Here is a quick preview to the final thesis project/AES Convention precis I’ve been working on.
ABSTRACT: Stereo microphone techniques offer audio engineers the ability to capture a soundscape so that they approximate how one might hear realistically during playback. To illustrate the differences between six common stereo microphone techniques, namely XY, Blumlein, ORTF, NOS, AB and Faulkner, I asked 12 study participants to rate recordings of a Yamaha Disklavier piano. I examined the inter-rating correlation between subjects to find a preferential trend towards near-coincidental techniques. Further evaluation showed that there was a preference for clarity over spatial content in a recording. Subjects did not find that wider microphone placements provided for more spacious-sounding recordings. Using this information, this paper also discusses the need to re-evaluate how microphone techniques are typically categorized by distance between microphones.
I had amazed myself with my ability to compute the statistics (not without some help, of course), and to whip up a Max/MSP mess as an experimental platform/user-interface for my subjects. It has been great fun, and being able to put up a poster as my thesis presentation was quite an experience too. Since I’m still looking for study participants, please feel free to contact me if you want to add to the numbers!