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How to record Opera Vocals
Old 28th August 2014
  #1
How to record Opera Vocals

OK in way over my head with this one I have done all kinds of music Bands and Vocals but never a Female Opera singer I have great gear but a dead 11x10 vocal room .she sings VERY loud . Do I use CONDENSER w/pad or a dynamic . I know I can try all this out when she gets here to see what works but just wondering has anyone recorded Female Opera Singers in a small Dead room?? THANKS
Old 28th August 2014
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROCKER STUDIOS View Post
OK in way over my head with this one I have done all kinds of music Bands and Vocals but never a Female Opera singer I have great gear but a dead 11x10 vocal room .she sings VERY loud . Do I use CONDENSER w/pad or a dynamic . I know I can try all this out when she gets here to see what works but just wondering has anyone recorded Female Opera Singers in a small Dead room?? THANKS
Step one is to rent a chambermusic hall.
A condenser will work fine.
Schoeps mk4/mk22, a tlm170, 4011 or even a u87 will work as a spot
A good pair of omnis for the mains, try 4006, k133 or something similar depending on the hall.
Old 28th August 2014
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm View Post
Step one is to rent a chambermusic hall.
A condenser will work fine.
Schoeps mk4/mk22, a tlm170, 4011 or even a u87 will work as a spot
A good pair of omnis for the mains, try 4006, k133 or something similar depending on the hall.
Unfortunately 10x11 dead Room is all we have or a Kitchen Room or a Bathroom .I was thinking maybe the Kitchen or the Dead room with Verb Plugs I have a Pearlman TM47 with a DW Fearn -20bd pad(box) will be my first choice. Do you compress Opera Voices ???? she is the loudest voice I have ever heard
Old 28th August 2014
  #4
Another +1 for renting a hall or finding a local church. None of those acoustic spaces are going to yield very good results.
Old 28th August 2014
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Another +1 for renting a hall or finding a local church. None of those acoustic spaces are going to yield very good results.
ok THANKS
Old 28th August 2014
  #6
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The reason why you are getting those replies is that an Operatic voice depends very strongly on the room. When they sing, they sing to be heard clearly 20+ feet away in an acoustic situation. If you mic them in a near-field situation, you are not going to get a very good sound by classical standards. A 10x11 room is very small for this kind of a voice. There simply is not enough air space for the sound of the voice to develop.

It isn't completely forbidden to close mic a classical voice, but the definition of a close mic in classical would be a mic that is probably 3-4 feet away. And most of the time when that is done, it is a spot to touch up a sound from a main pair that is many feet away.

How is the voice being used? Is the singer singing to a pre-record or live to a piano or other instruments? You may consider a stereo pair a few feet out in front of the voice and a couple feet over the singer's head and hope that works...

--Ben
Old 28th August 2014
  #7
U87 would be a good choice, a few feet away
Old 28th August 2014
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
The reason why you are getting those replies is that an Operatic voice depends very strongly on the room. When they sing, they sing to be heard clearly 20+ feet away in an acoustic situation. If you mic them in a near-field situation, you are not going to get a very good sound by classical standards. A 10x11 room is very small for this kind of a voice. There simply is not enough air space for the sound of the voice to develop.

It isn't completely forbidden to close mic a classical voice, but the definition of a close mic in classical would be a mic that is probably 3-4 feet away. And most of the time when that is done, it is a spot to touch up a sound from a main pair that is many feet away.

How is the voice being used? Is the singer singing to a pre-record or live to a piano or other instruments? You may consider a stereo pair a few feet out in front of the voice and a couple feet over the singer's head and hope that works...
--Thanks Man yes pre-Recorded piano .after the input of you-all i have decided to Record in a warehouse I have available to me 60'x70' 30' roof.Ill use 2 Mics into my laptop but I think this is going to Work
Old 29th August 2014
  #9
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T_R_S's Avatar
like this
2 Mics
C12VR Omni Pattern Neve Pre
Rode Stereo Neve pre on Piano



always a Neve pre when in doubt Neve
Old 29th August 2014
  #10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biP2N8naXcE in this example they use Neumann M149s for all the voices
Old 29th August 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
like this
2 Mics
C12VR Omni Pattern Neve Pre
Rode Stereo Neve pre on Piano



always a Neve pre when in doubt Neve
No, not like that. Both mics way too close. A single pair 3m out and 3m up would have been better.
Old 29th August 2014
  #12
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Not even a proper piano stool......
Old 29th August 2014
  #13
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One of the best voices & distance is not a problem - as a matter of fact fairly close:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmTs1c_K720
Old 29th August 2014
  #14
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aremos View Post
One of the best voices & distance is not a problem - as a matter of fact fairly close:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmTs1c_K720
Arms length is not at all uncommon for male voices, but keep in mind that this is in a large concerthall acoustics with a large orchestra. It is also not the main pickup. The main pickup is a a pretty good distance.
Old 29th August 2014
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm View Post
Arms length is not at all uncommon for male voices, but keep in mind that this is in a large concerthall acoustics with a large orchestra. It is also not the main pickup. The main pickup is a a pretty good distance.
What are you calling the main pickup? Non of the 5 in the tree (47's, 170's or the Schoeps)?
Old 29th August 2014
  #16
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aremos View Post
What are you calling the main pickup? Non of the 5 in the tree (47's, 170's or the Schoeps)?
The main pickup is....the main pickup.
What you call a "tree" are the spots
Old 29th August 2014
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm View Post
The main pickup is....the main pickup.
What you call a "tree" are the spots
When the mix is done ... & the pick-up has blended the orchestra & vox with room, isn't the main (a very significant) amount of vox signal coming from that "tree"?
Old 29th August 2014
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aremos View Post
When the mix is done ... & the pick-up has blended the orchestra & vox with room, isn't the main (a very significant) amount of vox signal coming from that "tree"?
No, with some exceptions when conditions are unusual or difficult.
Old 29th August 2014
  #19
So I have 2 mics In a big warehouse 1 female Opera singer ill be sending piano track to her headphones she will be singing Solo where should i put the mics
Old 29th August 2014
  #20
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROCKER STUDIOS View Post
So I have 2 mics In a big warehouse 1 female Opera singer ill be sending piano track to her headphones she will be singing Solo where should i put the mics
In all seriousness, hire Ben Maas to come help you out for the day - you will learn a ton from him and the result will be stellar. I cannot imagine doing my first classical session without the guidance of someone like Ben.
Old 29th August 2014
  #21
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I concur with the recommendations above. I worked with an Opera singer for a few years in a similar room (very dead sounding) to what you have. She sang the National Anthem at international sports events when she was not performing in famous Opera halls. She had such a dynamic range from almost inaudible to extremely loud and powerful. I used two mics. One with a pad on to prevent clipping when she was extremely loud and the other without a pad. I set the mics up by getting her to sing the softest and loudest parts of her performance. When reverb was added to her voice it sounded pretty amazing. Both mics were position 1 feet away.
Old 29th August 2014
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROCKER STUDIOS View Post
So I have 2 mics In a big warehouse 1 female Opera singer ill be sending piano track to her headphones she will be singing Solo where should i put the mics
we are on a budget so this is my option and I will prob. never have to record Opera again .Unless for some beginners luck I nail It and get every one (Opera singers) in the Bay area needing to Record @ Rocker Studios for Opera Im way into this project but is not my wheel House
Old 29th August 2014
  #23
Suggestions from the perspective of "save your a$$"

I once recorded an opera vocal with a royer ribbon mic and it came out great. It could totally take the level and did not sound piercing. Would I win a grammy for it? no. Was it a disaster? nope... actually quite excellent. I love the endearing sound of a vocal recorded on a ribbon mic. Maybe this would be tolerable for your project.

Otherwise be ready to ride the level. A distressor would be great. If you have one of those little microhone guards Auralex MudGuard | Sweetwater.com it will come in handy because otherwise, you'll hear more room sound in your vocal mic than you ever have before.. You don't want it. You want concert hall.. You should probably have a nice verb during tracking too..

I wouldn't be embarrassed to ask to re-cut / punch the louder sections (if you have to), packaged with a compliment that "Your voice is so dynamic and powerful" unless they complain. Try to ride it first. If there is no music track and it is solo voice only, then you are out of luck there.

I have never tried two mics and maybe that is the way to go but watch the room sound..

Disclaimer: This is my best attempt to be helpful based on my experience. I am not an expert at recording opera in a vocal booth although I have recorded opera in halls, and other extremely loud vocalists in a booth. The ribbon worked there and my booth was already super tight in room sound. It worked. I'd be really curious to hear how this works out for you.
Old 29th August 2014
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm View Post
No, with some exceptions when conditions are unusual or difficult.
So the 2 LDC's + 1 SDC as a customary usage are only spots ... and pick-ups are getting most of the vox?

In the following there are 2x M49's & an SDC in the middle. To me it sounds like the sound of Jonas Kauffman's vox is from the 49's.
(and he's fairly close)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPH2NifRBOU

Last edited by aremos; 29th August 2014 at 10:19 PM.. Reason: additional info
Old 29th August 2014
  #25
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aremos View Post
So the 2 LDC's + 1 SDC as a customary usage are only spots ... and pick-ups are getting most of the vox?

In the following there are 2x M49's & an SDC in the middle. To me it sounds like the sound of Jonas Kauffman's vox is from the 49's.
(and he's fairly close)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPH2NifRBOU
The mic in the middle is the wind spot behind him.
Old 29th August 2014
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROCKER STUDIOS View Post
we are on a budget so this is my option and I will prob. never have to record Opera again .Unless for some beginners luck I nail It and get every one (Opera singers) in the Bay area needing to Record @ Rocker Studios for Opera Im way into this project but is not my wheel House
Refer the client to someone who has experience doing the job at hand.
Old 30th August 2014
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjornson View Post
Refer the client to someone who has experience doing the job at hand.
Who @ $30hr in Santa Cruz ?
Old 30th August 2014
  #28
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T_R_S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackHenry View Post
Not even a proper piano stool......
the piano bench was squeaky...
Old 30th August 2014
  #29
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T_R_S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
No, not like that. Both mics way too close. A single pair 3m out and 3m up would have been better.
well lets see yours and show me how it's done.
Old 30th August 2014
  #30
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xcskier's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Kress View Post
I wouldn't be embarrassed to ask to re-cut / punch the louder sections (if you have to), packaged with a compliment that "Your voice is so dynamic and powerful" unless they complain. Try to ride it first. If there is no music track and it is solo voice only, then you are out of luck there.
My suggestion is to set your pre-amps with a fair amount of headroom. Do not ride.

Save your retakes for tuning and tone concerns, not for levels ! There will only be so many takes before the voice begins to fatigue.

You will not be able to use tuning plugins, since that will kill the tone. Rock and Pop ears are not trained to hear this, but the performer or her coach will wonder what is wrong with the vibrato and what happened to the open sounding harmonics.

Do not use compression on the way in !

Do give singers complements. That is solid advice there. After everyone is more at ease then mention retakes.

If you don't have time to study classical music with a proper vocal coach , then listen to recordings. (You may think I jest, but after studying classical voice you will hear and edit vocals (pop/rock included) on an entirely different level)
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