencies however the response dips a little at the rear of the microphone.
MODULE 1 - SECTION 3:
Cardioid polar pattern [7:17]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video demonstrates the cardioid polar pattern using the Schoeps MK 4 microphone capsule. You will see and hear that the response is greatest directly in front of the microphone and drops to an audible extent towards the sides. The microphone is almost completely insensitive to the rear. Almost no direct sound is audible but the microphone still picks up the reverberation from the room. A high-frequency test is also included.
MODULE 1 - SECTION 4:
Supercardioid polar pattern [8:08]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video demonstrates the tighter directionality of the supercardioid polar pattern, and also that this microphone has significant sensitivity towards the rear, and nulls towards the rear sides. The video uses the Schoeps MK 41 capsule. A high-frequency test is also included.
MODULE 1 - SECTION 5:
Figure-of-eight polar pattern [8:19]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsUsing the Schoeps MK6 multipattern capsule set to figure-of-eight, this demonstrates how the figure-of-eight polar pattern is equally sensitive to the front and rear, and almost completely insensitive to the sides. A high-frequency test is also included.
MODULE 2 - SECTION 1:
Comparison tests omnidirectional and cardioid [4:30]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video compares the response of the omnidirectional capsule at different angles, followed by comparisons of the cardioid capsule at different angles. The video makes it crystal clear how the microphones respond to sound arriving from different directions. High frequency comparisons are also included.
MODULE 2 - SECTION 2:
Comparison tests supercardioid and figure-of-eight [6:00]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video compares the response of the supercardioid capsule at different angles, followed by comparisons of the figure-of-eight capsule at different angles. The video makes it extremely clear how the microphones respond to sound arriving from different directions. High frequency comparisons are also included.
MODULE 3 - SECTION 1:
Introduction to stereo configurations [3:50]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis module will cover four basic two-microphone configurations for recording in stereo, demonstrating that there is no one 'best' configuration. They each have their own characteristic sound which will be chosen on the basis of personal preference, the type of recording being undertaken, and client or market requirements.
MODULE 3 - SECTION 2:
Coincident crossed pair (cardioid) [8:03]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video demonstrates the coincident crossed pair stereo configuration using cardioid microphones. It shows that the configuration has very precise stereo imaging yet compared to configurations where the microphones are spaced there is less of a sensation of 'being in the room'.
MODULE 3 - SECTION 3:
ORTF [8:41]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video demonstrates the ORTF stereo configuration which provides stereo imaging almost as precise as that of the coincident crossed pair but by spacing the microphones captures a sense of the spaciousness of the acoustics of the room.
MODULE 3 - SECTION 4:
Crossed pair (figure-of-eight) [9:19]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis is the original two-microphone stereo configuration invented by Alan Blumlein in 1931. It uses two figure-of-eight microphones mounted at 90 degrees to each other. The video demonstrates that the front and rear are both usable zones, but the sides are 'no go' areas where the left and right channels are out of phase.
MODULE 3 - SECTION 5:
Spaced pair [8:05]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsBy spacing a pair of cardioid microphones without angling them a very rich sense of the acoustic space can be achieved, giving a very good illusion of being in the room. As you will hear however, the stereo imaging is not as precise as the other configurations.
MODULE 3 - SECTION 6:
Crossed pair (figure-of-eight) vectorscope [7:11]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video further illustrates the crossed pair of figure-of-eights configuration with a vectorscope and phase meter, showing that sounds coming from the sides create signals that are out of phase.
MODULE 4 - SECTION 1:
Comparison tests coincident crossed pair (cardioid) [1:43]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video compares the coincident crossed pair of cardioid microphones at different angles so that you can see and hear the response of the configuration to sound arriving from different directions.
MODULE 4 - SECTION 2:
Comparison tests ORTF [1:42]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video compares the ORTF stereo configuration at different angles so that you can see and hear the response of the configuration to sound arriving from different directions.
MODULE 4 - SECTION 3:
Comparison tests crossed pair (figure-of-eight) [2:43]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video compares the crossed pair of figure-of-eight microphones (Blumlein) at different angles so that you can see and hear the response of the configuration to sound arriving from different directions.
MODULE 4 - SECTION 4:
Comparison tests spaced pair [1:42]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsThis video compares the spaced pair of cardioid microphones at different angles so that you can see and hear the response of the configuration to sound arriving from different directions.
MODULE 5:
Audio quiz (polar patterns) [8.03]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsIn this module we will play clips from the polar pattern videos, in audio only. In each set of four clips we will play all four polar patterns in turn, all with the sound source at the same angle. You should listen carefully to the audio and identify the order in which each polar pattern appears. The answers are then shown in video with captions.
MODULE 6:
Audio quiz (stereo configurations) [10:49]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsIn this module we will play clips from the stereo configurations videos, in audio only. In each set of four clips we will play all four stereo configurations in turn, all with the sound source at the same angle. You should listen carefully to the audio and identify the order in which each stereo configuration appears. The answers are then shown in video with captions.
MODULE 7:
An overview of the video shoot [8:26]
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsAll of the main polar pattern and stereo configuration videos are shot from head on throughout as it offers the best demonstration and link between what you hear and what you see. We did however shoot some material from a high vantage point and although it doesn't add to the instructional content of the course it provides a useful overview of how the videos were made.
VIDEO WORKBOOK [42:30]:
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsWatching the video material in this course will be highly instructive. However we also include all of the audio material in 24-bit / 96 kHz audio files which are bit-for-bit copies of the original recordings. The video workbook shows how you can import these files into your own digital audio workstation and compare the various polar patterns and stereo configurations in acute detail. The files can be imported into any digital audio workstation software
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION [1:01]:
Module 1 - Section 1 - Introduction to polar patternsFinally, this offers a summary of what you have learned on the course and how you have improved your technical knowledge and - more importantly - your aural awareness of polar patterns and stereo configurations.

Microphone polar patterns and stereo configurations (video course)

It is essential for all producers and engineers to have a full technical knowledge and aural awareness of microphone polar patterns and basic two-microphone stereo configurations.

This video course demonstrates the four main microphone polar patterns in videos shot by Audio Masterclass in Abbey Road Studio 2. A 'clock face' layout has been created and a demonstrator walks around the microphone in a full 360 degrees. The polar response of each microphone is very clear to hear and see. Polar patterns include omnidirectional, cardioid, supercardioid and figure-of-eight, all using microphones from the superb Schoeps Colette range.

Following the polar pattern videos, the course continues with four commonly-used two-microphone stereo configurations - the coincident crossed pair using cardioid microphones, ORTF, crossed pair using figure-of-eight microphones, and spaced cardioid microphones. The videos demonstrate how some configurations have more precise stereo imaging than others, but some offer a better sense of realism, and the feeling of 'being in the room'.

All of the videos were shot by Audio Masterclass in Abbey Road Studio 2.

Audio files are included that are bit-for-bit copies of the original Abbey Road recordings, in Studio Master 24-bit / 96 kHz quality. (44.1 kHz versions are also included).

All audio and video material is downloadable to keep as a permanent reference.

Content

Course introduction [2:17]: This course will help you understand and develop an aural awareness of microphone polar patterns and stereo configurations.

The course features audio and video recordings made in Abbey Road Studio 2, which is one of the best studios in the world, made famous by the Beatles.

Module 1 [33:44] will cover the four main polar patterns in theory, and in video and audio. You will learn how the four main polar patterns differ from each other, and see and hear how their sensitivity varies at different angles with respect to the sound source.

Module 2 [10:30] compares the four main polar patterns and demonstrates with additional clarity how they differ, in video and audio.

Module 3 [37:58] will cover four basic two-microphone configurations for recording in stereo, in theory, and in video and audio. You will learn how these basic stereo configurations respond to sound coming from different directions, and how they vary in the accuracy of the stereo image and sense of spaciousness in the acoustic.

Module 4 [7:50] compares these four basic two-microphone stereo configurations and demonstrates with additional clarity how they differ in video and audio

Module 5 [8:03] is an audio quiz on polar patterns so that you can test your recognition of how each polar pattern sounds at different angles.

Module 6 [10:49] is an audio quiz on stereo configurations so that you can test your recognition of how each configuration sounds in terms of its accuracy of the stereo image and sense of spaciousness in the acoustic.

Module 7 [8:26] is a 'bonus' module that shows an overview of one of the recordings. This module is not essential to learning, but it provides additional insight into the recording process

On completion of the modules, the course provides a video workbook [42:30] demonstrating how you should load the audio files into your digital audio workstation software and compare the various recordings.

Finally the course ends with a summary and conclusion [1:01] what you have learned, how your learning will improve on repeated listening, and a conclusion of the importance of understanding and having an aural awareness of microphone polar patterns and stereo configurations.

This course will transform your understanding and aural awareness of these essential microphone polar patterns and stereo configurations.

TOTAL VIDEO CONTENT 2 hours 43 minutes

All video and audio files downloadable to keep permanently.

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