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Microphone Arrays for Three-Dimensional Capture of Acoustic Instruments

“3D Audio” is currently a popular topic in professional audio. A great deal of research is currently underway in spatial sound reproduction through computer modeling and signal processing, while less focus is being placed on actual recording practice. This study compares a selection of microphone arrays for music recording that will image in three dimensions without the use of added processing. The three separate arrays arranged the microphones in 1. Coincident, 2. Spaced, and 3. XYZ-Mid/Side configurations. Instruments of the orchestral string, woodwind, and brass sections, and acoustic guitar, were recorded. Listening tests were conducted that rated the arrays for ‘Realism’, ‘Verticality’, ‘Depth’, ‘Width’, and ‘Image Localization and Focus’. Listen tests revealed all arrays exhibited aspects of three-dimensionality.

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