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Wonderful Violinist and Youth Orchestra Test Condenser Microphones
Old 15th May 2018
  #1
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Wonderful Violinist and Youth Orchestra Test

Hi there, Jimjazzdad and I have been setting up dual, unconnected, arrays for the past few months in recording the local youth orchestra and this is a few extracts from a recent live concert. This is my capture, it's two spaced Schoeps MK4 mics, no reverb, no eq, no limiting, just two mics. One extract is slightly louder than the other. I would have gone for MK21, but I still don't own a pair yet.

I'm slightly nervous about the balance, but these are just archives and tests, not meant for release, I learn a lot from every concert and hope to add outriggers to the next recording.
Any advice and comments welcome.

Last edited by whippoorwill; 15th May 2018 at 03:25 AM..
Old 15th May 2018
  #2
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Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
I'm slightly nervous about the balance...
...meaning unsure about the positioning/technique and whether you get a balanced representation of the orchestra? do you have the option of using/recording multiple mics at the same time and compare them? is the goal to use a minimalistic stereo setup and avoid (almost) all post?
Old 15th May 2018
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Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...meaning unsure about the positioning/technique and whether you get a balanced representation of the orchestra? do you have the option of using/recording multiple mics at the same time and compare them? is the goal to use a minimalistic stereo setup and avoid (almost) all post?
My goal for the past year has been to learn about minimal stereo arrays and how to portray width and depth. My new goal is to add ambience mics (4 mics total) and figure that out more thoroughly. I wasn’t happy with the captures I was doing at all, especially when I was doing a lot of multi miking and mixing, so I’ve been trying to practice and improve. How does it sound on your end?

My unsure-ness is about whether the violinist is too forward with the orchestra too dark and if it’s slightly too narrow an image.

Last edited by whippoorwill; 15th May 2018 at 11:30 AM..
Old 15th May 2018
  #4
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Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
My goal for the past year has been to learn about minimal stereo arrays and how to portray width and depth. My new goal is to add ambience mics (4 mics total) and figure that out more thoroughly. I wasn’t happy with the captures I was doing at all, especially when I was doing a lot of multi miking and mixing, so I’ve been trying to practice and improve. How does it sound on your end?
i hardly ever use minimal stereo mic setups anymore 'cause i mostly don't like the sound (regardless of array) - but i also find it easier to mix recordings done with multiple mics!

i like the sound i get from directional mics (less crowd noise, less room sound, more from the instrument/ensemble/orchestra/choir).

for stereo recordings, i'm using ortf as my main mics in about 80% of my work, sometimes nos, maybe m/s, rarely x/y, hardly ever a/b, never blumlein - for surround/multichannel, i'm mostly using a soundfield or sometimes a wide l/c/r setup (not decca! not much love for irt, oct, hamasaki etc. either) - regarding more exotic surround/immersive formats, i find them pretty much useless or way to complicated to implement... (ambisonics would be okay though, maybe ambeo, but nothing beyond).

if the main pair/array doesn't cover the width of the orchestra, i'm using left and right 'side' mics (not outriggers).

if i'm unsure about the outcome (don't know the music, sub-paar monitoring options or lack of time to adjust positions), i'm using 'section' mics (1st, 2nd violin, viola, celli, bass, maybe flute/oboe/clarinet) and also if i feel there is an imbalance between winds and strings. 'spot' mics go on soft instruments or anything that might need some help in post (always on harp, portative organ, basso continuo, soloist, sometimes on percussion such as bass drum, timpani for some attack, often on flute, oboe, maybe horn, almost always on bass clarinet).

in about 80% of my recordings, it's stereo (or l/c/r) mains, a pair of ambient mics in wide a/b at the back of the hall and 2-4 additional mics, so around 8-10 in total.

for room pick up, i like capturing 'reverb' where it mostly occurs, so in the back of the hall! those are often the only omni mics i use... ambient pickup is sometimes also at the side of the stage with mics pointing into the audience and/or at foh (if there is any). nevertheless, i'm always using 3 different efx devices (early reflections, small room, large hall).

i capture a few clave hits under the main mics - sometimes i align other mics to the mains, sometimes i don't. if so, it's often more about phase aligning than time aligning - love my lakes!

dynamic control? of course with mics that close! on sections/spots, not on main mics but on subgroups and the the 2.0, l/c/r. 3.1 or 5.1 mix.

on the other end of the (output) channel count, i feel forced to mix in mono on line arrays with just 2 hangs (i did not say stereo!) for classical/modern music! prefer l/C/r systems a lot. electronics - if any - should enhance, not limit the listening experience...

if there is a choir (hopefully) behind the orchestra, i'll have another 3-5 mics up in the air - speaking of height: i recently got a chance to capture an orchestra during rehearsals with an additional pair of ortf mics at the conductors position at ear height (he was in the broadcast truck to check the recording): i was shocked how much different it sounded to the ortf i put behind him at about 3m height! would love to record what the conductor hears much more often...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 15th May 2018 at 01:12 PM.. Reason: some info added
Old 15th May 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
My goal for the past year has been to learn about minimal stereo arrays and how to portray width and depth. My new goal is to add ambience mics (4 mics total) and figure that out more thoroughly. I wasn’t happy with the captures I was doing at all, especially when I was doing a lot of multi miking and mixing, so I’ve been trying to practice and improve. How does it sound on your end?

My unsure-ness is about whether the violinist is too forward with the orchestra too dark and if it’s slightly too narrow an image.
I find the 2nd sample more successful, as it gives a sense of depth to the performer in the space, whereas the first foreshortens or flattens that depth. How widely spaced were the Mk4's...and were they facing forward or angled ?

In both samples there's a tendency for the violin to jump around, likely mirroring the body/instrument moves of the player (and always a difficult thing to minimize !) I suspect the MK21's might work better in this instance, to give a bit more centre blend, rather than the more discrete 'pools of sound' of the MK4's ?
Old 15th May 2018
  #6
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Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
My unsure-ness is about whether the violinist is too forward with the orchestra too dark and if it’s slightly too narrow an image.
Thank you for sharing. For my taste, all three issues you noted above are indeed a factor, and it does seem like this would be a very good candidate for MK21's in a similar future situation.
Old 16th May 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I find the 2nd sample more successful, as it gives a sense of depth to the performer in the space, whereas the first foreshortens or flattens that depth. How widely spaced were the Mk4's...and were they facing forward or angled ?

In both samples there's a tendency for the violin to jump around, likely mirroring the body/instrument moves of the player (and always a difficult thing to minimize !) I suspect the MK21's might work better in this instance, to give a bit more centre blend, rather than the more discrete 'pools of sound' of the MK4's ?
it was kind of a modified ORTF based on what I wanted to bring out more, but it should have been higher and probably MK21, or blended with some omnis. That's an interesting comment about depth and I'll take that on board. I'm recording a festival next week and I want to do a little better.
I don't really mind the movement too much, he moved and that's his choice, and my job is to capture what he did, do you feel the centre doesn't feel well defined (pools of sound)?
Old 16th May 2018
  #8
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Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i hardly ever use minimal stereo mic setups anymore 'cause i mostly don't like the sound (regardless of array) - but i also find it easier to mix recordings done with multiple mics!
[snip.]
Wow this is a lot of info. It's interesting for sure, but I don't think moving to 10 mics is really the answer, I'm more interested in perspective than in having everything be super in your face and I think with a slight refinement in positioning, a wider cardioid pair and a room pair, I'll get a lot closer to what I want. It's the conductors job to balance the orchestra.
Old 16th May 2018
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Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
Wow this is a lot of info. It's interesting for sure, but I don't think moving to 10 mics is really the answer, I'm more interested in perspective than in having everything be super in your face and I think with a slight refinement in positioning, a wider cardioid pair and a room pair, I'll get a lot closer to what I want. It's the conductors job to balance the orchestra.
it's not about having things 'in your face' or trying to take away from 'the conductor's job to balance the orchestra': the use of several efx devices let's you 'move' the mic into another perspective (early reflection as if it had been further away from the instrument, small room as if the pattern had been wider and large hall as if had been further away from the ensemble), yet you CAN get more of a 'close up' with very precise directional information! (or even mix from a musician's point of view with enough mics on all sections: very interesting when mixing in surround but unfortunately never wanted for release)

same thing with using dynamic control: it's not to take away from the conductor but to recreate what s/he is hearing, which is certainly not what a mic 30cm to 1.5m away from an instrument is picking up and how the mic reacts that close!

finally, it's (mostly) not me as an engineer taking these decisions but the conductor's, solo artist's or producer's decision how they want their ensemble to be portrayed: i'm there to offer them a small palette of choices which i don't get by using a more traditional approach: nothing wrong with that and it's mostly faster to achieve good results with just a few mics, but it's somewhat limited in terms of offering different perspectives - or simply useless if there is an orchestra plus an amplified jazz or rock band and you have to both mix and record live...

p.s. wide cardioids are great, get (at least) a pair!

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 16th May 2018 at 08:04 AM.. Reason: p.s. added
Old 16th May 2018
  #10
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Sample 2 is excellent
Sample 1 needs a rethink, go higher look down a bit ?
Anyhow keep it simple, its a performance, not a technical exercise, no need to muddy the water with technology
Roger
Old 16th May 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Anyhow keep it simple, its a performance, not a technical exercise, no need to muddy the water with technology
Roger
Excellent advice!
Old 16th May 2018
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Excellent advice!
technophobia being excellent advice? must be 'living in the past' (excellent album)
Old 17th May 2018
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Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
technophobia being excellent advice? must be 'living in the past' (excellent album)
Technophilia for its own sake is a sad and unfortunate failing, although therapy is available
Old 17th May 2018
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Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Technophilia for its own sake is a sad and unfortunate failing, although therapy is available
i did not support using technology for it's own sake: i clearly mentioned it's value and use...

'really don't mind if you sit this one out.
my words but a whisper, your deafness a SHOUT'

(excerpt from another excellent album)
Old 17th May 2018
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I think techne-logy rather than techno-logy is more what I’m lacking in this instance... I’m glad to get the experienced ears of this forum to push me in the right direction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Techne
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