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Recording a chamber orchestra
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edwinhurwitz
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14th November 2007
Old 14th November 2007
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Talking Recording a chamber orchestra

I will be recording the Boulder Chamber Orchestra on Sunday evening at the Broomfield Auditorium. I plan to visit the auditorium in the next couple of days, but I gather it holds just under 300 people. I talked to the technical director about flying mics and he said that it wasn't really possible, except from two holes about halfway back from the front of the stage. If I had my way, would fly a pair of omnis above the lip of the stage, but that looks like it can't happen.

So, I thought I would still fly my omnis from the available holes in the ceiling, but also put up a pair on a stand. I haven't talked to the conductor/director yet about stands, etc, but I am assuming the fewer the better.

I would like to get suggestions for best mic'ing techniques for the mics on the stand. The best mics I have available are AKG 414 XL IIs. For the flown mics I will be using Rode NT5s with omni capsules. I used this combination with the 414s in M/S to record a string quartet in a smaller room and it came out great. I know that these are not in the world of Schoeps and DPA, etc, mics, but it's what I have. I may be able to borrow some Peluso SDCs.

Preamps will be a Grace Lunatec V3 and one of the new Grace M201 with a/d.

Any advice on how to handle this, especially in regards to etiquette, would be gratefully appreciated. I've recorded many types of my music, but this is my first foray into large(r) classical groups. I am doing this for free by way of an audition.

Thanks much!
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14th November 2007
Old 14th November 2007
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If you can place your stand close to the stage (or even on it), I would run the 414's in A-B omni on a stereo bar (if I only put up 2). If you can put your NT-5's in the back of the hall, you could run the 414's in cardioid as ORTF or X/Y. Flying directly over the performers generally leads to a very un-natural sound, IMHO.
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krs
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14th November 2007
Old 14th November 2007
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Do you have an audience to contend with?
edwinhurwitz
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14th November 2007
Old 14th November 2007
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Thanks for the ideas, tenor39. The NT5s in the back might be a fun thing to do to try a surround mix. I've been messing with that with an electronica band I've recording. However, my experience with placing mics in the back of the room has been less than successful.

krs, there is definitely an audience. I want to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Thanks guys!
Edwin
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14th November 2007
Old 14th November 2007
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The omni NT-5's from the ceiling would be beauteous, not entirely on their own but as fills they'll give you lots-- it is a shame these people won't entirely restructure their catwalks for the sake of the engineer, but keep in mind it is their hall.

Now that I think about it... whenever I've run into situations where I've been told I "can't" do something, not only is it unfortunate but it always seems to be a signal that the people are every-so-slightly idiots--the idiocy that would presume to second-guess mic placement will go on to infect everything else. I doubt if you asked them straight-out "Do you want a pretty much worthless recording of your show?" they would answer "Yes. Indeed!" but it almost amounts to the same thing.

If they are truly hard-core about it, I'd settle for mics on stands way off to the side, at the front of the stage--not in any sight lines. But best of all worlds-- I have a mic stand with a round, metal base, which I've strapped a sandbag to, and I've got a metal pole about six feet high--the pole fits onto the mic stand, not threaded, just slips over it, and I've wrapped it with electrical tape. On the top of that pole, I fitted a thread to which I attach either a stereo mic (Avant CK-40 is outstanding for this!) or an ORTF assembly, and it sits a few feet behind the conductor. The mics are way overhead, so the only thing the audience would be distressed by is a slender black line destroying their view of the conductor's back.

Like anything else, if you are a concert hall manager and you decide to get fixated about a slender black line, all is lost. If there's any way to get through that this one, meager compromise is the key to a brilliant recording, maybe there's hope. Good luck!
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krs
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14th November 2007
Old 14th November 2007
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Beacsue there is an audience I would reconsider the omni option and seriously think about using directional mics. The mics you have are not the best for the application - I would consider renting a great pair of caridiod SDC for the main pair, see if your 414's are useful as flanks and use the omni NT5's as audience mics.

Good luck, sounds like a great gig.
edwinhurwitz
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14th November 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krs View Post
Beacsue there is an audience I would reconsider the omni option and seriously think about using directional mics. The mics you have are not the best for the application - I would consider renting a great pair of caridiod SDC for the main pair, see if your 414's are useful as flanks and use the omni NT5's as audience mics.

Good luck, sounds like a great gig.
Thanks! I also have cardioid capsules for the NT5s as well as a pair of Oktava MK 012s, so there is that to play with.


Edwin
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14th November 2007
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I have a pretty similar setup to you, except that I have Oktava MC012s instead of the Rodes. I recently did a wind ensemble recording which I was pretty satisfied with using the 2 414s in wide cardioid, A-B behind the conductor, about 15' up. I used the 012s as outriggers on the far sides of the stage in cardioid. I obviously didn't get much room tone, but it was a noisy audience and not a great room so that was kind of the point. In a better room, you could try something similar but with omnis.
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