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Advice sought: piano and vocalist in a living room
Old 20th January 2016
  #1
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Advice sought: piano and vocalist in a living room

I will be recording a female classica/jazz singer and a pianist (midsize Yamaha grand) in a fairly square living room about 5m per side, semi-hard acoustics. I made a test recording with a pair of Hypocardioids in ORTF configuration, placed at about 170 cm height at the treble end of the curve of the grand, singer standing near the treble end of the keyboard beside the pianist. It did not sound too bad with fair stereo image.

I have been doing only classical type recordings so far, meaning good space and classical AB, MS and DIN/ORTF or SoundField type stereo/5.0 arrays. This time it might be necessary to mic the piano and the singer separately.

The microphones I have are pair of Sennheiser MKH8020 omnis and MKH8040 cardioids, Gefell M950 hypocardioid pair, DPA 4060 miniature omnis, AT 4050 mutipattern omni/cardioid/fig-8, Pearl hypercardioid MS stereo and Soundfield SPS200 ambisonic mic.

I would like to capture at least some natural ambience and stereo image, but enough separation for balance tweaking when mixing.

Maximum number of channels is 8 (Orpheus).

All ideas will be considered!
Old 20th January 2016
  #2
for a small room I did test the same and got bad results with Soundfield SPS422, Senn 8040, Schoeps MK2H. The reflections spoil the sound, so you need to get closer then you would in a normal hall.
I got good results on the piano with two parallel ribbons AB40cm, since they cancel the side walls and ceiling.
However, I got better results with Gefell UM70 in omni with tube M582amp AB 20cm and M93 or 69 at the tail of the piano, close to the rim. I add verb to simulate a nice acoustic.

so maybe the Gefell 950 pair for the singer and the senns on the piano's tail?
Old 20th January 2016
  #3
Lives for gear
Petrus, can you tell us about your monitoring arrangements for this recording...will you be in the same room as performers or separate room, wall treatments for monitoring room, speakers or headphones (closed or open back) etc ?

I'm not dismissing the mics and their location, but your ability to hear exactly what the room's doing to the singer and piano are crucial to your mic placement and selection decisions on the spot...hence my question.
Old 20th January 2016
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Petrus, can you tell us about your monitoring arrangements for this recording...
Good point, I could draw the microphone cables to a bedroom around the corner and use ADAM X7 near fields and/or AT ATH-M50 closed or Sennheiser H800 open cans. No acoustical treatment of course, but a large bass trap...
Old 20th January 2016
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
Good point, I could draw the microphone cables to a bedroom around the corner and use ADAM X7 near fields and/or AT ATH-M50 closed or Sennheiser H800 open cans. No acoustical treatment of course, but a large bass trap...
If you can get your nearfields to be really near (ie eliminate the monitoring room's walls, although if it's a bedroom it will be moderately damped with furnishings ?) then you stand a good chance of hearing what the main room is doing. Otherwise your favourite, most detailed cans will do the same....maybe even better, if you're used to using them on location anyway ?

See if you can build in enough rehearsal time to allow you some experimentation...but don't expect a lot as the voice can get burned and ragged if it goes on for too long. A webcam will give you visual cues between the rooms if you wish, and a little talkback amp and mic will establish communication...but you may not need this once the mics are correctly placed.

Get the hell out of that performance room..the bedroom around the corner is your place !
Old 9th March 2016
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
Gefell M950 hypocardioid pair
They're wide cardioid actually if they're M950s. If placed properly they should be great on grand piano assuming the room is good and the piano is good.
Old 9th March 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDW View Post
They're wide cardioid actually if they're M950s. If placed properly they should be great on grand piano assuming the room is good and the piano is good.
Hypocardioid = wide cardioid (from Greek, hypo = under)
Hypercadioid = narrow cardioid (from Greek, hyper = over, above)

Last edited by Petrus; 9th March 2016 at 08:30 AM..
Old 10th March 2016
  #8
Quote:
Hypocardioid = wide cardioid (from Greek, hypo = under)
Hypercadioid = narrow cardioid (from Greek, hyper = over, above)
Sure, if you want to speak Greek and claim that "under cardioid" somehow means "wide cardioid" - that's fine.

However, if you want to speak Audio, everyone calls them "wide cardioid." Even Gefell.
Old 10th March 2016
  #9
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Tommy-boy's Avatar
 

Don't forget, you can call them subcardiod too!

-Tom
Old 10th March 2016
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDW View Post
Sure, if you want to speak Greek and claim that "under cardioid" somehow means "wide cardioid" - that's fine.

However, if you want to speak Audio, everyone calls them "wide cardioid." Even Gefell.
Hypercardioid for a narrow cardioid is a common term, hypocardioid for a wide cardioid is not as common, true, but it is used and is just as precise as a description as hypercardioid is, so why not use it?

As hypercardioid is commonly used, I have decided to use hypocardioid just as well. Like many others.

Addendum: not so many… Google gives over 300000 hits for hypercardioid microphone, about 300 for hypocardioid. Conclusion: hypocardioids are not much used...

Last edited by Petrus; 10th March 2016 at 08:13 PM.. Reason: humour
Old 10th March 2016
  #11
Agreed - hypocardioid is a term you would likely see or hear from microphone designers.

In the studio, if I were to tell a tech, "go set-up a pair of TLM-107s in X/Y on the piano and set them to hypocardioid," you can bet that mic is going to be set to hypercardioid instead. If I say "set them to wide cardioid," then it's going to be set correctly. So it's just a practical matter to use "wide" and probably why Gefell refers to the M950s as "wide" also. "Hyper" and "hypo" just sound too similar to avoid confusion.

But to the original point, I have used a pair of M950s (dark bronze) and they are wonderful on our Yamaha C6 to either a 1073 or 2022 (less so on a 3124.) I would start with the M950s in ORTF and try one or two MKH 8020(s) out from the sound board in the spots you determine (preferably with your ears) are acoustically rich.

I also had some luck mic'ing a somewhat thin Hailun grand piano with a pair of KM-84s and a pair of TLM-149s. I'm just going to attach a picture rather than try to describe the placement. With those excellent 8040s and some non-bright LDCs you might be able to warm it up as I did.

The gotcha is that the rooms are different, the piano is different etc so my recommendations could be completely wrong for you. However I hope some suggestions are better than none.

Good luck!

P.S. Satin nickel M950s sound horrible - I hope you didn't buy that color.
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Advice sought: piano and vocalist in a living room-6h7a3112-x2.jpg  

Last edited by CDW; 10th March 2016 at 11:33 PM.. Reason: humor with only 1 "u"
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CDW View Post
P.S. Satin nickel M950s sound horrible - I hope you didn't buy that color.
You're joking, right?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Well, DF, that was 4 years ago, but I'm pretty sure it was a joke.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CDW View Post
Well, DF, that was 4 years ago, but I'm pretty sure it was a joke.
I'm happy it was, because I'm really interested in a matched pair of M950, (satin nickel of course). That smoooooth frequency response.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

Only thing I can add is that in my experience it made a big difference where the singer stood.
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