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Recording Orchestra: chosing mics
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Recording Orchestra: chosing mics

Hi! Im recording an orchestra and I will rent some microphones. I can chose between:

Large diaphragm
AKG C414 XLS
Neumann U87 AI
Neumann M147
Neumann M149

Small diaphragm
Schoeps CMC5 (Mk5 capsule)
Neumann km184 MT

My main idea is recording with an AB (2,5 metres separation) and In the middle a stereo pair in XY (sort of a decca tree as you can see). Which microphones will you choose? Thank you for your Help!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

If this is a test situation, choose what you "like" and an alternate pair or two, and listen. If this is a gig... I would do a pair of MK5 omni for the "AB" portion, and a pair of MK5 cardioid for the center pair. I've used a RODE NT4 (fixed X/Y cardioid) as a "center" mic, and was less satisfied than with a pair of MKH8040 in ORTF, with Gefell M296 omnis as flankers (or in a "Boojum/Norman" array). I've a pair of TLM193, but have never liked the sound of them as mains on choral/orchestra things. They (and my AT4050, KSM27 and Joly-mod NT1) find most use as spots.

FWIW.

HB

Last edited by hbphotoav; 2 weeks ago at 08:59 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Great advice above.
My impulsive pick:
149 omni as mains. Perhaps less than 2,5m.
MK5 omni as outriggers.
MK5 card as centre / wind spot.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Addict
I've no answer or suggestion, but am curious about the orchestra size and makeup [which instruments/distribution] you are targeting? The venue [well-known music hall, junior college, outdoor stage]? Also wondering about the material to be recorded and musical maturity of the orchestra/players? And whether engineers see these aspects impacting mic selection recommendations?

Kind regards,

Ray H.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath View Post
I've no answer or suggestion, but am curious about the orchestra size and makeup [which instruments/distribution] you are targeting? The venue [well-known music hall, junior college, outdoor stage]? Also wondering about the material to be recorded and musical maturity of the orchestra/players? And whether engineers see these aspects impacting mic selection recommendations?

Kind regards,

Ray H.
Well I will explain myself a little bit

It is going to be a students orchestra or recentrly graduated musicians, in an auditory with not bad acoustics. They are going to perform a piece I wrote for them (around 50 musicians). Obviously I want to take advantage of this and make a decent recording. Asking for some local companies I realized it was out of my budget. So, since I have a little bit of experience recoridng, I decided to rent some good mics and give it a try. This would cost me less than 200 dollars, which I can assume. Thank you for your interest!!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
If this is a test situation, choose what you "like" and an alternate pair or two, and listen. If this is a gig... I would do a pair of MK5 omni for the "AB" portion, and a pair of MK5 cardioid for the center pair. I've used a RODE NT4 (fixed X/Y cardioid) as a "center" mic, and was less satisfied than with a pair of MKH8040 in ORTF, with Gefell M296 omnis as flankers (or in a "Boojum/Norman" array). I've a pair of TLM193, but have never liked the sound of them as mains on choral/orchestra things. They (and my AT4050, KSM27 and Joly-mod NT1) find most use as spots.

FWIW.

HB
Thanks for the advice. That was pretty much what i was thinking of. As I wrote above..it is a gig. I will have an hour or so to record a few takes of the work. Thabnk you again
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elacarcel View Post
Thanks for the advice. That was pretty much what i was thinking of. As I wrote above..it is a gig. I will have an hour or so to record a few takes of the work. Thabnk you again
To what device are you recording...?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
To what device are you recording...?
Steinberg UR44 to my macbook
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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if the mix will be in stereo, i'd go with a pair of km184's in x/y or ortf for mains and another pair of cmc/mk5's as omnis in very wide a/b (stage l/r or at the far end of the hall) for ambis - plus add spot mics for any soft instrument (harp) and soloists (so additional preamps may be needed).

i might choose l/c/r if the mix would be in surround, with an omni in the center.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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I concur with km184 in xy, with two mk5 as flankers, 1/3 and 2/3 of the width of the group.

Alternatively, use just one omni as a centre mic, and you have one spot mic channel available. Some of the very best recordings have been made with a lcr setup (not just for surround ...)

But do you have high mic stands ?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
I concur with km184 in xy, with two mk5 as flankers, 1/3 and 2/3 of the width of the group.

Alternatively, use just one omni as a centre mic, and you have one spot mic channel available. Some of the very best recordings have been made with a lcr setup (not just for surround ...)

But do you have high mic stands ?
Yes I do. I have some mics (2 oktavas, Neumann Tlm102, 2 t-bone) but I wanted to have a better recording of this
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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tourtelot's Avatar
Hmm. Why the advice about cards in x-y instead of ORTF, my personal (strong) preference for near coincident pair? So rent four Mk5s (light years better than the KM184s IMO) and set them center ORTF in cardioid and 1/3-2/3 wide flanks in omni. Not too far back from the lip of the stage and 10-12 feet above the stage floor. That would make for a nice recording in a number of venues that I work in. Since I don't know your hall, this is all speculation. YMMV. Me? I'd never take those Neumanns on a job. Rubbish.

And not to re-start the KM184/185 flame war. Just can't understand why anyone would use these when Schoeps/DPA/Sennheisers are just as available.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
Matter of taste probably. I don't really like the MK5 in card. Prefer it as omni. Perhaps even as mains.
I adore the M149. Have used it as mains on one of my own ensemble's chamber music recordings, and the definition and image colour was splendid, if you like things not overly bright as I do. I have used them as spots (singers and early baroque brass) combined with a M150 main pair, and they were superb.
Yes they are heavy and need a power supply, but I feel you should try them. No harm in seting up two pairs: one MK5 and one M149, each of those in their perfect spot of course.

Regarding K184: I use them regularly as cello spots, where they work surprisingly well. But yes, I will prefer my DPA4011 on all other occasions, and even my Audio Technicas.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Hmm. Why the advice about cards in x-y instead of ORTF, my personal (strong) preference for near coincident pair? So rent four Mk5s (light years better than the KM184s IMO) and set them center ORTF in cardioid and 1/3-2/3 wide flanks in omni. Not too far back from the lip of the stage and 10-12 feet above the stage floor. That would make for a nice recording in a number of venues that I work in. Since I don't know your hall, this is all speculation. YMMV. Me? I'd never take those Neumanns on a job. Rubbish.

And not to re-start the KM184/185 flame war. Just can't understand why anyone would use these when Schoeps/DPA/Sennheisers are just as available.

D.
What do you mean with 1/3-2/3? I don’t understand this
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
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DaveyJones's Avatar
 

Hi there,

If I were in your situation I would do the following:

Schoeps MK5 (in Omni setting) in A/B (distance between mics will depend on the orchestra size - perhaps start with between 40-50 cm spacing and change with experimentation). Put these about 8 foot above and 1 meter behind the conductor.

Then use your own TLM102 in ORTF a little further back and about 0.5 to 1 meter higher than the Omni's with the capsules pointed at the back row of the orchestra.

In the above situation you need only hire 1 pair of additional mics and I think you will get a fantastic sound with some scope for adjustment in the final mix. The TLM102 is a fantastic mic and given that the capsule is really more of a small diaphragm mic, it retains a good off axis response and tight cardioid pattern, thus a good image from ORTF.

If you want more mics, you could use AKG C414 as flanking omnis. For example, put one on the left side half way between the main pair and the last desk of the first violins and then the same on the right hand side (whoever is sat there) - at about the same height and level as your main Omni pair.

If you want to go further, begin spot micing some instruments that need it (harp, smaller percussion at the back, dBass etc...) But that is tricky to suggest without seeing the score.

Good luck!!!


Dave
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
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al_net77's Avatar
With the UR44 you are limited to 4 chans, so exclude the spots.

In your situation, to get also an advantage from the situation and learn the most, I would rent 2x M149 and 2x MK5 and I would spend some time in trying different solutions. Those are mics widely used in classical recordings.

Remeber that the M149 has a large palette of patterns, depending on the room this could be a good weapon.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyJones View Post
Hi there,

If I were in your situation I would do the following:

Schoeps MK5 (in Omni setting) in A/B (distance between mics will depend on the orchestra size - perhaps start with between 40-50 cm spacing and change with experimentation). Put these about 8 foot above and 1 meter behind the conductor.

Then use your own TLM102 in ORTF a little further back and about 0.5 to 1 meter higher than the Omni's with the capsules pointed at the back row of the orchestra.

In the above situation you need only hire 1 pair of additional mics and I think you will get a fantastic sound with some scope for adjustment in the final mix. The TLM102 is a fantastic mic and given that the capsule is really more of a small diaphragm mic, it retains a good off axis response and tight cardioid pattern, thus a good image from ORTF.

If you want more mics, you could use AKG C414 as flanking omnis. For example, put one on the left side half way between the main pair and the last desk of the first violins and then the same on the right hand side (whoever is sat there) - at about the same height and level as your main Omni pair.

If you want to go further, begin spot micing some instruments that need it (harp, smaller percussion at the back, dBass etc...) But that is tricky to suggest without seeing the score.

Good luck!!!


Dave
Thank you for your suggestion! Unfortunately I only have one tlm102, so no ORTF with this mic. I have the oktava mk012 (mod). They could be an option as center ORTF and the 2 schoeps in AB (but I wouldn’t mind renting 4 schoeps). My steinberg doesn’t allow me to add more mics... maybe using a friends focusrite in other computer??
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elacarcel View Post
What do you mean with 1/3-2/3? I don’t understand this
By this, I mean set the flankers out so that they divide the space that the orchestra occupies on the stage into thirds.

(I had a nice diagram here but formatting made it rubbish)


Sorry, harder to explain than to set up. If the orchestra is smallish, this can be done, mostly, one stand with one long bar. Know in these circles a a Boojum/Norman Array puts an ORTF pair in the center of the bar and an omni at each end pointing out at 45*. Very wide orchestras might require three stands/hangs.

And yes, I wouldn't necessarily pick Mk5s as cards. Not certain what rentals are available to the OP. Great orchestras, I'd pick DPA 4006-TLs and 4011s. Youth or amateur orchestras? I am back to Schoeps for them because they don't seem so clinical. Nice to have choices.

D.
Attached Thumbnails
Recording Orchestra: chosing mics-img_9080.jpg  
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
XY and flanks I find to be a much more difficult orchestral setup to place and balance well than a single spaced stereo pair of Omni mics. One of my favorite engineers uses a setup like this but he is a master who learned from masters how this technique works properly (evolved from 3-omnis). It’s not a technique I would ever prescribe to a orchestral beginner.

I would suggest starting with a single stereo pair of omnis (so Schoeps mk5) on a 2’ stereo bar. This will makes adjusting the setup much simpler, as there are far fewer variables to account for, and everything is on 1 stand instead of three. Place the mics 10-11 feet above stage level and 3 feet back from the front line of the strings. Move the mics upstage for a more detailed or direct sound, or to focus on the back of the ensemble. Move the mics downstage for a more ambient or blended sound, or to focus more on the front of the orchestra. Moving the mics higher or lower will also shift focus from the front to the back and ambient to direct. Using this starting point and these directions as a guide, you should be able to find a nice balance within the ensemble and between the ensemble and the room.

You can add spot mics for soloists, or to highlight quiet instruments, but depending on how much time you have I would prioritize getting your “main” mics in the best place over adding more mics to the setup.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
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Great summary of a spaced omni pair characteristics, and what can be expected from adjustment of the variables Kevin...a great primer of the technique !
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
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This is why Id ecided so far

- 2 Mk5 Omni in AB, separated 1,5m. Height: The maximum my mic stand can (around 2 metres). Slightly pointing to the sides.

- 2 MK5 cards in ORTF in the center, right behind the conductor and, considering the reduced size of the stage, at 1 metre of the AB. Height: the maximum my mic stand can.

The orchestra usually have 3 rows for violin I and 4 rows for celli/DB.

Thpughts? This would cost me 150 euros per day (the four mics)
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
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tourtelot's Avatar
Two meters seems a bit short for stand height. Can you borrow some way to extend your stands? To reach the back of an orchestra, I would guess that you'll need to go up to at least 3m. 10-11 feet is usually a starting position for me. I would go so far as to say, never lower than 10' on a main pair for me. At 2m, all you'll hear is the strings. Gotta get up over the ensemble a bit.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
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If you have any friends who are photographers, Manfrotto (and other) light stands work quite well at 3m and above. You may need some bushings to match threads...

HB
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Two meters seems a bit short for stand height. Can you borrow some way to extend your stands? To reach the back of an orchestra, I would guess that you'll need to go up to at least 3m. 10-11 feet is usually a starting position for me. I would go so far as to say, never lower than 10' on a main pair for me. At 2m, all you'll hear is the strings. Gotta get up over the ensemble a bit.

D.
If you don’t have heavy mics to support you can
add 2-3 ft of height with 3/8”-16 threaded rod.
Easily connected to a mic stand-For 5/8”-27 mic stands you would use a 5/8-27 female to 3/8-16 male adapter plus a 3/8-16 “coupling nut” (approx. 1 1/2” to 1 3/4” long hexagonal “rod” with internal
3/8-16 internal thread) to connect the 3/8-16 threaded rod. For mic clips/shock-mounts with 3/8-16 threads the connection is simple.
If you have a 5/8-27 female mic clip/shock-mount
you would use a 3/8-16 female to 5/8-27male insert adapter.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Two meters seems a bit short for stand height. Can you borrow some way to extend your stands? To reach the back of an orchestra, I would guess that you'll need to go up to at least 3m. 10-11 feet is usually a starting position for me. I would go so far as to say, never lower than 10' on a main pair for me. At 2m, all you'll hear is the strings. Gotta get up over the ensemble a bit.

D.
I agree with Doug here, if you can't get more height than 2 metres you will get an orchestral balance that is largely 'strings close to the conductor'-centric

You may as well leave all of those other mics at home also...

If you can, buy or rent one of these : https://www.k-m.de/en/products/mic-s...e-stands-black

in fact 2 of these joined together would be better, but I don't know how safe and stable it would be, even if you are leaving the main mic shaft only raised a little bit ? You would certainly require a sandbag at the base.

Or else follow HB and Folkie's advice in the 2 posts above this one.

Edit: If you are going to use outrigger mics at the 1/3 and 2/3 stage width locations, you could use 1 or 2 sections of this carbon fibre boompole, attached to a mic stand (you'll need to adapt threads 5/8 > 3/8 )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfoopvFcY1E
Old 2 weeks ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elacarcel View Post
This is why Id ecided so far

- 2 Mk5 Omni in AB, separated 1,5m. Height: The maximum my mic stand can (around 2 metres). Slightly pointing to the sides.

- 2 MK5 cards in ORTF in the center, right behind the conductor and, considering the reduced size of the stage, at 1 metre of the AB. Height: the maximum my mic stand can.

The orchestra usually have 3 rows for violin I and 4 rows for celli/DB.

Thpughts? This would cost me 150 euros per day (the four mics)
You need to get higher stands, 3m is ok as a minimum height.
An AB at 1.5 m wide combined with ortf in the center is pointless IMO. That close it will already sound quite wide, no point in blending with a wide AB. 1/3 and 2/3 flankers still make more sense, especially if you want enough string sound.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Two meters seems a bit short for stand height. Can you borrow some way to extend your stands? To reach the back of an orchestra, I would guess that you'll need to go up to at least 3m. 10-11 feet is usually a starting position for me. I would go so far as to say, never lower than 10' on a main pair for me. At 2m, all you'll hear is the strings. Gotta get up over the ensemble a bit.

D.

I think the best option is to adapt a boom to the mic stand. In the case I can do it, would you set up the three stands ( AB and the middle one in ORTF) at 10/11 feet? and in this case, would you point the mics slightly down or parallel to the floor?
Old 1 week ago
  #28
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I always point my mics down a bit, sorta shooting them at the rear half of a larger ensemble. Even the omnis which I'm sure some folks would say doesn't matter. Just me. Oh, and I angle the omnis in a Boojum?Norman Array out a bit as well, maybe even up to 45* which I am sure some would say doesn't matter either.

My $.02

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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Thank you everybody. The rental company have just 2 schoeps. They offer me 2 km184 instead for the flankers or 2 AKg c414 B-Uls if I want omnis. Now I dont know what to do. Is it worthy to rent any of these mics as flankers mics having two oktavas mk 012 that I could use for this? Will I notice the better sound quality qith any of these mics or should I save the money? Thanks again fro your help!
Old 1 week ago
  #30
Gear Addict
I understand the value of pro audio rental houses. I used to work for one when I was young.

However, given that you have the opportunity to record an orchestra playing one of your own compositions, and have limited resources. . .

I wouldn't hesitate to see that you had access to all of my resources if you were performing this in my neighborhood [Tampa Bay Area, FL]. Seems like it would be something to enjoy and share for the rest of your life. . .and pass down to your children, nieces & nephews, etc. if you have any.

Is there any other local organization, talent, engineer, gear-sharing, or social [e.g., FB] group you can appeal to?


Ray H.
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