Sunday, October 13, 2013

Why Stereo is Problematic for Camera Mics

A stereo camera microphone typically consists of two mono cardioid microphone capsules mounted next to each other, each of which has a pickup pattern like this (capsule facing upward in the diagram):

If the capsules are mounted in parallel (side by side), they will have largely overlapping patterns with poor stereo imaging.

A more common arrangement is with the two capsules angled 45° to the left (red) and 45° to the right (blue), 90° angle between them, which results in much better stereo imaging, but with much more side and back pickup of sound/noise.

Thus with a stereo camera microphone, generally speaking, you're either not going to get good stereo, or you're going to risk pickup of extraneous sounds from sides and rear, or both.

This is why for high fidelity ambient sound I prefer to use a good external recorder like the Zoom H2.

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