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Flexibility in Stereo Mic Wind Reduction?
Old 1st March 2017
  #1
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🎧 5 years
Flexibility in Stereo Mic Wind Reduction?

Hi all,

I'm hoping to pool experience and/or advice regarding wind protection for matched pair condenser mics (currently using Rode NT-5 MP, with a Rode stereo mic bar).

I initially thought I had it figured out- I'll go ahead and get two Rycote 20mm BBG's and matching Windjammers. Then the revelation- if I do that, I guess X/Y pairing is out of the question? One of the big reasons for being excited about my recent foray into stereo micing has been the idea of experimenting with mic placement/configurations, and I'd hate to limit myself based on the wind protection gear I opt for.

I then ran into the Rycote Stereo Windshields, but judging by the suspension systems that Rycote sells with the kits, I'm not sure if I would need to then purchase multiple suspensions, one for each configuration, or if there are even Stereo Windshields which can house both ORTF and X/Y (as well as spaced pair, etc.). Would my Rode stereo bar work with one of these Stereo Windshields?

Anyway, given the pricing of all this stuff, I wouldn't want to go out and get a system that limits my options in terms of configuration, but at the same time I'd like to purchase something relatively soon (and don't necessarily have $2k stored away for windscreen/suspension combos ). I'm imagining that this thing will end up housing a slew of mics beyond the NT-5's, so at a minimum I'd hope for something that can be upgraded as I go, even if I'm unable to get all of the best components now (i.e. get a windshield + windjammer that fits my stereo bar and multiple configurations, then down the road upgrade to the nicer suspension systems, etc.).

So, what do you all think the most flexible option is when it comes to wind protection for stereo mic pairs?

Really excited to learn as much as possible about this stuff, eventually getting to the skill sets involved in capturing great stereo recordings! (once I have all of this gear stuff nailed down...)

Peace,
John
Old 1st March 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Exterior recordings are far easier in MS ,as is gagging
Old 1st March 2017
  #3
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🎧 10 years
You're a man of multiple postings....but you probably have found the right forum at last !

Can you outline your intended recording context a bit more...is this recording in the great outdoors, contending with wind/rain/surf/blizzard...for film or soundtrack or ambience collection ? Or just outside your back door ?

Others here will have more outside environment windjammer/gag experience than I...but I can say that the Rode NT5 cardioid capsule is very sensitive to blasts of air (I'm talking about low velocity indoor airconditioning, heating and cooling)

So I'd suggest if you're going to specialize in these mics particularly, that you seek out very effective wind-blocking covering for them.
Old 1st March 2017
  #4
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🎧 5 years
If you buy a Rycote system , the suspension inside usually only suits one type of mic . The different lengths and diameters of different mics makes it awkward for a one size fits all solution.I'd be very careful which one you buy.Research is the key here. Rycote are very good and have lots of different solutions.As Rolo said in his post , you may be better recording in MS mode with a piggy back arrangement of a cardiod and a figure of eight mic. MS stereo can be decoded back to LR through a matrix which is easily set up on most audio desks .Hope this helps .

Last edited by carlos cabellero; 1st March 2017 at 06:41 PM.. Reason: Spelling !
Old 3rd March 2017
  #5
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🎧 5 years
Thanks Rolo, studer, and cc for the responses! Really appreciate it.

In terms of location, the plan when using the wind protection gear is that I'll be recording outdoors, in most natural scenarios (woods, fields, riversides, etc.) rather than out my window, for example. As of now, I'm most interested in ambiences and larger image recordings, at least in terms of a starting point for developing recording proficiency and good technique.

Especially given studer's point about the NT-5's being particularly sensitive to wind, I'm interested first and foremost in what's going to provide an effective solution, meaning that I'd like to avoid any real artifacts in my recordings of wind effect on sensitive mic capsules. That's not to say that I'd like to eliminate any and all wind noise, just the kind that results in the 'muffling' sound, for lack of a better term, that I've heard in outdoor recording with little or no protection. Recording the wind itself is fine, recording the microphones recording the wind, not so much...I hope that makes sense.

Then, beyond the main goal of providing effective protection, my thinking shifted to which of these wind screen kits would provide for the highest level of stereo setup flexibility. I know that I'll be experimenting with different stereo mic configurations- again, my decision to go with the NT-5's vs something like an NT-4 or AT8022 was the ability to record in X/Y as well as other setups, including ORTF (which I'm particularly drawn to for whatever reason). I've certainly done my share of surfing around the net, reading product reviews and other people's gear lists, etc., but thus far, based on what I've been able to find, it sounds like a different kit (or at least a number of different kit components) will need to be purchased depending on the mic configuration that I'll be using.

First question- does that sound like a reasonable conclusion? Is it in fact necessary to own separate wind screen gear (suspension systems, windscreen models, etc.) for each mic configuration, or am I overlooking some 'universal' option which could be applied to multiple stereo setups?

I'm hoping to be able to use my Rode SB20 Stereo Mic bar, at least for now, as part of the setup if at all possible. Which brings me to...

Second question- If I were to purchase the Rycote Extended Stereo Windscreen, is this system compatible with the Rode Stereo bar? Based on the dimensions, I can see that the Stereo Bar measures ~9.4 inches wide, and the Extended Stereo Windscreen ~9.6 inches wide, so in theory I'm thinking that the bar would fit inside the windscreen. Now, I guess the second part of this question is which mic configurations will this Extended Stereo Windscreen likely be able to accommodate with my NT-5's? Both X/Y and ORTF? One or the other?

As of now, I'm leaning towards 2x Rycote Baby Ball Gags + 2x Rycote Windjammers- I know that this will work for at least ORTF, and this also provides some flexibility in terms of wind protection for each mic individually if I decide for whatever reason to record with just one NT-5, or for a spaced A-B pairing too wide for even the biggest screens to hold. I've also heard about some interesting techniques which involve attaching mics to trees, for a Jecklin Disk-type effect, for which the Ball Gags should also work- can't wait to learn all about it!

I know that there's a lot in my post, and again I appreciate whatever thoughts come to mind. I have more questions about preferred stereo configurations for outdoor ambiences, incorporating short shotgun mics into the mix, experience with swapping in the omnidirectional capsules for the NT-5's, and a whole lot more...but I think we already have enough for one post!

I'm really starting to get into all of this, and just want to make sure that I'm making purchase decisions now which make sense, and that allow for growth as my skills and interests develop.

Thanks again!
John

P.S.- Carlos, when you say that MS can be decoded back to 'LR', do you mean Left/Right? Would the channels actually split such that a stereo image is created, or does this basically duplicate the same image for left and right channel? Thanks so much again!
Old 3rd March 2017
  #6
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ORTF is fine, and you can do XY with Baby balls having one on the upside of the stereo bar and the other under -of course they wont be as near each other vertically but its stereo in horizontal plane IMO. You'll have to make compromises and wind noise is worse than microseconds of delay in that plane. And ORTF is fine.

Matti
Old 3rd March 2017
  #7
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🎧 5 years
WSM here is a link to a site that explains M/S recording technique .I suppose that I come from a broadcast type background so I would go for a single mic type solution (senheisser MKH 418) or double mic (a hyper cardiod +figure of 8)in an m/s configuration . I'm used to hitting the ground running in a "Shoot" situation and don't like the idea of setting a complicated rig for stereo. I know these solutions work well for me but may not be for you. If I was recording Stereo ambiences and soundscapes then this is what I would use . I have found that taking studio type mics out of doors is not always a good idea, they were designed for the studio and often suffer from handling noise , wind noise and moisture ingress.
Yes L/R meant left /right in my last post.

Mid-Side (MS) Mic Recording Basics - Blog - Universal Audio
Old 3rd March 2017
  #8
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
He has the Rode mics already and asking for windshields

Matti

Last edited by Matti; 3rd March 2017 at 07:38 PM..
Old 3rd March 2017
  #9
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🎧 10 years
Ball gags are OK ish ,plus a jammer they might survive a bit of wind blast but to counteract wind pressure blasting a full screen that covers the mic is essential and a jammer if you live in a windy location (like the Maritime UK)
If you don't mind faffing with bars, stands and non orthodox ORTF then baby gags may be ok, but it's hardly user friendly imho
Hire a proper MS rig for a weekend and see how easy it can be
Roger
Old 3rd March 2017 | Show parent
  #10
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norfolksoundman9's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkingStickMan ➑️
Especially given studer's point about the NT-5's being particularly sensitive to wind
While admittedly not quite answering the OP's original question, just to add, of course, that the NT5 is not sensitive to wind if you add the modestly-priced omni capsule (NT45-O), and this will broaden your recording options anyway. I use a pair of NT-55s (very similar to your NT5s, although of course they come with the omni capsules) for ambience recordings and have two Baby Ball gags, which I have tried in various combinations inc. ORTF. I find, however, that using the mics with the omni caps end-to-end in a Rode blimp a) is so much better in terms of wind protection; b) is much more satisfying in terms of sound (think thunderstorms with omni mic bass response...); and c) removes fiddling around with a couple of Baby Ball gags setting up in ORTF etc. See some pics of my set-up and links to samples that I posted here: Omni pair in blimp for recording ambience

Cheers,

Roland

PS photo added here too...
Attached Thumbnails
Flexibility in Stereo Mic Wind Reduction?-nt55_omni_pair_in_blimp_lo_res.jpg  

Last edited by norfolksoundman9; 3rd March 2017 at 11:42 AM.. Reason: adding photo
Old 3rd March 2017 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 ➑️
While admittedly not quite answering the OP's original question, just to add, of course, that the NT5 is not sensitive to wind if you add the modestly-priced omni capsule (NT45-O), and this will broaden your recording options anyway. I use a pair of NT-55s (very similar to your NT5s, although of course they come with the omni capsules) for ambience recordings and have two Baby Ball gags, which I have tried in various combinations inc. ORTF. I find, however, that using the mics with the omni caps end-to-end in a Rode blimp a) is so much better in terms of wind protection; b) is much more satisfying in terms of sound (think thunderstorms with omni mic bass response...); and c) removes fiddling around with a couple of Baby Ball gags setting up in ORTF etc.
Cheers,

Roland
I think the paired Rode NT5's with omni capsules mentioned here by Roland are an excellent idea...and you get a free lunch in those 2 key factors: freedom from wind overload and bass extension.

Roland's method gives you some capsule separation, which may be sufficient for convincing stereo...but if the DIY ethic lives within you then you'll get even better separation with a home-made Jecklin Disk.

As an example can I point you towards this collection by MJC Recordings, which features recordings made in a variety of natural settings, including on the seashore. The recordist uses MXL603 omni mics, which is comparable with the NT5, and you'll see that the wind gags are simple fluffy pouches slipped over the capsule ends. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDqN6uD6pOs

The audio samples speak for themselves: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3C...VeiZ0eQ/videos

There's much JDisk constructional advice on this very forum, and of course more widely on the net with a simple search
Old 3rd March 2017 | Show parent
  #12
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➑️
if the DIY ethic lives within you
Not sure about the OP's interest in DIY, but I've certainly had all sorts of fun with DIY and different omni arrays (inspired by Rob Danielson's website and this one MinnesotaSoundscapes.com), but have found the end-to-end omnis in a blimp to be much more robust/simple, better wind-protected, and give a good stereo image for ambient recordings (wouldn't use it for music!). Here are links to my first tests, made just over a year ago:

V. small waves on shingle beach, with strong offshore wind - https://soundcloud.com/norfolksoundm...160124-0096s12

Footsteps on shingle beach, with waves in background and strong offshore wind - https://soundcloud.com/norfolksoundm...160124-0099s12

Village garden (winter) ambience, with not much happening, but some birdsong, a distant shotgun and a car going past - https://soundcloud.com/norfolksoundm..._blimp_testwav

Cheers,

Roland
Old 3rd March 2017
  #13
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🎧 5 years
Thanks everyone! Really happy to see all of the discussion around this, and grateful for the recommendations.

Regarding the use of omni capsules- awesome to know that these are less susceptible than the cardioids to wind noise, but would I be restricted to stereo configs outside of X/Y or ORTF? From what I'm reading, it sounds like 'true' ORTF requires cardiod, and that if using omnis in the X/Y configuration, I'm essentially recording a mono image of the source. Does anyone have experience with omnis in an ORTF setup (what I'm more interested in than the X/Y config for outdoor recordings).

It might be that, as you pointed out norfolksm, I can set up the omnis to be back-to-back, thus successfully fitting them within a Rode Blimp, for example. My thought, though, is that with this setup I wouldn't necessarily be able to focus on one general sound source, but instead would need to be most interested in what's going on directly to the left and directly to the right of the mic stand. Understood that, given they're omni capsules, I'm picking up sound from all directions, which includes the sides of mics and thus whatever source I'm facing head-on, but was just curious if I'd be losing out on the ability to focus the recording on one general source if I wanted to...

And in terms of the full size Blimp-style windscreens being more effective than something like a Ball Gag, which only cover the head of the mic (but does seem to have a pretty snug fit where the mic slides in), is that because of potential 'handling' noise created by the wind actually shaking the mic on the stand, since the full microphone isn't shielded?

Of course I know that ALL of this requires trial and error and personal experience, and BTW I'd be happy with any of the recordings that you've all provided links to here, so I'm certainly not challenging your advice or ability to get great sounding recordings with whatever setups each are recommending!

As of now, I have to admit that I'm thinking the Ball Gags with Windjammers are going to allow for the flexibility that I'm after, but if you all think that the Ball Gag is far inferior to the full-size Blimp with regards to wind protection, then I'm inclined to take your recommendation to go for a full size blimp. I'm just worried about which configurations I'll be limited to in that case. If in the Blimp I can get both X/Y and ORTF, then I think I'd be convinced. The Blimp would also accomodate the back-to-back config, as you pointed out norfolksm.

So maybe, put another way, would you all definitely advise AGAINST the Baby Ball Gags and Windjammers for use with my NT-5s? I'm thinking, as a starting point, that I'll be working with the stock cardioid caps, with mics in an ORTF configuration (although based on this thread, I'm thinking that the omni caps are in my near future as well ).

Thanks again everyone!
John
Old 3rd March 2017
  #14
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I have back to back MKH 20s in a full Rycote and Jammer ,its not as practical as a MS pair
Back to back means the capsules close to surface of the blimp and susceptible to blasting
Its more ergonomic than gagged ORTF but it lacks focus of any kind unless you point a capsule at a source, its then obviously lop sided.
Full length softies might be better than balls for ORTF
Roger
Old 3rd March 2017 | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 ➑️
I have back to back MKH 20s in a full Rycote and Jammer ,its not as practical as a MS pair
Back to back means the capsules close to surface of the blimp and susceptible to blasting
Roger: obviously your rather nicer MKH 20 set-up probably differs in relation to a blimp than my NT55 set-up, but in the case of the latter, the front of the mic capsules align with the ends of the straight tube part of the blimp, so that the whole of the hemispherical end caps is free air: given the chunky scale of the Rode blimp this is more than in a Baby Ball gag. The omni mics in this blimp set up are extremely resilient to any wind blast.

John: so many questions! Obviously omni mics can't be used for ORTF or XY, so, as I said, this idea is something of an aside, but worth playing with for ambient and, indeed, other recordings if you already have NT5s - given the modest cost of the omni capsules. You can get ORTF in a blimp, but need to be very careful with mic choice and blimp size, as even if they fit you can end up with capsules right near the side of the blimp. As Roger says, MS in a blimp would give you the flexibility that you require and in a blimp, and is what I would use given your aims: but a good low self-noise set up for that is not cheap. In terms of Baby Ball gags, they are useful, but significantly and noticeably worse than a blimp in terms of susceptibility to wind noise even with omni mics. They are also a bit fiddly compared to alternatives such as Rycote's super softies. I find them most useful singly for a boom mic when requiring less wind-protection than a full blimp where their small size and weight is a benefit, but they are often used by others in pairs for nature/ambient recording. Good to have them or something similar in your arsenal as well as a blimp.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 4th March 2017 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkingStickMan ➑️
Thanks everyone! Really happy to see all of the discussion around this, and grateful for the recommendations.
There are even plenty of DIY build a blimp videos on YouTube, I don't know how close they'd get to the commercial articles, but you could try at very little pocket (and time) cost.

Similarly you could build a Jecklin Disc with a few sheets of stiff corrugated cardboard glued together and some cheap fluffy towelling glued onto the 2 faces.

I think omni capsules are definitely the way to go, given you have NT5's already, and then you can build experimental versions (eg a V shaped blimp for ORTF) yourself for peanuts.

If money is burning a hole in your pocket, then do go straight to the commercial versions...just be aware that cheap DIY alternatives exist if you like experimenting.

Remember that ORTF involves a lot of sound entering the array which is off-axis, which will dull sounds from the rear...omnis are effectively 360 degree which is going to result in more natural, diffuse perspective (+ bass extension), more ear-pleasing (as per any of those sound samples linked above which you've liked)

Enough talk and questions.....out with the glue gun and into the garage and the fabric shops (and place an order for the NT45-O's) !
Old 17th March 2017
  #17
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🎧 5 years
Hey everyone,

Just wanted to stop back into this thread, since I got such great advice from all of you!

After much research, I ended up deciding that individual 'ball and furry' style windscreens were the way to go for me, at least for the time being. After some additional reading, I landed on the Schoeps W20R1 windscreens, one for each mic. I'd heard great things about their transparency while simultaneously providing great protection from wind distortion, etc. I've taken them out once thus far, and in winds of ~15-20mph (cold, windy day for sure), the recordings show no signs of distortion whatsoever. The wind itself is audible, of course, and sounds quite nice, but the windscreens had done an awesome job keeping the mics protected. So far, very happy with the decision!

Thanks again all- next stop, based on reccos from this thread, will likely be the omni capsules for my NT-5s. Slowly building up a decent kit, and really enjoying the process.

John
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