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Techniques for recording in a trio in the round Analog Processors (HW)
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Techniques for recording in a trio in the round

I am planning to record an album for an instrumental folk trio later this year. They are interested in recording in the round, on location in a hall known for its stellar acoustics. We are looking to capture the ambience and vibe of the group playing in this space, but with a bit of the punch and dynamic control you would find in a studio setting. Since this is not a live performance, I have a bit of liberty with the setup and mic placements, as long as they can remain facing each other.

I was thinking I would set them up in a triangle in the center of the space, with a pair of spaced omnis in the middle, and spots on each instrument for more control. My logic is that the image will collapse along the axis of the pair, leaving the performers panned nicely across the stereo field. See the diagram below.

I have two questions -
First, is this the best technique to maintain a coherent image, while allowing the musicians to face each other? I have also thought about Blumlein, Blumlein M-S, but I am leaning towards the spaced omnis. Are there other options I should consider?

Second, I was considering adding a absorptive divider between the two upper positions to give a little more separation in the spot mics, as marked by the blue line in the diagram, but I am unsure how this will affect the image picked up by the main pair. Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 1 week ago
  #2
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surflounge's Avatar
two omnis facing up, or a Nevaton MC50-QuAD center of musicians
or stereo ribbon
SAMAR VL373

Last edited by surflounge; 1 week ago at 05:19 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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The Nevaton Quad looks interesting. Similar to the concept of the Antelope Edge Quad without the modeling, I suppose. I can't find any US dealers or much info on frequency response. I'm not too familiar with the brand. What's your experience with this mic?

What orientation would you use either of these in - conventional Blumlein or Blumlein M-S, something else?
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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if musicians really have to/want to set up this way (do they also perform like this?), use a soundfield as your main mic - imo spaced pairs (or any other technique without enough directional pickup) cannot 'unwrap' the sound of a circular setup into a stereo soundfield.

and of course you'll want directional spot mics (hypercardioids in this case for optimum rejection around 120 degrees) if the 'main' mics don't get you a nice overall sound and/or if the banance is off'! (you can still use the tracks as pseudo ambis if you feed them into efx devices though)
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Seems to me your basic thinking is sound. Either spaced omnis or Blumlein ought to work, though they will give rather different results. If you have enough mics you could set up both and choose after the facts.

Not sure I'd bother with the baffle, especially if there is a risk that it will disrupt sight lines between the musicians.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Yes, consider a Soundfield. Find the sweet spot (where all 3 instruments are balanced while the mic decode is set to “omni.) You can decode later
to whatever mic pattern and angle sounds best
in stereo.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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I haven't tested it myself, but I've read lots of warnings indicating that you can use the front 90 degrees and the back 90 degrees on a Blumlein pair, but you should avoid the sides. So, if you use Blumlein, you may want to pay close attention to where the two off axis players are.

This thread includes a fair bit of discussion of the potential issue:
Phase issues with Blumlein Capture

To be clear, I'm not advising against the technique. In my limited experience with it, I've gotten great results and really liked it - I'm just warning you what to watch out for.

Another option would be MS with an omni mid, which decodes to back-to-back cardioids.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
I haven't tested it myself, but I've read lots of warnings indicating that you can use the front 90 degrees and the back 90 degrees on a Blumlein pair, but you should avoid the sides. So, if you use Blumlein, you may want to pay close attention to where the two off axis players are.

This thread includes a fair bit of discussion of the potential issue:
Phase issues with Blumlein Capture

To be clear, I'm not advising against the technique. In my limited experience with it, I've gotten great results and really liked it - I'm just warning you what to watch out for.

Another option would be MS with an omni mid, which decodes to back-to-back cardioids.
I would advise against omni m/s in this situation as it tends to work best close up in my experience. A boundary mic spaced pair situation could work here, but theres very limited mic choice there. You could angle and space a pair of figure 8's so that the rear sides are pointing at the central musician and the +ve lobes are facing the other two, not something I've tried a lot though. Three cardioids pointing equally outwards could also work. Omnis are usable, but they don't have much to point at in this situation, so unless you have very bright omnis or very small omnis (which have higher noise), it may come out oddly and require spotting to bring back some of the top end.

We live close to each other though, so I've pm'd the OP.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Check out this clip from mint intelligence on the Silver Bullet thread.

Louder than Liftoff Silver Bullet first impressions

Samar > Silver Bullet > Daw. Amazing.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Cardiod condenser pointed at each musician. That way leakage is well controlled and the room sound is still picked up. It should be a great sounding room.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
I haven't tested it myself, but I've read lots of warnings indicating that you can use the front 90 degrees and the back 90 degrees on a Blumlein pair, but you should avoid the sides. So, if you use Blumlein, you may want to pay close attention to where the two off axis players are.

[...]

Another option would be MS with an omni mid, which decodes to back-to-back cardioids.
The potential phase issue is why I was leaning towards the omnis instead.

I was also considering the Omni M-S, but I had heard mixed reviews. Anyone have experience with this setup to share?
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
[...] You could angle and space a pair of figure 8's so that the rear sides are pointing at the central musician and the +ve lobes are facing the other two, not something I've tried a lot though.

[...]

We live close to each other though, so I've pm'd the OP.
Hey, a fellow Haligonian! Thanks for the PM.

I am curious about this setup. I haven't heard of anything like this before. What's the ideal spacing? How does it sound?
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
Check out this clip from mint intelligence on the Silver Bullet thread.

Louder than Liftoff Silver Bullet first impressions

Samar > Silver Bullet > Daw. Amazing.
That recording is lovely. I perused the other thread but couldn't find any info on how the performers were actually setup in relation to the mic. Did I miss it?
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmillerpipes View Post
That recording is lovely. I perused the other thread but couldn't find any info on how the performers were actually setup in relation to the mic. Did I miss it?
No kidding, right? I don't think he mentioned how the musicians were arranged although I'm guessing in a rough semi-circle with adjustments for volume (quite instruments closer to the mic). You can always ask him.

Edit: TBH, The Silver Bullet is a tone shaping preamp and does a lot more than what was used to record this clip. I think any decent Neve or API clone mic pre (I forget which was used) could work. The real gem was that Samar mic.

:o)
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmillerpipes View Post
Hey, a fellow Haligonian! Thanks for the PM.

I am curious about this setup. I haven't heard of anything like this before. What's the ideal spacing? How does it sound?
Well, the only thing I'll say is two mics pointed inwards will position the thing they are pointed at in the centre and as closer than another positioning. Because of figure-8's sharp directionality much deviation from Blumlein can end up sounding narrow, depending on the acoustic and microphones used, but it is worth experimenting with. Perhaps start with Blumlein and introduce some spacing at home and see what happens.

Kavi Alexander talked to me once about introducing some spacing in his Blumlein setups for a little more open-ness.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmillerpipes View Post
I have also thought about Blumlein, Blumlein M-S, but I am leaning towards the spaced omnis.
Blumlein MS is a bad choice... think carefully about the geometry of Blumlein pickup. Omni MS will work, or as Surflounge suggested 2 omnis pointing upward (close spaced).
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Thumbs up

If I was doing this I would consider an MS rig of MKH 40/30 (cardioid mid) or, more likely, a pseudo dummy head recording with a pair of Gefell M221 on a Schneider Disk (or Jecklin Disk).

I recently recorded piano and soprano with the above Schneider Disk arrangement and the performers were absolutely delighted with the results.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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3 mics at 120 degree spacing as spots will pretty much give you a mono spot for each, plus some off axis leakage/spill from the other 2 players...so how that sounds will depend on the off-axis behaviour of those 3 mics ?

An additional omni pair higher up will capture more of the room acoustic...but it's hard to say how well you'll be able to overlay the 2 sets of arrays while maintaining positional accuracy between both (I'd be very surprised if you got terrific congruence between the pairs in terms of location, width, depth)

If the 2 sets of mics are 'fighting' each other in terms of spatial placement of the instruments...well, that won't be much fun at all !

For this reason it might be better to commit to a single array...or else arrange the players in a traditional line or bowed curve, where the chances of "pair congruence" will be higher (if you do use a main pair plus spots)

If your intention is to produce a surround mix only, then it should all sound wonderful and immersive (but likely not stereo compatible !)
Old 6 days ago
  #19
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Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
3 mics at 120 degree spacing as spots will pretty much give you a mono spot for each, plus some off axis leakage/spill from the other 2 players...so how that sounds will depend on the off-axis behaviour of those 3 mics ?
Following from that idea, three hypercardioids at 120 degrees each would cover the trio nicely. Each mic focused on one musician, with the other two in the nulls. It would take some messing around to get everyone in the right spot because those rear nulls are small, but it will work.

It’s the same logic behind using hypercardioids for vocals live on stage, and placing the monitors in the nulls.
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