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Handel's Messiah, original manuscript chamber forces - Mid-Side MKH30s Condenser Microphones
Old 10th April 2017
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Handel's Messiah, original manuscript chamber forces - Mid-Side MKH30s

After hearing what Rolo 46 could do with a pair of MKH30s, I decided to get a pair of my own. I've used them with great success on small - ensemble work, but I'd never had the luxury of using them on larger ensembles. I finally had the opportunity last week. I had 2 days of rehearsals to try many different positions to capture the best blend of orchestra and chorus. I think I found the sweet - spot an hour into the 1st rehearsal. This performance accompanied the American Handel Society's conference at Princeton University. The conductor is the remarkably charming John Butt. The choir comes from the university, and the orchestra is comprised of a bunch of early-music professionals from the mid-Atlantic region.

I ended up with a rather high (15 - 16 feet) and close position (right above the conductor's head). This kept the mics within the nave and away from the narrower pewed section of the church. It also allowed me to get the mics equidistant from the chorus (relative to the orchestra). It also made the harpsichord audible. The downside, is that the soloists were at the front of the ensemble, and not nearly present enough for the bleumlein pair (closer to their null-points below the mics) . I added a pair of Schoeps MK5s in cardioid x/y in the 1st pew, about 8 feet up, right in front of the soloist position. They're mixed in at -12dB.

All of this was mixed live to 2 track on my Cooper CS106+1 and feeding my Nagra Seven at 176KHz. I pulled the solo mics out of the mix whenever they weren't singing.


https://soundcloud.com/alcides-9/set...nature-edition

Last edited by avillalta; 15th April 2017 at 01:12 AM.. Reason: broken link
Old 15th April 2017
  #2
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Link is broken.
Old 15th April 2017
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
Link is broken.
fixed
Old 15th April 2017
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avillalta View Post
fixed
The link works, but SoundCloud gives me an "unavailable" when I mouse over the play button.
Old 15th April 2017
  #5
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It says, this playlist has no tracks.
Old 15th April 2017
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sd270 View Post
It says, this playlist has no tracks.
fixed again... I hope
Old 15th April 2017
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avillalta View Post
fixed again... I hope
Ah... Nice hall, nice group, nice recording. You should be a happy camper, as should your clients.

The only nit I can find to pick is that it seems a little bass shy. That's probably just an issue with balance inside the chorus, IDK.
Old 15th April 2017
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Sounds very nice!

Can you post that set-up photo in slightly higher res?
Old 15th April 2017
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Old 16th April 2017
  #10
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I enjoyed listening to the whole thing! As Bruce says, a little bass shy, but I love the vivid imaging. I can visualize everyone's positions so clearly, and with a good perception of depth as well.

Can you tell us about the array? Mid side or Blumlein XY?
Old 16th April 2017
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post

Can you tell us about the array? Mid side or Blumlein XY?
I have a 3D printed mount for an MKH800 twin as a mid mic; and an mkh30 as a side. I tend to add a second mkh30 as another mid mic option. I multi-track all of them (onto my 744ts), but usually choose one or the other for the 2-mix into the Nagra seven. In this recording I used the only the MKH30s (m/s).
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Handel's Messiah, original manuscript chamber forces - Mid-Side MKH30s-img_2317.jpg  
Old 16th April 2017
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwanajim View Post
I enjoyed listening to the whole thing! As Bruce says, a little bass shy, but I love the vivid imaging. I can visualize everyone's positions so clearly, and with a good perception of depth as well.

Can you tell us about the array? Mid side or Blumlein XY?
Very very nice. I'm a little confused too as the thread title says mid-side but there is a reference to Blumlein.
Old 16th April 2017
  #13
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Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
Very very nice. I'm a little confused too as the thread title says mid-side but there is a reference to Blumlein.
Yeah, that was the scotch talking. Bidirectional mid/side matrixed to bleumlein equivalent .
Old 17th April 2017
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Very good job.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #15
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Superbe !
The balance between the orchestra, the choir and the soloists is perfect with this minimalist arrangement
Old 22nd April 2017
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Wow! I really like this. The stage "depth" is really well formed. Did you do a rehearsal with the mic pair somewhat lower? What was your experience that had you move the mics so (relatively) high? Was it a trade off between room acoustics and text articulation? Rare that I put any pair that high; I tend, on choral work, to try and get maximum articulation. Not to say that it isn't excellent in your recording. I can decipher every word. I find that I tend toward the dryer sound. My boss's recordings sound roomier. Were there other considerations in a lower pair that you didn't like?

Lot's of questions.

But a really fine recording.

Also, I think the bass sounds fine on my home stereo, FWIW.

D.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #17
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Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Wow! I really like this. The stage "depth" is really well formed. Did you do a rehearsal with the mic pair somewhat lower? What was your experience that had you move the mics so (relatively) high? Was it a trade off between room acoustics and text articulation? Rare that I put any pair that high; I tend, on choral work, to try and get maximum articulation. Not to say that it isn't excellent in your recording. I can decipher every word. I find that I tend toward the dryer sound. My boss's recordings sound roomier. Were there other considerations in a lower pair that you didn't like?

Lot's of questions.

But a really fine recording.

Also, I think the bass sounds fine on my home stereo, FWIW.

D.
Thanks for listening!

I did start out lower (9 feet or so) and further back (2nd row of pews). I started out that way kind of expecting it to be OK but not great, but I wanted to avoid a big stand/boom combo for visual reasons. I was getting a nice room / orchestra blend, but the altos were miles away. Also, the harpsichord sounded anemic. The other issue, is that with the lower, 2nd row perspective; the pair was out of the nave, and back in the narrower "house". Essentially behind the proscenium... as it were. That gave me some early reflections from the side walls that were really mucking up the imaging. I bet a pair of omnis, wide-cardioids, or a "phased array" would have worked better in that lower position. But I was determined to get some practice with the MKH30s after being utterly seduced by Rolo's recordings.

I knew I needed to get into the nave to avoid the side walls, but I had to preserve the critical-distance / room ratio. Going up and "over" the ensemble was the only legitimate choice. Going up and over also helps get (near)equidistant time arrivals from the orchestra and the choir, helping them blend. I had a big boom and lots of sand-bags. Damn the sight-lines.

I usually go with omnis for these types of ensembles, as I don't usually enjoy pin-point imaging with choruses (I find it distracting). But here's where I think bidirectional mics shine (especially the MKH30, as it preserves the low frequencies). You can get far away and still get the detail of the critical-distance because you're essentially nulling out the room above and below the array. What you lose in articulation, you get back in localization. I think that helps the ear-brain pick out the consonants and syllables better.

None of this would have worked, however if the orchestra, soloists, and chorus hadn't been under the baton of a good conductor. John Butt is master, and it was a privilege to hear what he could get out of a this band. He charmed the hell out of them, and the repertoire was coursing through his veins. Everybody just wanted to play the hell out of it. He gets credit for the balance, the mics just got to watch.
Old 23rd April 2017
  #18
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Originally Posted by avillalta View Post

None of this would have worked, however if the orchestra, soloists, and chorus hadn't been under the baton of a good conductor. John Butt is master, and it was a privilege to hear what he could get out of a this band. He charmed the hell out of them, and the repertoire was coursing through his veins. Everybody just wanted to play the hell out of it. He gets credit for the balance, the mics just got to watch.
Well said!
Old 23rd April 2017
  #19
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Yes and I was remiss in not mentioning the awesome job the ensemble did. Bravo!

D.
Old 24th April 2017
  #20
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Good job!
I would have tried to get all on the main pair by coming back over the head of the cond and beaming the array down a little, it has great directivity
However time was of essence obviously
John Butt is really excellent, I have just heard a BBC R4 play about JS Bach and his first performance of St Mathew Passion, a complex piece aided by Johns fine arranging and performance in Greyfriars Edinburgh

ww.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08m8q81
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