PZMs for ambience recording?


Seems our sound design forum is leaning more and more towards gear and technique these days…which is actually pretty great because sound design occurs not only in the box but out in the world.

Has anyone had much experience with PZMs in the field? My objective is to record ambiences and ambient FX using a pair of PZMs but don't know of the proper way to go about it. One way would be to tape them together, back-to-back, with a large boundary between them (say a piece of plywood, an old door, etc.) From what I remember, the larger the boundary, the more bass response you'll achieve. Another approach would be to lay them on the ground with a fixed distance between them, kind of simulating a spaced-pair effect.


Jay Jennings

Posted 2010-05-12T08:49:42.320

Reputation: 15 432



I used to use PZMs in the studio a lot, taping them to the glass about 4 feet apart. Got a pretty cool stereo image, and great response. Might translate well into the world. If you find somewhere that'll let you gaff two PZMs to a window and grab ambience in that area. If not, you could try taping them to your car windows.

Placing them on the ground might be an interesting technique. Don't know how much different the ambience would sound from that perspective. I'd be interested to hear it.

Which PZMs do you use? I have the most experience with Crowns

Colin Hart

Posted 2010-05-12T08:49:42.320

Reputation: 7 588

Looking at using Crowns as well. – Jay Jennings – 2010-05-12T17:04:21.790


I did this with a pair of DPA 4060 lavs in boundary layer mounts to record urban ambience on a city block. You can read the results here. Not the same as dedicated PZMs but perhaps a similar enough principle that this could get you thinking about the possibilities.


Posted 2010-05-12T08:49:42.320

Reputation: 11 088

nice post over there! – Rene – 2010-05-12T13:27:46.273


My favourite boundary mics are the Crown PCC 160, it is a slightly different principle from the PZM in that the angle is different (parallel rather than right angled). I have suspended them in mid air, gaffa/duck taped them to walls, stage floors, pieces of wood on music stands, piano lids, doors. When I want to use them for stereo I treat them as an AB pair, but you could try treating them like a Jecklin disc or Optimum Stereo Signal but removing the absorption.

Jecklin disc
(source: josephson.com)


Posted 2010-05-12T08:49:42.320


Cool, Iain! Have not seen that mic before. – Jay Jennings – 2010-05-12T17:05:35.253