Learning about mic techniques from saxes
Old 1st July 2013
  #1
Gear maniac
 

Thread Starter
Learning about mic techniques from saxes

I had an opportunity to record a local saxophone concert, recently. It featured some solos, some quartets, and a saxophone choir.

The recording gig happened at the last minute, and I did not attend any rehearsals, nor did I get a sound check. Not even any warm up.

I also had to move my setup twice during the concert. The concert opened with solos, with piano accompaniment on the platform. After intermission, they switched to quartets, off of the platform, on the main floor. Then, at the end, they put the big choir back up on the platform (piano gone by this time).

I put up several sets of mics to maximize the potential to get something useful.

I chose a pair of ribbons in blumlein, which I hoped to be the main pair. I had no experience with ribbons and saxes, but it just seemed to me that it would be a good idea. This (the Blumlein pair) was the stand I would be moving, as required. I also put up a, well, I'm not sure of the proper nomenclature. I can't say Faulkner phased array because, as I understand it, that is reserved for parallel Fig. 8's at 20 cm. But, TF has discussed and described it. It's a pair of semi-cards at 110 degrees, but 42 cm spacing, plus a pair of omnis, angled (I used 110 degrees for them, too) at 67 cm. This 4 mic array, I intended to let remain at one place for the entire concert.

After all was said and done, I liked the Blumlein results best for the solos and quartets, and the Faulkner array of semi cards plus omnis (-3 db) for the big choir.

I am still learning all this stuff. I found it interesting to study the solo results. I thought the solos came out with sort of a bit of an intimate sound. I don't know if that's the right word. Sort of close, maybe. But, the piano sounded to me noticeably farther away. I think if I were doing it again, I'd move the Blumlein pair closer and higher. Or maybe reposition it along a radius so that it was a bit closer to the piano, while keeping approx the same distance from the soloists.

The first two samples, below, are from the solo performances.

I moved the Blumlein pair at intermission, and tried to stay as close as I could, while respecting the SRA. I liked the way the imaging turned out (e.g., AlaskanRag), and also the sort of edgy sound of the contemporary piece (Cityscapes). BTW, that quartet consisted of local high school students.

Finally, for the choir (14 players), I must have done something wrong. I didn't like the way the Blumlein turned out, and I used the Faulkner semi-cards and omnis. I liked the way it seems (in my perception) to have grabbed the bari sax.

I welcome all criticisms and comments.

Thank you.

DG
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 scaramouche.mp3 (1.59 MB, 60 views)
File Type: mp3 fantasie.mp3 (2.39 MB, 51 views)
File Type: mp3 AlaskanRag.mp3 (1.90 MB, 34 views)
File Type: mp3 Cityscapes.mp3 (3.12 MB, 31 views)
File Type: mp3 Figaro.mp3 (3.73 MB, 38 views)
Old 6th July 2013
  #2
Gear maniac
 

Thread Starter
The ribbon mics used for the solos and quartets were two Shinybox 46u's in Blumlein.

How can I improve for the next small ensemble? Should I change the placement? The mics? The room is one of the frequently used locations in town, and unlikely to be changed.

The final sample above (from the large saxophone choir) was a pair of CM3's at 47 cm., at an angle of 110 degrees mixed with Naiant XQ omnis at 67 cm., also angled out, at approx the same angle.

I'm experimenting as much as I can, so I also had a pair of Shure KSM141's in ORTF on the same bar as the CM3's and the Naiants. Here is the same choir excerpt, but this time with the KSM141's and the XQ's. In both examples, the samples were normalized, and then the omnis were added in at -3dB, and then the result again scaled (to -1 dbFS) to eliminate clipping.

Here is the KSM141 version of the same clip as the CM3 version above. Do you have a preference? I think the KSM141 version is a tad brighter.

Thank you for comments and criticisms.

Regards,

DG
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Figaro2.mp3 (3.73 MB, 17 views)
Old 7th July 2013
  #3
Gear nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgpretzel View Post
The ribbon mics used for the solos and quartets were two Shinybox 46u's in Blumlein.

How can I improve for the next small ensemble? Should I change the placement? The mics? The room is one of the frequently used locations in town, and unlikely to be changed.

The final sample above (from the large saxophone choir) was a pair of CM3's at 47 cm., at an angle of 110 degrees mixed with Naiant XQ omnis at 67 cm., also angled out, at approx the same angle.

I'm experimenting as much as I can, so I also had a pair of Shure KSM141's in ORTF on the same bar as the CM3's and the Naiants. Here is the same choir excerpt, but this time with the KSM141's and the XQ's. In both examples, the samples were normalized, and then the omnis were added in at -3dB, and then the result again scaled (to -1 dbFS) to eliminate clipping.

Here is the KSM141 version of the same clip as the CM3 version above. Do you have a preference? I think the KSM141 version is a tad brighter.

Thank you for comments and criticisms.

Regards,

DG

I'm considering getting either a pair of KSM141s, or the Line Audio CM3s.

Which set of mics would you prefer for acoustic guitar and piano, overall?
Old 7th July 2013
  #4
Gear maniac
 

Thread Starter
Sorry, my experience is (quite) limited to choral, wind ensembles, chamber groups, etc. I can't assist with any meaningful advice for guitars.

I would think that for that application, or, indeed any application, that the CM3 and the KSM141 may not be equally appropriate, since CM# is a wide card and KSM141 is omni/card.

Sorry I can't offer anything more.

Perhaps, you might explore that topic in a thread of its own.

Regards,

DG
Old 18th July 2013
  #5
Gear maniac
 

Thread Starter
Here is another sample from one of the solos in the concert.

As I hear this, and the other solos, it seems to me that the saxophone is more immediately present, and the piano is sort of more distant sounding. I think I also hear more of the room with the piano than the sax.

Is this what others hear?

Could it be that I had the mics placed such that they were within the critical distance for the sax, but outside the critical distance for the piano?

Or am I hopelessly confused, and fabricating non-existent distinctions in my own mind?

DG


Edit: P.S. This is also Shinybox 46u ribbons in Blumlein.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 jesu.mp3 (3.03 MB, 11 views)
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