The FlexBar can make all sorts of dual‑mic placement jobs quick and easy.
There’s a popular adage amongst recording engineers that details in order the things that most affect the quality of a sound recording. It starts with the musical composition, then the musical arrangement, next the performer(s), the recording environment, the mic positions, the mic selections... and finally the rest of the technique and technology: mixing, mic preamps, signal processing, converters, file formats, and all the rest that we tend to get hung up on but which, in the grand scheme, make relatively little difference to the end product.
If you think about it, this list makes perfect sense. If you don’t start with a really great song that people want to hear, in a good arrangement and performed sublimely, the best mics in the world won’t make it any better. And if you don’t place those world‑class mics in the right places around the instruments no one will hear the performance as intended either! In my experience, finding ways of getting microphones where you want them to be is often a significant part of the challenge of recording, so I’m always on the lookout for effective and versatile new mounting tools and was intrigued when I learned of Royer Labs’ new FlexBar system, which they describe as a ‘dual mic utility bar’.
As ‘stereo bars’ go the FlexBar is relatively expensive, but it was designed in collaboration with Triad‑Orbit, who make a range of brilliantly clever, extremely robust and versatile mic‑mounting hardware (see SOS July 2016 for my review), none of which could be described as inexpensive. Nor should they or the FlexBar be: unlike the crude agricultural mechanics we’ve become used to with cheap Far Eastern imports, the FlexBar is a really high‑quality, beautifully engineered product that guarantees a very long life expectancy. This kind of gear is a genuine investment designed to work day in, day out in tough professional environments over a long lifetime.
The FlexBar... affords a level of flexibility and configurability I’ve never found in any mic mounting system before.
Most ‘stereo bars’ are simple designs, comprising a rail with a central stand mounting point and a couple of threaded mic mounts that are usually movable along the bar to set the required distance between mics. The FlexBar takes a simple but very different approach that affords a level of flexibility and configurability I’ve never found in any mic mounting system...