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“My Love of MS”
A confession by Paul Bissell

 

Mid Side, sweet mid side, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

For starters your microphone array looks really cool in front of my high-paying cliental. With the Neumann cardioid pointed directly at the artist with diamond logo in full view and the Royer ribbon bidirectional facing to the left side glimmering in the light, it not only looks expensive, but also gives the illusion that the artist is in good hands. Even the decoding of your two mono signals can seem complex to outsiders, but we know otherwise – don’t we? I lovingly take your middle cardioid microphone signal and put it on a regular channel - panned center of course. Then I mult (identical copy of the source) your bidirectional signal making two channels and pan them hard left and hard right with the right channel flipped in polarity. No, not hard at all, but you make me look like a rocket scientist to the weak-minded. But wait, it isn’t about me, it is about you. Your sound! Ach du lieber your rich and flexible sound makes my knees weak! Sure, you can capture typical stereo sources like spaced pair and all the coincident flavors, but only you dear MS can add a sense of spaciousness to a quasi-mono sound source like an acoustic guitar. With your ‘real’ center, only you can keep the sound’s image stable even if the talent or sound object moves a little during the performance. Of course if I use a DAW or record you using two tracks, you give me the ability to change the dynamic relationship between your M and S components after the recording is made. Thus, I can sink the center image back a little when the diva vocalist takes the center stage in the mix, and then bring you right up to the foot lights without altering your perceived stereo position. But I confess, I stray from time to time. I cannot help myself and still see Ms XY for her realism and verismatic image, and my wild side can’t help but to appreciate and marvel the sexy, wide sound of Senorita Spaced Pair with her big bottom pumping from her omnis. Oh! But you my lovely Mid Side – or Mono Stereo – or whatever you want to be called; you can almost do it all and your flexibility allows me to tailor the sound to fit my desire at hand; even after the recording session is over. Ok, so you are a little more high maintenance and I have to make sure (when using two tracks for your bidirectional signal) that I keep those faders ganged and even with each other. However using stereo track with a directional decoder in Logic Pro, I just send the mono mic to the L channel and the bidirectional to the R channel and it does all the work for me. I can even automate the blend of M and S. You are the one…but you have to admit, sexy senora spaced pair sounded great last night as room mics on the drumset…