has anyone ever made a decent recording with just boundary mics?
Old 25th January 2013
  #1
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Thread Starter
has anyone ever made a decent recording with just boundary mics?

i have a gig coming up where they have asked for no visible mics on stage. hanging is not an option, which leaves me with just boundary mics as a solution.

the only recordings i have ever heard with boundary mics have sucked big time. have any of you managed to make any decent recordings with just boundary mics? are there any special tricks or methods that can make boundary micing competitive with normal ORTF setup?

thanks.
Old 25th January 2013
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
i have a gig coming up where they have asked for no visible mics on stage. hanging is not an option, which leaves me with just boundary mics as a solution.

the only recordings i have ever heard with boundary mics have sucked big time. have any of you managed to make any decent recordings with just boundary mics? are there any special tricks or methods that can make boundary micing competitive with normal ORTF setup?

thanks.
Yeah, but they were theatrical situation, the actors had big voices and we lived with a pretty ambient sound. Can you put a boom op (or 2) with a shotgun in the center front seat and have them follow the action w/ the mic kept low? Wireless body mics not an option? All of the above, to iso tracks?

philp
Old 25th January 2013
  #3
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Seems that a proper response might be that "With no visible mics onstage, there can be no viable chance for a decent recording."

That said, could you place a couple of decent omnis in a AB spacing in a contraption like a mic mouse (there was recent thread with some £200 devices incorporating InVison Lyre supports and "indestructible" materials) out on the edge? I'd guess you'd need a decent rehearsal/soundcheck to begin to get a proper placement... but I've never been forced into that particular corner.

I'd be more liable to request a single carbon fiber/black 1/4" aluminum tubing support with a pair of 4061s in a .5m AB on a piece of clothes hangar wire affixed to the top. Unless there were dancers. Which would also require the indestructible mouse cages, I guess.

Let us know how it turns out, and (of course) samples of how it actually sounded. We won't blame you...

HB
Old 26th January 2013
  #4
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Once
Dr Jazz, at a picnic in the fields overlooking Bristol.
Infectious 20s jazz
Pro walkman ,metal tape, two pzms spaced at 6' under an oak tree
Magical.
Old 26th January 2013
  #5
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 

What kind of situation are you going to record? I've found that you can make really good recordings with boundary layer mics (mine are Schoeps BLM3's) when the sources project to the ground: pianos, solo singers, celli, basses, drums, but not violins, bigger choirs and similar because you will only pick up indirect sound then. Due to the boundary layer principle the sound can be surprisingly clear. It will however never sound like ORTF as they are omnis and need time difference only to give a stereo impression.
Old 6th February 2013
  #6
Gear Maniac
mics

i have a friend who recorded a django reinhardt style trio in a coffeehouse with a crown pzm stereo mic. sounded real good, clear and balanced, picked up details (including, a little, clinking cups, but was directional enough anyway).
Old 6th February 2013
  #7
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nobtwiddler's Avatar
 

Look up Mapleshade records!
The owner and Engineer is Pierre Sprey. A very bright guy.
Most of the stuff is recoded in the large Living room in his house.
All of the bands artists are captured with two PZM (modified) mics' attached to a clear plastic (perspex) triangle. He aims / angles this unit for the best overall blend of the performance.
The recordings are truly amazing.

He uses nothing but these two mics, wired directly into his modified tube Ampex machine.
No EQ, No Compression, NO mic preamps other then whats in the recorder.
And the cables runs are as short as possible, as he usually sits on the floor next to the machine and monitors thru headphones.
He also takes this rig on the road into clubs, and those recording are also just amazing.
Old 6th February 2013
  #8
Gear nut
 
Uncle Russ's Avatar
While you answered in a general sense, the original question was how to make a recording with an "invisible" mic pair. The Mapleshade array is vastly more visible than a pair of SDCs.
Old 6th February 2013
  #9
Gear maniac
 

It is hard sometimes to remain polite when clients want a good recording but don't want you to use any microphones. If it's something like musical theatre, I'd first try and get them to do a cast album in the space without audience as a session. If that doesn't work, radio mics on everyone (expensive, problematic with costumes and difficult to mix). If that doesn't work, shotguns and boundaries where possible even using friendly audience members as plants! Oh and plants themselves got us out of trouble once. They didn't want mics but were happy with some flowers across the front of the stage in which we were able to conceal a load of mics which worked really well. Good luck anyhow.

Matt
Old 6th February 2013
  #10
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I'd run away from that one saying "you can have a recording that looks good or sounds good. Make a choice."

In my experiences, the clients that make those demands will also be the ones to bitch loudest when the recording comes out like crap. Just not worth it to deal with those folks.

--Ben
Old 6th February 2013
  #11
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nobtwiddler's Avatar
 

Ooops!
Sorry bout that...
Old 7th February 2013
  #12
Gear maniac
 

I am second to Harry and Ben...

Still, if you are to go on, you can explore putting boundary mics not only at stage front, but also on the wall, ceiling, etc. Flying mics may still be possible without standard suspension installation, e.g. hanging a pair of DPA 4060 on fishing lines. Multiple spots on music stands and instruments are also other possibilities.
Old 7th February 2013
  #13
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
the only recordings i have ever heard with boundary mics have sucked big time.
the Crown SASS-P is a boundary mic and some good stuff has been done with it. Definitely doesn't 'suck'. Not invisible though. In fact, it is kind of clunky.

Quote:
have any of you managed to make any decent recordings with just boundary mics? are there any special tricks or methods that can make boundary micing competitive with normal ORTF setup?
I taped them to plexiglass sheets and recorded a jazz Big Band. I think it came out quite well. In retrospect they were a bit too far apart.

But you could SEE the plexis.

to "hide" the boundary mics they would have to be on the floor, picking up foot tapping or whatever or on the walls, spread very wide. I guess I would go with the walls.

How about an XY pair of regular mics hiding in front of the conductor's podium?

Maybe you could put a couple of potted plants on stage and hide the mics inside the branches?

have to agree with fifthcircle, in general, the emphasis on the visual does not speak well for these clients. I have turned down jobs where I felt these kinds of demands indicated they were not serious about getting a good recording.
Old 7th February 2013
  #14
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joeq, which writing of Confucius is the quote in your sig from?
Old 7th February 2013
  #15
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by polytope View Post
joeq, which writing of Confucius is the quote in your sig from?
it is from the Analects

(bk.xvii,c.xi - but I had to look that up )

I think that Confucius was admonishing his followers who he felt were responding to the 'sensual' aspects of the sound instead of the more refined, abstract, mathematical and ultimately spiritual relationships of the music.


I personally don't share his ascetic attitude, but I do appreciate the distinction he was making.
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