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Recording a Cello / Piano Duet Condenser Microphones
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Head
Recording a Cello / Piano Duet

Hi all,

I am new to location recording and seeking some advice on mic selection and placement.

The concert I am recording will consist of a cellist and pianist, the room is a small theater. According to the FOH engineer, it is not a particularly lively room.

The microphones I have to work with are:
2 Cad M179 multi patern LDC's,
4 Oktava MC-012's (2 omni capsules, 4 cardiod, 1 stock set, 1 modded set)
1 Joly modded Cad Trion 8000 (omni, figure 8, cardiod)
AMT M40 Piano Microphone system.

EDIT: I should also mention I have an On Stage Deluxe stereo bar, meaning I could do both an AB Omni pair and ORTF / NOS on 1 bar.

My plan is to put up a stereo pair close to or on the stage, a pair at the back of the room, and some spot mics. Spot mics may or may not be fed to FOH as well.

I'm curious what you would do in terms of placement, mic selection, and polar patterns in my situation.

Thanks in advance!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Govier966 View Post
My plan is to put up a stereo pair close to or on the stage, a pair at the back of the room, and some spot mics. Spot mics may or may not be fed to FOH as well.
Why would there be any FOH? Maybe the "money talk" before the musicians start to perform, but other than that?

That's why it's called acoustic music.

D.

PS. Reinforcement will really mess up your recording, no doubt.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
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Tommy-boy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post

PS. Reinforcement will really mess up your recording, no doubt.
+1. Not ideal for recording that instrument duet.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Why would there be any FOH? Maybe the "money talk" before the musicians start to perform, but other than that?

That's why it's called acoustic music.

D.

PS. Reinforcement will really mess up your recording, no doubt.
There will be some poetry performed as well so FOH will be needed for that for sure. Tomorrow is the rehearsal, hoping reinforcement will not be used based on your comment. I'll report back soon. Money has already been discussed.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

It goes without saying that if whoever has commissioned you to record the gig wants a decent recording you have to tell them that you want the whole theatre sound system (and preferably the A/C) turned OFF during the recording!

I would start by fitting the omni capsules to the MC-012 and setting them up a main pair.

I would then stick that CAD179 into hypercardioid and rig it as a cello spot.

If, after moving your main pair around the room and lots of experimentation, the room still sounds truly awful, then Plan B might be to switch capsules on the MC-012s and deploy them in ORTF, or actually maybe the M179s as I see you have 2 of them; the latter meaning you won't miss the lower octave of the piano.

There are much more knowledgeable people than me on this forum, so hopefully you'll get some other/better advice!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Head
Thank you all for your replies. After the tech rehearsal, I have learned I will need to maintain a small footprint.
For my main stereo bar, I can go close to the stage but off to the side. Which I imagine would cause a skewed perspective.
Or on the balcony Approximately 20 feet back from the performers, where the mics would land roughly 15 feet above.

On the balcony I can get a great stereo image, but with a loss of low end. At such a distance I imagine ORTF would be better?
In this situation, I would supplement the stereo pair with a spot mic on the cello.

If I were to set up a pair off to the side of the stage I wonder how I would maintain an accurate stereo image? Perhaps Mid Side or Bluemlein trying my best to angle the mics with the cello centered?

Any input would be appreciated?

Edit: There will be no instruments in FOH for those who brought up that concern earlier.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Govier966 View Post
Thank you all for your replies. After the tech rehearsal, I have learned I will need to maintain a small footprint.
For my main stereo bar, I can go close to the stage but off to the side. Which I imagine would cause a skewed perspective ... Or on the balcony Approximately 20 feet back from the performers, where the mics would land roughly 15 feet above ... Edit: There will be no instruments in FOH for those who brought up that concern earlier.
If that is a rigid position on the part of the house... they obviously don't care tuppence about the acoustic recording. If your client is who requested the "small footprint", you will need to inform him/her that there is a simple "A" choice (a proper mic setup) and "B" choice (mics "wherever they can't be seen"). "B" will not be nearly as acceptable as "A".

IMO, not knowing the space at all, a "hardline" compromise would be ORTF pair on a short stand placed wherever you get the best image and blend. If that's off to the side... win/win. if that's center stage, client must realize that the recording will be not as good as it might be. Off to the side might work with some turning of the array to yield a decent stereo image... but the added distance might muck with that (and the duo vs. house noise relationship) as well. A soundcheck would be crucial to making these judgements.

One other option might be turning your omni pair into boundary mics by placing them on the floor. Again... I'd not want to contemplate that without an adequate soundcheck, and client sign-off.

Some gigs are just gonna be like this... where the "look" wins out over the sound.

Best of luck...

HB
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Govier966 View Post
Thank you all for your replies. After the tech rehearsal, I have learned I will need to maintain a small footprint.
For my main stereo bar, I can go close to the stage but off to the side. Which I imagine would cause a skewed perspective...
Is there anyway you can fly the mics overhead? Failing that, Harry's suggestion of using the omnis as boundary mics might work, and set up the ORTF on the balcony as a contingency...you have to be creative in these situations.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
If that is a rigid position on the part of the house... they obviously don't care tuppence about the acoustic recording. If your client is who requested the "small footprint", you will need to inform him/her that there is a simple "A" choice (a proper mic setup) and "B" choice (mics "wherever they can't be seen"). "B" will not be nearly as acceptable as "A".

IMO, not knowing the space at all, a "hardline" compromise would be ORTF pair on a short stand placed wherever you get the best image and blend. If that's off to the side... win/win. if that's center stage, client must realize that the recording will be not as good as it might be. Off to the side might work with some turning of the array to yield a decent stereo image... but the added distance might muck with that (and the duo vs. house noise relationship) as well. A soundcheck would be crucial to making these judgements.

One other option might be turning your omni pair into boundary mics by placing them on the floor. Again... I'd not want to contemplate that without an adequate soundcheck, and client sign-off.

Some gigs are just gonna be like this... where the "look" wins out over the sound.

Best of luck...

HB
Thanks Harry. I'll try my best to work this out with the client. A short stand may just be ok. We have worked together before and are working together again in the future. In the past, I had put a stereo pair on a stand in front of a string quartet with no problem. Maybe once he sees my setup in person it will be less of a concern of it being an eyesore.

Boundary mics are a good idea though I've never tried this with the oktava and set up time is limited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Is there anyway you can fly the mics overhead? Failing that, Harry's suggestion of using the omnis as boundary mics might work, and set up the ORTF on the balcony as a contingency...you have to be creative in these situations.
Flying the mics overhead is a good idea. I was hoping there would be a lighting truss in front of the performers but sadly there is not. I have a heavy duty C-Stand with an arm that could work. With it being silver I think it would be more of an eyesore than anything though.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Govier966 View Post
... Boundary mics are a good idea though I've never tried this with the oktava and set up time is limited.

Flying the mics overhead is a good idea. I was hoping there would be a lighting truss in front of the performers but sadly there is not. I have a heavy duty C-Stand with an arm that could work. With it being silver I think it would be more of an eyesore than anything though ...
It might be a great opportunity to give the omnis a try, providing you've time to mess around a bit after getting the ORTF set properly, and have two spare input channels. Though I've not done this exact setup, from what I've read, I'd decouple the mics from the floor with a thin (really thin... like 1/8") bit of foam or Sorbothane (Thorlabs - SB12A Sorbothane Sheet, 12" x 12" x 1/8", Hardness 70 Durometer), and set them centered on the image (not necessarily centered on the stage) you want to capture... starting at 20-30cm, and moving closer or farther apart until you achieve the image (with no "hole-in-the-middle") that you want. Bit of black gaff tape to anchor the cables... and it's nearly invisible. Crown have a lot of info regarding their boundary mics... you can read more here: Q. PZM and Boundary mics — what's the difference? |

The C-Stand is definitely a studio piece... on location, I like black... as do all my video buddies. There is NOTHING "unprofessional" about a clean black mic stand holding necessary transducers in the proper place... it's just another point of negotiation with the video crew and /or house people. I do whatever is required... but I also let my client know what to expect sonically from the compromise, and ascertain they are OK with signing off on that.

A serious good set of headphones will be your New Best Friend, as well, if you're not already so equipped.

Good luck... and post up a sample to two... I know I'd enjoy (and likely profit from) hearing how you tamed this beast.

Good luck... and Cheers!

HB
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
It might be a great opportunity to give the omnis a try, providing you've time to mess around a bit after getting the ORTF set properly, and have two spare input channels. Though I've not done this exact setup, from what I've read, I'd decouple the mics from the floor with a thin (really thin... like 1/8") bit of foam or Sorbothane (Thorlabs - SB12A Sorbothane Sheet, 12" x 12" x 1/8", Hardness 70 Durometer), and set them centered on the image (not necessarily centered on the stage) you want to capture... starting at 20-30cm, and moving closer or farther apart until you achieve the image (with no "hole-in-the-middle") that you want. Bit of black gaff tape to anchor the cables... and it's nearly invisible. Crown have a lot of info regarding their boundary mics... you can read more here: Q. PZM and Boundary mics — what's the difference? |

The C-Stand is definitely a studio piece... on location, I like black... as do all my video buddies. There is NOTHING "unprofessional" about a clean black mic stand holding necessary transducers in the proper place... it's just another point of negotiation with the video crew and /or house people. I do whatever is required... but I also let my client know what to expect sonically from the compromise, and ascertain they are OK with signing off on that.

A serious good set of headphones will be your New Best Friend, as well, if you're not already so equipped.

Good luck... and post up a sample to two... I know I'd enjoy (and likely profit from) hearing how you tamed this beast.

Good luck... and Cheers!

HB
Thank you! Now that you've clarified the approach to boundary set up, I definitely want to give it a go. I found the cello to lack bass in the room and I think a pair of omnis on the floor close by would fill that.

A clean black C stand is certainly something I want to invest in down the line. The two I have are great for shoots and studio work but not the prettiest. I found them in the trash a block from my house

I'm happy to share a clip when the project is complete.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 

i can't see much (if any) benefit of using stereo blm's or pcm's in this situation: imo the cello doesn't need stereo pickup anyhow but also, boundaries behave a bit different than mics on stands - without any reflections, they miss some important directional information to get combined into a pleasing stereo picture; one will just get phase issues due to different path lengths.

and regarding the positioning of sdc's as boundary mics, i suggest not to put the mic on an isolation pad but to use a small stand and clip, then angle the mic and bring the capsule as close as possible to the hard floor without touching it. even minimal distance from the floor can blur the image. - also, if using a cardioid to create a pzm, some of the vents of the mic get covered when laying it on the floor/pad, further affecting the mic pattern and frequency response...

anyway, signals from boundary mics need artificial early reflections in post to sound natural!


p.s. if the floor isn't wood, concrete or stone, one will need a large piece of wood underneath the mic: any carpet, dance floor etc. pretty much kills the effect one is looking for.

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 08:17 PM.. Reason: p.s. added
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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Larry Elliott's Avatar
Sometimes - one has to pass on a job it the client's requirements would result in an inferior result. This may be one of those time.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i can't see much (if any) benefit of using stereo blm's or pcm's in this situation: imo the cello doesn't need stereo pickup anyhow but also, boundaries behave a bit different than mics on stands - without any reflections, they miss some important directional information to get combined into a pleasing stereo picture; one will just get phase issues due to different path lengths.

and regarding the positioning of sdc's as boundary mics, i suggest not to put the mic on an isolation pad but to use a small stand and clip, then angle the mic and bring the capsule as close as possible to the hard floor without touching it. even minimal distance from the floor can blur the image. - also, if using a cardioid to create a pzm, some of the vents of the mic get covered when laying it on the floor/pad, further affecting the mic pattern and frequency response...

anyway, signals from boundary mics need artificial early reflections in post to sound natural!


p.s. if the floor isn't wood, concrete or stone, one will need a large piece of wood underneath the mic: any carpet, dance floor etc. pretty much kills the effect one is looking for.
Interesting point you mention about boundary mics. I did a pro bono recording of my friend's rock band live with a pair of Realistic PZM's. I think they are too noisy for this situation I'm afraid. I did wind up feeding the audio through some verb and the result was very nice. Stereo image was a bit odd though.

That being said Steve Albini uses a spaced set of oktavas sitting in omni for his room sound and it sounds great. Drum rooms room mics for a rock album are a very different beast than a classical duet tho.

What I'm thinking now is to start out with an ortf pair on a black straight stand on stage. I will first look for a sweet spot on stage but off to the side. If the sweet spot is in fact towards the middle I will try to negotiate.

If that doesn't work I'll do a boundary or two in omni and put the stereo pair up on the balcony.

Ideally, I will find a sweet spot of the ORTF Pair that is unobtrusive enough. As my main source. And add flanks up on the balcony where I will have my video camera and field recorder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Elliott View Post
Sometimes - one has to pass on a job it the client's requirements would result in an inferior result. This may be one of those time.

I get what you're saying. I have a personal relationship with the client and he gives me recurring work. Best not to burn bridges by walking away from the job. It's simply a matter of compromise. The goal is a quality archival recording. Of course, I personally want to do the best work I can.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Govier966 View Post
Interesting point you mention about boundary mics. I did a pro bono recording of my friend's rock band live with a pair of Realistic PZM's. I think they are too noisy for this situation I'm afraid. I did wind up feeding the audio through some verb and the result was very nice. Stereo image was a bit odd though.

That being said Steve Albini uses a spaced set of oktavas sitting in omni for his room sound and it sounds great. Drum rooms room mics for a rock album are a very different beast than a classical duet tho.

What I'm thinking now is to start out with an ortf pair on a black straight stand on stage. I will first look for a sweet spot on stage but off to the side. If the sweet spot is in fact towards the middle I will try to negotiate.

If that doesn't work I'll do a boundary or two in omni and put the stereo pair up on the balcony.

Ideally, I will find a sweet spot of the ORTF Pair that is unobtrusive enough. As my main source. And add flanks up on the balcony where I will have my video camera and field recorder.




I get what you're saying. I have a personal relationship with the client and he gives me recurring work. Best not to burn bridges by walking away from the job. It's simply a matter of compromise. The goal is a quality archival recording. Of course, I personally want to do the best work I can.
my comment was more about the use of stereo pzm's on a single instrument; no problem using a single pzm as spot though.

of course stereo pzm's can also work but i would use them but on groups of instruments/on an ensensemble and i think a wide a/b setting then works much better; i had to use this technique for small orchestra mains once or twice and it worked out okay (there was enough room between the front of the stage and the orchestra).

i guess lots of people have been using stereo pzm's for ambient pickup (not a unique 'albini-technique')...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

To clarify... My suggestion was NOT for using "stereo PZMs" on an instrument, but, in a pinch, a pair of omnis (no vents) the OP owns in a low-visibility requirement to augment/back up a (presumed) less-than-optimally placed ORTF pair (which he also already owns) placement. Sounds like Govier has a plan in place... now to see/hear how it turns out...

HB
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Head
Recording went well today. I wound up sticking to a simple and super discrete setup. 2 Oktava MC-012's in Omni on a black pad in front of the floor. From this position, the piano sounded dark and a bit low in the mix. I added another Oktava in Cardiod, outside the piano behind the soundboard. This position was chosen because it was conveniently hidden behind the poet's seat (: In retrospect, I wish I put a M179 in this position I think its brightness and variable polar pattern would have benefitted me in this situation.

Each poet had a 57 a few feet in front of them which was fed into the house slightly and also submixed into my recorder. The recorder I used for the job was my Sound Devices MixPre 6.

In post I did some light EQ to the tracks and fed the stereo pair into TrueVerb adding a moderate amount of early reflections and a little bit of reverb.

I have attached two clips below. Thank you to all who have helped with the process.
Attached Files

Decades Clip 2.mp3 (2.62 MB, 786 views)

Decades Clip 1.mp3 (2.45 MB, 780 views)

Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
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the instruments appear to be in much different rooms, the reverb (and especially its tail) sounds rather artificial and i would have opted for a different positioning of the instruments within the stereo field but it's at least an 'interesting' mix...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Maniac
I felt that the cello was too closely miked, or perhaps h/she just had a rather gritty sound?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Well done, getting a decent recording under difficult constraints.
The piano mic was probably a good last-minute option that helped a lot. On the subject of 'gritty' strings, I find it not uncommon with some players. I have little knowledge about the viol family but I have often wondered whether the player's sting/rosin/bow choices are optimal when grittiness appears. Of course a bit of mic distance can cover many sins, but it sounds like your placement options were very limited.

How were the poets' vocal mics captured - a split off the 57s going FOH? Or a feed from the FOH mix?

Last edited by jimjazzdad; 2 weeks ago at 11:44 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
the instruments appear to be in much different rooms, the reverb (and especially its tail) sounds rather artificial and i would have opted for a different positioning of the instruments within the stereo field but it's at least an 'interesting' mix...
Thank you for the feedback, the positioning, unfortunately, was what it was. Had I been able to put the mics on a stand few rows back I'm sure the results would have been better. I may experiment with the reverbs a bit before I deliver a final mix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
I felt that the cello was too closely miked, or perhaps h/she just had a rather gritty sound?
The cello was a bit gritty in person. The oktavas themselves have a bit of grit to them too. cut out a bit of 1.5K and cut with a shelf at 5k to try and mitigate this a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Well done, getting a decent recording under difficult constraints.
The piano mic was probably a good last-minute option that helped a lot. On the subject of 'gritty' strings, I find it not uncommon with some players. I have little knowledge about the viol family but I have often wondered whether the player's sting/rosin/bow choices are optimal when grittiness appears. Of course a bit of mic distance can cover many sins, but it sounds like the OP's placement options were very limited.

How were the poets' vocal mics captured - a split off the 57s going FOH? Or a feed from the FOH mix?
Thank you! The 57's were fed to me from FOH. The FOH preamps were noisier than the sound devices preamps and required some clip gain automation as well as de-noising. Sadly the venue dosen't have any splits and I only have a 1 channel split right now. This was definitely the most time-consuming part of post-production. The sound of the poetry was good though. I can post up a clip when I have a chance.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
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i know your options for placement during recording were limited: i'm talking about the instrument's position in the stereo field of the mix though...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
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Franz Schiller's Avatar
Interestingly enough, I also have to record a cello & piano duet in the near future, and I would also appreciate advice.

Like the original OP, this is a live situation (not able to test mics and positions) and I'll have only ten or fifteen minutes to set up. Unlike the original OP though, I am not constrained by much. I can put mics right in front of the cello or right in the piano if I want.

Here are mics I either own or can borrow:

Blue Baby Bottle (the original from around 2004)
Shure KSM27 (2 X)
Rode NT-4 stereo mic
Rode NTG-2 shotgun
Sony ECM-XM1 shotgun
Sennheiser e935 (2 X)
Sennheiser e609 (2 X)
EV RE20

My main concern is picking up too much ambient noise. For example, I put the KSM27 in front of a piano before, and though it sounded great, I could clearly hear the creaking of the piano bench, and turning the pages of sheet music. I used the NTG-2 on a piano on another occasion, and it definitely reduced the ambient noise, but the piano sounded more mediocre. I was thinking of using the NT4 stereo mic inside the piano and maybe back away from the hammers.

For the cello, I've used a shotgun mic, which worked pretty well. I was considering the Sennheiser e935, which, while it's a dynamic mic, has a pretty full sound to it. I was considering picking up a used AKG C414 of some sort, but I'm concerned about the large diaphragm mics picking up too much of ambient noise (audience walking around, etc).

(By the way, I'm more of a video producer than an audio engineer, so pardon me if these ideas are off the wall.)

Anyone have any thoughts?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franz Schiller View Post
Interestingly enough, I also have to record a cello & piano duet in the near future, and I would also appreciate advice.

Like the original OP, this is a live situation (not able to test mics and positions) and I'll have only ten or fifteen minutes to set up. Unlike the original OP though, I am not constrained by much. I can put mics right in front of the cello or right in the piano if I want.

Here are mics I either own or can borrow:

Blue Baby Bottle (the original from around 2004)
Shure KSM27 (2 X)
Rode NT-4 stereo mic
Rode NTG-2 shotgun
Sony ECM-XM1 shotgun
Sennheiser e935 (2 X)
Sennheiser e609 (2 X)
EV RE20

My main concern is picking up too much ambient noise. For example, I put the KSM27 in front of a piano before, and though it sounded great, I could clearly hear the creaking of the piano bench, and turning the pages of sheet music. I used the NTG-2 on a piano on another occasion, and it definitely reduced the ambient noise, but the piano sounded more mediocre. I was thinking of using the NT4 stereo mic inside the piano and maybe back away from the hammers.

For the cello, I've used a shotgun mic, which worked pretty well. I was considering the Sennheiser e935, which, while it's a dynamic mic, has a pretty full sound to it. I was considering picking up a used AKG C414 of some sort, but I'm concerned about the large diaphragm mics picking up too much of ambient noise (audience walking around, etc).

(By the way, I'm more of a video producer than an audio engineer, so pardon me if these ideas are off the wall.)

Anyone have any thoughts?
Is this a concert, recital, or some other music-centric event where the audience will at least try to be quiet? Or is the music secondary to something else, with significant risk of footsteps, conversations, etc? Also, will it be in a nice sounding room?

I ask these questions because you normally want to capture the sound of the room, meaning early reflections and reverb, along with the instruments. It's also generally better to leave distance between big instruments and mics to get a more natural, even, balanced picture of all the tones coming from the instrument, instead of accentuating certain parts of the tone. Having said that, in certain extreme circumstances, close mics plus digital reverb are better than room noise. So, it's all very situation specific.

I doubt you'll get what you want with the Sennheiser on cello, although I could be wrong. If I were going to try a dynamic on it, I'd try the RE20. It's got a smoother, more natural frequency response, and since it has very little proximity effect, you can get relatively close without getting the tubby, woofy bass response that most directional mics suffer from when used at close range.

I'll reserve any other mic recommendations until we learn if you can leave some space (almost always my preference,) or if you absolutely have to close-mic.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
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Franz Schiller's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
Is this a concert, recital, or some other music-centric event where the audience will at least try to be quiet? Or is the music secondary to something else, with significant risk of footsteps, conversations, etc? Also, will it be in a nice sounding room?

I ask these questions because you normally want to capture the sound of the room, meaning early reflections and reverb, along with the instruments. It's also generally better to leave distance between big instruments and mics to get a more natural, even, balanced picture of all the tones coming from the instrument, instead of accentuating certain parts of the tone. Having said that, in certain extreme circumstances, close mics plus digital reverb are better than room noise. So, it's all very situation specific.

I doubt you'll get what you want with the Sennheiser on cello, although I could be wrong. If I were going to try a dynamic on it, I'd try the RE20. It's got a smoother, more natural frequency response, and since it has very little proximity effect, you can get relatively close without getting the tubby, woofy bass response that most directional mics suffer from when used at close range.

I'll reserve any other mic recommendations until we learn if you can leave some space (almost always my preference,) or if you absolutely have to close-mic.
Thanks for your reply! It's a small concert, maybe forty to fifty people. I am certain some folks are going to bring their kids, and will walk around. I'm sure they will be polite since they're there for the music, but the noise is inevitable.

But to answer your question, yes, I could certainly put at least a few feet between the mics and the instruments.

The RE20 is a good idea...it might also mellow out some of the harsher string noises I often hear on cello recordings.

I was really only disposed to close mic'ing to reduce unwelcome audience sounds....but do you have any thoughts on the piano?

Thanks!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Addict
 

I don't know quite how bad the noise will be, nor do I know how picky you are about noises. Personally, I put more emphasis on getting the instruments to sound the way I want, and just accept the fact that some noise is inevitable in live recordings. So, my approach may not be right for you.

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.

I would hope to use just the main pair if things went well, but would have spots available to mix as needed.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #27
Gear Addict
 

P.S. My comments were based on the assumption of multi tracking, then being able to decide in post between close, ambient, or a mix. If you have to mix and commit on the fly it gets that much trickier!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #28
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i like the re20 on many things but i'm not sure it's a good choice in this situation; you'll need a ton of gain on the cello...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i like the re20 on many things but i'm not sure it's a good choice in this situation; you'll need a ton of gain on the cello...
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.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
P.S. My comments were based on the assumption of multi tracking, then being able to decide in post between close, ambient, or a mix. If you have to mix and commit on the fly it gets that much trickier!
Yes, I'll be multi tracking.

Thanks Ebeowulf for the advice!
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