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last minute pipe organ question
Old 12th December 2003
  #1
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last minute pipe organ question

One thing that never occured to me until I was talking to a friend who has recently attended a pipe organ concert - vibration. His comment about "feeling the low notes through the floor" finally got me thinking about the need for shock mounts. I'd like to think that any facility with an organ capable of generating strong fundamentals down around 40hz and below would have been designed with that in mind. But many theatres and churches have had organs installed long after the building was constructed and I wonder how much effort was spent on evaluating the room's response to the powerful rumble of an organ's lowest notes? Have you guys found shock mounts to be a requirement when recording organs? Also, how do you feel about the "improvised solution" of a piece of foam rubber under the base of a mic stand; either in addition to a typical mic shock mount or as a DIY fix for mics that just don't fit in any available mount?
Old 12th December 2003
  #2
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I shock mount all of my condenser mics... That said, I've never needed more than the mounts that I have already... The most common shock mounts I use aren't even that amazing- the Shure A53/55, the Electro Voice little thing (don't know the number but it is great for B&Ks), some of the PSC ones and Audio Technica ones as well...

I have noticed a difference between the sound of mics on a stand and those that are flown, however... Even with good shock mounts, you still have to deal with vibrations coming through the floor. The Ebel is a pretty solid building, though.. I wouldn't worry too much.

--Ben
Old 13th December 2003
  #3
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Thanks Ben. I was referring to some mics that just don't fit in any known shock mounts, like my BLUE Bottle. Blue states that none is necessary for the Bottle, and certainly none fit the huge mic. I was thinking of trying out the Bottle as the mid mic in an M/S pair in addition to my main stereo pair. (after all those years of DAT recording, having 8ch on the Genex is an embarrassment of riches, so I want to try out 2 or 3 stereo pairs, mostly for comparison purposes.) And I can't remember where I first heard about the "foam pad under the mic stand" idea, but I've seen it used a few times over the past year. Similarly, I've always been a fan of using mouse pads under my monitors; but I gotta hand it to Auralex, selling $1.50 worth of foam as "$30 monitor isolators" is some brilliant marketing.

My specific concern about the Ebell is that I plan on mic'ing from up in the balcony, using boom stands over the balcony rail. And I'm guessing that the balcony is less "solid" than the orchestra floor. And another Thank You to Ben for the specific info he has provided about the Ebell. Have you (or anybody else) ever recorded from the balcony at the Ebell?
Old 13th December 2003
  #4
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I haven't recorded from the balcony (because it isn't such a great position for the orchestras I've recorded there). In my experience, when recording organ, you need mics with a good low end. Most organs in this country don't have 32 foot stops and those are the ones that are great at shaking buildings. 16 foot stops are low and loud, but they don't provide the punch needed to make the walls rattle. Considering how solid most of building is, I really wouldn't worry about it too much. You are talking about a building made of 50+ year old cement. It ain't going anywhere... The stage is another matter- old wood that isn't in great condition, but the floors are all cement.

You are right about your embarrasment of riches... To have to use gear such as a BLUE Bottle and your Genex- you poor thing heh The good thing is that you can put up a few pairs and see what you like the most- let us know. Also report on the sound of the organ in there. I've never heard it.

--Ben
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