Audio Gear

Omni mic pair in a single blimp

January 8, 2021

I’m a fan of omni SDC pairs for outside recording. For music I will often use these in Rycote Baby Ball Gags mounted on a stereo bar, itself on a substantial stand (usually the Manfrotto 1004BAC). But where I want something more portable and more windproof, I mount the two omni mics end-to-end inside a single windshield – the Rode blimp Mk1. Joining the two mics end-to-end is easy with a rewired and drilled female-to-female xlr coupler (well, actually, the female-to-female XLR connector is actually not off-the-peg, but made up of three items: two Neutrik NM3FXI and one Neutrik KM. Neutrik’s own female-to-female XLR connector doesn’t unscrew). This places the mics  (a pair of Rode NT55 mics with the excellent NT45-O omni capsules) at a 360mm spacing, which renders a good stereo image and is exactly the ideal length for the Rode blimp (i.e. the same length as the straight part of the blimp). Being pure pressure omni mics there is, of course, no phase issue arising from the fact that they are pointing different directions.

So the end result: a simple robust set up, less fiddly and more portable than common field-recording set-ups for ORTF pairs etc. and – being all enclosed – more windproof. It’s not something I have seen or read about, but I imagine – or hope – others are doing the same.

And here’s a detail of the easily modified connector: just drill a couple of holes for the cables.

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9 Comments

  • Reply Experimenting with moving or POV stereo ambiences… – Dr Badphil March 6, 2021 at 4:47 pm

    […] The mics were omni SDCs mounted end-to-end in a single blimp to minimize windnoise (see my post here on using mics in this way). Extending the boom pole very far got unwieldly, so it was only partly […]

  • Reply Min Yee May 1, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Roland, I was able to successfully make one like yours, with a little help from my friend. I found the Neutrik parts and am lucky to have a friend who is handy with the drill and soldering iron, and now I’m looking forward to going out to record some nature ambiences tomorrow morning! Thanks for the good info here. Cheers!

    • Reply Roland May 1, 2021 at 10:34 pm

      Good to hear Min Yee: hope the ambience recordings turn out well! Cheers, Roland

  • Reply Rob Moreno July 26, 2022 at 8:20 am

    Very interesting! Coincidentally, I was trying to modify my Rode blimp in a similar way a few days ago. I hadn’t thought about mounting the mics 180˚ from each other. That definitely simplifies the task of mounting them in the blimp. Have you compared the sound vs. mounting them parallel on a bar? I wonder if you could simulate a Jecklin disk by placing a small foam disk inside the blimp in between the mics?
    Cheers from Tokyo!

    • Reply Roland July 26, 2022 at 8:57 am

      So how were you planning to mount two omni mics in a blimp if not end-to-end, whilst maintaining a good distance from the edge of the blimp (to allow it to be effective)? Yes, end-to-end sounds a little different than normal (parallel) AB, due to the fact that, of course, the omni mics get more directional at higher frequencies. I would choose a conventional spaced pair for most music recording (if I wanted omni mics), even outside (I use a Manfrotto 154B bar and a pair of Rycote Baby Ball gags), but for ambience etc. end-to-end sounds fine to me, and has the advantage of better wind protection and is less hassle (i.e. just the single blimp). I don’t think a small foam disc inside the blimp will do much: at, say, 90mm diam this would only affect very high frequencies and, of course, we have more HF attenuation anyway (say, -5dB at 8kHz and -12dB at 16kHz) from the 180 degree mounting. Cheers, Roland

  • Reply Rob Moreno July 26, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    I’m using a pair of MKH 8020 microphones along with low profile XLR cables. Still, I’ll probably have to mount them at a fairly wide angle, like 110˚ or more. I hope to find some 19-20mm diameter carbon fiber pole and put Rycote’s small Invision-3 mounts on each end. I have the Rode blimp extension piece to add some more space between the mics if needed. That assembly should fit onto the blimp similar to your NT55 setup. It’s still a work in progress, but after seeing your idea, I think I may go that route instead.

    • Reply Roland July 26, 2022 at 3:51 pm

      Nice mics! Obviously rather depends on the length of your low-profile XLRs, but you don’t want to go to all that effort, still have very splayed out angles, and then end up with diaphragm say 10mm from the edge of the blimp (hugely reducing its windnoise reduction). Worth comparing the-end-to mounting sound vs the splayed mount sans blimp to see whether the latter – with its added complexity and lower wind resilience – gives any improvement sound wise, before doing the DIY. Good luck!

  • Reply Anton Pickard August 18, 2022 at 9:17 am

    Good article. I did something similar over a year ago using 2 LOM UsiPro Omni mics facing away from each other attached to a wooden dowel (w/rubber bands) inside the Rode blimp (w/deadcat). This has been my main run and gun field recording mic kit and it works very well. I have also added a waterproof cover with a sheet of coroplast and a furnace airfilter to absorb water droplets – this also works really well for recording in the rain.

    • Reply Roland August 18, 2022 at 9:58 am

      Thanks Anton. Thinking of your LOM mics (with their Primo EM172/272 capsules) reminds me of my small EM172 head-spaced parallel-barrier array that I built some years ago to fit in a Rode blimp. There’s a photo of it in my post about Primo capsules: https://drbadphil.com/primo-capsules-for-lav-mics-and-diy

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