Charlie demonstrates the Mid-Side stereo micing technique.

The mid-side technique is one of the most flexible and accurate stereo micing techniques available.

It consists of two matching condenser mics placed as close together as possible. The “Mid” mic is set to cardioid and pointed directly at the source. The “Side” mic is placed 90 degrees off-axis and set to figure 8. Because the mics are placed as close together as possible, the phase coherence is excellent and Mid-Side tracks condense to mono with no issues.

The mid mic goes to the recorder unaltered and is panned dead center. The side mic must be multed to two tracks at the console or in the recorder. In most DAWs this is easy to accomplish by simply creating two tracks with the same input. The two side tracks are the panned hard left/right. Next, the side corresponding to the “back” of the fig.8 pattern is phase reversed. the “side” tracks on their own yield a very wide, but mostly out-of-phase stereo image. When the mid mic is added in, however, the image comes in to focus, resulting in a very natural and accurate sounding stereo image. The width of the image can then be adjusted by varying the relative levels of the mid and side channels.

For this episode we also used a mismatched combination of mics on the room. We substituted a Cascade Fathead II ribbon for our side mic to give a smoother top end. In combination with the Audio Technica 4047, we get the best of both worlds – the accuracy of the condenser mid mic with the more vintage feel of the ribbon side mic.

There are also interesting effects possible by adding compression and eq to either on or both mics, but that is a topic for another episode!

Don’t forget to download the full-bandwidth, multi-track files here!