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Vocal mic on Chesky Binaural Session Ribbon Microphones
Old 1st October 2015
  #1
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Vocal mic on Chesky Binaural Session

I just got this email update from Chesky Records with photos from the recent Alexis Cole and Noah Wall sessions showing a vocal mic in use directly in front of the B&K binaural head. Interesting, since I've felt that some of the earlier releases had the vocals a bit too distant.

Is that a Beyerdynamic M160? (You can right-click on the photos to open in another tab or window and zoom in)

And what do you think about augmenting a binaural recording in this way?




Last edited by bwanajim; 1st October 2015 at 08:02 AM..
Old 1st October 2015
  #2
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Yes, it certainly looks like an M160 to me.

I would guess that the M160 is recorded at a very low level just to focus the vocal.
Old 1st October 2015
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I like how Buster looks like he's wearing a flak jacket. Interesting trussing of him as well. Slightly forward leaning.
Old 1st October 2015
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The vocal mic is fed to a PA in the room to stimulate the hall a bit. Everything in the Binaural+ series is captured all at once through "Lars", the B&K torso simulator. No electronic mixing is performed, just moving the players around and directing the band to adjust the balance.

Binaural by its nature is weak in the center, that has been its primary handicap for more intimate material, especially with vocals.
Old 2nd October 2015
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I agree with your critique of binaural. I love the sound overall, but always wish for a richer, more intimate vocal.

So, is the mic not mixed in directly, but rather indirectly, as the binaural head picks it up through the PA? Seems like it would be preferable to just mix in a little of the mic feed directly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by staudio View Post
The vocal mic is fed to a PA in the room to stimulate the hall a bit. Everything in the Binaural+ series is captured all at once through "Lars", the B&K torso simulator. No electronic mixing is performed, just moving the players around and directing the band to adjust the balance.

Binaural by its nature is weak in the center, that has been its primary handicap for more intimate material, especially with vocals.

Last edited by bwanajim; 2nd October 2015 at 01:24 AM..
Old 2nd October 2015
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That was my first thought as well, John. But staudio says it just feeds a PA to excite the room.

This is really interesting to me because I have been planning to tinker with just this arrangement.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Yes, it certainly looks like an M160 to me.

I would guess that the M160 is recorded at a very low level just to focus the vocal.
Old 2nd October 2015
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
I agree with your critique of binaural. I love the sound overall, but always wish for a richer, more intimate vocal.

So, is the mic not mixed in directly, but rather indirectly, as the binaural head picks it up through the PA? Seems like it would be preferable to just mix in a little of the mic feed directly.
That's correct, the vocal spot mic is just for room stimulation, not mixed in with the binaural signal electronically, just acoustically in the room.

If it was mixed in then you would have an imperfect binaural recording without the spatialization and correct 3D distance and depth quality on the vocal. It would probably sound good, but it wouldn't be true binaural anymore. In addition it would conflict with the torso specific diffuse field EQ processing that the binaural recording needs in post production to allow playback over loudspeakers.

Still it is worth experimenting with it. I know that Tchad Blake uses the Neumann head a lot to record drums and he blends it with the other mics to round out the sound and give depth.
Old 2nd October 2015
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Can you give us an idea of where the PA is placed and what kind of loudspeaker they're using?
Old 2nd October 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
Can you give us an idea of where the PA is placed and what kind of loudspeaker they're using?
Out in the hall facing the rear wall, two speakers for stereo. Anything reasonably clean will work. You can get fancy by adding a digital delay to the PA feed for some extra pre-delay and feedback bloom.
Old 3rd October 2015
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Thank you very much for this insight, staudio! I really appreciate it. It's a very interesting technique.

For vocals, I might be tempted to use a pair of Harbeths for this purpose as they're so lovely for vocals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by staudio View Post
Out in the hall facing the rear wall, two speakers for stereo. Anything reasonably clean will work. You can get fancy by adding a digital delay to the PA feed for some extra pre-delay and feedback bloom.
Old 3rd October 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
Thank you very much for this insight, staudio! I really appreciate it. It's a very interesting technique.

For vocals, I might be tempted to use a pair of Harbeths for this purpose as they're so lovely for vocals.
You're welcome. Harbeth's might be very nice.
Old 20th May 2016
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We're going to try this technique soon. To be clear about the PAs used to exite the room, they are facing the wall at the vocalists back, correct? In other words, facing the same direction as the binaural head?
Old 20th May 2016
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
We're going to try this technique soon. To be clear about the PAs used to exite the room, they are facing the wall at the vocalists back, correct? In other words, facing the same direction as the binaural head?
No, they are pointed at the rear wall of the hall pointed away from the mic way down in the audience area, although truthfully they could be pointed anywhere and they would probably work. The idea though is to stimulate the reverb of the space, not to hear the speaker as a sound source at all.
Old 22nd May 2016
  #14
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Thank you very much for the response to this , staudio! I really appreciate it. Will try to post something here once we get some samples. We're trying to nail down the venue right now, a small wooden church with a vaulted ceiling that seats only about 150 people.
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