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Close Miking Empirical Practice Verification: A Source Separation Approach

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Close miking represents a widely employed practice of placing a microphone very near to the sound source in order to capture more direct sound and minimize any pickup of ambient sound, including other, concurrently active sources. It is used by the audio engineering community for decades for audio recording, based on a number of empirical rules that were evolved during the recording practice itself. But can this empirical knowledge and close miking practice be systematically verified? In this work we aim to address this question based on an analytic methodology that employs techniques and metrics originating from the sound source separation evaluation field. In particular, we apply a quantitative analysis of the source separation capabilities of the close miking technique. The analysis is applied on a recording dataset obtained at multiple positions of a typical musical hall, multiple distances between the microphone and the sound source multiple microphone types and multiple level differences between the sound source and the ambient acoustic component. For all the above cases we calculate the Source to Interference Ratio (SIR) metric. The results obtained clearly demonstrate an optimum close-miking performance that matches the current empirical knowledge of professional audio recording.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society