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Decca tree with ribbons and blumlein front mic?
Old 1st August 2017
  #1
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Thread Starter
Decca tree with ribbons and blumlein front mic?

Hi there

Recording some solo cello soon in an unfamiliar studio. Mics / gear won't be a problem and nor will the room, player or instruments (so all the pressure is on me!)

Solo cello isn't something I record too often. I heard a really nice cello recording recently which was recorded using a decca tree setup with ribbons (Royer 122s I believe) (Winona Zalanka's Bach recordings)

Has anyone had experience with using ribbons in decca tree, with phase etc? Is it safer to use onnis? My reasoning is because I love ribbons on cello.

My second question, could i use a ribbon blumlein pair as the front mic? I know MS has been used. Will this get too phasey?

My reasoning being is that the composers want options, so I thought about having a close mic just in case, the front blumlein to get the bulk of the sound and then the rear decca ribbons as a more roomy option.

Any knowledge would be appreciated!
Old 1st August 2017
  #2
Hi Garlic - Why Decca tree? No need to mess up the sound!

Try two mics in a good spot.



Give parallel ribbons a try. And keep condensers on your radar. Last two cello recordings, we had ribbons up as a maybe. Chose the condensers both times.
Old 1st August 2017
  #3
(If you want options, just record with two good arrays at different distances.)
Old 1st August 2017
  #4
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarlicJimmy View Post
Hi there

Recording some solo cello soon in an unfamiliar studio. Mics / gear won't be a problem and nor will the room, player or instruments (so all the pressure is on me!)

Solo cello isn't something I record too often. I heard a really nice cello recording recently which was recorded using a decca tree setup with ribbons (Royer 122s I believe) (Winona Zalanka's Bach recordings)

Has anyone had experience with using ribbons in decca tree, with phase etc? Is it safer to use onnis? My reasoning is because I love ribbons on cello.

My second question, could i use a ribbon blumlein pair as the front mic? I know MS has been used. Will this get too phasey?

My reasoning being is that the composers want options, so I thought about having a close mic just in case, the front blumlein to get the bulk of the sound and then the rear decca ribbons as a more roomy option.

Any knowledge would be appreciated!
Two points I would make, firstly anything blumlein or ms fig. 8's are going to get strange outside of your nominal pick-up 90 deg angle, i.e. They will exhibit pattern flip, not great when using close to an orchestra/ensemble or when used in conjunction with outriggers.

Every big, commercially successful, classical recording company, location recording company steers clear of regular usage of ribbons as main microphones. As beguiling as the sound can be, the aforementioned pattern problems are part reason, lack of bass extension and poor hf response are another as is noise floor. A ribbon as a spot on the cello might be well worth a try due to its smoothness and side rejection giving you good isolation. Omni and sub cardioid condensors from people like DPA, Schoeps, Neumann and Sennheiser will win a sonic quality test as mains every time, Decca, Deutche Gramaphone, EMI, Phillips, Telarc, etc all prove this.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #5
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I'm slightly baffled by the idea of using a Decca Tree for a solo instrument -- it was a technique developed especially for large ensembles. And I'm not convinced that you can have a Decca Tree with ribbons anyway. The left and right mics need to be omnis (perhaps with some directionality at HF). Sounds to me like you are over-thinking this. As others have said, stick with a good pair of omnis, or possibly ORTF depending on the room.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #6
Gear Nut
I like ribbons on cello and strings generally but they do sometimes not work (as mentioned already). There are some excellent cello recordings made with ribbons though when everything is right. OK, other mic's work well too, I'm not denying that, and I have DPA's as well which are quite good and can be more reliable.

i thought the cello recoding video posted above was OK'ish but it's not my kind of cello playing, but that's down to taste and others may feel differently.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #7
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DaveyJones's Avatar
 

I've watched that documentary on YouTube, then bought the CD. It's a fabulous sound - I'm not exactly sure if the sound from the YouTube clip is the same as in the CD though.

Anyway, if you tried to use a conventional Decca Tree it might be a little odd, the spacings are always bigger than people imagine (2m between the L and R mic) and I think you would end up with a very mono sounding recording or if you mixed the C mic back a lot you would get an overly wide sounding recording.

In the Zelenka videos the engineer certainly has the mics spaces a lot smaller than a traditional Decca tree. This makes sense but, to me at least, using a spaced pair of Ribbons with a C mic on the same mic bar makes more sense so you can manipulate the stereo width of the instrument subtlety after the session without changing the free field/diffuse field ratio.

A spaced pair would be my first option, then possibly a M/S pair which you could also do with ribbons.

Ps, with the active Royer mics used in the video they are quite hot output due to onboard electronics so no extra noise there. And passive ribbons have no noise at all, you just need a good preamp so statements like 'ribbons are noisy' are a bit redundant...
Old 2nd August 2017
  #8
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyJones View Post
I've watched that documentary on YouTube, then bought the CD. It's a fabulous sound - I'm not exactly sure if the sound from the YouTube clip is the same as in the CD though.

Anyway, if you tried to use a conventional Decca Tree it might be a little odd, the spacings are always bigger than people imagine (2m between the L and R mic) and I think you would end up with a very mono sounding recording or if you mixed the C mic back a lot you would get an overly wide sounding recording.

In the Zelenka videos the engineer certainly has the mics spaces a lot smaller than a traditional Decca tree. This makes sense but, to me at least, using a spaced pair of Ribbons with a C mic on the same mic bar makes more sense so you can manipulate the stereo width of the instrument subtlety after the session without changing the free field/diffuse field ratio.

A spaced pair would be my first option, then possibly a M/S pair which you could also do with ribbons.

Ps, with the active Royer mics used in the video they are quite hot output due to onboard electronics so no extra noise there. And passive ribbons have no noise at all, you just need a good preamp so statements like 'ribbons are noisy' are a bit redundant...
Perhaps I should have said that ribbons generally have low output so therefore need more gain so more preamp noise. It is a real world problem, though not so much if the performance is loud.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
And keep condensers on your radar. Last two cello recordings, we had ribbons up as a maybe. Chose the condensers both times.

Yep, I have done exactly this as well on cello and also chose condensers. I keep coming back to this sound as being close to ideal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR7OllFJQTs
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