Review: Using the Milab SRND

by Andreas Scholl, Andreas Scholl Society

Image of Milab SRND 360  Coincident Surround MicrophoneI used the SRND for the first time in November 2008, recording a concert that I sung in Basel. My accompanist Crawford Young played lute and Guitar in this concert, which took place in Basel's beautiful "Leonhardskirche".

I own many wonderful microphones, and in a way I always thought that in the days of fast technical progress, there are only few solid, long term investments into a recording studio. One of them would be quality microphones. After using the Milab SRND I am confident, that this microphone will play a substantial role in any recording I'm going to make (and- or sing) in the years to come.

The SRND sounds simply stunningly natural. The low noise-floor makes sure that even with soft sources noise won't ever be a problem. In a way I felt like getting the best of the precision and fast response of a small membrane mic combined with the slightly "bigger" and "rounder" sound of a high end big membrane mic. The results of any instrument recorded through the Milab SRND will be natural and will create the "being there" sensation that makes some recordings so special.

Lute, guitar and voice were captured beautifully with all their individual qualities along with the detailed ambience of the church.

I recorded all six outputs of the SRND for our concerts and played around for a while afterwards in my studio. The flexibility of this microphone is simply amazing. Even if I need a stereo "only" recording today, having all six signals recorded will give me the opportunity to create a surround mix later on, so in a way using the SRND gives you future-proof surround capacity with the simplicity of only one microphone to place in the concert hall.

But my enthusiasm didn't end with the result I obtained by simply using the Front-Left and Front-Right channels for a stereo version of the recording, which already competes with the very best of any available stereo recording-solution.

The fun started when I created a mix of the three front channels and two of the surround-channels in stereo. Adding a little of the centre-signal increased the presence of voice and instrument. It's like hearing more "direct" sound while keeping the room-ambience. Moving the faders of the two surround-signals up enabled me to add more of the church ambience and "widen" the mix. There are plenty of possibilities to adapt the sound of the recording while mixing and all of them use the original sound, recorded on the location. The results will certainly sound more natural than adding any artificial acoustics in the mix afterwards.

In the future I will always record all six outputs of the SRND, even if the end-mix will be stereo "only". Having the option to play with the multiple signals to obtain the desired result, without the hassle of installing multiple microphones is simply too tempting.

To me this combination of the fantastic "life-like" quality of the SRND combined with the enormous flexibility it brings to surround AND stereo-recordings makes it truly one of my favourites.

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