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Recording a Duo (Vocal & Acoustic guitar) in a Church Condenser Microphones
Old 4th August 2017
Gear Head

Thread Starter
Recording a Duo (Vocal & Acoustic guitar) in a Church

Hi All,
I am going to be doing a recording & video of a duo playing in a smallish church soon (vocal & acoustic guitar) and wanted to reach out for some advise (yes I have searched threads before starting this one to no avail). I am the guitarist and engineer as well so it makes it a bit more difficult... Also the fact that I am new to location recording.

My thoughts:
Mid/Side ambiance mics about 4/5 m in front, behind the video camera positioned to taste - Sony C37a in cardoid (or Neumann M147) and Neumann U87ai in fig.8. Ordered a special mic clip to put them both on one stand for ease of setup.

Spot mics - Vocal - Sontronics Halo (I know it's a dynamic for guitar but the singer likes the look for the video!)
Acoustic - mic at the 12th fret pointing towards the sound hole at an angle. Choice of mics Neumann KMS105 or AKG 535eb or Octava MK012 cardoid

Incidentally I have 2 Octava MK012 with only cardoid capsules, is it worth using them for ambiance too?

Interface: Prism Orpheus using the inbuilt 4 mic pres or I could take out a rack with AMS/Neve 1073 DPA and UA 7-410 for more channels or a Neve Portico 5017 which is portable too. I want to do this with the least hassle possible but with the best sound obviously.

Any suggestions? different strategies?

Many thanks for your time to pitch in!

Cheers, Robert
Old 5th August 2017
Lives for gear

Robert, perhaps you need to review the age old wisdom of "Less Is More". Obviously you will have no sound reinforcement duties with the proposed set-up but it will emphasize the overall room ambience more than the actual musical performance. Applying large format concert recording technique and the requisite gear for capture to a far less complex two source recording is like shooting squirrel with an elephant gun. There is a tendency for some novice eng./performers to try to apply the sophisticated mic placement of pro recordists that are well paid to capture the sonic ambience of world class talent in some of the finest recital halls that exist in the world today. If the truth is to be told capturing the performance skill of the talent is far more important than the room response in most real world environments. Too this end: Put a Peluso 2247SE, or simialr good quality tube mic, in front of your guitar/vocalist and monitor with your head phones the skill development. This will achieve far greater sonic success than counting on complicated mic placement to obviate a lack of session skills.
Old 5th August 2017
Here for the gear
Obviously you've put a lot of thought into your mic placement and stuff, so I'd be excited to hear the outcome regardless. I personally am wary of phase-issues that can happen with multiple mics tracking a single source, so I usually opt for a single mic. I know Ben Gibbard recorded 'I will follow you into the dark" with just a single condenser mic and it's a beautiful recording.

I use a single Rode NT1-A to record vocals and guitar simultaneously:

Good luck with your recording!
Old 5th August 2017
Lives for gear
Wyllys's Avatar

Listen to your Uncle Hugh. Once you hear the result of your scheme you'll be much less excited...
Old 6th August 2017
Gear Head

Thread Starter
Thanks for your words of wisdom! I like the idea of keeping it simple and using the one best tube LDC (which in my case is a vintage Sony C37a) to capture everything. Would you go with Cardoid or Omni for the LDC? Of course I will monitor with headphones during the setup to check which sounds better.

My idea with the M/S is to capture some stereo information from the church, also the prism orpheus has an M/S matrix built in to the mic pres. Surely, if I did not like what the side fig.8 mic is doing with phase etc, then I just choose not to put it in at mix down by muting the side mic? That's the advantage of the M/S technique.
Old 6th August 2017
Lives for gear

I need to clarify my statement. If, like in this particular case, the singer and guitar player are two different people one mic in card pattern for each performer should be deployed. I am a singer/guitar player and use one single 2247SE to capture both. Two people require two mics: auditioning a 2247SE with closed headphones at the venue sound check will inform the distance between source and the mic needed for both performers to accomodate an appropriate amount of room in the capture. This is a protocol that is very simple and It works very well: It is particularly effective for live music audio in video shoots.
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