Learn to love bleed
In this video, Chris Mara, owner and chief engineer of Nashville's Welcome to 1979, captures a performance from singer-songwriter Kenton Bryant live with three microphones. Kenton Bryant composes songs that carry themselves like conversations between close friends, and this stripped down version of his tune 'Beer and a Bottle' bears his signature, personal writing style.
The name of the game here is range and coverage. Mara uses a pair of spaced sE8 small-diaphragm condenser microphones flanking the outer reaches of the acoustic guitar, and places the vocal mic, an X1 S, about a foot away from the artist.
The philosophy behind this technique is to specifically take advantage of bleed. Mic bleed, or 'spill', is typically met with a frown in the audio community. In fact, the function of one of our most popular products, the Reflexion Filter®, is to help mitigate just that! However, bleed — harnessed with intention— can facilitate a beautiful, natural-sounding performance that transports the listener to a chair right in front of the artist in the room.
Mara's thoughtfulness for the listener extends a step further with his choice to pan the mics from the audience's perspective. The result is a rich, organic sound that has no lack of fullness and realism.