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Extremely quiet chamber music - favorite techniques? Condenser Microphones
Old 3rd March 2018
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
I recently changed to using MKH series mics for this capture, and noise has improved greatly.

Possibly not in the OP's case, but in mine (pop music with vocal) it's proving useful to capture wild sound and use RX5 offline for noise reduction in very specific frequency bands.
Out of curiosity, what were you using previously?

And yes, in my situation too, using RX for noise reduction has been essential.

Tom -- that's a great anecdote! I only wish I could have magically turned my (correctly oriented) mics 180 degrees around to get the kind of improvement your friend must have achieved in that situation...

Bruce -- that reminds me of a video I've seen on YouTube where Jurg Wuttke lectures about microphones. He shows several photos depicting hilariously bad examples of this sort of mistake... I can still picture his voice when he says "He/She will be very disappointed, that is NOT good application" etc.
Old 3rd March 2018
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emrr's Avatar
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch View Post
Out of curiosity, what were you using previously?

And yes, in my situation too, using RX for noise reduction has been essential.
Previous winning sound was DPA 4060 close and a pair of MJE-K47H heads on modified Oktava MK-012 preamps at about 3 feet. That was picked over KM140's, MK-012 omni's, and in a totally different direction, Samar MF-65's (which sounded great, but had an obvious noise source of their own due to the low sensitivity). The 4060 was higher in the mix. Electronic noise was not a problem.

When I started the latest sessions, I had the previous setup out as well as MKH105, MKH406, and KM140 close, with MKH800 Twin / MKH30 about 3 feet out. The distant MKH set won and is higher in the mix, and best pattern is dependent on playing style, even per section of a song. I had a blend of MKH105/MKH406/KM140 that I liked briefly, but ultimately only used the MKH105 at a lower level than the distant set.

The playing level was such that a helicopter going by at a distance of a mile or more would shut us down for 2-3 minutes.
Old 4th March 2018
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Probably the main requirement for success is to get to a church out in the country. A place that is in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully there it will be quiet.

Then work the session with some mics close and some mics far. Blend the two to achieve a professional balance and definitely include the room.

Most urban areas worldwide are too noisy for your pursuit.
There is a beautiful small church about 11 miles from here where I did a lot of recording. It is in the middle of a field with a cemetery next to it. The church is on a back road that is seldom traveled. So far so good. We get setup to do our last recording session of a string quartet. It was early spring. Everything was going well until we heard a tractor starting up outside. Turns out the cemetery is owned by the township and they were going to "mow the grass". I went out and told the foreman what we were doing and asked if he could come back another time which he agreed to. Start recording and then there is the sound of a weed wacker starting up. One of the crew did not get the message and was about to trim all around the graves stones. I went out and asked him if he could come back another time. He said "sure no problem". We recorded until lunch and then after lunch started up again. We again hear the sound of a lawn mower starting up. It was the caretaker for the church getting ready to mow the lawn. I go out, explain what is happening in the church and ask if he can come back some other time, he agrees. So we start recording again and now we hear the rumble of distant thunder. There is a storm approaching from the West. In a few minutes we are in the middle of a torrential downpour that lasts for about 20 minutes. The rain stops and we start recording again until the lights go out from a tree limb hitting a power line somewhere East of where we are. (we found this out later). So an hour later the lights come back on and we start up again. It is now late afternoon and the string quartet is from Cincinnati and need to get home. We are almost done and now we hear cars and people coming from outside. Turns out there was a church picnic that night and these people were there to setup and needed to get into the church's basement to get out pots and pans and make some of the food for the picnic supper. We explain what is going on and they agree to be "extra quiet" which they were. We get done with the recording and start to break down. One of the people from the church comes in and asks us if we would like to stay for the picnic. Except for the string quartet who had to leave we agree and it was GREAT picnic with amazing food. My assistant and I got home about 8 pm. It was a GREAT way to end the day but anyone who says "the peace and quiet of the country" is dreaming. <GRIN>
Old 5th March 2018
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Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
There is a beautiful small church about 11 miles from here where I did a lot of recording......... It was a GREAT way to end the day but anyone who says "the peace and quiet of the country" is dreaming. <GRIN>
A classic description of how the 'best laid plans of recording mice and men often go awry' ! I need to bookmark your description so I can raise it next time someone (probably myself !) suggests we find a 'quiet place in the country' to record in !

In a remote rural chapel I've had branches knocking on roof tops in the wind, roosters, geese and dogs noise intruding, tractors, helicopters too....although much more intermittent than those travails of yours....I give you full marks for patience, civility and persistence !
Old 13th March 2018
Doug - thanks for that elaboration!

Tom - Haha! Truly an illustrative tale. Like studer, I'll be sure to remember it

Your comments bring up a related question I'd like to ask:

Despite whatever shortcomings it may have had, what are a couple of the QUIETEST spaces in which you can recall working?

Besides heavily soundproofed studio spaces, of course.

I'm trying to reorient my thinking for future ultra-quiet projects like this away from traditionally excellent acoustic spaces to something more pragmatic. For example, perhaps a decent-sized but heavily carpeted and otherwise absorptive space without nasty reflections or boxiness -- reverb to be added later.
Old 13th March 2018
Normally churches are "quiet" especially during the week. If they are located in remote places so much the better. (In my case I was just "unlucky" to say the least). The local college has four main performance spaces. None of them are especially quiet (HVAC noises and environmental noises from the outside) One of them is located very near the hospital so ambulance siren noise is pretty much the norm for the space. We did some recording in a large chapel in Cleveland at a Catholic High School and it was very quiet except when a city diesel bus went past on the street. The same for the performing arts center across the street. Nice and quiet. One really good space was at a private home with no neighbors close. it was on 18 acres of land and had very quiet HVAC. The main "performance" space was all glass, wood and marble and sounded very nice. I did 6 CDs there and had zero noise problems. Another venue was similar but there were close neighbors and they were in and out of their driveway quite a bit and we did pick up some car starting up noises and they had a German Shepard dog which was let out every two hours or so and liked to bark. When I was in Scotland I found some beautiful quiet "kirks" (churches) but I was there on vacation and not working.

As to padded dry spaces I have recorded in many spaces that were just too dry acoustically and the performance suffered if it was a classical acoustic music group.

Best of Luck!
Old 13th March 2018
Gear Addict

Lisztzentrum, Raiding - upcoming classical events

This is one of the quiest places I have ever recorded. It obsolutely is in the middle of nowhere, well, it was where Liszt was born. It is in the farmland so if the farmers are not out to work on the land it is super quiet. We were able leave all the doors to outside open during the session and we didn't hear anything.
Old 13th March 2018
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here's an example of a recording i did a while ago in the church right accross the street: thought i'd be save to record during holidays in the middle of the night...

p.s. most tracks have a steep low cut filter engaged
Attached Files

01 Milonga Triste.mp3 (5.92 MB, 467 views)

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 14th March 2018 at 08:06 PM.. Reason: p.s. added
Old 14th March 2018
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hbphotoav's Avatar

Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post

At least he wasn't using it as an end-address mic. I've seen that done too, with more or less the same result as your friend.

... and then there's the Heil PR30/40 sometimes seen in side address...

Ha. Soundie humour.

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