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Reverb mics facing away from the source
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The Listener
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#1
7th January 2014
Old 7th January 2014
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Reverb mics facing away from the source

I recently recorded cello for a certain singer-songwriter "folkish" album and I used a single LDC mic (M149). It was of course close micing and the instrument got captured beautifully, but of course it is not suitable for classical and it lacks the realism of the recording space. This got me thinking about how I would approach solo cello recording in a real space for classical music. So, this was my stream of thoughts: recording the instrument with a single mic sounds fine, but I would like to have stereo information from the recording space - the reverb... And that got me thinking - I like all the tone I got from a single mic and I get no shifting of the image when the player moves as with spaced pairs... if I position the room mics so that they will face the source directly, I will get some additional tone, that will change the single mic's captured tone more than desired - of course you can move them around and check where it sounds good together, but then I thought - what about facing the "room" mics away from the direct source? Does that make sense, to only capture reverberation, and as little as possible of the direct source... Did anyone experiment with that? Why should the room mics be aiming at the direct source, only a bit further away from the main pair or a single mic - wouldn't it work if I turned them 180 degrees away from the direct source and capture the room? Ok with omnis this makes little sense, just positioning them a bit further away would probably do the trick I have in mind... but even with most omnis - they caputre a bit less on their back side, especially the SDCs where the mics body physically distances the capsule from the direct source (or so I imagine). Do I err somewhere in those ideas?
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7th January 2014
Old 7th January 2014
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What works for me is placing the room mics behind the player, so that any direct sound from the instrument will be in the acoustical shadow of his/her body. Omnis pick up high frequencies in a more directional pattern than lower frequencies, so I aim them at the corners of the space where I get the nicest reverb from.
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7th January 2014
Old 7th January 2014
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Figure-of-eight mics can work well as room mics, though they will always be a little light in the bass range. It is easy to keep a single player in the nulls, therefore avoiding *any* direct sound coming through the room pair.

Another approach could be having three layers: close, distant (giving some more "fullness"), and room.

However, I think the best "classical" sound comes from a spaced main pair. A single mic to me always sounds a bit artificial. Just don't space them too much. Spacing in a solo setup will typically be less than 20 cm. It's more about not being mono than about being full-sized stereo.
If the source still jumps, place the mics vertically instead of L-R.
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7th January 2014
Old 7th January 2014
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Don't think you'll be getting much movement out of the zone with a cello while sitting. I'd go with some kind of spaced pair, probably ORTF.
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7th January 2014
Old 7th January 2014
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Image shift on a cellist is common. Good example is in the old Mercury Living Presence of Starker/Sebok.
dtf
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7th January 2014
Old 7th January 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
Why should the room mics be aiming at the direct source, only a bit further away from the main pair or a single mic - wouldn't it work if I turned them 180 degrees away from the direct source and capture the room? Ok with omnis this makes little sense, just positioning them a bit further away would probably do the trick I have in mind... but even with most omnis - they caputre a bit less on their back side, especially the SDCs where the mics body physically distances the capsule from the direct source (or so I imagine). Do I err somewhere in those ideas?
I think your ideas are very good. Every omni (except such small capsules as e.g. DPA4060) exhibit a directional effect in higher frequencies. Turning them away from the source sideways or backwards allows you to move them a bit closer whilst still being able to integrate them well with the main system.

I have seen rear omnis being turned away for surround recordings and have used that for stereo recordings ever since with good results. What you want to avoid is the high frequency content of the room mics to compete with the mains, and what you describe does exactly that.

Best,
Dirk
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