(Last updated 04/23/2018)
Typical Recording Set-ups
OctoMic has an unusually extended low frequency response. If we
wanted to go a bit overboard, we could calibrate it to be flat to well
below 20 Hz and you could use it as an earthquake detector! But we
reasonably limit its response so that it's usable down to around 25
As with any high quality microphone that works well down to those very
low frequencies, you must use a shock mount unless you really want to
pick up footsteps, trucks rumbling by, distant thunder and subway
trains. So please always use an effective shock mount. (See the OctoMic
Accessories page for recommendations.)
OctoMic's output is a 12-pin jack. A 12-pin PPAc8 cable connects it
to the PPAc8 transmitter. Since OctoMic's signal is unbalanced at that
point and somewhat susceptible to picking up strong electrical
interference, we recommend keeping that PPAc8 cable length as short as
possible and routing it away from high power sources of interference.
The PPAc8 transmitter connects to two shielded EtherCon cables, each
of which carries four channels. The EtherCon cables can run for more
than 500 feet without degrading the audio signal.
The two EtherCon cables connect to two PPAc8 receivers. Each receiver
has four XLR plug outputs, for a total of eight.
OctoMic's PPAc8 system can feed the signal to either an eight-channel
recorder that has its own mic pre-amps, or an eight-channel microphone
pre-amplifier/ADC (analog-to-digital converter) that feeds an
eight-channel digital audio recorder. The recorder can be either a
computer or a stand-alone digital audio recorder.
Using OctoMic with Portable Digital Audio Recorders
F8 eight-channel portable digital audio recorder is probably the
most cost-effective and simplest way to record with OctoMic. The
combination makes very high quality 2nd-order ambisonic recordings.
You can buy a Zoom F8 in the US for $1000 or less.
An alternative to the Zoom F8 is the Sound
Other possible alternative are the Roland R-88 and the SonoSax
Connect OctoMic to the recorders using OctoMic's PPAc8 system. The
PPAc8's two receivers terminate in eight XLR connectors. Plug them
directly into the recorders' eight XLR inputs.
Both the Zoom F8 and the Sound Devices MixPre-10T have very accurate,
digitally-set level controls so it's very easy to match the levels
across OctoMic's eight channels. Both recorders can gang the eight
channels' level controls, so you can control the levels with one knob.
Both recorders are recommended!
Microphone Pre-amplifiers and ADCs
To preserve OctoMic's calibrated performance, all eight OctoMic
channels should be gain-matched to within 0.1 dB. Please use mic
pre-amps and A-to-D converters that are designed to hold those gain
tolerances across eight channels.
DAWs for Editing OctoMic Recordings
OctoMic's raw eight-channel audio output are in what's called
"A-format". When you transfer them into your digital audio workstation
for editing, convert them to standard 9-channel 2nd-order B-format with
the supplied VVOctoEncoder VST encoder plugin.
The following DAWs can be used for editing 2nd-order B-format:
- Pro Tools HD
- Cubase (pending)
- Nuendo (pending)
- Pyramix (v11.1 and higher)
- Digital Performer
- Plogue Bidule
- FLStudio (with proper mixer and plugin I/O configuration)
If your PC runs Linux, you can use Fons Adriaenson's OctoProc
OctoMic's 9-channel B-format has been confirmed to work well with
the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation.
VVOctoEncode VST Encoder Plugin Settings
VVOctoEncode is the A-to-B-Format encoder plugin supplied for OctoMic
by David McGriffy (VVAudio.com). It allows you to select among three
options during encoding.
The first option has the least processing noise and provides excellent spatial
The second option adds a slight amount of processing noise but has slightly
stronger spatial location cues.
The third option adds a bit more processing noise but has even slightly stronger
spatial location cues.
We advise that when encoding very quiet sound sources, that Option 1 be the
default selection. When the sound sources are louder, we advise considering
using Options 2 or 3.