Back in the 1970s when I first started recording I was an avid reader of the trade magazine Studio Sound, which published a regular series of articles on different aspects of recording technique by well-known engineers. In particular I can remember reading a piece by an eminent classical engineer, (name escapes me) on co-incident microphone technique, in which he expressed a preference for crossed hypercardioids. The reason he gave was that over many years of recording he had come to the conclusion that, with its large, well-defined front lobe and small out-of-phase rear lobe, the hypercardioid polar pattern most closely resembles the manner in which the human ear picks up sound, ie. mostly from the front but with less well-defined pick-up to the rear. He therefore suggested that the choice of hypercardioid microphones produces a more ‘natural’ sound and thereby a better illusion of reality.
Whatever the truth of this, more than thirty years later this technique, using a pair of hypercardioids, is still one of my favourites for recording chamber music. At any session I usually experiment with polar patterns and microphone position but very often find myself back with hypercardioid!
This except from my recent recording of Andrew Glover’s Flute Sonata ‘Remember’, uses a pair of AKG C414 BTLs mounted one above the other and set as described above and pictured below.