Grasshopper to Masters Po: "A" or "B"?
dgpretzel
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#1
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
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Grasshopper to Masters Po: "A" or "B"?

These are excerpts from a recent recording of a community chorus and orchestra performintg Bach's Cantata #140.

Before I describe the mics and their placements, I would welcome any indication of preference. Which sample do you prefer?

Thank you.

DG
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 A.mp3 (9.00 MB, 44 views)
File Type: mp3 B.mp3 (9.00 MB, 38 views)
FBL
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2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
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FBL
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That's a pretty unflattering room for this performance - very dry. I would suspect that the lack of some reverberation is affecting the performers' ability to hear and play in tune with each other.

There is a prominent midrange "kankiness" in the sound of both versions - kinda tinny and verging on harsh - again, the room is doing you no favours, where in a larger an more reverberant space you might be able to back the mics off a little to smooth things out.

Were the violins really positioned that far to the left? They're pretty hard panned over there, and there seems to be a hole in the centre - more-so in B than in A.

In B, the horn almost completely overwhelms the chorus, and it's a bit better in A, but still not great. It might be an idea to go higher with you main pair, to minimize the difference in level between the orchestra and the chorus. Also, a dedicated chorus pickup might be an idea to even out the disparity in volume between the instruments and the vocalists.

Were there vocal soloists? Where were they placed? I suspect that you had less control over the disposition of the performers than you might wish for a recording session...
dgpretzel
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3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FBL View Post
That's a pretty unflattering room for this performance - very dry. I would suspect that the lack of some reverberation is affecting the performers' ability to hear and play in tune with each other.

There is a prominent midrange "kankiness" in the sound of both versions - kinda tinny and verging on harsh - again, the room is doing you no favours, where in a larger an more reverberant space you might be able to back the mics off a little to smooth things out.

Were the violins really positioned that far to the left? They're pretty hard panned over there, and there seems to be a hole in the centre - more-so in B than in A.

In B, the horn almost completely overwhelms the chorus, and it's a bit better in A, but still not great. It might be an idea to go higher with you main pair, to minimize the difference in level between the orchestra and the chorus. Also, a dedicated chorus pickup might be an idea to even out the disparity in volume between the instruments and the vocalists.

Were there vocal soloists? Where were they placed? I suspect that you had less control over the disposition of the performers than you might wish for a recording session...


Thank you, so much, for taking the time to comment. I'm always appreciative when a real pro offers some words.

Yes, there were some intonation issues. Last night's performance was a bit better in that regard.

I would dearly love to be able to develop the skill to evaluate midrange "this", or upper mids "that". That is, assuming it can be learned, and is not something innate that you either have or not.

Would this "kankiness" likely be due to inadequate mics?

Yes, the violins are that far to the left. I did no panning. The performance space is the front of a sanctuary, and space is limited. The conductor was positioned colinearly with the first desk of the 1st violins and cellos (actually "cello", since there was only one). That is, from the conductor's position, the orchestra occupied a true 180 degrees. My main mic stand was about two, maybe three feet behind him. So, very wide, and vioilins way left.

Yes, the (flugel)horn was a bit too much. I thought that as I observed the live event. Interestingly, at the performance last night, it was more subdued.

Thank you for the suggestion about micing the chorus. This organization performs twice a year. Next time, i will set up additional mics for the chorus.

Yes, there were vocal soloists. They were positioned in pretty much the only available space, and you're right, I had nothing to say about it. They were a bit on the right side, along approx 45 degree angle from the conductor, sandwiched between the orchestra (on the floor in front of the platform) and the chorus (on the platform behind the orchestra). I used an AB (6") pair of omnis for the soloists, to bring them more presence, instead of sounding so distant.

As I have indicated, I am new at this, and didn't really know what i was doing concerning spotting the soloists. My thinking was that if I used omnis, I could get in close, thus dramatically increasing the ratio of voice to surrounding instrumental and chorus, and also avoid any proximity effect. I kept the spacing at 6" to minimize movement effects. I think it worked well, but, then, believe it or not, that was the first tiime I sued spots for anything, and, since I lack context, I may be totally misjudging.

The interesting thing about my spot mics, and this is quite the yawn for anyone with experience, was how it changed the location (beneficially, in my opinion). The soloists were failry far to the right. You can hear them to the right on the main pair (although "far off"). I mixed in the spots at about -10db, and it really brought out the soloists, as well as shifted their position more to the center. Actually, when two soloists were singing at the same time, one was a little left of center, and the other right (as you might expect them to stand in front of a close spaced pair). I like it. But, if I didn't, I guess i could pan the spots.

Interesting how, regarding the soloists, neither the main pair, nor the spot pair sounds very good by itself. In the maiin pair, the soloists are distant. In the spot pair, they are more "in your face", but (by intent) they over-balance the orchestra. (I guess if they didn't, the spots wouldn't be very useful for bringing out the soloists, eh?) But, when I mix them together, I have a nice presence for the soloists, and a good balance with the orchestra. Like the sum is much better than the individual parts of the mix.

Thank you, again, for your comments.

DG



Edit: Regarding the hole in the middle... In light of your experience, would you classify this hole as subtle, glaringly obvious, or somewhere in between?

I forgot to mention the mic info:

"A" is a pair of CM3's at ORTF angle (110 deg.), but NOS spacing (30 cm.). Angled approx. 30 degrees down.

"B" is a pair of Naiant X-S omnis on the same bar, AB- 70 cm. parallel. Very slight down angle.

"A" and "B" were on the same bar, and were 12' high, starting from the same floor (level) as the conductor and orchestra. The chorus was about 2 ' higher, on the platform, as were the soloists.

(I also used a pair of Naiant X-Q omnis at 6" spacing to spot the vocal soloists, but didn't post a clip.)

Last edited by dgpretzel; 4th December 2012 at 12:29 AM.. Reason: Additional info
dgpretzel
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#4
4th December 2012
Old 4th December 2012
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Mr. Lockwood,

I would like to understand the "kankiness" you describe.

It is in both "A" and "B", so does that mean it is less likely to be a property of the mics, and, somehow, more likely to be related to the space?

Might you give a brief listen to the pure spot sample in this thread:
A Mixing Lesson?

It is from another performance of Cantata #140. The spot mics were an omni pair space 6" apart, and about 2 feet in front of the soloists.

Do you hear the same characteristic in those mics?

Thank you.

DG
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