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A fortunate confluence of events
Old 15th April 2017
  #1
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A fortunate confluence of events

A different title for this post could be: the continuing story of my fight against a drained swimming pool (with an HVAC and the compressor of a skating rink behind one wall).

Sorry, this turned out longer than I had intended. Let me set the scene for you.

This "drained swimming pool" of course being the room where my band rehearses and gives concerts occasionally. It is a 15x12 meter room, about 5.5 meters high. Along the long side is a wall that will partially open up to a 9x15 meter room. For concerts we open up that wall.

I always record these concerts, but getting my mics close is logistically difficult so I am usually quite a distance away. Additionally, the place has a nasty flutter echo (hence the drained swimming pool).

Normally the band sets on a 60cm podium and the audience seating is on the floor. However, this time there were going to be dancers that needed space, so we put the audience on terraced platforms with the band on the floor in the middle. It created a kind of amphitheater. This had the bonus effect of reducing the flutter echo.

In the past months I have also acquired several older model Sennheiser mics. The idea was to use an MKH816T (long shotgun) in the center, with two MKH406T's (cardioids) at about 30cm left and right of the shotgun (so the cardioids were around 60cm apart). I ended up angling the cards 60 degrees out (30 deg left and 30 deg right). That way the were pointed more or less at the limits of where the band was.

My most recent acquisition is a Sennheiser MD211 (dynamic omni). I hadn't used it yet, so I figured I had enough channels on my recorder (Zoom F8) so let it hitch a ride. I can figure out what to do with that track afterwards. It was in the middle (slightly to the right), next to the shotgun.

For the Big Band (this track) the mic stand was just under 15 meters away. The concert band sat a little closer.

To make a long story short, I might have set a low bar for myself, but I really like the results! Turned out much better than I had anticipated. I suspect most of that is the changed acoustics of the room.

This recording is completely raw from my recorder. Cardioids panned hard left and right, shotgun and omni centered. All mics equal volume except the omni is at -3 dB. More omni adds a nicer low end "oomph" but you also get more "concrete box" room sound. No compression, EQ or anything. Individual tracks available upon request.

Regards, Christine
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Old 16th April 2017
  #2
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Christine, the band is good but you are suffering eternal damnation with that room. The recording is good for your miserable venue. I would prefer if the mics were closer than 15 meters but you have your constraints. You do have grit and determination.
Old 16th April 2017
  #3
Lives for gear
The first 20 secs or so virtually crackle with excitement and electricity, but then the sound falls into a valley... which signifies the 15 metre distance only too clearly.

What is the obstacle to having the main stand immediately behind the conductor...is it video considerations, or perhaps audience aesthetic complaints ? The shotgun mics do their best to bring the band closer, but there are limits to this....

That said, it is probably the most captivating recording you've been able to get from that room thus far...so don't give up !
Old 16th April 2017
  #4
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The obstacle to having the mic stand closer in this case was because for the Big Band there were going to be people dancing there. For the concert band segment of the evening, I would have had to move the mic stand back a few meters; different band seating and the concert band didn't have to make room for the dancers. Additionally, in between the various segments of the evening there were a lot of people moving about that area busy moving chairs, music stands and going to and from their seats with instruments. As well as the percussion group of course who were moving all kinds of equipment around.

One option I explored was to hang some mics from one of the beams on the ceiling. There wasn't enough time to actually implement that, but it might be possible to try that next time.

Regards, Christine
Old 16th April 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by connloyalist View Post
The obstacle to having the mic stand closer in this case was because for the Big Band there were going to be people dancing there. For the concert band segment of the evening, I would have had to move the mic stand back a few meters; different band seating and the concert band didn't have to make room for the dancers. Additionally, in between the various segments of the evening there were a lot of people moving about that area busy moving chairs, music stands and going to and from their seats with instruments. As well as the percussion group of course who were moving all kinds of equipment around.

One option I explored was to hang some mics from one of the beams on the ceiling. There wasn't enough time to actually implement that, but it might be possible to try that next time.

Regards, Christine
If that's typical of your concerts then I can understand why you wouldn't try to place stands...the anxiety involved alone would be enough to detract from your enjoyment (and attention to your playing !)
The overhead mics idea sounds great, especially if the bands occupy the same positions in the room for each concert ?

If the beams aren't in exactly the right spot for your mics, you might be able to run a pair of wire cables or thin chains between 2 beams, separated by the distance you'd like your mics to be apart. However if you're in rented premises then the time available and the ability to fix hooks or screws into the beams might be limited ?
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