Quad cross recording adventure

This first new blog post in years, is going to be all about my newest way of recording specific ambience sounds. Downloadable snippets at the end of the post.


Recently I had talks with my friend Tim Nielsen about doing recordings with a big spaced quad setup. Tim is experimenting alot with setups like these and just about any other setup you can think and not think of, so I was really curious to try this one out myself. Thank you Tim!

Shopping list

I already had a pair of Sennheiser Mkh8020 and wanted to get another pair, making the quad setup with 4 mkh8020ยดs. Together with the mics I ordered Rycote BBGs and fur, directly from Rycote in the UK. Using BBGs like this was a bit of a gamble, as I didn’t know if these windshields would work in windy conditions (I now know that they work great).

As microphone stand Im using a Manfrotto Nano stand, which is light weight and easy to transport. On top of this stand I got a Manfrotto Dado ball where the extension rods will be. These rods are 1000mm extension rods from a company called 9. Solutions. They are a bit on the heavy side, but really rugged and great quality. They come in sets of 2, so know I actually have a spare rod meaning that I can add a mkh8040 microphone as a center channel and make 5.0 recordings.

I also had to get some extra mic cable clips, and some more adaptors for the mic to rod connections.

Lastly to get the weight even further down, I got custom 3m xlr cables made with thin wiring and low profile connections to the microphone. These are amazing. Easy to fix and carry.

The finished array

The final thing works and sounds great. Obviously the array is not as portable either in weight or mass, as just carrying and setting up a stereo mic, ambisonic mic etc. and of course a smaller set will be just as good or even better in different situations. But for certain ambience recordings this one really shines I think. The final image is, in the right conditions, wide and open. Single sounds like birds chirping, insects, and frogs croaking can be identified from their respective location left, right, back left, back right.

The rods are placed in a cross, with the microphones 1 meter from the center of the Dado, and with 1 meter 50 centimeter to the mic next to.

Below are links to the very first quad recordings I have made with the setup. Small snippets from 3 different locations.


14 Replies to “Quad cross recording adventure”

  1. Sebastian Schmidt says:

    Hej, my name Sebastian and I’m working as a sound designer for 20 years. After all my attempts with handheld and stereo/ms recordings for years I started building a portable solution for 4.0 or 5.0.
    Suprisingly my rig is almost identical to your solution but I went for Clippy Mics in addition to the dpa 4060 … omni miniature … we already had for studio use. I did some test recordings during my vacation… sounded great but I became pretty much annoyed by “building and unbuilding” the rods all the time. If this system would be foldable without and all cables could stay in place! So I rigged an old unbrella and went to record ocean sounds. For the folding it was good but the umbrella makes sounds on it’s own.
    To see your pictures gives me some hope that I’m not the only person doing this. Thanks for your work, Sebastian

    1. gimaudio says:

      Hey Sebastian
      Thank you so much for commenting. Glad to hear you are recording this way too.
      I can see what you mean. This is definitely not an array I will use exclusively every time I go out. It will be weather, and wind dependent and I wouldnt even imagine bringing it to other recordings. The setting up time and taking down is just too long for some situations, but for a planned weekend etc. it will be wonderful I think.

      1. Sebastian Schmidt says:

        Hej, I went out for some harbour recordings (dock splashes, boats) yesterday combined 2 rods for larger base width and got some nice results. Usually I would just pick the mkh30/40 ms but two wide omnis blew my mind. I keep on researching for something foldable and affordable. All the best!

      2. gimaudio says:

        Sounds cool! Wide omnis are really a great way of recording alot of things. Yes foldable would be amazing. I actually think there is a company doing that. At least Ive seen the guys at Tonsturm recording 5.0 with that https://tonsturm.com/soundpacks/gusty-wind/?utm_source=gearslutz&utm_campaign=gusty-gearslutz
        Have fun Sebastian ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Benjamin says:

    Hello Gimaudio,

    i would like to listen to your quad recording, unfortunately your dropbox link is not working.
    What can i do to listen to them? i’m very interested in this kind of setup.

  3. gimaudio says:

    Hi Benjamin
    Thanks for stopping by.
    Here is the link for you to preview the sounds
    Link is valid until Sunday and sounds are for listening and previewing only!
    Hope you like the sounds.
    Best wishes

    1. Benjamin says:

      Thanks a lot for sharing your sounds Mikkel, i really like the result! just to have a complete understanding of the recording: which recorder did you use?
      Best regards from Colombia!

      1. gimaudio says:

        You are welcome Benjamin. The recorder used for this is a Sounddevices Mixpre 6 first generation.
        Best wishes, Mikkel

      2. Anonymous says:

        Hi Mikkel,
        i finally got a rig very similar to yours, with the difference of the mixpre6 ii and the 9.solutions rods of 2x50cm instead of 1x1m, for better portability.
        I did some recordings in Colombia, where i live, and the results are excellent. If you want, you can listen a bit here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/efuql3cisb1qmvq/Putu_QUAD.wav?dl=0

        Being only interested in pure nature soundscapes recordings for VR binaural playback, i’m using Max Msp to convert my quad recording into an immersive binaural in which i can yaw, pitch and roll my head. It appears that the up direction is lacking (the down direction is less important since i want to reproduce the acoustics of a person standing in the wilderness)

        Just thinking a bit further and taking advantage of the Manfrotto Dado Ball: what do you think of multiplying the rods and mkh8020, using 9 of them in total and make a dome-shaped array, covering half a sphere oriented upwards? Do you think those 5 additional mics would add the sufficient coverage? or is it exaggerated and only 1 mic pointing upwards would be enough ?In case you don’t know much about the post production processing, could you recommend me somebody?

        Thanks for your time and comments!


      3. gimaudio says:

        Hello Benjamin
        That sounds very cool! Congratulations on a cool rig ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking forward to hearing your examples.
        About those 5 extra mics pointing upwards. I wouldnt know for sure at all. I havent tried it. I have however used a DPA surround stand with upwards pointing mics. This was for an art installation I think. The result was very nice, but this array is much bigger then 50 cm apart of each mic. I would recommend asking on the different facebook forums. There are quite alot of the these days, and Ive seen VR pop up alot of times too. Actually think there is a VR group just for that.
        Good luck.

  4. Vincent says:

    Hi there. Thanks for the insight for this quad surround rig!

    I see you are using the rycote BBG on the MKH8020. Can you share one bit more concerning the fitment between the BBG and the 8020? I know the 8020 is very short and can you get it centered to the middle of the BBG while having enough length for the mic mount?

    Also, how much wind can the BBG handle from your experience? I am doing mostly outdoor nature recording as well. However, I do want to make sure if the BBG can handle windly condition. Let say some breeze in the field.

    Would be lovely if you can share me more of it. Cheers!

  5. gimaudio says:

    Hey Vincent
    Thanks for stopping by.
    I can get the 8020 to almost center but only when I use the Sennheiser microphone holders as shown on the pictures.
    I wouldnt use BBGs in high winds. Since I only use the BBGs with the giant quad cross I cant say how good they handle high winds, as I would never use the quad cross in high wind situations. It would difinitely not be recommended.
    A more dedicated system like the Rycote WS10 is far more superior here both in terms of wind, handling noise, but also in protecting the whole mic.
    That said the BBGs and a fur does handle wind better then I had hoped for.
    Best wishes, Mikkel

  6. Roman says:

    Hello! That is a very nice looking and sounding rig! I have something similar but with 5 telescopic rods so the whole rig fits inside a small luggage case.
    I had the same idea to get those thin cables, but I wasn’t sure if their isolation works as good as the regular one. So for me it was – thicker is better. But if those thin cables works good I’d reconsider my choice. Did you test your setup like near power lines or in city environment?

    1. gimaudio says:

      Hello Roman
      Thank you for stopping by.
      I have replaced the heavy metal rods for smaller selfie stick poles too. So much more transportable now. Eveything is stored inside a bag.
      The thin dpa cables have never failed so far, but I have not used them near powerlines or anywhere near a city actually. I only use this setup for nature recordings.
      I have however heard many production sound recordists using them on set, and they havent had problems. But I would suggest you got a single cable and try it out your self first.
      The only downside to these cables are the way they have a tendendy to curl up and make knots on the cables even when stored bundled up in a bag or when taking down the rig, but I have learned to live with that.
      Good luck with your recordings.
      Best wishes

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