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St John's Smith, London • String Ensemble, Organ, Soloists • 3 x Questions
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Sheikyearbouti
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18th October 2010
Old 18th October 2010
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Question St John's Smith, London • String Ensemble, Organ, Soloists • 3 x Questions

Dear Slutz,

On the 7th of November I will have a concert recording at St John's Smith Square, London. I need an advice regarding the microphone choice and placement. As well it is my first time to fly microphones and your help will be very welcome. I'll be recording a String Ensemble featuring additional musicians, including Organ, for the different compositions played.

The progaramme will be:
Albinoni (arr. Giazotto) Adagio in G minor for Organ and Strings
J.S. Bach Erbarme Dich BWV 244: No.47 St Matthew Passion for Violin, Voice and Strings
Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Greensleeves
F. Amirov Nizami Symphony for Strings

The ensemble includes:
• 9 x Violins (1 Solo Violin for Bach)
• 2 Cellos
• 2 x Violas
• 1 x Double Bass.

The additional instruments will be:
• 1 x Flute
• 1 x Harp
• 1 x Pipe Organ
• 1 x Voice (Mezzo Soprano)
• 1 x extra Violin
• 1 x extra Double Bass


I am pretty sure that some of you have already worked at St John's but for those who haven't or don't live in the UK I have included a few horrific mobile phone photos to give you an idea about the venue. Alternatively see the link with some much better photos found by Google.

My impression from the short visit I did this Monday there is that it is relatively quiet, especially for a place in the heart of London. Some noticeable traffic noise but not the usual nightmare so I'm not too worried about it. The acoustics: not brilliant but not bad at all. In my opinion good enough to go for an omni main pair.
I will probably be situated behind the curtains on stage as they will not be fully open and I will be invisible for the public. In this way I think that I will be able to use shorter cables.

Here is my idea of the mic list.
I have a Grace Lunatec V3 (2 x Preamps with AD) and 8 channels of True Systems Preamps going into RME FF400 AD.
I can rent additional spot mics if needed (DPA, Schoeps, Neumann, Sennheiser).

1, 2 • Main AB pair - Schoeps MK2
3, 4 • Second AB pair for the Organ - Schoeps MK2H
5 • Mezzo Soprano - Neumann TLM193
6, 7, 8, 9, 10 • More spots if needed.


I will have to fly the main pair of mics which I intend to put just above the front edge of the stage (see one of my photos), where for some part of the programme will be the singer and the solo violin. This means at about 3 meters from them and maybe at about 4 - 6.5m away from the rest of the ensemble. I want to use 4 fishing lines to fly to mics (or maybe something more rigid) tying them to the balcony rails upstairs in the galleries. In this way I will be able to pull the second pair of strings towards the back of the hall and adjust a bit the distance if needed.

The only problem is that I might have just about an hour to setup before the rehearsal starts. Although I will have a trustworthy assistant, I don't think that I'll be able to do it for such a short period of time (the venue charges per hour and so far my presence is considered as reason good enough for my customer to be charged). This means that I might not be able to record the rehearsal and thus have to guess the exact mic possition. Therefore I prefer to be a bit closer than too far and with a bit wider stereo image than too narrow.

• My first question: is there a point to think about MK2H with such distance and size of the ensemble? And for those who have worked there, do you think that such placement (about 3m to soloist)/stereo technique is a good idea? I could go for MK21, for example, instead.

The second thing that bothers me a bit is that the Organ is at the back of the hall (see photos). This means something like 30 meters away from where the main pair will be. Ok, I know that such arrangement is common in many churches and that organs are usually designed in such a way that will sound good where the audience is, but isn't this a bit too much for a recording? On top of this, I will space my main mics in a way to suite the image on stage (probably around 50cm, but will decide it there when I see the exact placement of the musicians) and at such distance I think that the stereophonic size of the organ will be too narrow. So to make the long story short:

• Do you think that I will need a second pair dedicated to the Organ and where?

My idea was to fly another AB pair, this time MK2H (or alternatively can choose between, MK2 or MK2S, MK21, MK4, MK8, DPA 4006, 4009, 4011, MKH20, 30, 40, 8040, TLM170) somewhere in the middle of the hall facing the organ. The only problem I see with this is that it is a second pair of mics to fly and since it is my first time doing it, it may take too long to do it. So any other solutions easier to place are very welcome.

• My third question is regarding the rest of the instruments and whether it is a good idea to spot mic some of them?

I consider having a spot mic the mezzo soprano. I have a Neumann TLM193 for the purpose and I like it's non-hyped sound on vocals and the cardioid pattern seems to be a good choice for the job as the back of it will be facing the audience.

I don't think that there is a need to do so with the lead violin as the soloist is exceptional player and she will be the closest one to the main pair.

I wouldn't have bothered with spots for the cellos/viola either but because there will be no conductor, they might simply disappear among all ten violins. Same with the double bass and harp... I'm not sure about those...

I have attached a sample of a previous recording of the ensemble with the same soloist (violin) which I did last year with just a pair of DPA 4011 on a short (normal) K&M stand.

Well, that's it. Your help will be very welcome. I want to do the job as good as possible as it will simply make me happy and the customer is a good friend of mine and I think that with some help from you guys all will go very well.


Cheers,


p.s. Will post some samples after the concert.
Attached Thumbnails
St John's Smith, London • String Ensemble, Organ, Soloists • 3 x Questions-hall1.jpg   St John's Smith, London • String Ensemble, Organ, Soloists • 3 x Questions-hall2.jpg   St John's Smith, London • String Ensemble, Organ, Soloists • 3 x Questions-rails.jpg  
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Provost-Intermezzo--(DPA-4011).mp3 (3.41 MB, 1300 views)
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18th October 2010
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St John's Smith, London • String Ensemble, Organ, Soloists • 3 x Questions

It's a few years since I recorded there.

From memory I slung from just in front of the first pillar that's away from the stage - the one on the left in your photo.

I always used the BBC room at the back as the control room, running the cables round the gallery and then dropping them down and into the control room via the flap.

I won't comment on mics - the choice is yours.


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18th October 2010
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I used to do a lot of recording there (till I moved to Australia). It's pretty easy to sling there. Once you are up in the gallery you can get all the way round (via the organ at the back).

I'd go for close rather than distant.

You may be able to sit up in the gallery if it's not in use for seating. Check in advance. I'm trying to remember where the power points are up there... but after ten years I'm struggling! I used to sit well to the back, in fact beside the organ, but I think I brought a longish power lead.

Are you sure they are using the main organ at the back, and not a chamber organ on the stage? For spotting the main organ, if it is used, you could just have a mic in the gallery, which although it would be to the side and not centred, it would do the job.

For slinging, I used to have (, still do have!) a kit which worked like this. Have two cords each tied into a loop about three feet long. Have one of those spring clips attached to each loop. Then you feed the loop through itself around the rail up in the gallery so the clip is on the end dangling over the side. (So that takes about two seconds to attach).

Have two long lengths of string (well, nylon cord) each with a spring clip tied securely to one end. Drop one over each side of the gallery. Make a loop at the gallery end and slide that into the clip that's attached to the loop fixed to the rail. Drop your cable(s) over one side of the gallery too. Have excess cord on the side you dropped the cable over, and downstairs tape the cable to one cord. Now join the two cords in the centre using the attached clips, passing the mic cables through one of the clips so that the drop part of the cable won't be pulling on the tape. You won't need much drop, as you'll have a hard time getting the suspension cable tight enough to get much height - the mics will be just below the suspension cable. Now up in the gallery you can haul up the assembly bit by bit, making a new loop to attach to the clips upstairs each time you want to go to the other side. Obviously attach your mics downstairs while you can still reach the sling! Continue raising and centring the whole thing.

I used to do this single handed and managed it in about 45 mins from arrival till ready to use, as I recall it. Running up and down the stairs a few times kept me fit...

At the end, do lower the rig carefully. That stone floor is not kind to mics if dropped, as I discovered once to my cost.

As for spot mics - well, given that the main pair will not be very high up, it will be quite in the line of fire from the soloist. Personally I'd just go with a main pair and get a natural balance, but I'm prejudiced that way so see what others think.
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18th October 2010
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John, indeed that second set of pillars is the magic spot, now you remind me of it!

I think use of the BBC control room attracts an additional 'facilities fee' so that may need to be avoided.
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19th October 2010
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Ah, to have spaces like that to record in. <sigh>
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19th October 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
It's a few years since I recorded there.

From memory I slung from just in front of the first pillar that's away from the stage - the one on the left in your photo.
Thanks for this information John and Ozpeter - very useful indeed. Makes sense and seems to be a much better spot to record the soprano.
The only concern I have is that the picture could become too reverberant with an omni pair. At the same time I don't want to use cardioids in this hall. Maybe if I don't have time for sound check I will prefer to put up the MK21 first.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
I always used the BBC room at the back as the control room, running the cables round the gallery and then dropping them down and into the control room via the flap.
This was my first thought when I entered the hall but if I decide to go for extra spots on stage (just to be able to save some of the players from sinking if needed) this will increase immensely the microphone cable length.

As well I think that you monitor on speakers and headphones. I will monitor on headphones only.
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19th October 2010
Old 19th October 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
I'd go for close rather than distant.
Do you consider that "magic spot" close?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
You may be able to sit up in the gallery if it's not in use for seating. Check in advance. I'm trying to remember where the power points are up there...
Yes, this is an option but together with the BBC room will be a spare plan if my initial idea about sitting behind the curtain fails. I already checked all sockets and there is one right in the corner on the first roll of seats - very convenient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
Are you sure they are using the main organ at the back, and not a chamber organ on the stage?
Yes, it will be the main one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
For spotting the main organ, if it is used, you could just have a mic in the gallery, which although it would be to the side and not centred, it would do the job.
My concern about the organ is both about clarity/presence and stereo width. And if I decide to use non omni mics (the MK21) for the main pair, this I think will make the presence of additional pair for the organ a necessity.

The method you suggest may solve any presence problems (or make things much worse ) but won't do anything about the stereo width unless I have a mic on the other side of the hall too. If both are on one side I can not imagine how to record it in stereo without having a weird picture.
On the contrary putting another mic on the other side of the hall will create a huge and not exactly realistic stereo image. I even though about putting some kind of boundary mics hanging from the rails and attached to the balcony wall with gaffa (I think I can get a pair of Neumann GFM132). This will be easy to mount and won't require stands but again it will be a huge AB pair. Perhaps if used very sparingly in the mix could work for what need it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
For slinging, I used to have (, still do have!) a kit which worked like this. Have two cords each tied into a loop about three feet long. Have one of those spring clips attached to each loop. Then you feed the loop through itself around the rail up in the gallery so the clip is on the end dangling over the side. (So that takes about two seconds to attach).

Have two long lengths of string (well, nylon cord) each with a spring clip tied securely to one end. Drop one over each side of the gallery. Make a loop at the gallery end and slide that into the clip that's attached to the loop fixed to the rail. Drop your cable(s) over one side of the gallery too. Have excess cord on the side you dropped the cable over, and downstairs tape the cable to one cord. Now join the two cords in the centre using the attached clips, passing the mic cables through one of the clips so that the drop part of the cable won't be pulling on the tape. You won't need much drop, as you'll have a hard time getting the suspension cable tight enough to get much height - the mics will be just below the suspension cable. Now up in the gallery you can haul up the assembly bit by bit, making a new loop to attach to the clips upstairs each time you want to go to the other side. Obviously attach your mics downstairs while you can still reach the sling! Continue raising and centring the whole thing.
Very, very useful. Thanks. I read the "best of flying mics" thread too and a few others and already have an idea how I will probably approach the situation but your comments make me think.
I have made a big stereo bar from 4 double and one quad K&M bars. I use the quad as a base in the middle with two small ones on the sides to make it wider. Than other two small ones attached at one side to each other at their ends and on the other side to the big bar at two distant spots creating a triangular construction. At the back side of it I want to tie the second pair of strings which will keep the construction stable and prevent it form twisting (I hope).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
I used to do this single handed and managed it in about 45 mins from arrival till ready to use, as I recall it. Running up and down the stairs a few times kept me fit...
You are experienced. It is my first time to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
At the end, do lower the rig carefully. That stone floor is not kind to mics if dropped, as I discovered once to my cost.
I didn't read this I never read it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
As for spot mics - well, given that the main pair will not be very high up, it will be quite in the line of fire from the soloist. Personally I'd just go with a main pair and get a natural balance, but I'm prejudiced that way so see what others think.
I prefer to use only two mics where possible but am worried about the balance within the ensemble (not only the recording). They are not bad players at all. Actually the soloist is so very good. But the ensemble, I think, has rehearsals only prior their very occasional concerts, and in the absence of a conductor... all this makes me think.

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19th October 2010
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St John's Smith, London • String Ensemble, Organ, Soloists • 3 x Questions

My standard rig when I recorded there was an MS pair of MKH 30/40.

I would be wary about being in the room and not the BBC control room - last time I did that I was getting incorrect information in my ears. It sounded fine on the night, but later I realised I should have used a spot mic. A lesson learned the hard way.


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19th October 2010
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My standard rig when I recorded there was an MS pair of MKH 30/40.
Thanks for sharing this. This setup definitely looks neater than an AB pair and has it's advantages. I love MS for many applications (and ribbons too) but somehow don't like those too much for ensembles/orchestra recording. From what I have heard, I really miss the phase information that even a near coincident pair would give.

But what is more interesting for me is that in this case you are using cardioid as M. If you remember what the sound was like, would you go for the MKH20 instead (assuming that we are talking about that sweet spot)?
I think that my first try will be just a little bit closer than this spot, as high as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
I would be wary about being in the room and not the BBC control room - last time I did that I was getting incorrect information in my ears. It sounded fine on the night, but later I realised I should have used a spot mic.
Do you mean headphone monitoring during the tracking? What about after?
It is certainly very difficult to monitor "live" while being in the same room where the musicians are, no matter what headphones. But if I get something out of the rehearsal I'll be able to monitor the playback. Do you think that this could be a problem too?
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A lesson learned the hard way.
True, but we remember so well the lessons we have learned in this way
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19th October 2010
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Quote:
Do you consider that "magic spot" close?
More close than distant, if you see what I mean. Further back from that point I'd class as distant - but that's highly subjective and personal taste of course. By the way, I too always used a Sennheiser MKH MS pair there (cardioid mid) but that's partly because that's how I've main-paired everything since 1986 (very reliable, those mics!).

The organ... well, the balance and image in the hall for the audience is going to be pretty odd in the first place, probably only "right" for those seated in one or two of the rows of seats. Presenting something like that accurately in stereo is of course impossible - surround would be essential - so given that you're going to be creating something artificially for stereo, I think you've been given creative licence! If you are planning simply to make it sound like the organ is at the back of the stage (as it would be under more typical circumstances) then a slung second pair towards the back of the hall is necessary, but time consuming to arrange. The idea of using boundary mics is a good one - I've done that there for a rear pair when recording a symphony orchestra* playing on the floor of the hall rather than the stage - and I used the same technique at Westminster Cathedral with some success in the past when recording Grand Organ recitals (woah, long cable runs!). Now that I observe that it's the Albinoni Adagio that's involved, I think I'd go for a time-effective arrangement and use a coincident pair at one point in the gallery - maybe on a well-weighted stand with a boom out over the edge as far as it would go - and I'd be pretty sure of getting a perfectly reasonable balance, at least better than the audience will get! It seems to me quite likely that you'll be more worried about too much organ, but unfocussed, rather than too little, and the organ mics may need only to be very low in the mix, enough to add focus but not level, and not enough for them to contribute much of an accurate left/right picture of the organ. I guess it comes down to your personal choice of feasibility vs recorded perfection.

Quote:
I have made a big stereo bar from 4 double and one quad K&M bars.
Just bear in mind that the attachment point is not very high, the width of the hall is quite a bit, and to get the sling anything like straight across without too much droop is going to require prodigious tension. So keeping the slung weight as low as possible is going to be essential if you are going to avoid scraping the heads of the audience!

Quote:
You are experienced. It is my first time to do it.
Indeed. I got it down to a fine art with much use of that rig in many locations. But the key thing is to have a system which requires the minimum of time and effort on the day (and looks neat!).

[*well I'm blowed, the orchestra I regularly recorded there was the Kensington Symphony Orchestra who I see were playing there tonight, still under their fine conductor Russell Keable after all these years. They'll just be coming out of the nearby pub as I type...]
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19th October 2010
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20th October 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
If you are planning simply to make it sound like the organ is at the back of the stage (as it would be under more typical circumstances) then a slung second pair towards the back of the hall is necessary, but time consuming to arrange.
I am planning to do exactly this, although I prefer to think that it will sound more like as if it is coming form the back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
The idea of using boundary mics is a good one - I've done that there for a rear pair when recording a symphony orchestra* playing on the floor of the hall rather than the stage - and I used the same technique at Westminster Cathedral with some success in the past when recording Grand Organ recitals (woah, long cable runs!).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
It seems to me quite likely that you'll be more worried about too much organ, but unfocussed, rather than too little, and the organ mics may need only to be very low in the mix, enough to add focus but not level, and not enough for them to contribute much of an accurate left/right picture of the organ.
I am still not so sure that I want to sling a second pair so boundary mics seem to me like a good idea. The problem is that I have no idea how is that going to sound like and can only imagine it in theory Furthermore, it matters so much where am I going to put those mics.
I am having in mind a pair of Neumann GFM132 or Schoeps BLM3. They are both omni and if it is correct what you say about the organ level in the main pair (I know, it is only a guess), than I can imagine it working well. As omni mics they will pick up naturally the sound coming from the stage (probably with a lot of verb) but will have a very good low end for both sources and a huge stereo image. This might fit just right with main pair if mixed at considerate levels. I am only afraid that they may sound too blurry so I will have a second directional pair with me (hopefully won't use it) and clamps to be able to attach them to the rail in the gallery.

The whole thing brings me back to my initial instinct to be closer with the main pair. I am actually sure that I will first put MK21s up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
Now that I observe that it's the Albinoni Adagio that's involved, I think I'd go for a time-effective arrangement and use a coincident pair at one point in the gallery.
Sorry, I am not sure that I understand clearly what do you mean when saying "time-effective arrangement"? Coincident pairs do not rely on time differences, or maybe do you mean the combination of both pairs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
Just bear in mind that the attachment point is not very high, the width of the hall is quite a bit, and to get the sling anything like straight across without too much droop is going to require prodigious tension. So keeping the slung weight as low as possible is going to be essential if you are going to avoid scraping the heads of the audience!
Ah, yes. This is something on which I am working at the moment. I have an idea and if it works well will be a fast and neat way to sling the pair as high as possible if needed. Will post some pictures once I'm ready and test it.
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20th October 2010
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By "time effective" I really mean "time efficient" - in other words, quick to set up.

A very significant element in location recording is pragmatism. I suspect I lean towards setups which can be quickly and inconspicuously deployed, but might fall slightly short of the sonic ideal, but that's got me (in the past) as much work as would the most stunning recordings. The ultimate accolade I ever got was when a performer said after the event that he'd though I'd forgotten to turn up as the recording was so low-key! (And he liked the sound).
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21st October 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
A very significant element in location recording is pragmatism. I suspect I lean towards setups which can be quickly and inconspicuously deployed, but might fall slightly short of the sonic ideal, but that's got me (in the past) as much work as would the most stunning recordings. The ultimate accolade I ever got was when a performer said after the event that he'd though I'd forgotten to turn up as the recording was so low-key! (And he liked the sound).
I will keep it simple: 2 x MK21, 2 x GFM132 = 4 mics. I'll bring two directional mics which I'll leave in their box and use only if really needed to spot something.
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23rd October 2010
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In my experience, when flying a main pair in an unknown hall (worse: church!), it's near impossible to get a really good result with just the main pair. Acoustics may or may not change a lot depending on audience, and once the pair is flying it's very time consuming to change placement. What I've seen is putting the main pair on a stand during rehearsal, and then flying it in the same position between rehearsal and concert.
To be safe, I try to spot every section. This doesn't mean the spots will be used, but better to have them and not need them than the other way round.
I'd definitely spot the soprano, even if she's good. Voices tend to sound way more distant than ensembles in reverberant spaces.
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23rd October 2010
Old 23rd October 2010
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St John's Smith, London

Regarding the miking up of the organ. Would it not be an idea to ask the group how much organ they require in the mix? Like at a very low level, or prominent? In the past I have been asked for minimal organ accompaniment to the group of players. I have also used ORTF Hypercardiod main pair using the back lobes for the organ. Just a thought.
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23rd October 2010
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What I've seen is putting the main pair on a stand during rehearsal, and then flying it in the same position between rehearsal and concert.
Yes, this is a fantastic idea. I will definitely consider bringing a stand. The only downside is that it is heavy and will involve some extra expenses for me.
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23rd October 2010
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Regarding the miking up of the organ. Would it not be an idea to ask the group how much organ they require in the mix? Like at a very low level, or prominent? In the past I have been asked for minimal organ accompaniment to the group of players. I have also used ORTF Hypercardiod main pair using the back lobes for the organ. Just a thought.
There will be organ for Albinoni and Bach and I think that they will want a moderate but not low level of it in the mix. I will ask about it.

I will have some directional mics which can use if the GFM pair is unsuccessful. For the moment it looks like that there will be no seats sold in the galleries which leaves me all this space to work.

I am still going to go for the 132's though. It will be easy to attach them either on the columns or the wall of the balcony. I will have a choice. If they are on the back side of the columns than there will be less direct pick up from stage (due to the shadowing effect of the column and the great distance). There they will be far from the audience too. If they are mounted on the balcony (just under the rails) they will be more exposed to the sound coming off stage and I can move them easily to the front or the back of the hall for different balance/sound. They have a HF boost which I think will be useful for such placement. It all seems good to me (without having tried anything like that) but today I though about something else.

What about the pressure build-up at low frequencies? The manual states that "the boundary-layer microphone must be placed on a sound-reflecting surface, the extent of which must correspond at least to half of the wavelength of the desired lower frequency limit. Otherwise sensitivity will fall by 6 dB because of the absence of pressure build-up." This means 3.4m for 50Hz. The columns have 85cm diameter and, as we all can see, have a convex shape.
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23rd October 2010
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St John's Smith, London • String Ensemble, Organ, Soloists • 3 x Questions

When I recorded in St. John's, I mostly only used a single stereo pair. I staretd off with XY cardioids and swapped to MS when the MKH30 came out.

If you use the GFM132 you will need more than the pillar if you want to get the bottom end of the organ as you will need a large ground plane with a boundary mic..

Good luck.

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23rd October 2010
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I'd go for the walls (below the balcony rail), and well towards the organ end.

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24th October 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheikyearbouti View Post
There will be organ for Albinoni and Bach and I think that they will want a moderate but not low level of it in the mix. I will ask about it.
I bet they will want options, and they will want it louder or softer after the fact.

Quote:
What about the pressure build-up at low frequencies? The manual states that "the boundary-layer microphone must be placed on a sound-reflecting surface, the extent of which must correspond at least to half of the wavelength of the desired lower frequency limit. Otherwise sensitivity will fall by 6 dB because of the absence of pressure build-up." This means 3.4m for 50Hz. The columns have 85cm diameter and, as we all can see, have a convex shape.
That's the way boundary mics work. On any boundary you get a 6 dB pressure buildup, but only for wavelenghts shorter than twice the diameter of the surface. Putting them on a convex surface would sort of (!!!) equal a GIANT SBK sphere on a standard SDC omni...
Actually the lack of pressure buildup in the lows might not be a bad thing, especially when "transparency" is requested.
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25th October 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch View Post
Actually the lack of pressure buildup in the lows might not be a bad thing, especially when "transparency" is requested.
Well, I came to the idea to use boundary mics because of the following reasons:

• they are easier to mount (than to fly) and can be sort of invisible for the audience and are considered "health and safety" (I may not be allowed to use stands up in the galleries and I will not know this until the day of the concert)
• since I'll have some sort of weirdly huge AB for the organ (about 10m wide) to me omni mics seem somehow more logical option than say for example cardioids
• They would pick up in a more natural way the "spill" coming off stage
• boundary omni is in a way half omni as the back is not exposed
• I was aiming for a full LF response

The GFM132 have already a good 6dB list at 12Khz which I consider desirable for this application but if I lose a lot of the low end than they will probably sound too bright.

Now for me the question is whether what my second option was, and what Ozpeter suggests too, to put them on the walls just below the balcony rail would work or not... I guess that I will find out only once I've done it. Therefore I can see that a spare option is really needed.
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25th October 2010
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Question

Quote:
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When I recorded in St. John's, I mostly only used a single stereo pair. I staretd off with XY cardioids and swapped to MS when the MKH30 came out.
But did you use only a XY/MS(cardioid) pair when there was the organ involved?
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25th October 2010
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St John's Smith, London • String Ensemble, Organ, Soloists • 3 x Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheikyearbouti
But did you use only a XY/MS(cardioid) pair when there was the organ involved?
The organ was not used for the works I recorded there.

If it was, I think I would use a pair of omnis in addition to the main pair to bring up the organ and decide on their use at the editing stage.

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27th October 2010
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Placing mics on the floor might not be a bad idea.

Live recording attached done with two KSM 141s in A-B on the floor of the church.

I had a Schoeps CMTS 501 in blumlein up high that I could mix in at the end, but it hardly made a difference in this case due to how the instrumentalists were positioned.

Update: File reposted.
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File Type: mp3 BWV106_KSM141_AB.mp3 (2.45 MB, 72 views)
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27th October 2010
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This recording gives a very nice sense of the space. However, it has the typical character of PZM-on-the-floor recording: strings are a bit too indirect in comparison to winds, and especially in contrast to the very intelligible (great sound!) voices. I'd have wished for a more "typical" balance with the winds sounding like they are directly behind the strings instead of 10 ft in front. The Schoeps if pointed to the strings might have helped just enough...? That's precisely why I tend to place spots wherever seems appropriate.
I guess we're entering the old and neverending "documenting a real performance - vs - creating a recording that fits an ideal even if the actual conditions are not perfect" discussion at this point.
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27th October 2010
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Thanks to all of you for the help. I have been very busy recording in the last two days and I couldn't answer to your posts. I will do it later today. I have some new information and ideas which I want to share with you...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch View Post
This recording gives a very nice sense of the space. However, it has the typical character of PZM-on-the-floor recording: strings are a bit too indirect in comparison to winds, and especially in contrast to the very intelligible (great sound!) voices. I'd have wished for a more "typical" balance with the winds sounding like they are directly behind the strings instead of 10 ft in front. The Schoeps if pointed to the strings might have helped just enough...? That's precisely why I tend to place spots wherever seems appropriate.
I guess we're entering the old and neverending "documenting a real performance - vs - creating a recording that fits an ideal even if the actual conditions are not perfect" discussion at this point.
Actually, the recorders were in front of the strings. The cello was about 10ft behind the recorders! I was expecting the Schoeps to bring out the gambas, but they sounded distant in both arrays. I had recommended changing several aspects of the seating arrangement to the conductor primarily to bring out the strings in the venue, but they felt it sounded fine. It was still a great show.

As this wasn't for retail release, I had hoped to do the show with just a stereo ribbon. Electrical problems caused me to switch to the Schoeps. I wasn't happy with the tonal quality, so I added the KSM 141s which flattered the voices especially.
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28th October 2010
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Yesterday I got the good news that I will have the time to fly the pair for the organ too. I will have about 4 hours setup time until the beginning of the concert. 30min after I enter the hall the organist will start her rehearsal. In total I will have an hour and half to the beginning of Bach's rehearsal (including Violin, Soprano, Organ) which I want to record. If I manage to put both pairs up so fast (having an assistant), I'll have a chance to listen off tape and make some adjustments. This means that I will need a construction which can go up for less than 30min per pair and be easily adjustable. Although I haven't done this before, I think that, as I am doing all possible to be well prepared, it is a very realistic schedule.
The first thing I'll do when I enter the hall is to setup up the main pair and leave it recording while installing the one for the organ.

Today I did some tests of the system on which I will fly the mics and it seems that everything works very well. I have attached photos of the bars (small and a big one). In the heart of both is a K&M quad bar and 4 x Manfrotto Spigots and for the big one I have used two additional small K&M stereo bars (screwed and cable tied to the big one). The small bar weights 380g and the big one is 525g (without the mics and the cables). So far I don't think that the weight will be an issue and it looks like it actually helps for the construction to be stable.
I am going to use a not very heavy or thick (1.5mm), but very strong, steel rope which I got form a marine shop in Covent Garden. It will almost entirely carry the weight of the bar and the mics and because it is made of steel it's easier to tighten up even if it's a long one. It is as well quite easy to install & remove some cable grips at it's end and make very strong loops for seconds. I made a test with a 8m long rope (the distance between the rails in the hall is about 12m) and it was absolutely fine to do it on my own.
The construction will allow slight adjustments: both the mic pair angle (up/down) and as well the bar's position on the rope (left/right) will be variable. The adjustment will be done by another rope, this time actually a black fishing line (40lb), which will be used as well to keep the bar free from swinging (by binding it to the rails). I will do another test, probably on Friday, simulating the exact distances as if it were in the hall and amend the system if needed. The mic cables will be held tight to the bar with cable ties so that there will be no pressure on the mics or the connectors.
If the whole thing works, as good as I hope, I will put some pictures in the "Best of flying mics" thread (actually I got a lot of the ideas for this construction from there).

MAIN PAIR
I see that all of you have used cardioids as a main pair (MS, XY, probably near coincident too). Both John and Ozpeter have suggested me to first put the mics at that place before the second pillar (about which we spoke at the begging of the thread). I know that I may be putting myself into trouble, but I want to try to do the recording with a pair of MK21 instead and be a bit closer (I simply prefer their sound and the sound of a near coincident pairs to coincident). Please check the schema uploaded.
I will probably have MK4 capsules, just in case, but I really don't want to use those. The paradox is that I usually prefer recordings which give a bit closer view for the listener but now I want to use microphones with a lower directionality than what I am advised to.

SOPRANO
The only problem I see with the soprano is that the closer I get to the stage, the lower I will have to go with the pair if I want to be, sort of, in front of her. This probably is going to be disastrous for the back of the ensemble. That's why, to avoid this problem, I think that I will need a spot. And if I don't manage to convince the director of the ensemble that one single short stand in front of the soprano is not a big deal (on which I will put a TLM193 or TLM170), than I may have to do as Christian did - put a mic on the floor (thanks for sharing this very interesting recording). Actually, could someone bring some light to the topic about miking voice either from above the performer or under him/her? This will be much appreciated.

ORGAN
I want to use a pair of MK2H or MK21 and put it somewhere between those two pillars at the back at approximately the same distance as if it were at the front behind the ensemble (about 5-6 meters away maybe). I hope that in this way I will have a more natural final result. On the contrary, I want to get a bit bigger stereo image for it in the mix and thus I'll probably go for a well spaced AB (from my calculations something like 70-80cm) or a bit less spaced and moderately angled pair of MK21 - both for a recording angle of ±30º. Both of those will pick up quite a lot of reverberation too, so I think that it is not a bad idea if in general I am slightly closer with both the organ and the main pair than if I would have used one pair only.

Cheers
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