The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
piano trio... 4 omnis?
Old 12th October 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 

piano trio... 4 omnis?

Hello
I´m going to record a piano trio recital (piano, vlin, cello) in a few weeks. I´ve read in several threads that the standard here is a set up with 4 omnis: a pair to capture the trio highlighting the strings and another pair at the tail of the piano.
I'm surprised for the location of the piano pair, because I suspect it might spoil the whole stereo image in the mix.
I think that the image wouldn´t be damaged if the piano pair were in the curve, with a couple of mk21 (near-coincident), for example.
I have curiosity to understand the basis of positioning mics at the tail of the piano, in this ensemble.
Emilio
Old 12th October 2013
  #2
The idea of that technique is that the front pair serves as an overall pickup, definitely highlighting the 2 strings, but there will be bleed from the piano into these mics given its proximity and the fact that the piano is projecting right at this main mic pair. Thus the piano pair is used mostly to add clarity to the piano, but will be down in the mix a bit, like a pair of spot microphones.

While omnis on the piano is the more traditional approach, You can also use a pair of subcardioids a little further back as a substitute.

Look for recordings by the Kungsbacka Piano Trio on Naxos, specifically the ones recorded by Simon Eadon, as they use exactly this technique. The disc with the Haydn Trios Nos. 27, 28, 29, and 30 would be a good place to start. This'll give you a good idea of what the end result should sound like.

I'll link a few pics I pulled off the Internet, one from the Kungsbacka session, and another of the Takacs Quartet with piano recording some Piano Quintet music, where the technique is very similar.

Have fun!
Attached Thumbnails
piano trio... 4 omnis?-imageuploadedbygearslutz1381589414.056477.jpg   piano trio... 4 omnis?-imageuploadedbygearslutz1381589432.121062.jpg  
Old 12th October 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 
matyas's Avatar
 

What's up with the pair behind the cellist's shoulder in the first picture? Looks like it's grabbing some piano and perhaps violin.
Old 12th October 2013
  #4
The perspective is kind of weird, but the pair in the first picture is in the same placement as in the other picture, a tight tail pair.

Also, these aren't my pictures, or pictures of my sessions, just photos found on Google search
Old 13th October 2013
  #5
Gear Head
 

Thanks for your response, Kevin ... I understand what you say but I´m afraid that the location of the strings in the sound image becomes confusing when mixing both pairs of microphones. In the main pair the whole picture is the natural disposition in the room, but the pair located at the tail of the piano, will locate the violin and the cello on the left of the image. My question is: posing these pair will be leveled 6 db below, is all this irrelevant? How is it justified?
Old 13th October 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderer View Post
Thanks for your response, Kevin ... I understand what you say but I´m afraid that the location of the strings in the sound image becomes confusing when mixing both pairs of microphones. In the main pair the whole picture is the natural disposition in the room, but the pair located at the tail of the piano, will locate the violin and the cello on the left of the image. My question is: posing these pair will be leveled 6 db below, is all this irrelevant? How is it justified?
Why not have the piano pair at right angles to the piano, and the players, rather than at the tail? Aim the mics down into the strings on a plane parallel with the lid from about two or two and one half meters height and about the same distance away. Closer if you must. Then everybody would be in the right place. If you flip the channels on one or the other tracks to accommodate the violin "being in the wrong place" you would mess up the overall sound. Have you given this placement of the piano mics any thought?
Old 13th October 2013
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderer View Post
Thanks for your response, Kevin ... I understand what you say but I´m afraid that the location of the strings in the sound image becomes confusing when mixing both pairs of microphones. In the main pair the whole picture is the natural disposition in the room, but the pair located at the tail of the piano, will locate the violin and the cello on the left of the image. My question is: posing these pair will be leveled 6 db below, is all this irrelevant? How is it justified?
I see what you are saying, but I think you will find that in practice, the effect that the string bleed has into the piano spot mics has a negligible impact on the sound, if you've set everything up correctly. Especially if you were to use subcardioids instead of omnis. If you look at the picture, the mics are placed so close to the piano that even with omnis, the piano sound will dominate in that pairs capture, and string bleed will be minimal (and pretty, due to the schoeps' excellent off-axis pickup ;-)

This technique was developed by the folks at Decca records, and is still used today with great success. Check out the recordings I recommended to you, you can hear for yourself how this setup sounds in action.
Old 14th October 2013
  #8
Gear Head
 

Thanks Boojum
Yes, I´ve thought on a similar placement.
My first intention was to place the main pair in order to capture the whole trio… high and very close to the strings, such as the pictures above. And as a 2º pair to capture the piano: a couple of mk21 (near coincident), one or two feet from the curve, aiming at the strings from one and a half meters high ... taking care of the trio position.
But I´ve found here some posts from Plush and other people defending the omni pair placement at the tail ... I know these are very respectable opinions and made me think about this set up ... but I´d like to understand it in depth
Old 14th October 2013
  #9
Gear Head
 

Than you Kevin…
I understand now…
So, what do you think about a couple of mk2H as main pair and other couple of 4006 (with close grid) for the piano?
Old 14th October 2013
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderer View Post
Than you Kevin…
I understand now…
So, what do you think about a couple of mk2H as main pair and other couple of 4006 (with close grid) for the piano?
That sounds like a great plan. Just make sure to take your time and balance them well at soundcheck, to make sure that your mic placements are good, and I think you'll be a very happy engineer!
Old 17th October 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 
matyas's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
The perspective is kind of weird, but the pair in the first picture is in the same placement as in the other picture, a tight tail pair.

Also, these aren't my pictures, or pictures of my sessions, just photos found on Google search
That makes sense.
Old 17th October 2013
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
I learned this method from the legendary producer Max Wilcox.

In order for it to sound really good, the players are set in predetermined, measured with a tape measure places. So and so x inches from the front of the piano, with x number of inches for the vln. aeay from the cello.

Mic position is also specified exactly and then a custom length ( longer than usual)
piano lid stick is used. This stick must be made.

So it is all worked out in advance and set up on stage with no variation. Mic type (Senn. mkh20) are specified and so is their placement and their relative gain.

Follow this secret map and it all comes out great.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #13
Gear Head
 

Thank you very much, Plush, for this very detailed information! It's really interesting.
I don´t have a special lid stick (it's a rental piano) and... I hope I´ll have the job done with 2 pairs of DPA and Schoeps omnis.
I have carefully studied the trio placement calculations (distance relationships and angles) and the mics set up possibilities.
I suppose that lifting the piano lid up (with the special stick), the main pair can be placed higher to better capture the ensemble, is this the reason for the extension?
Topic:
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