Guitars of Love

Sennheiser Dummy Head Stereo recording

Someone once said that "most men have one really good idea in a lifetime". Well, I can identify with that. I'd like to think the PZM wedge was my idea, but I originally got the idea from an article I read about Sennheiser Dummy Head Stereo recording microphones. After experiencing the way studios recorded I was always dissatisfied with the way they would shove a mic in front of a guitar amp and pipe the mono signal into the phones. The process made playing in a relaxed state that much harder. After building my PZM wedge, I was amazed at how the sound in the headphones was so lively and ambient. I also found that it made post recording FX work better, because the real world phase information was there to begin with.

This page contains scanned images of the original 45 RPM Sennheiser Dummy Head MkII recording demo with explanations and various audio recorded with the technique. The microphones placed in the ear of the person recording allowed ordinary music lovers and lovers of Hi Fi to make their own Dummy Head recordings. It was a huge breakthrough in the concept of recording at the time. It enabled the reproduction of 3D information as our ears perceive it. All my more modern home recordings are done with my PZM wedge which produces the same affect. As such, all my digital multitrack recordings are done with each instrument recorded in stereo, except for the electric bass in most instances, which I usually DI for convenience.

Many thanks to my friend Merilyn Lorraine for lending me this marvelous piece to scan and copy. Being a big fan of vinyl and retro Hi Fi, she had this in her collection. When I clean up the 45RPM record, I'll put this up as well. (unfortunately it is pretty worn)

Note that in the bottom right hand corner of the page is a diagram of the layout used when they recorded the skiffle band. They positioned the instruments at distances appropriate to the volume level desired for the recording  - in other words the 'mix' of the sound.
The true Dummy Head Recording MkII technique was very sophisticated, in that the microphones were actually placed in the ears of the head of the person recording. By doing this all the highly nuanced phase information peculiar to that person's head shape was duplicated in the recording. Very clever indeed!