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Harpsichord in a big church Condenser Microphones
Old 12th May 2006
  #31
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matyas's Avatar
 

Performer's perspective?

Not sure if it would be right for this particular recording, but I was just listening to one of my favorite new harpsichord recordings, Richard Egarr's performance of the Goldberg Variations on Harmonia Mundi, and it sounds as though the microphones were placed behind the player, giving a "performer's perspective." It's especially noticeable when listening with headphones. You can hear the bass strings in the lefdt, and the treble is more in the right. I think it's a really cool effect, especially for Bach - so much of his music, and baroque music in general was really meant for the player, or at least for very small audiences, and this kind of recording really brings that home.
Old 12th May 2006
  #32
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That's cool.
Old 12th May 2006
  #33
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt

Try recording solo oboe or clarinet with spaced omnis, you will see where they got the original space invaders sounds from.
Most modern orchestral recordings are done with some form of spaced omnis. seeing as all orchestral music features a lot of solo oboe and clarinet I find it hard to believe that this technique is a disaster for the above mentioned instruments.

kjetil
Old 13th May 2006
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm
Most modern orchestral recordings are done with some form of spaced omnis. seeing as all orchestral music features a lot of solo oboe and clarinet I find it hard to believe that this technique is a disaster for the above mentioned instruments.kjetil
Usually in an orchestral situation the woods are located much further away to the main pair than in a solo recording context.

Just try it anyway, its very easy to hear, then you don't have to "believe".
Old 13th May 2006
  #35
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
For me half the battle of recording harpsichord is making sure you find a warm resonant sounding instrument. Many of the harpsichords around are more or less homebuilt. But there are a few exellent ones in most larger cities and you can often borrow it or rent it for a small fee.



Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt
Just try it anyway, its very easy to hear, then you don't have to "believe".
I have not had this experience, and neither has our producer who is a clarinettist.
We most always pan hard left right in this situation.
Maybe Ben can chime in with some insight.
Old 13th May 2006
  #36
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm
Most modern orchestral recordings are done with some form of spaced omnis. seeing as all orchestral music features a lot of solo oboe and clarinet I find it hard to believe that this technique is a disaster for the above mentioned instruments.

kjetil
If the clarinet(player) is able to stand still it's still OK. The moment they start moving. AB techniques start getting funny.

Sometimes really funny.
I'm also talking about the situation where the clarinet is close to the spaced pair. Especially on a hard reflective floor.
Old 13th May 2006
  #37
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matyas
...and it sounds as though the microphones were placed behind the player, giving a "performer's perspective."...
The performers perspective can be the audience perspective too...

Examples from three different perspectives. The first came about because the harpsichordpiece was part of a chamber music concert and the participants needed eyecontact (ortf-ish). The second is a harpsichord recital with the side of the instrument towards the audience (A/B). The third is from a chamber music concert with a more distant perspective (ortf-ish + mic on harpsichord).


Mics almost looking down on the instrument from above the players right sholder. Lid removed.




Another instrument. Lid removed.

There are two churches, two players and two different instruments.

( samples removed/L )

best regards
Lars
Old 13th May 2006
  #38
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pkautzsch's Avatar
 

Spaced Omnis. Not too close, not too far away. Audience can take away a lot of reverberation, so if you're a little too far away in the rehearsal, it should be fine in the concert.
The greatest problem with the harpsichord is that it sounds too sharp on the mic in comparison to the audience. So a mic with a not-too-detailed transient response can be nice, as well as putting the mics up quite low. Maybe you even want to try a cardioid UNDER the instrument.

My mic recommendations: Schoeps MK2, or maybe a pair of warmish LDCs. Warm tube mics could be nice too. If you can get them, try Neumann KM53 or 54.
Old 13th May 2006
  #39
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
I see the problem now.
I hate players that move too much as well as clarinettists that swing the bell around. It even sounds bad from an audience perspective.
wah-wah clarinet
Old 15th June 2006
  #40
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I-Quality's Avatar
hey I've done it

so yesterday was the day....

actually everything didn't go smooothly, as usual lol, forgot cables, mics not working etc so we didn't have a lot of time to experiment, but the result is not too bad I guess a part from the room noise...

well anyway here is a sample (no processing a part from some gain...)

http://www.darksite.ch/donutsbadtrip...es-lalanza.mp3

some mid 18th century music


so now let's talk some more heh

I had quite some gain problem, now I really have to get a premium high gain low noise...with my fw1884 I couldn't push the preamps more because at 8/10th of maximum gain it gets noisy...so when the harpsichord is playing it's maxing out at -33db and when there was applause and the singer it was at -12, now that is dynamic! so maybe I woudn't even need more gain.....
hmmm I just retested and it's more at 6/10th, maybe noise was added from them damn it...ok I'm quite sure now :(((((( I need a real preamp..and money

in this clip I cheated on the applause at the end, which you can hear easily...how do you guys go 'roud this?

for the sound well I'm waiting for some comments ;P

for myself I think there is quite a lot of ambiance but it could be okay if there was less standing/ground/room noise(hmm how do you call that)
the harpsichord is quite mono with the verb making it take place...maybe a bit off center to the right
again maxbe some will say it lacks some body...hmm dunno how I could improve that, just a little boost at 130 and it gets some more body but also more crap...mic placement hmm
ok I'm looking forward for you guys comments ;)
Old 16th June 2006
  #41
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I-Quality's Avatar
ok you slutz, as nobody posted any comment, I thought I should lure you with another sample, this time with the singer

http://www.darksite.ch/donutsbadtrip...atortyrano.mp3

any comment would really be appreciated...
Old 16th June 2006
  #42
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Quality
any comment would really be appreciated...
Thank you for your samples. Appreciated!

I'm not really qualified to criticize your recordings because I have yet to catch the instrument in a way that I'm fully satisfied with myself. But since no one else steps up... Take my comments for what they are, just a matter of taste. One thing that strikes me is that you do have caught a nice tone from the instrument with detail and bottom. Still there is too much reverb to my taste. This goes for both samples. Instrument and singer. Like you I've recorded more than my share of disturbing noises from the environment. The rumble, is it traffic or what? I'm not really disturbed by the electronic noise floor that you mentioned.

Could you provide details of your setup? What mics? Where were they placed? Distance from harpsichord? Height? Distance and angle between mics? etc

Pictures?

best regards
Lars
Old 17th June 2006
  #43
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I-Quality's Avatar
thanks for taking time to reply ;o)
the reverb was hard to handl, because if I was to close to the instrument, it lacked body and too far it had not enough direct sound...to tell frankly I didn't test right in the harpsichord because we lacked time.
the rumble is not cars, maybe sometimes....because it's in the old city and there's not much passage, so it's mostly there because of my preamps, and maybe mics ,'cause the gain was quite high..maybe something else, I don't know

preamps and ad was my tascam fw1884, and the mics were a shure pg81 pair and a akg 414

the 81's were placed almost similar to the sound on sound link provided a few post back, maybe a tad further, but I used them in xy
the 414 was in omni at the 3rd row at approx 1m50 from ground looking directly at the haspichord, but is lower in the mix...this one got a lot of the very long reverb from all side...

for now i have no pics, maybe i'll post some if I don't get them in 2 years..
Old 17th June 2006
  #44
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Haigbabe's Avatar
 

Hi.

I listened to the second post.

Really enjoyed it. That singer is fantastic.

You captured the music well.

However, the clip is not to my tastes in technical terms. The mics are too far away.

Cheers,

Haigbabe
Old 17th June 2006
  #45
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I-Quality's Avatar
well if you consider only the clip with the singer i don't know how I could have them nearer...at 2min24 you even hear the singer blowing in the mics....

you say the mics are too far away, and doesn't fit your taste but what's the problem you perceive, too much reverb?

I don't really know how I could have had less reverb, maybe close mic the harpsichord but the singer still would need a mic ,and i don't see her standing right in front of a mic...at least not on a live performance...
Old 17th June 2006
  #46
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T.RayBullard's Avatar
 

Id have had them a few feet closer, but it sounds great...harpsichord sounds a *little* too distant. The singer is spot on...just the instrument needs more presence.
Old 17th June 2006
  #47
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Quality
at 2min24 you even hear the singer blowing in the mics....
Maybe, but unlikely. She is singing in good, clean and undisturbed voice when that noise appears. She wouldn't sound as good as she does if she were letting air out uncontrolled like that. She's singing, not puffing. The harpsichord mics also contribute to the reverb as well as her own mic (set to omni). That noise could be something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Quality
you say the mics are too far away, and doesn't fit your taste but what's the problem you perceive, too much reverb?
Yes, to me at least it is primarily the reverb. This is the hardest problem I find in larger, lively stone churches where sound bounces around for ever. I don't know where you recorded, but now and then I record in a stone church that is about 50m long 15-20 m wide and high. Lots of stone structures for sound to bounce from. Hardly anything (except audience of unpredictable size) that absorps sound. It's quite lively. Finding the balance between direct and reverb is tricky. On location I use headphones and they are more forgiving to reverb than speakers so back home over speakers there is invariably more reverb than I expected... I'm gradually learning. AFAIK all you can do is use directed pickup patterns, angle, height and distance. Move around until you think it sounds good. It will be a compromise. You get too close and you get too much of the mechanism and plectrums and also an unnatural timbre. Get too far away and you get too much reverb. One can experiment with height too.

The soundonsound article you mentioned was made in a concert hall with a very different and controlled reverb.

Occasionally someone mentions the critical distance. In a place like this you probably don't want to be much farther out than that. In a place like this the critical distance is pretty short. Perhaps <2m.

Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Quality
i don't see her standing right in front of a mic...at least not on a live performance...
In cardioid she wouldn't need to be very close and shouldn't be either. Certainly not closer than 1-1,5m. As long as nothing obstructs the free "line of sight" between the mic and the singer you can have the mic higher then her looking down above the sight line of the audience or below looking up above the sight line. Small mics preferred. Anyone used the DPA compact cardioids 4021? They wouldn't be to visible as long as you could find a thin unpbtrusive stand for it.

best regards
Lars
Old 17th June 2006
  #48
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sonare's Avatar
I found your 2 mp3s to be musically enjoyable. I was left with the following thoughts:

Overall it did seem that they were recorded from the best seat in the house-- which brings up a few questions. This was a live performance so the choice of venue was set, and unfortunately in an acoustic that is too live for this music. Just my opinion! The next thing is whether the best spot for listening is the best spot for recording? My answer is NO, because in a live event we have our eyes to solve balance issues and ignore the problems, such as the "David and Goliath" problem of rather delicate harpsichord vs soprano.

Remember the "triangle"-- music, performer, acoustic. It is rare to have control of all three, but you scored the most important: great music, excellent players. The room is simply too "wet" and there is little you can do, aside from choose cardioids (which you did). The best thing for the recording is go somewhere else, but this was a concert, after all.

Finally, consider playback level. We are used to "healthy" levels which is often louder than reality-- ceratinly harpsichord reality. (The hurdy-gurdy also comes to mind.) The harpsichord (and its close cousins) are some of the very few instruments that can actually be played back at genuine performance volume, which is to say that a spirited conversation will drown it out. Very important to not play it back too loudly.

Back to the examples-- given the same situation and conditions I would have used the 414 for the singer and placed the SM-81s in a spot that would offer more clarity and less singer (and less room sound)-- possibly right behind the harpsichordist, or 180 degrees from that. It might not sound any different - there is so much "room" - but I would at least try that.

You were handed lemons-- dissimilar instruments playing in an innappropriately reverberant room-- and still managed to make a recording that is pleasurable to listen to. That is no small thing!

Rich
Old 17th June 2006
  #49
AB3
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I built a 7 and 1/2 foot dual manual harpsichord from a Hubbard Kit in 1997-1978. Wish I still had it.

Anyway, for traditional sound you would be where the listener or player is.

BUT, for beauty, I love the sound from inside the case with a mic pointed at the low and high ends. Aimed at the 8' bridge in each direction. I suppose XY would work for this.

Because that is such an interesting sound, you may want to have those mics as well as the spaced omnis that were mentioned. Then if you record the four tracks, you can always figure out what to do later.

The harpsichord creates a greater stereo effect than the piano IMHO and I think it sounds great that way. But I am not a traditionalist. But neither was Bach.
Old 18th June 2006
  #50
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I-Quality's Avatar
first let me thank you all! your feedback is really helpful, and my next recording will surely be better because of you! thumbsup

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsfarm
The harpsichord mics also contribute to the reverb as well as her own mic (set to omni). That noise could be something else.
I think you got it wrong there, the singer was in between the mics and the harpsichord, she had no special mic...

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsfarm
The soundonsound article you mentioned was made in a concert hall with a very different and controlled reverb.
I know tthat but it was what sounded best of the few tests we did ;o)

T.RayBullard : I aggree totaly that the harpsichord needs some more presence when with the singer, but it indeed would require some cheating, as if one hears the performance it would not be that way...

sonare : great insights!!

ab3 : i'll try that next time

But the main point was to record principally the harpsichord, so I'll post one more clip where it is alone and I find even if there is a lot of ambiance, it does make the piece sound very nice.. It's the prelude from Louis Couperin in imitation of Froberger

http://www.darksite.ch/donutsbadtrip...efroberger.mp3

one can hear a car at 0:35....great! fortunately that doesn't happen a lot
Old 12th March 2007
  #51
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I use a double spaced pair, two omnis and two hypers.
ORTF is next best. Schoeps MK41 should be part of either setup for a big church.
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