The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Debut recording with Schoeps MK4
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Debut recording with Schoeps MK4

Hi all, I hope it's okay to post what is really an intro in the remote forum, but I've learned a lot from the experiences and opinions of those who post here, and I would like to share an excerpt of a "debut" recording:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/giqejmvpah...cerpt.wav?dl=0

A few months ago I worked on a recording project with an early music ensemble, and I fear I've been bitten by the bug! Professionally I work in audio post production, but having a "classical" music background, it was incredibly satisfying to be a small part of crafting this recording, and I'm looking out for my next opportunity, with the hope that I can work with performers who specialize in renaissance and baroque repertoire.

Some details: Schoeps CMC6/MK4 stereo set in NOS configuration (I felt more confident in my ability to set up this configuration quickly and accurately than ORTF), elavated at 2 meters and angled down at about 30-40 degrees > John Hardy M1 pre > Zoom F8 recorder. All edits made in Reaper. Some subtle (I hope) volume automation. Dynamic EQ using FabFilter ProMB (linear phase mode) set around 750Hz to tame the extremes of the singer's bloom (it only kicks in 1-2dB). And finally, some very light master bus compression using Airwindows ButterComp2. This reads like a lot of processing, but I've tried to keep it as light touch and transparent as possible.

Personally, I was very flattered with the results I got with the Schoeps. I know many on these forums prefer other capsules to the MK4, and I've since read that NOS configuration is best employed with wide cardioids; but this setup seemed to achieve, to me, a pleasing balance between the reverb of the church while providing an intimate perspective to the performers. I did spot mic as a backup to the main pair, but the result was a hot mess of different tonal flavors and bleed levels, and nothing I mixed in seemed to improve upon the spatial image and tonality of the main pair. Likewise, a pair of Audio Technica AT4022s were placed further down the nave for ambience, but these too ended up being superfluous.

The ensemble was very easy to work with and were open to me moving them around a bit to balance the spatial image and blend. I ended up with the singer a couple of feet back from the other players, and I brought the theorbo in a little bit compared to the viola da gamba. I think some may find the spatial image a bit indulgent, and I do hear the singer move a little (she sways naturally while performing), but I also enjoy the clarity of being able to pick out each instrument clearly.

While I would like to do more of this kind of recording, I'm new to this part of the world (Ireland) and I don't want to tread on the toes of any local professionals. I also have a bit of the attitude that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well, so I don't want to waste my time with less-than-competent performers, fighting losing battles against traffic, AC, etc... I've done my share of freebies in audio post, and am intimately familiar with the "no good deed goes unpunished" philosophy! I hope that doesn't come across as too snobbish, and that there's room for some middle ground.

Well, I would appreciate any thoughts or feedback from the learned ears here.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I listened to it
Sounded nice gotta love those MK4s'

On my computer speakers it sounded a bit too close with the mics
The flute was off on the right and the VCL seemed a bit unstable in the sound stage
Would have liked to hear the players a little more surrounded by the hall

Nice Work over all!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
On my computer speakers it sounded a bit too close with the mics
The flute was off on the right and the VCL seemed a bit unstable in the sound stage
Would have liked to hear the players a little more surrounded by the hall
Yes, I agree. Having digested the Williams "Stereo Zoom" paper, I see how the NOS pattern exaggerates the sound stage at the distance I had it set up. My understanding is that ORTF in the same position would have presented the sound stage as "narrower".

Next time I would set the players up a little closer to each other, and perhaps arrange the singer and recorder a little closer to "center".

I appreciate you taking the time to listen and comment!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by metalsquirrel View Post
Yes, I agree. Having digested the Williams "Stereo Zoom" paper, I see how the NOS pattern exaggerates the sound stage at the distance I had it set up. My understanding is that ORTF in the same position would have presented the sound stage as "narrower".

Next time I would set the players up a little closer to each other, and perhaps arrange the singer and recorder a little closer to "center".

I appreciate you taking the time to listen and comment!
maybe try ORTF next time it works real well and is - to me- very forgiving

on this one - You might go at it again with no effects

I listened again it does sound real nice
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
on this one - You might go at it again with no effects
Certainly willing to give it a go, although I think you edited your comment while I was making adjustments

Compression removed (but I retained my volume automation), added a slight Baxandall EQ boost which kicks in between 8 and 10kHz. Narrowed the stereo image down to around 75%, which seems to work fine, at least as far as I can tell:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hkdkbeses4...%20v2.wav?dl=0

I do hear what you mean about the vocal imaging wandering - the singer physically moved her head quite a bit while performing, and that's something I would want to be more attentive to in the future. Due to the movement I think I also sometimes hear reflections from the music stand or floor (which was stone). Would it be normal practice to place a rug or something absorptive down, or is that overkill?

Thanks again for your constructive critique.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by metalsquirrel View Post
Certainly willing to give it a go, although I think you edited your comment while I was making adjustments

Compression removed (but I retained my volume automation), added a slight Baxandall EQ boost which kicks in between 8 and 10kHz. Narrowed the stereo image down to around 75%, which seems to work fine, at least as far as I can tell:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hkdkbeses4...%20v2.wav?dl=0

I do hear what you mean about the vocal imaging wandering - the singer physically moved her head quite a bit while performing, and that's something I would want to be more attentive to in the future. Due to the movement I think I also sometimes hear reflections from the music stand or floor (which was stone). Would it be normal practice to place a rug or something absorptive down, or is that overkill?

Thanks again for your constructive critique.
wow it sounds a lot better

Thanks means alot
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Addict
 
lukedamrosch's Avatar
 

Amen, much nicer with the reduced processing

Thank you for sharing and welcome!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
elpillo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by metalsquirrel View Post
Hi all, I hope it's okay to post what is really an intro in the remote forum, but I've learned a lot from the experiences and opinions of those who post here, and I would like to share an excerpt of a "debut" recording:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/giqejmvpah...cerpt.wav?dl=0
I think it sounds pretty good. I probably would've liked a little more of the room, and a little less of the singer. I like it better without the compressor.
Congrats!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Here for the gear
 

It's certainly educational to get a sense for what others hear, or want to hear in a recording

The call for a bit more "room" led me to experiment with mixing in a little bit of the AT4022 ambient pair which I'd previously rejected:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2ktrah48ue...%20v3.wav?dl=0

I was unsure about mixing the two perspectives, as the AT4022s were quite far back and have a more center-heavy perspective, but I think I like it - it "describes" the church in a bit more detail, if you will.

Slightly OT, but I'm thinking about replacing the 4022s with a pair of OM1s. The 4022s sound good but are not well matched to my ears, which pretty much negates their potential use as a main pair (they weren't purchased as a matched pair, so no surprises there!).

From what I read in other threads, the Line Audio mics are produced to tight tolerances - would any OM1 owners care to comment on how well matched they are? Or can they be ordered as specifically matched pair? I suppose I could ask JP @ No Hype Audio directly.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Lives for gear
Thats better.
Its still a bit close
Keep it Simple for acoustic rendering, its meant to sound real, not hyper real remember.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

imo it's not a good idea to have ambient mics add to a 'center heavy' soundfield.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Thanks all for your thoughts.

Quote:
Its still a bit close
Keep it Simple for acoustic rendering, its meant to sound real, not hyper real remember.
Yes, next time I would definitely pull the main pair back a bit. That's my inexperience at work . I do like the sense of immersion achieved, but you're absolutely right - that's hyper real thinking!

Quote:
imo it's not a good idea to have ambient mics add to a 'center heavy' soundfield.
When I listen again carefully with and without the ambient mics, the reverb in the MK4 main pair does occur more towards the center of the sound stage - at least I hear the reverb tails from the singer's louder moments heading off that way. That's consistent with how it "should" work in a long church. I made some slight level adjustments to the ambient pair - they were tilting a bit to the right (as I said, not a precisely matched pair) - and to my ears they now work pretty well.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by metalsquirrel View Post
When I listen again carefully with and without the ambient mics, the reverb in the MK4 main pair does occur more towards the center of the sound stage - at least I hear the reverb tails from the singer's louder moments heading off that way. That's consistent with how it "should" work in a long church. I made some slight level adjustments to the ambient pair - they were tilting a bit to the right (as I said, not a precisely matched pair) - and to my ears they now work pretty well.
it's quite normal to have precise directional cues from (close to) coincident main microphones (if not being the main reason to use them) but imo an additional ambient pair does not need to (or even 'should') portray the room in the same way: i personally much prefer getting uncorrelated signals from ambis which has the additional benefit that neither matching nor even the mic pattern does matter very much; it also allows to 'open up the room'/spread the stereo width of a mix should that ever be needed - which can easily be the case when using (close to) coincident main mics...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 01:53 PM.. Reason: edited/typo
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
i personally much prefer getting uncorrelated signals from ambis with has the additional benefit that neither matching nor even the mic pattern does matter very much; it also allows to 'open up the room' in the mix should that ever be needed
Thanks for the additional explanation, and yes, that makes perfect sense. I think in my case I've ended up with a slightly too spacious main pair, and insufficiently de-correlated ambient mics! I will certainly approach things a bit differently next time.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Head
 
Eric D's Avatar
 

[QUOTE=metalsquirrel;14114185


From what I read in other threads, the Line Audio mics are produced to tight tolerances - would any OM1 owners care to comment on how well matched they are? Or can they be ordered as specifically matched pair? I suppose I could ask JP @ No Hype Audio directly.[/QUOTE]

Hi,

I have 2 pairs of Line Audio OM1's, ordered as 2 matched pairs from JP .
The matching is absolutely perfect, not sure if JP does the matching using measuring equipment or his ears, but the matching is as goood as for my Schoeps matched pair . No audible difference between microphones at all !
The more I use these little microphones, the more I'm impressed by their abilities to make great, natural souding recordings !
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
No audible difference between microphones at all !
Excellent, and thanks for chiming in - I will put a pair on my shopping list
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
it's quite normal to have precise directional cues from (close to) coincident main microphones (if not being the main reason to use them) but imo an additional ambient pair does not need to (or even 'should') portray the room in the same way: i personally much prefer getting uncorrelated signals from ambis which has the additional benefit that neither matching nor even the mic pattern does matter very much; it also allows to 'open up the room'/spread the stereo width of a mix should that ever be needed - which can easily be the case when using (close to) coincident main mics...
I'm not convinced that 'close, directional mics plus distant, uncorrelated ambient mics' is ever as good (or convincing) as either a directional pair...or omni pair...placed at exactly the right distance, to pick up the best ratio of distant to ambient information... from a single pair.

Of course it's often not possible to achieve this 'silver ratio' very often, due to set-up time constraints...or audience seating needs or sight-line or video crew or the 100's of other inconvenient shocks that human flesh is heir to...but it's still the best approach to aim for. A formulaic 'close mics plus ambient mics' is always for me going to be a lazy compromise...and maybe the 'TF/Boojum/Norman 4 mics on a bar' is the same approach in a nutshell also ? Which is why the latter doesn't always work, either.

To employ a cookery analogy, it seems to be like automatically adding a thickening agent to make a sauce from a very fluid stock or juice base, versus reducing that base by heating and stirring, until the fluid volume reduces naturally, and the flavours become concentrated.

Again, the latter approach takes time, skill, diligence to use to best advantage...and lots of folks are in a rush to put dinner on the table....so reach for the short cut as default strategy.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I'm not convinced that 'close, directional mics plus distant, uncorrelated ambient mics' is ever as good (or convincing) as either a directional pair...or omni pair...placed at exactly the right distance, to pick up the best ratio of distant to ambient information... from a single pair.

Of course it's often not possible to achieve this 'silver ratio' very often, due to set-up time constraints...or audience seating needs or sight-line or video crew or the 100's of other inconvenient shocks that human flesh is heir to...but it's still the best approach to aim for. A formulaic 'close mics plus ambient mics' is always for me going to be a lazy compromise...and maybe the 'TF/Boojum/Norman 4 mics on a bar' is the same approach in a nutshell also ? Which is why the latter doesn't always work, either.

To employ a cookery analogy, it seems to be like automatically adding a thickening agent to make a sauce from a very fluid stock or juice base, versus reducing that base by heating and stirring, until the fluid volume reduces naturally, and the flavours become concentrated.

Again, the latter approach takes time, skill, diligence to use to best advantage...and lots of folks are in a rush to put dinner on the table....so reach for the short cut as default strategy.
it's not that i adhere to a strict formula: one of the reasons why i hardly ever end up using the tracks of the spaced omni pair for mains is that i just don't like the ambient sound to be 'mixed in' with no option to rebalance between direct, reflected and reverberant sound.

plus ambis can be put everywhere, doesn't have to be at the rear of the room ; when setting them up on side of the stage, the trick is to avoid most of the direct sound and not to get too many early reflections.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
I'm not convinced that 'close, directional mics plus distant, uncorrelated ambient mics' is ever as good (or convincing) as either a directional pair...or omni pair...placed at exactly the right distance, to pick up the best ratio of distant to ambient information... from a single pair.
To be honest, working in a relatively large, reverberant church made me a bit nervous and want to get in closer - purely because I know once you have the reverb on the track, there ain't no getting rid of it... (and I spend plenty of time trying to "dry out" dialog tracks )

But I absolutely accept that it is possible to get that balance right with a single pair of mics.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
Lives for gear
get a decent pair of cans.
Then listen intently.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
get a decent pair of cans.
Then listen intently.
I've just been getting acquainted with my new set of Sennheiser HD 600s which arrived at the beginning of the week.

Thanks again to everyone who chimed in.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

I actually prefer the clip without the ambient mics . . . although it would be nice to hear a bit more of the room, the energy, rhythm, and immediacy of the playing comes across very clearly. IMO this is extremely important for this sort of music, as there are many perfectly pleasant recordings/performances in this style that simply become pretty wallpaper and don't really hold one's attention.

I think there's a certain degree of the room reverb balance equation that's just cardioids being cardioids, and you'll have to be careful in mixing in ambient mics lest they start to cover up the main pair's natural strengths . . . and rapidly take the recording down the road of "meah", even if it manages to hit bullet-points on room, soundstage and image presentation.

Thanks for sharing . . .
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Compression removed (but I retained my volume automation), added a slight Baxandall EQ boost which kicks in between 8 and 10kHz. Narrowed the stereo image down to around 75%, which seems to work fine, at least as far as I can tell:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hkdkbeses4...%20v2.wav?dl=0

This one sounds so much nicer than the ambient add which was dulling

I did a NOS and ended up narrowing the width at 80% that's what made me suggest that.
NOS does seem to take stereo width adjustments well
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkus View Post
IMO this is extremely important for this sort of music, as there are many perfectly pleasant recordings/performances in this style that simply become pretty wallpaper and don't really hold one's attention.
Yes, the ensemble definitely skews towards energy and audience engagement in their live performances, and the intention was to try to capture that rather than chase perfection. So I'm glad it comes across


Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
NOS does seem to take stereo width adjustments well
I was a bit surprised that it seemed to do so with no apparent phase problems, but I assume the even off-axis response of the MK4s have something to do with that.

The initial recording I posted was actually approved by the ensemble, but it may end up being re-adjusted, as it has to be "matched" with another instrumental-only session done earlier this year. Same mics and NOS configuration, but this session was recorded in a different part of the church to avoid noise/hum coming through the floor from the furnace in the basement.

There are also additional sessions to come which won't be recorded by me, so final decisions will have to wait until after that.

So many variables!
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump