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Recording a Cello / Piano Duet Condenser Microphones
Old 2 weeks ago
  #31
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Thumbs up

The last time I recorded piano and cello I used an ORTF pair with omni outriggers spaced about 60cm apart.

In the mix the omnis were -12dB

Worked very well.
Old 1 week ago
  #32
Perhaps slightly off-topic as you are talking about a concert recording, but I just recorded a new CD with Belgian chamber music for cello and piano.
YouTube
DPA4006 mains
DPA4006 piano spots
Rode NTR cello spots with an additional AT4050omni for extra resonance pickup

Quite a lot of spot level in the final sound, as the piano sounded too boomy in the mains (part of the hall, I could not really get rid of it), but this boomyness also allowed for some nice atmosphere for the piano. I could have done completely without main pair and only artificial reverb (which is in now as well) -- it would not have changed the cello sound -- but the piano did sound less convincing without.
Only to say: if you really need to, you could just spot-mic both instruments and mix to taste afterwards with EQ and reverb. But it is far from ideal.
Old 1 week ago
  #33
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
True, but if the gig is half as noisy as it sounds like, a tiny bit of preamp hiss in the recording will be the least of your worries. (And it doesn't matter if you track a little on the quiet side, just boost more in the digital domain while mixing.) Again, my priority, just me personally, is more about the sound I capture than a little noise that comes along for the ride. To each his/her own.
...that doesn't change the fact that the re20 has pretty low sensitivity and no amount of input or digital gain gets you what most any condenser (with higher sensitivity) gets you: it's not just about 'gain on the fader' as some folks will want you to make believe - and at least for my needs, noise is always an issue; but yeah, to each his/her own!

Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
...if you really need to, you could just spot-mic both instruments and mix to taste afterwards with EQ and reverb. But it is far from ideal.
...or one could also say: most any situation is far from being ideal so you better learn to build your mix from spots without (much) contribution from 'mains'!
Old 1 week ago
  #34
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
Perhaps slightly off-topic as you are talking about a concert recording, but I just recorded a new CD with Belgian chamber music for cello and piano.
YouTube
DPA4006 mains
DPA4006 piano spots
Rode NTR cello spots with an additional AT4050omni for extra resonance pickup

Quite a lot of spot level in the final sound, as the piano sounded too boomy in the mains (part of the hall, I could not really get rid of it), but this boomyness also allowed for some nice atmosphere for the piano. I could have done completely without main pair and only artificial reverb (which is in now as well) -- it would not have changed the cello sound -- but the piano did sound less convincing without.
Only to say: if you really need to, you could just spot-mic both instruments and mix to taste afterwards with EQ and reverb. But it is far from ideal.
Sounds great Korneel ! It's a bit hard to get a true feel for the balance with all the voice-over, but you have overcome those room obstacles very well, and the reverb is noticeable but helps to give authority to the cello. NTR spots seem to work well on this cello too...nicely done, I hope the CD is a success when it is released very soon
Old 1 week ago
  #35
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
Perhaps slightly off-topic as you are talking about a concert recording, but I just recorded a new CD with Belgian chamber music for cello and piano.
YouTube
DPA4006 mains
DPA4006 piano spots
Rode NTR cello spots with an additional AT4050omni for extra resonance pickup

Quite a lot of spot level in the final sound, as the piano sounded too boomy in the mains (part of the hall, I could not really get rid of it), but this boomyness also allowed for some nice atmosphere for the piano. I could have done completely without main pair and only artificial reverb (which is in now as well) -- it would not have changed the cello sound -- but the piano did sound less convincing without.
Only to say: if you really need to, you could just spot-mic both instruments and mix to taste afterwards with EQ and reverb. But it is far from ideal.
Of course, this is a 'good' recording by normal standards, but in terms of your own fastidiousness... Some queries:

(i) Given the rather lean sound of the Chris Maene piano, did you not consider using Schoeps MK2[affix suffix to taste] as a better match, if you were going to use omnis as spots? Here you have lean piano plus lean mics (I have 4006A pair and like them, but they are not for every application).

(ii) The piano sound to me is rather stifled/constricted, then there's the generic coating of reverb on top of that. You have placed the mics very close to the rim for a classical piano recording. And the angle is a sort of no-man's-land between standard side on and Decca tail. Irrespective of piano make, no piano sounds good there. Indeed, there's a noteworthy irony here. With Chris Maene pianos we read of the use of straight-string instruments by Liszt et al. But never in a million years would Liszt have advised anyone to place their own (organic) pure pressure omnis where you have your 4006 spot pair. Or Cesar Franck.

(iii) It seems you've been trapped by your too-close placement of the spot pair (versus the mains being too flabby to be much usable) into having to use much of the piano spots, but then subject to lots of CGI in post to make the sound listenable.

This begs the question: what would have worked better? I'd suggest MKH30 spaced pair in classic side on position (start 2m out from curve, 2m up and adjust to taste). Cello would be in nulls, rear pick-up of MKH30s would not be an issue. At least with these as spots you'd have just the localised pick-up of the piano and you'd need only to add back some low frequency bass via EQ (a full Industrial Light And Magic job wouldn't be necessary). Your mains could then have been moved a little closer (to both instruments).
Old 1 week ago
  #36
Gear Maniac
I would agree with the previous post. I did not like the sound at all, and especially the piano. But that's just my opinion, so others may disagree.
Old 1 week ago
  #37
Gear Addict
 
Franz Schiller's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
Nevertheless, here's what I'd probably try in your situation: I want the flattest, most neutral mics to capture the overall picture, so I'd use the NT4 to capture a stereo image of the duo in space - almost certainly at least 6' back from performers, likely more. Then I'd use the pair of KSM27s on piano, halfway between the open lid and the lip of the side, maybe spaced in thirds down the length of the curvy side. I'm describing this badly, but there are some common piano mic techniques that are close, but not too close - I'd be aiming for that. Then RE20 and/or baby bottle on cello, at least a foot or two out.
.
Thanks for this! Super helpful!

I can't afford anything like the Coles or Schoeps mics, but I have been recording more and more acoustic instruments...let's say I had a budget of $500 max, is there a pair of small diaphragm condensers you'd recommend?
Old 1 week ago
  #38
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franz Schiller View Post
Thanks for this! Super helpful!

I can't afford anything like the Coles or Schoeps mics, but I have been recording more and more acoustic instruments...let's say I had a budget of $500 max, is there a pair of small diaphragm condensers you'd recommend?
Hmmm, tough call! The reasonably priced mics that I'm familiar with are all out of production. Based on datasheets (your second best friend, second only to your ears,) my recommendations would be:
Shure KSM137 (tight cardioid, stretch budget)
sE Electronics sE8 (cardioid)
Line Audio CM3 (wide cardioid)
Line Audio OM1 (omni)

Unfortunately, the only mic in that list I've worked with is the OM1, so take my recommendations with a grain of salt. I've had good luck reading datasheets and choosing mics that work for me over the years, but since I don't know these mics, my recommendations are more like educated guesses!

If you primarily want a pair of mics that can be used as a "main pair" to capture a whole scene, then low frequency response is a critical parameter you don't want to neglect. Most directional mics have significant low frequency roll off, so it's advisable to either use omnis, or choose very carefully among your other options. The sE mics appear to have very good low frequency extension.

If you want these for closer use, the bass response is less of an issue, and you may actually want the rolloff, because otherwise proximity effect makes "flat" mics boomy and muddy.

Sorry, lots of variables, so there's never a simple, straightforward answer.
Old 1 week ago
  #39
Gear Addict
 
Franz Schiller's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
Hmmm, tough call! The reasonably priced mics that I'm familiar with are all out of production. Based on datasheets (your second best friend, second only to your ears,) my recommendations would be:
Shure KSM137 (tight cardioid, stretch budget)
sE Electronics sE8 (cardioid)
Line Audio CM3 (wide cardioid)
Line Audio OM1 (omni)

Unfortunately, the only mic in that list I've worked with is the OM1, so take my recommendations with a grain of salt. I've had good luck reading datasheets and choosing mics that work for me over the years, but since I don't know these mics, my recommendations are more like educated guesses!

If you primarily want a pair of mics that can be used as a "main pair" to capture a whole scene, then low frequency response is a critical parameter you don't want to neglect. Most directional mics have significant low frequency roll off, so it's advisable to either use omnis, or choose very carefully among your other options. The sE mics appear to have very good low frequency extension.

If you want these for closer use, the bass response is less of an issue, and you may actually want the rolloff, because otherwise proximity effect makes "flat" mics boomy and muddy.

Sorry, lots of variables, so there's never a simple, straightforward answer.
Cool, great info...the sE8s seem pretty dang slick, and the few YouTube demos sound great.

Thank again Ebeowulf!
Old 1 week ago
  #40
Lives for gear
 
hbphotoav's Avatar
 

If you're not in a hurry, and can arrange demo time... finding a nice used pair of AT4041 or Shure SM81 could allow for a pretty decent "bang-for-buck"...

HB
Old 6 days ago
  #41
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Pk View Post
Of course, this is a 'good' recording by normal standards, but in terms of your own fastidiousness... Some queries:

(i) Given the rather lean sound of the Chris Maene piano, did you not consider using Schoeps MK2[affix suffix to taste] as a better match, if you were going to use omnis as spots? Here you have lean piano plus lean mics (I have 4006A pair and like them, but they are not for every application).

(ii) The piano sound to me is rather stifled/constricted, then there's the generic coating of reverb on top of that. You have placed the mics very close to the rim for a classical piano recording. And the angle is a sort of no-man's-land between standard side on and Decca tail. Irrespective of piano make, no piano sounds good there. Indeed, there's a noteworthy irony here. With Chris Maene pianos we read of the use of straight-string instruments by Liszt et al. But never in a million years would Liszt have advised anyone to place their own (organic) pure pressure omnis where you have your 4006 spot pair. Or Cesar Franck.

(iii) It seems you've been trapped by your too-close placement of the spot pair (versus the mains being too flabby to be much usable) into having to use much of the piano spots, but then subject to lots of CGI in post to make the sound listenable.

This begs the question: what would have worked better? I'd suggest MKH30 spaced pair in classic side on position (start 2m out from curve, 2m up and adjust to taste). Cello would be in nulls, rear pick-up of MKH30s would not be an issue. At least with these as spots you'd have just the localised pick-up of the piano and you'd need only to add back some low frequency bass via EQ (a full Industrial Light And Magic job wouldn't be necessary). Your mains could then have been moved a little closer (to both instruments).
Thanks for your insights. I have to say that I'm surprised that you can actually recommend things while not knowing the hall nor the piano nor the other factors and steps we have taken to get to the microphone balance we ended up with.

(i) I have used the MK2 very recently and was not impressed in various applications. Not my type of microphone or my type of sound, perhaps because I don't know the microphone that well. I do know the 4006 mics (which are B&K capsule versions by the way) inside out after years of use.

(ii) For this piano, this was the best spot we found. Very clean and transparant, not sounding in the face, good balance L & R and bass and high. Decca tail has never worked for me soundwise, and did not work at all on this straight strung. Strange that you say that this position never works -- do you actually know this chamber music model instrument? There are 4 pianos in the world like this, so if you have not seen the instrument I assume you cannot say anything about what position could actually work. By the way, I have successfully used this position (with these microphones) on many pianofortes, which is why it --to our feeling-- also worked quite well on this hybrid new model.

(iii) Again, see (i). Most piano sound comes from the main pair, though. Spots only add a sparkle of definition. The cello did receive quite some treatment, but the piano did not. Was I trapped?
Old 5 days ago
  #42
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
Thanks for your insights. I have to say that I'm surprised that you can actually recommend things while not knowing the hall nor the piano nor the other factors and steps we have taken to get to the microphone balance we ended up with.

(i) I have used the MK2 very recently and was not impressed in various applications. Not my type of microphone or my type of sound, perhaps because I don't know the microphone that well. I do know the 4006 mics (which are B&K capsule versions by the way) inside out after years of use.

(ii) For this piano, this was the best spot we found. Very clean and transparant, not sounding in the face, good balance L & R and bass and high. Decca tail has never worked for me soundwise, and did not work at all on this straight strung. Strange that you say that this position never works -- do you actually know this chamber music model instrument? There are 4 pianos in the world like this, so if you have not seen the instrument I assume you cannot say anything about what position could actually work. By the way, I have successfully used this position (with these microphones) on many pianofortes, which is why it --to our feeling-- also worked quite well on this hybrid new model.

(iii) Again, see (i). Most piano sound comes from the main pair, though. Spots only add a sparkle of definition. The cello did receive quite some treatment, but the piano did not. Was I trapped?
Ah, it transpires that, as a recording engineer, you retain a musician's outsize yet brittle ego... In your original post you wrote that "Quite a lot of spot level in the final sound, as the piano sounded too boomy in the mains (part of the hall, I could not really get rid of it), but this boomyness also allowed for some nice atmosphere for the piano. I could have done completely without main pair and only artificial reverb (which is in now as well)…", yet now you declare that "most piano sound comes from the main pair" (which apparently you could have done without completely, so modest was their part in the mix as recently as one week ago).

You evidently have misgivings over this recording yet, in posting it, you have made your own comments and, via this process, invited comments from others. I have gone into detail and you have resorted to the kind of logic that would, for example, prevent anyone from observing that he didn't like the way a scene in a film had been lit because he hadn't been in the studio at the time, hadn't witnessed what trouble the lighting director had gone to in order to get the lights in precisely this position, reflectors there...

You haven't responded to my recommendations (e.g. 'It wouldn't have been possible to have used a pair of MKH30 on the piano as spots because...") but rather have applied the 'logic' as above. By extension, none of us can comment on any recording uploaded to GS unless we have attended the sessions. Similarly, experience in recording Steinway Ds and Cs, Yamaha CFX and CFIIIS, Fazioli F278 and F228 et al means that you can't comment on a 250cm piano that is straight strung. Again it's necessary to have been there...
Old 22 hours ago
  #43
Gear Addict
 
Franz Schiller's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
Hmmm, tough call! The reasonably priced mics that I'm familiar with are all out of production. Based on datasheets (your second best friend, second only to your ears,) my recommendations would be:
Shure KSM137 (tight cardioid, stretch budget)
sE Electronics sE8 (cardioid)
Line Audio CM3 (wide cardioid)
Line Audio OM1 (omni)

Unfortunately, the only mic in that list I've worked with is the OM1, so take my recommendations with a grain of salt. I've had good luck reading datasheets and choosing mics that work for me over the years, but since I don't know these mics, my recommendations are more like educated guesses!

If you primarily want a pair of mics that can be used as a "main pair" to capture a whole scene, then low frequency response is a critical parameter you don't want to neglect. Most directional mics have significant low frequency roll off, so it's advisable to either use omnis, or choose very carefully among your other options. The sE mics appear to have very good low frequency extension.

If you want these for closer use, the bass response is less of an issue, and you may actually want the rolloff, because otherwise proximity effect makes "flat" mics boomy and muddy.

Sorry, lots of variables, so there's never a simple, straightforward answer.
Ebeowulf, after doing a bit of research around here and elsewhere, I sprung for a matched pair of sE8s. Last night, I recorded a clarinet/viola/marimba trio with the sE8s on the clarinet and viola, and they sounded fantastic! Thanks so much for the advice.
Old 20 hours ago
  #44
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franz Schiller View Post
Ebeowulf, after doing a bit of research around here and elsewhere, I sprung for a matched pair of sE8s. Last night, I recorded a clarinet/viola/marimba trio with the sE8s on the clarinet and viola, and they sounded fantastic! Thanks so much for the advice.
Excellent! I'm glad I could help, and I'm really happy to hear that you found mics that work well for you.

Any chance you could share a snippet for us to hear? I'm sure others would be interested as well.
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