Pro-Music-News Know-how

MS Stereo - Mid-Side stereo

MS Stereo is a microphone setup using one unidirectional microphone plus one with a figure of eight directivity located at the same position. Contrary to common xy stereo pickup which produces a stereo image based on delays, the MS technique builds a stereo image by soundlevel which makes it popular with live broadcast as it allows manipulation of the stereo position for example by simply changing the balance between the two microphone signals.
In music recording, the use of a middle (M) and a side (S) signal instead of the usual LR (XY) signal results in a much more selective and musical processing. High-energy middle signals (vocals, snare, bass) can be easily separated from side signals (guitars, keyboards, cymbals, hand percussion). A compressor can be used to process one element instead of the whole mix. The same applies to any kind of processing, making the MS matrix an important element in the mastering stage
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