Most of us don’t record in stereo much, and when we do we have rounds of frustration and exhilaration. The exhilaration comes from hearing how wide and realistic the recording has become. The frustration comes from the many imperfections that stereo recording can suffer from. These can include a hole in the middle of the soundfield, an unnatural spaciousness, or mono-compatibility.
There are numerous recording methods (I counted at least 9) in the race for the ultimate stereo technique, and each one has its positives and negatives sound-wise. You probably can’t be a good judge of what works for any situation unless you’ve had at least a little experience with each.
That said, one stereo recording method that’s often overlooked and not really well-known is the Jecklin Disk. This is a technique created by the former chief engineer of Swiss Radio Jurg Jecklin that’s actually a refinement of the baffled microphone technique for stereo initially described by Alan Blumlein in his 1931 patent on binaural sound.
The gist of the technique features a baffled pair of omni microphones that are trying to emulate the way our ears are placed on our heads and, therefore, the way we hear.
In this method, two omnidirectional mics are separated a few inches by a baffle between them. The baffle can be any hard surface covered with an absorbent material, as with the Jecklin Disk, although there are other variations like the Schoeps spherical mic that are more elaborate.
One of the great things about a Jecklin disk is that you can build one yourself. Here’s a great video below that shows you how that uses a round 12 inch piece of pine wood, a few different covering materials, some spray adhesive, and the mics and mounts.
Have fun experimenting!
You can read more about stereo miking in my Recording Engineer’s Handbook and my other books. Read more in the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.
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