Effective use of figure-8 pattern

brother rat

All mics sound the same.
There was a how-to vid posted elsewhere on HR; the pro producer/engineer recommended RIBBON mics for recording acoustic guitar, esp. when the guitarist is also the vocalist and you want to record them both in one take (but on different tracks.) He demonstrated how ribbons have very poor off-axis pickup, so the mic basically filters out the vocals and records the guitar, or vice versa. I had always thought of ribbons as old school, only good for special effects- shows how much I know, eh? So, you might want to consider ribbons.

I read this post from stevieb in another thread, in another section of the forum. I'm pretty new to using a figure-8 pattern mic. Can anyone shed some additional light on this technique - or link to said video? Is this done by using an additional cardioid mic? Or can it be done somehow with a single ribbon mic?
 

cobaltaudio

New member
Yep, a single ribbon will do just fine, as it will have a figure 8 response.

you need to direct the mic towards the guitar, so that it is at a right-angle to the singer's mouth.

This works because the figure 8 response of the microphone has a 'dead axis', which is at right angles to the 'on axis' response, so you can use this to your advantage. This graph of a fi.g 8 mic response might help you understand:
600px-Polar_pattern_figure_eight.svg.png
 

aaronmcoleman

The truth is out there!
You just need to figure out where the dead spots are (usually on the sides) and aim those toward the vocals, and aim the live side toward the guitar. This isn't perfect...you'll get a fair amount of bleed, but it's better than other methods. It works pretty much the same way as angling a cardioid mic so the dead spot is toward the vocals, but a little more isolation.
 

brother rat

All mics sound the same.
Thanks for your responses. I do understand the pickup pattern and the null spots. The post I quoted seems to indicate that I can get vocals and guitar on two separate tracks in one take with one ribbon mic - that's the part I'm having trouble with understanding.
 

cobaltaudio

New member
yeah, you need two mics, two channels. That's the point of the ribbon mic, it 'rejects' most of the sound from one source due to the off-axis response. You could do it with two fig 8 mics at 90deg to each other, one pointing and guitar, one at vocals.
When you added them together you'd get an omni response, so you could just use one mic and set the balance with the positioning rather than two faders.
 
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