On Sat, 5 Aug 2017, at 10:43, Curt wrote:

> My understanding is that a stereo microphone is comprised of two
> microphones in a single unit. That's pretty black and white.

Yes.  You also get units with more than 2 capsules in them.

> Why you would use such a device rather than recording with two discrete
> microphones in an X-Y, ORTF, or MS (et al) configuration (but I read
> there are single, MS recording units) I dunno.

One reason is that it's sometimes physically easier to mount (or suspend
the ceiling) a single unit than a pair.  It's tricky if suspending mics
to get them 
to point in exactly the right direction; the weight of the mic cables
can drag the
thing away from the alignment you want.  You can't use a floor stand for
if they have to be high above an audience (I've four floor stands that
each put 
mics up to 14 feet above the floor, but they're not usable where
audience seats 
are where the stands would have to be, and public safety precludes use
of such 
things if people can trip over them or walk into them.  They're
eminently useful 
for recording sessions in halls where the public are not present, or eg
for putting 
mics above sections of an orchestra or in front of a choir.)

Another reason is on some of these mics the directional sensitivity of
the two (or
more) capsules is controllable from the box of electronics at the other
end of the 
mic cables.  So you can decide for each mic if you want a tightly
focussed hyper-
cardioid response (if you like, a shotgun mic) or something slightly
directional, or 
figure of 8 (ie responsive to sound from both sides but not in
front/behind), or omni-
directional, or various points inbetween.   Since no-one can put their
ears where
the mic is (if it's eg 60 feet down from the ceiling and 20 feet above
the floor), the
ability to fine tune what the mic(s) are doing remotely saves an awful
lot of time.
Otherwise you'd have to haul the mics up to the ceiling, adjust them,
lower them 
again, listen for a while, and repeat.  (Or lower them to the floor then
raise them 
again ... needing several people to do that and walkie-talkies to

These are the sorts of mics you often see high up in the space in a
concert hall 

Jeremy Nicoll - my opinions are my own.

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