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An Approach to Miking and Mixing of Music Ensembles Using Wave Field Synthesis

The reproduction of sound using Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) provides larger possibilities in rendering sonic space compared to standard 5.1 set-ups (panorama, acoustic holography, envelopment) [Berkhout, 1988], [Verheijen, 1997]. Different microphone set-ups have been developed for this reproduction system, multi-microphone set-ups as well as microphone arrays [Hulsebos et al., 2002] Using multi-microphone techniques, the aesthetic of the sonic image is limited with regard to the localization of sound sources, spectrum and blending, especially in so called 'classical' music recordings. The sources appear rather focused and dominant, due to the position of the microphones capturing the sound in the near field. Reproduction as point sources and convolution with the room impulse responses lead to a correct room reproduction in theory, but in practice the spectrum of the instruments and the impression of spatial depth require improvement. Microphone arrays are suitable for impulse response measurements but not flexible enough for direct music recording. Therefore the authors propose an approach to miking and mixing of music recordings, combining WFS techniques with phantom sources from a main microphone. It adapts this stereophonic technique to the holographic properties of WFS. This approach has been evaluated in an interactive mixing and listening test session where a panel of sound engineers was invited to perform the mix of an orchestral recording. Several mixing tasks were specified (stable localization, blending, homogeneity, envelopment). The results of this test permit analysis of the aesthetic advantages and also the limits of the proposed mixing approach.

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