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Orchestra Recording Set-up Sketches
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aux9098i
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29th July 2007
Old 29th July 2007
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Question Orchestra Recording Set-up Sketches

Fellow Gearslutz,
There are numerous elements which can interfire and decide your microphone placements, but I really wanted to start this thread.

In recording studios, you usally document your instrument space and microphone placement. Do you guys, recording orchestras, do the same?

If so, could you post some of your scetches or pictures where you could see microphone layouts for the stage and such.

(This thread is something a twin to "Flying Mics")

Thanks,

Dean
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29th July 2007
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I am a real beginner here and am gathering what info I can from folks who seem to know. One fellow, "Dr. Bob" at UConn, posted the following on getting a hall "right" for recording. It seems quite good and a good starting point for me and perhaps for you, too. I post this acknowledging its source is Dr. Bob and not me:
Attached Files
File Type: txt mic placement per Dr. Bob.txt (5.4 KB, 576 views)
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There are many mic arrays that are appropriate for this, but a VERY important factor is HEIGHT, and 9-10ft is a good place to start.

Rich
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30th July 2007
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I only document when I know that I'll need to do the exact same thing again. When I go record large ensembles, my microphone setup is largely dictated by the repertoire that is to be played. I will likely mic differently for Richard Strauss than I will for Mozart or Bach. Since I find that the same group will play differently in the same room based on the repertoire, I will approach each job as an individual job choosing mics and placement for it.

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30th July 2007
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Here is a quick sketch that shows my basic setup in the church I regularly record oratorios in. Slightly modified according to what exactly is to be played, but it usually starts off like this. A through G mics are flying.
A B are KM183 about 3ft spaced, height 12 ft, often with DIY eyeballs.
C D E usually Straus Packets, so far MBHO omnis (will be MK2s soon) and KM184.
F G choir spots MK21
H timpani spot Oktava 219
I J soloist spots to taste, have used MBHO omnis, TLM170, MKH800, and others.
Most times I also add a double bass spot, which then is whatever mic I just happen to have in my hands

This church usually doesn't need woodwind or brass spots, since they come through very well on A through E.

More sketches to come.
Attached Thumbnails
Orchestra Recording Set-up Sketches-st-johannis-basic.jpg  
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Please elaborate on the "Straus packet".

Rich
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30th July 2007
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So there's another sketch, this time of an orchestra in a somewhat dry but clean congress hall seating about 1,000.
As most times, I went for a main mic plus FEW spots approach recording Mendelssohn 4 "Italian".

A B are KM183s again, about 12 ft high
C KM184 for some violin presence, about 9 ft over stage level
D (missing, over Celli) MK4 for some cello presence (9ft)
E F were MK21 pointing towards woodwinds and brass (9 ft)
G the secret timpani weapon Oktava 219
H double bass close spot for string noise - AT3035
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Orchestra Recording Set-up Sketches-mendelssohn-4.jpg  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonare View Post
Please elaborate on the "Straus packet".
Rich,
See here and here for more...

Daniel
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31st July 2007
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@pkautzsch: great arsenal of mics and a very nice set-up. Do you ever dictate the musician placement?

Straus Pockets: new term for me, even though I have used it in studio.

Outtriggers are...????
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" A B are KM183s again, about 12 ft high"

I am curious just what weight these two mics have in the final mix.
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A few answers:

Re: Straus packets
A cardioid and an omni "packed" together, resulting in a wide cardioid pattern when summed equally. I don't actually connect them the way Volker Straus did, but record omni and cardioid to separate tracks so I can balance them in the mix. It might even happen that I change the omni/cardioid ratio during the piece according to what instruments are most important or need to be featured a little.

Re: KM183 AB pair
I use this in two ways: either as a real main pair, around 50 to 60 cm spacing, quite close to orchestra. In this usage, it makes at least 90% of the sound, and the other mics are up to 20 dB lower to bring out a tad of this or that.
On other occasions, it's an additional AB setup for a tad more coherence when using M3 or Decca setups as main mics. Not quite a room pair though. It might, depending on the music, actually still have the highest level, but the main threesome will be nearly as high in the mix.
Always a system of all mics, though, and taking one out will usually kill the whole balance.

Re: Outriggers
Flanking mics, often at about 1/3 and 2/3 of stage width, usually panned hard L/R. If I use them, they are part of my main setup. Typically found in a Decca Tree, but can be found in other setups too.

Re: Placing of musicians
Usually they set up the way they're used to, and I make, if at all, very little changes. It's my job to adapt to the orchestra, not the other way round.
I might suggest setups, though. In the end, it's their decision, and I see accomodating to whatever they make up as a challenge that keeps my mind and ears alive.
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