October 27, 2017

Record Polished Audio With the Customizable Rycote Stereo Cyclone Windshield

Location sound mixers have been waiting for this. Here's what you need to know.

If you've ever searched for a shock mount, wind protection or microphone accessory, you might have come across the Rycote name. The UK-based company has some clout, being at the forefront of innovation in sound field the last forty years. This past month, Rycote released what location sound mixers have been clamoring for: a stereo version of its popular windshield kits. 

Enter the Stereo Cyclone.

Stereo recording has always been in workflows of production sound, broadcast and wildlife recordings, but it's being used more frequently in the gaming and virtual reality worlds. For those looking for a robust solution, the Stereo Cyclone is a solid option for anyone, as you can configure 30+ different models. Here's what you need to know:

Rycote Stereo Cyclone
Rycote Stereo CycloneCredit: Rycote

Design

Rycote is taking new strides in care by hand-building each individual Stereo Cyclone. At its heart is a multi-suspension system combining both Rycote's Lyre and Floating-Basket suspensions for stellar isolation between the windshield and microphone suspension to reduce handling noise at the source. The entire system floats, so if you plan on recording while running with your boom pole, the tech has you covered. 

The outer, two-piece windshield is made from an open-cell structure, curved contours with no straight or parallel surfaces. Rycote also shifted the overall bulk of the basket to the front instead of the modular tube we're used to seeing. The benefit of this shift is that it provides better surface turbulence and acoustic impedance. Removal is easy thanks to its "Z-Locking" feature while reassembly is magnetically snapped into alignment. 

Rycote Stereo Cyclone
Rycote Stereo Cyclone ConnboxCredit: Rycote

The Connbox received extra attention too, simplifying its internal cable routing to improve isolation and reduce vibration. Each Connbox will be built specifically for your mic setup to maximize performance, which is pretty unique. 

Like the Cyclone flagship, the stereo version touts 3D-Tex material to cover the windshield and provide the acoustic transparency we're accustomed to hearing from a Rycote product. The material can provide up to a 50 db reduction. If you find yourself in shite weather, a Cyclone Windjammer can be added into the mix to further reduce wind-noise, or if you just miss petting your cat. 

Rycote Stereo Cyclone
Rycote Stereo CycloneCredit: Rycote

Customization 

Windshield kits are available for stereo and surround recordings covering everything from X/Y, M/S, Double M/S, stereo, and ambisonic. Depending on your needs, Rycote will package a small or medium windshield to keep the overall size as compact as possible, configure the Connbox for your specific mic, and send it off. 

Connecting the internal microphone to your external XLR cable or wireless system is Rycote's premium short XLR. This very light, durable connector is a great addition as it helps avoids cables turning inside the windshield during use. 

Rycote Stereo Cyclone
Rycote Stereo Cyclone ConfiguratorCredit: Rycote

To help build your kit, Rycote created an easy online configurator for selecting the stereo method (X/Y, M/S, etc) and paring it with a microphone. They have dozens of the most popular mics listed: Schoeps CCM, Sennheiser MKH 8060, Sanken CSS-5, Audio Technica BP4029, Tetramic and AMBEO to name a few. If you don't see yours, you can contact a specialist to inquire further.  They even allow you to suggest a stereo combination that might be listed. 

Price

Cost will vary by configuration, but the Cyclone kit at $649 is a good starting point.  To find out more technical details visit the Stereo Cyclone page.  

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