Which Microphone Positions Should I Download?
SINEplayer allows you to choose only the mic positions you want to download. No need to load anything you'll never use. This is also great for mobile systems, where space is at a premium.
But which mic positions should you choose? Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of mic positions:
These are standard mic positions, usually recorded in a specific pattern. They represent the way you would record those instruments in a scoring or recording session and they contain just the pure, unprocessed microphone signal.
Most collections have some or even all these positions and you may know them from other recordings, too.
The Close position has a more direct sound with less response of the room. Raising the volume of the Close mics will also increase the playing noises made by the musicians, providing added realism for intimate settings. Some collections have multiple Close positions, which have subtly different characteristics, for example in the placement or the microphone used.
The spot microphones have been positioned as close to the instrument as possible and give you the driest and most direct sound.
As the name says, the Mid position provides a middle ground between focus and ambiance.
The Tree microphones provide a balance between Close and Surround. Use them to add presence to the sound by allowing some room response in, while still keeping the sound relatively controlled. This is the recommended mic position and is often activated by default.
The A/B position features a wide stereo image and is of great use as a supporting microphone.
The ORTF Position provides a tight and controlled, yet slightly ambient sound with a lot of character and presence.
The Surround positions provide a very ambient sound. The reverb will increase while the direct sound decreases. You can use them for literal surround speakers if you have such a system, but they are also great for just adding "more room".
Some instruments have a dedicated Mic channel for the Subbass microphone. This position is intended to be used together with other positions, not on its own as it only contains subbass information.
Some collections use a special Mix mic position that is derived from a careful balancing of several source microphones. This Mix position is a perfectly balanced starting foundation and is great for mobile use.
Some collections have processed positions. These may be compressed, treated with reverb, etc.
Generally these positions are based on the unprocessed positions, which you can tell from their names. For the most part, processed positions are not intended to be used with their unprocessed counterparts at the same time! Essentially, processed positions provide one way of how a finished sound could be sculpted based on the unprocessed positions.
There can also be pure effect positions, like Reverb Only. You can always tell from their names, and of course their sound.