What Is The Advantage Of Using The XY Miking Technique?

There are different types of miking techniques out there and they all serve unique functions. If you’re somebody involved in music, it’s important to have a general understanding of these techniques.

In this post I’m going to discuss the advantage of using the XY miking technique because it is something that I’ve come across and worked with a lot throughout my years as a music producer and audio engineer.

I hope this post provides you the much needed use you need so that you may carry out your recording processes with much ease.

With that said, let’s get right into it.

What’s the advantage of using the XY miking technique?

 The main advantage that I’ve found with the XY miking technique is that it allows you to avoid phasing issues that are usually a concern in stereo miking. The downside is that you won’t get a lot of stereo width with this miking technique that is why it’s better for close mic applications.

In short, the advantage of XY miking is that you’ll avoid timing differences in the signal being recorded by two mics.

XY Miking

X-Y miking sometimes referred to as stereo miking involves the use of two microphones that are placed right next to each other ensuring that the diaphragms are as close together as possible without touching one another.

X-Y stereo miking is the most common type of stereo microphone setup and the one that you’ll likely use if you do stereo miking.

Things to keep in mind with the XY miking technique

1. One thing to keep in mind is that the stereo image in recorded audio is never wide or realistic as it is in real life. The X-Y technique is relatively easy to set up and results in a decent sound, you basically just have to compromise in dealing with sound and dealing with the stereo image.

If a wide stereo image is important to you then you should consider using a different stereo technique, such as the spaced pair or perhaps a Jecklin disk.

2. Don’t use two mics when one is enough. After you get a pair of nice mics for X-Y miking, you’ll want to use them on everything. You should avoid this because sometimes it can just make your work difficult.

3. Ensure that you keep some distance between the mics and the sound source. The X-Y technique has no benefit over a single mic if you place your mics within a couple of feet of the sound source. Resulting proximity issues could easily defeat the whole purpose.

Applications Of Coincident Pairs

In XY miking, the commonly used mics are coincident mics or pairs.

Coincident pairs are essentially used for capturing a stereo image of close sound sources, distant sound sources, and entire acoustic environments.

These miking techniques are pretty versatile compared to other stereo miking techniques because of their close-miking capabilities and relative phase coherence.

The coincident pair miking techniques also provides a more compact method of recording stereo audio.

This allows them to excel in smaller acoustic environments like small iso-booths.

Granted, coincident pairs may not be as wide as spaced pairs, however, the coincident nature of the microphone capsules eliminates many of the phasing issues that is the case for most spaced microphone pairs. Coincident pair reduces these phasing issues considerably when compared to spaced pairs at close range.

Because of this phase coherence, coincident pairs do a great job at picking up and capturing low-end frequencies of a sound source.

Furthermore, close miking captures a great amount of direct sound versus diffuse sound and often sounds much cleaner than distant miking.

For these reasons, you’ll often find coincident pairs close-miking acoustic guitar, piano, and other stringed instruments for a wide and good stereo image.

Stereo image

A stereo image is something you may have heard of, it basically creates realism, width, and depth in a mix.

We naturally hear sound in stereo, and so it’s natural for us to hear music whether live or recorded in stereo as well.

Coincident pairs have the ability to add excitement and space to a mix. Even when close-miking, these techniques are able to really bring out the sound source in the mix, making it sound relatively large and wide.

When distanced from the sound sources, coincident pairs can add depth and width to a mix and bring out the character of the overall acoustic environment. Therefore it’s wise to have your room acoustics sorted out.