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An Objective Comparison of Stereo Recording Techniques through the Use of Subjective Listener Preference Ratings

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Stereo microphone techniques offer audio engineers the ability to capture a soundscape that approximates how one might hear realistically. To illustrate the differences between six common stereo microphone techniques, namely XY, Blumlein, ORTF, NOS, AB, and Faulkner, I asked 12 study participants to rate recordings of a Yamaha Disklavier piano. I examined the inter-rating correlation between subjects to find a preferential trend toward near-coincidental techniques. Further evaluation showed that there was a preference for clarity over spatial content in a recording. Subjects did not find that wider microphone placements provided for more spacious-sounding recordings. Using this information, this paper also discusses the need to re-evaluate how microphone techniques are typically categorized by distance between microphones.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society