Sound is configured in two ways; monophonic (mono) and stereophonic (stereo). Monophonic and stereophonic are audios produced via speakers but in completely different ways. The ways of recording them differ hence the varying outcomes. The kind of audio produced is determined by the number of channels used in the recording process. Recording mono audio is quick and straightforward, and no particular technique is needed, unlike stereo recording. In this post, we discuss stereo audio capturing techniques.

Techniques Used to Capture Stereo Audio

Unlike mono audio, where sound is recorded using one microphone, stereo audio requires two. You can use more microphones depending on the ambiguity of your setup, but here, we will focus on just two. The two microphones are placed on the right and left sides while maintaining a wide stereo image during the recording phase. With the microphones set at a particular position, you can still angle them for better stereo imaging and sound capture. Keep in mind that the two microphones will relay information individually to their related speakers. The right mic will feed the right speaker, and the left mic the left speaker.

Various techniques are used to record stereo audio. They differ in terms of angles, positioning, and the information acquired by each method. It’s essential to know the range of data you need to position the microphones in the best way using an ideal method. These techniques include;

a. X-Y technique

It is also called the intensity stereophony. During most recordings, this is the setup technique you will find. It is the most common because of how easy it is to set up, and anyone can do it whether you have done it before or not. First, choose an ideal position either on stage or in a random room. Place both microphones in the same place and make them face each other at any angles between 90-135 degrees.

b. A-B technique

The method is also known as the time of arrival stereophony. Unlike the X-Y technique, the microphones are placed parallel but with some distance between them. The space makes the stereo more comprehensive, which is an added advantage. The two mics can face any direction as long as they capture the sound. A-B method is mainly used to get information on the amplitude and know the time of arrival information to the stereo.

c. M/S technique

M/S stands for mid-side stereophony and is common in the film industry. The X-Y and A-B techniques are used in many applications, especially for music recordings. The microphones used for M/S have a unique setup known as bidirectional. One mic is positioned sideways while the other faces the source of sound at a 90-degree angle. It captures the surround sound effects common in playback equipment.


Bottom Line

Stereo audio is slowly replacing mono audio due to its advanced technology. More of it is being recorded, and the techniques above make it possible. The positioning of the microphones determines the kind of information that will be captured, and it varies from one method to another. Note that the correct stereo recording method always brings out the best and clear stereo sounds.