Stereo Recording Techniques Explained: X/Y Stereo Recording

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Do you intend to record your band or some bars within your home studio, like a roaring engine, thunderstorm, and so on?

Then a simpler and effective miking technique: X/Y Stereo Recording technique is going to serve you.

The placement of microphones to different directions related to the instrument allows the microphone to pick a different set of frequencies. The wider the angle, the greater will the stereo effect.

So, let’s dive deep into what this technique is going to allow you for your next recording experience.

What is X/Y Stereo Recording Technique?

xy stereo recording technique img

The X/Y Stereo Recording technique is one of the most common and simple recording techniques that records the sounds quickly.

The technique uses a coincident pair of bidirectional, directional, or angled microphones. In the X/Y setup, the microphone capsules are placed close together to achieve directional information solely from the difference in terms of signals. 

Applications of X/Y Stereo Recording Technique

It offers present, clear recordings that are more focused and narrow in comparison to real-life sounds. Hence, it does not lead to the creation of spacious records having depth or the sound stage.

X/Y Stereo Recording Technique is the best choice for beginners to record bands, compact studios, and simultaneous recordings. 

How to Record Sounds with X/Y Stereo Recording Technique?

Mics selection

It uses two directional, matched cardioid microphones.

Positioning

The technique requires two mics aligned at a right angle, 90 degrees, with the same place’s capsules (see graphic above). We know that it’s impossible to place both microphones at the same position. Following the principle, these capsules are placed over one other keeping them as near as possible without touching. 

Moreover, these mics are attached with a specialized mounting bracket, which allows the mics’ easy positioning. 

Note: Though 90-degree angle is typical with X/Y Stereo Recording settings, you can also place them at 120,130, 180 degrees, and more to achieve a similar effect. 

How it mixes signals

Some users also utilize super-cardioid or bi-directional microphones, but this alters the sound nature. For better results, we recommend keeping an appropriate distance between the sound source and the mics.

How it produces sound

X/Y Stereo Recording Technique relies on equal precedence times, the difference in loudness, and minimal phase difference. Enjoy clear signals with excellent effects at a specific localization with an overall narrow feel.

Pros and Cons of X/Y Stereo Recording Technique

Pros

  • Simple to set up and easy to align
  • Uses an inside of the windshield or an inexpensive stereo bar
  • Does not result in any phase issues
  • Perfect choice for mono compatibility
  • A popular method for closed recordings like single instruments, specific sound effects, and much more
  • Offers a stable, clear stereo image
  • Nil phase cancellation problem

Cons

  • Captures extremely narrow recordings
  • Its recordings lack spaciousness
  • Playing in mono might lose the stereo sound frequencies
  • Not the best choice for recording the subjects at a longer distance

So, look no further and opt for the X/Y stereo recording technique to indulge in the best stereo recording experience. 

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