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(Ribbon) Blumlein in combination with Omni flanks/outriggers for ensemble recording
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chinopepito
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21st September 2013
Old 21st September 2013
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(Ribbon) Blumlein in combination with Omni flanks/outriggers for ensemble recording

I was just running over a message in a threat, talking about combining Blumlein recording technique with a pair of omni mikes as flanks or outriggers. The threat was about live recording full and medium size classical ensembles.
I own a lovely AEA R88 stereo ribbon mike and use it a lot for small ensembles. Searching the net I couldn't find anything about combining (ribbon)-Blumlein with omnis. Is it a no-go? I can imagine the stereo image, especially of the ambient sound might become messed up. So I am wondering if anybody tried this before. What were the results and is it worth giving it a try?
(I love trying out things by myself - but in this case, working with a big ensemble, a bunch of musicians jumping around, a stressed conductor and eventually and audience waiting to get in, i prefer to get some opinions first )
Thanks in advance for your replies
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Chino
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21st September 2013
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Rich Mays (Sonare Recordings), who posts here often, is a regular user of Blumlein with omni flanks on many of his fine choral recordings. He would be the man to speak with.
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21st September 2013
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I've done it a lot. Blumlein ribbon (Royer SF24 in my case) combined with omnis (Schoeps MK2H) with APE balls at a fairly large distance from each other. Great for choir, and medium to large ensembles. Mix in the omnis to taste, probably 1/3 of the ribbons.

Below are two excerpts from a recording made with exactly this technique. You're listening to just a mix of ribbon Blumlein and omni flankers. No spots, no EQ, no added reverb. It's from a student's concert.

P.S.: omnis were Sonodore RCM-402's with PG-78 grids (similar effect as APE-balls) in this case.
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21st September 2013
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What you describe is a common way to record large, wide ensembles. Some substitute the blumlein or MS center for a pair of cardioids or subcardioids in a near coincident setup (ORTF, NOS), or a pair of subcard's or omnis in a narrower (ie 18" - 3') spaced pair. But yes, your thinking is good, this is a common way of conveying the proper width of such an ensemble.
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21st September 2013
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I've tried combining Blumlein (LDC's) with omni's (AB up to 2 meters wide) and didn't find the AB's to add something the Blumlein was missing, so discarded them (even though it were private recordings).
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21st September 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
What you describe is a common way to record large, wide ensembles. Some substitute the blumlein or MS center for a pair of cardioids or subcardioids in a near coincident setup (ORTF, NOS), or a pair of subcard's or omnis in a narrower (ie 18" - 3') spaced pair. But yes, your thinking is good, this is a common way of conveying the proper width of such an ensemble.
Thanks everybody for all your quick replies.
I am familiar with using a coincident pair or a A/B setup as main mikes in combination with some omni flanks. So basically the technique is the same with a ribbon-blumlein stereo mike as the main pair. Or are there technical-wise any differences i should take care off? The distance from the flanks to the main pair or to the ensemble for instance.
How would it compare sound wise - using a stereo Blumlein instead of an A/B or coincident main pair?

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21st September 2013
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Originally Posted by heva View Post
I've tried combining Blumlein (LDC's) with omni's (AB up to 2 meters wide) and didn't find the AB's to add something the Blumlein was missing, so discarded them (even though it were private recordings).
In the recordings I posted above my omnis were almost 6 meters apart from each other. I used them to add more side clarity/brightness, but at the same time side blur, particularly for the strings. Blumlein alone did not give the wide scenery that this setup gave me. Center is hardly picked up by the omnis, so it is well focused. If I were to do the same recording in the same venue again (extremely reverberant), with the same microphones, I would probably use the ribbons in M/S. I would not use LDC's in Blumlein in a venue like this and with such detailed music.
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21st September 2013
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Do you notice any ratio in distances, eg. distance from ensemble to Blumlein and distance between omni's or is it (really) a matter of taste/ears?
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Earcatcher - Cool - thanks a lot for the uploads
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Originally Posted by heva View Post
Do you notice any ratio in distances, eg. distance from ensemble to Blumlein and distance between omni's or is it (really) a matter of taste/ears?
Yes, IMO the distance of the omnis has to be big enough to not blur the center of the image. Then, I keep the distance from the Blumlein center to the first violinist as a reference for the distance from the left omni to the first violinist (who should also be in focus, but on the left only). Then I mirror the right omni to that situation. In this case the omnis were pulled back a little from the front line of the Blumlein pair, as the ensemble was curved. I used the angle of the Blumlein setup to keep the sopranos contained in their area of movement. The far edges of the ensemble were outside that area. The omnis supported those wingtips.
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Originally Posted by chinopepito View Post
How would it compare sound wise - using a stereo Blumlein instead of an A/B or coincident main pair?
I am not a fan of A/B setups because they smear the sound image too much for my taste. However, some smear can be great on supporting strings. So the trick is to keep a focused sound for soloists and "percussive" sounds, while creating a soft bed of string ensemble and chorus tones in which the soloists can shine. A/B with flankers is out of the question for me. Too flat and blurry. Blumlein and M/S are most suitable to get the sound impression that I described above.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
Below are two excerpts from a recording made with exactly this technique.
The stereo image is very realistic. Congratulations !
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
I've done it a lot. Blumlein ribbon (Royer SF24 in my case) combined with omnis (Schoeps MK2H) with APE balls at a fairly large distance from each other. Great for choir, and medium to large ensembles. Mix in the omnis to taste, probably 1/3 of the ribbons.

Below are two excerpts from a recording made with exactly this technique. You're listening to just a mix of ribbon Blumlein and omni flankers. No spots, no EQ, no added reverb. It's from a student's concert.
Ear, "Dattsa nice." Good room, good performers and good mics in the right places. Just wonderful. The bar has been raised, again.
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25th September 2013
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Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
The stereo image is very realistic. Congratulations !
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Ear, "Dattsa nice." Good room, good performers and good mics in the right places. Just wonderful. The bar has been raised, again.
Thanks guys. I thoroughly enjoyed recording that concert, as it is music almost never heard. Six beautiful young sopranos on stage, duelling with their powerful voices. This opera performance was to demonstrate the abilities of the Maestro al cembalo, who was playing the harpsicord and conducting everything at the same time, in an historically informed fashion. (You can hear him fiercely going through the pages of the score.) Unfortunately the room was located very close to a busy road, which made it useless for a serious recording. This one was just for the record, since it was such an extraordinary event for the students, and the maestro's master exam.
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25th September 2013
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Very nice recording, you would't have a picture of the 'stage'?
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Can't remember if I took a picture. There actually was a stage: a semi-permanent carpeted floor about one meter above the stone floor of the church. I had to put pegs underneath it to avoid cracking sounds when the singers would move around.
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