Nashville-based producer Mark Hornsby tested a SoundField SPS200 microphone on a recent orchestral session at Abbey Road Studios in London, and has also used the mic's associated Surround Zone plug-in to mix the audio from the sessions.
"What's really cool about this is it literally gives you the ability to change the pickup pattern and position of the microphone after the tracks have already been recorded and the players have gone home," Hornsby says. "Very cool stuff."
Hornsby says that following discussions with SoundField's Peter Schillebeeckx at last fall's AES show, he made some drum recordings with the SPS200 that impressed him. Hornsby then agreed to try the SPS200 on his next Abbey Road orchestral session, but sensibly also set up a Decca Tree of Neumann M 50s in Studio 1 as a fallback.
"I wanted to do a qualified test, where I could A/B recordings from both microphones," he explains. "The recordings made with the SPS200 are what I'm using to mix. It's a great, open-sounding microphone, although actually, I think of it more as a recording system than just a microphone. Having the ability to re-point microphones in the mixing environment, after the session, is amazing to me. For example, one of the songs I cut at the session has a breakdown in the middle where the violins take over in a fast solo. In the mix, using the Surround Zone plug-in, I've taken the SPS200 and 'pointed' it at the violins for that section, way after the session. That kind of flexibility is just killer.
"I have tried SoundField's SPS422B, which has a hardware decoder and its own mic preamps. I like that system, too—it's good if you're working in a studio—but the SPS200 is better suited to when you're traveling around. It's very easy to take out on a gig, you can use all the mic preamps you normally use on a session, and there's no extra decoder box. I can't wait to try it on other things."
Visit SoundField's U.S. distributor, TransAudio Group, at www.transaudiogroup.com.