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Spaced pair for the Kings Singers?
Old 29th December 2015
  #1
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Spaced pair for the Kings Singers?

IMHO, the finest a-cappella group in the world, and has been for 4 decades.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5c-bjp05mg

A beautiful recording from Kings College Chapel, with what looks like a flown spaced pair, but not certain. What an acoustic. I would imagine its impossible to get a lousy sound there no matter what technique is used.
Old 29th December 2015
  #2
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Larry Elliott's Avatar
With that talent and venue it would be very hard to make a bad recording.
Old 30th December 2015
  #3
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It certainly has that non-etched, diffuse, ambient sound of spaced omnis. Are you referring to that gilded looking arrangement above their heads.... that would have been too close to them....I rather think it's the carvings on the door catching the strong illumination emanating from behind them, in the Lady Chapel ?

If it is a mic array it seems to have no 'width', suggestive of an AB bar, more likely a MS setup ? But I think it's just the carving catching the intense light in front of it......?
Old 30th December 2015
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
But I think it's just the carving catching the intense light in front of it......?
Maybe, that certainly looks plausible as well.
Old 31st December 2015
  #5
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
IMHO, the finest a-cappella group in the world, and has been for 4 decades.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5c-bjp05mg

A beautiful recording from Kings College Chapel, with what looks like a flown spaced pair, but not certain. What an acoustic. I would imagine its impossible to get a lousy sound there no matter what technique is used.
I agree with you but it is funny that some voice faculty members at the local conservatory think they are "too commercial" to be given any credence. Maybe just envy coming though.

As to the microphones...really hard to tell what that is flying above them.

Thanks for sharing!!!
Old 3rd January 2016
  #6
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roonsbane's Avatar
It's been a few years since I last recorded them for broadcast, but I believe I used a spaced pair of u89's in Omni, not my normal Omni choice, but damn did they sound great! I did have a loud HVAC system that the building ops people spent hours to try and shut down, on a very hot summer day. In the end, only part of the system turned off. The next time I recorded in there, I insisted that we super chill the church practically a full day before each session, then turned off the entire system each day.
Cameron
Old 3rd January 2016
  #7
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Gaston69's Avatar
I recorded the The King's Singers Live @ The American School Doha / Qatar on November 30th, 2011. Using the DPA4060 in AB / spaced pair on a Carbon fiber mic stand.

Indeed very impressive what they do.
Old 3rd January 2016
  #8
RPC
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I worked with them a few times back in the 1980s - quite a group, though the personnel have changed a lot over the decades. I was struck by their commitment and professionalism - one year one of the members had a high fever and he insisted on performing anyway. He collapsed offstage after the last number.
Old 11th January 2016
  #9
Old 11th January 2016
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Good that they acknowledge the hierarchy of possible reinforcement options from none (highest status) through minimal crossed stereo pair to individual mics balanced by mixer.

I wonder if they've ever tried a spaced ribbon pair a la Faulkner, which would include floor cancellation advantage, but with the rear lobe contribution (and feedback potential) that XY doesn't have ?
Old 11th January 2016
  #11
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A recording colleague of mine assisted recording the opus arte dvd release of 9 lessons and carols at Kings college. One surprising acoustical property of this space is how unexpectedly dry it can sound in certain places.
Old 12th January 2016
  #12
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This one is the opposite of a minimalist spaced pair, but is quite amazing that it works as well as it does. I think it would be doomed to failure with a lesser ensemble no matter the skills of the recording engineer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJDLQZWKWe8
Old 12th January 2016
  #13
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I think those close studio recordings are less successful due to the lack of real reverb and the quality blend you get from air and distance.

Here they are with another great group of instrumentalists.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYYXUEqjtPc

Great natural blend.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Astonishing intonation here. This is a live recording!!
YouTube

Poulenc, amazing music and particularly the harmony. Listen to the third piece in particular.

I can't think of any other ensemble who can sing to this standard.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Is NAXOS the only commercial classical recording company left today? Just wondering.

All the other companies seem to have closed up shop. Too bad.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Is NAXOS the only commercial classical recording company left today? Just wondering.

All the other companies seem to have closed up shop. Too bad.
Just a very quick, by no means exhaustive, look:

Deutsche Grammophon -
Decca - home of classical music -
Telemann – Essercizii Musici (40118) | Channel Classics Records note the additional purchase options of downloads vs CD
Hyperion Records - independent British classical music record label - CDs, MP3 and Lossless downloads
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic View Post
This one is the opposite of a minimalist spaced pair, but is quite amazing that it works as well as it does. I think it would be doomed to failure with a lesser ensemble no matter the skills of the recording engineer.

YouTube
I don't want to criticise, but I think the recorded sound here is ill conceived with such a group. Multimiking an ensemble of this quality and size in this way, is just playing with equipment. It sounds decidedly odd to me. There's a better way, several better ways!

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 5 days ago at 01:07 PM.. Reason: smelling mystake
Old 5 days ago
  #18
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Back in the 70s I was working with a big band (trombone) and the band's arranger, who was also the pianist had been working with the King's Singers. He was taken during the recording session by the way they did not require a bell note at the start of a piece. He suggested that they all must have had perfect pitch.

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 2 days ago at 01:21 PM..
Old 5 days ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton View Post
I don't want to criticise, but I think the recorded sound here is ill conceived with such a group. Multimiking an ensemble of this quality and size in this way, is just playing with equipment. It sound decidedly odd to me. There's a better way, several better ways!
it's okay not to like this recording/mixing - but if you were not given the information, could you have told the technique (or even mics) that got used?
Old 5 days ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
it's okay not to like this recording/mixing - but if you were not given the information, could you have told the technique (or even mics) that got used?
To be frank, I would have switched off long before I got to even thinking about those sorts of things. The distance from one side of an ensemble of five or six singers of this type to the other side does not warrant multimiking.

A little thought and imagination on the part of the recordist would have told him that. (I hope you were not the recordist!)

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 5 days ago at 03:51 PM..
Old 5 days ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton View Post
To be frank, I would have switched off long before I got to even thinking about those sorts of things. The distance from one side of an ensemble of five or six singers of this type does not warrant multimiking.

A little thought and imagination on the part of the recordist would have told him that. (I hope you were not the recordist!)
to capture the singers as an 'ensemble', it's certainly possible to use less mics and a totally different approach - but if one wants to rebalance any of the voices in post, why not? - anyway, i don't like the mix either...



(i mostly mic string quartets with main mics, ambient mics and close mics! mix is often ca. 80% from the main mics, maybe 15% from the ambis and some artificial reverb; i occasionally blend in one of the spot mics for some more definition - when recording in a room with less than ideal acoustic conditions, i may use the close mikes to a much larger extent though)
Old 5 days ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
to capture the singers as an 'ensemble', it's certainly possible to use less mics and a totally different approach - but if one wants to rebalance any of the voices in post, why not? - anyway, i don't like the mix either...



(i mostly mic string quartets with main mics, ambient mics and close mics! mix is often ca. 80% from the main mics, maybe 15% from the ambis and some artificial reverb; i occasionally blend in one of the spot mics for some more definition - when recording in a room with less than ideal acoustic conditions, i may use the close mikes to a much larger extent though)

The thing is, with an ensemble like this, they balance themselves, the recordist's job is simply to capture their balance - in a good acoustic.

Multimiking is akin to buying a bunch of white tropical lilys, and then a tin of white gloss paint on the way home, to "enhance" the original.

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 5 days ago at 06:31 PM.. Reason: smelling mystake
Old 5 days ago
  #23
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DaveyJones's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Is NAXOS the only commercial classical recording company left today? Just wondering.

All the other companies seem to have closed up shop. Too bad.
Certainly the lasgest in terms of number of releases per month! Their release process and recording deals are odd though and I don't quite understand why any group are interested in releasing with them.
Old 3 days ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton View Post
Multimiking is akin to buying a bunch of white tropical lilys, and then a tin of white gloss paint on the way home, to "enhance" the original.
Might be a bit of an overstatement...

Some of the best multi-mic. Here Adrian Peacock demonstrates this on an epic scale.


https://twitter.com/PeacockAdrian/st...45863397052416

Last edited by DaveyJones; 3 days ago at 10:46 PM.. Reason: Broken Photo Link
Old 2 days ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyJones View Post
Might be a bit of an overstatement...

Some of the best multi-mic. Here Adrian Peacock demonstrates this on an epic scale.


https://twitter.com/PeacockAdrian/st...45863397052416
I tend to overstate sometimes to get a point across! But I do think that multimiking with the King's Singers is not so much overstatement, but over miking!
Mr Jones I've sent you a message, are you able to help with it?
Old 2 days ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyJones View Post
Might be a bit of an overstatement...

Some of the best multi-mic. Here Adrian Peacock demonstrates this on an epic scale.


https://twitter.com/PeacockAdrian/st...45863397052416
See, that Twitter pic illustrates a valid use of multimiking.

Unlike 3-6 singers gathered around a stereo/MS mic and self-balancing, the picture shows a main pair and spot mics for the (many 20+ more) individual singers...who appear to be arrayed in a straight line.

No need to elaborate on the likely focus pickup of those on the extremes of the line vs those in the middle, as far as the central AB pair is concerned. Even so, the presence of spot mics alone doesn't confirm their use (or %) in the final mix...and in this case it could still be largely A-B with assistance from the outer (far left/right)spots only ?

Or...it could be each individual spot mainly, carefully gain-matched and panned...with the A-B simply providing ambience ?

How can we know...it would have been interesting to have heard the results of each method in a side-by-side comparison
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