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Mic selection and position for Santoor and tabla (indian classical music)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Mic selection and position for Santoor and tabla (indian classical music)

Hi everyone,

I'm going to be recording a lot of tracks of santoor and tabla in a live recording setting. The room is treated with 4” thick sound panels on all walls and ceilings. The Santoor is generally a quieter instrument so the gain needs to be higher. As a result, there tends to be more tabla bleed in the Santoor mic(s) than the other way around. But if the two players sit too far apart the tabla gets a natural delay which doesn’t sound good.

Mics I own:
2x Neumann Km184
2x Soyuz FET 013 (Cardioid, omni, and hypercardioid interchangeable capsules)
2x rode stereo mount bar
1x Shure sm7b
various short boom arm stands

Interface: Apollo x8p
Plugins: Neve 88rs, Api Vision, SSL channel strip, Struder 800 , ampex atr 102, Izotope neutron 3, ozone 9

Room size: 14' x 28'

When sitting on the tabla, the player has the mics in front of him. When playing the santoor, the mics usually come from the left side of the instrument (and player) over the instrument.

Santoor Stereo field: We like some of the recordings where there seems to be movement in the stereo field (e.g. as they play higher notes it's more on one side of the field vs when they play lower notes).

Tabla stereo field: Two mics on the tabla can also work. The treble drum might be placed hard to one side of the mix (although i'm not sure if it could be placed in both without sounding mono). The bass drum is usually placed in the center of the mix. Or slightly off center.

So how would you position the players/instruments?

What mics would you put on which instrument?

XY? ORTF? DIN? AB?

Appreciate the discussion!

Thanks,
Jas
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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elpillo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jahluwalia View Post
So how would you position the players/instruments?

What mics would you put on which instrument?

XY? ORTF? DIN? AB?

Appreciate the discussion!

Thanks,
Jas

For me it usually works best to have the players sit wherever they feel more comfortable and then I place the mics. Sometimes you have to ask them to move a bit (or a lot), and that's ok.
As far as the fun part goes, if it's a live (performance) recording, oyu have to be careful with amb. noise (people, chairs). If that's the case, I'd probably go with the Soyuz's in either cardioid or (most likely) hypercardioid for the santoor, and the Neumann's for tabla. Both pairs as "stereo spots".
Another option would be the Souyz's (hypercardioid?) for the Santor as stereo spot (XY?), the sm7b as spot mic for the tabla, and the Neumann's in ORTF or NOS as mains.
Good luck!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahluwalia View Post

Mics I own:
2x Neumann Km184
2x Soyuz FET 013 (Cardioid, omni, and hypercardioid interchangeable capsules)
2x rode stereo mount bar
1x Shure sm7b
various short boom arm stands



Room size: 14' x 28'

When sitting on the tabla, the player has the mics in front of him. When playing the santoor, the mics usually come from the left side of the instrument (and player) over the instrument.

Santoor Stereo field: We like some of the recordings where there seems to be movement in the stereo field (e.g. as they play higher notes it's more on one side of the field vs when they play lower notes).

Tabla stereo field: Two mics on the tabla can also work. The treble drum might be placed hard to one side of the mix (although i'm not sure if it could be placed in both without sounding mono). The bass drum is usually placed in the center of the mix. Or slightly off center.

So how would you position the players/instruments?

What mics would you put on which instrument?

XY? ORTF? DIN? AB?
i don't use stereo mic system for indian classical music but use dedicated mono or dual mono mics and position them in the soundfield.

since the the loudest source on the mic always wins, make sure the santoor is slightly behind the tabla and/or use the directional pattern of the mics to get some rejection.

also, both instruments are physically not large enough that they 'need' to be picked up by two mics (and one can as well use but one mic and split the channel); however, using two mics mostly gives you more options.

you were referring to a live setting: does this mean there is amplification and using monitors for the musicians? if so, using less sensitive (dynamic) mics might be easier to work with and you'll also get a lot less of spill over...

in fact, i often prefer dynamic mic's on tabla but of course you can get nice results with the mics you have - no love for the sm7 though!

not sure i'd balance the high tabla against the highs of the santoor; more likely, i'd use a mono in/stereo out efx on the santoor to give it a somewhat wider stereofield.

but first and foremost, things depend on whether there's amplification or not and then, whether you have access to additional/different mics...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i don't use stereo mic system for indian classical music but use dedicated mono or dual mono mics and position them in the soundfield.

since the the loudest source on the mic always wins, make sure the santoor is slightly behind the tabla and/or use the directional pattern of the mics to get some rejection.

also, both instruments are physically not large enough that they 'need' to be picked up by two mics (and one can as well use but one mic and split the channel); however, using two mics mostly gives you more options.

you were referring to a live setting: does this mean there is amplification and using monitors for the musicians? if so, using less sensitive (dynamic) mics might be easier to work with and you'll also get a lot less of spill over...

in fact, i often prefer dynamic mic's on tabla but of course you can get nice results with the mics you have - no love for the sm7 though!

not sure i'd balance the high tabla against the highs of the santoor; more likely, i'd use a mono in/stereo out efx on the santoor to give it a somewhat wider stereofield.

but first and foremost, things depend on whether there's amplification or not and then, whether you have access to additional/different mics...
Thanks for the reply! I think I misspoke about the live recording. There will be no amplification. Those are pretty much the mics that I have. And yes, you are right, the Santoor is much quieter than the tabla and controlling it’s bleed in the Santoor mic is an issue. How far would you position the players? How would you position the dual monos?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elpillo View Post
For me it usually works best to have the players sit wherever they feel more comfortable and then I place the mics. Sometimes you have to ask them to move a bit (or a lot), and that's ok.
As far as the fun part goes, if it's a live (performance) recording, oyu have to be careful with amb. noise (people, chairs). If that's the case, I'd probably go with the Soyuz's in either cardioid or (most likely) hypercardioid for the santoor, and the Neumann's for tabla. Both pairs as "stereo spots".
Another option would be the Souyz's (hypercardioid?) for the Santor as stereo spot (XY?), the sm7b as spot mic for the tabla, and the Neumann's in ORTF or NOS as mains.
Good luck!
Thanks for the reply. You mentioned hypers on Santoor for both your options. Any reason you feel hyper is better suited for santoor?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
elpillo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jahluwalia View Post
Thanks for the reply. You mentioned hypers on Santoor for both your options. Any reason you feel hyper is better suited for santoor?
Yes, there's a reason why. You mentioned that you suffer from bleeding from the the tabla into the santoor mics. Hypers mics have a little more rejection on the sides than a cardioid mic so they can help to minimize the bleed. Every little helps!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elpillo View Post
Yes, there's a reason why. You mentioned that you suffer from bleeding from the the tabla into the santoor mics. Hypers mics have a little more rejection on the sides than a cardioid mic so they can help to minimize the bleed. Every little helps!
Awesome! Would you put the hypers on the santoor? In one option you suggested XY, but wasn't sure about the other.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahluwalia View Post
Thanks for the reply! I think I misspoke about the live recording. There will be no amplification. Those are pretty much the mics that I have. And yes, you are right, the Santoor is much quieter than the tabla and controlling it’s bleed in the Santoor mic is an issue. How far would you position the players? How would you position the dual monos?
i see - first of all, i'd make sure that the musicians feel comfortable! this imo is much more important than any technical consideration...

___


i'd use the km184's on the tabla: the mic for the low tabla should aim at the center of the drum head (for good lf represntation); capsule of both mics ca. 10cm from the rim (for comfortable playing), angles maybe 30º reltve to the drum head.

for mixing, i'm using much different efx on the two tabla: way less and smaller room efx on the low tabla, often steep hpf on the high tabla and more and a bit longer efx.

___


santoor: i'd probably use a (hyper-) cardioid pair in either wide a/b or maybe ortf. you could however also use a single cardioid plus an omni, the latter put on the floor so it becomes a blm! i'd use a lpf on the blm then.

depending on he approach, use of efx will vary of course. in the latter case, efx setting would be somewhat similar except that i'd add some early reflection to the omni as a blm picks up way less earli reflections than a free standing mic. in this case, i'd use a mono in/stereo out efx for the cardioid and probably a room setting.

regarding panorama, you then might counterbalance tabla high against santoor high - don't overdo, no one like hearing instruments at the far end of the panorama so 5º to each side should do, tabla low and santoor even less if not panned to the center - but of course much different settings can also work!


a fair amount of indian musicians i came across seemed to like a chorus on their percussion instruments, something i consider to be somewhat unusual... - but hey, if this makes them happy, why not?



oh: no raagini? or does this get used in vastly different styles only?

(i've been recording/mixing lots of artist from the entire area, from india, pakistan and beyond but i keep forgetting about where certain styles and even instruments come from - pls forgive my ignorance on this topic!)

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 08:05 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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One hypercardioid mic note... the pattern "rejects" well from the sides of the capsule (all around, from 90 to 160 degrees or so off-axis), but not so well from directly behind (180 degrees, relative to the direction of the capsule). There is a definite "node" of pickup at 180. That is to say, if one were to "sing" directly on-axis to the XLR connector, there would be more "pickup" heard than from there to about 120 degrees from the front.

To wit, the illustration. This is a Shure Beta87A plot, but is pretty typical of hypercardioid. What's directly "behind" the mic matters more than what is off to the sides.

HB
Attached Thumbnails
Mic selection and position for Santoor and tabla (indian classical music)-scplot.jpeg  
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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Thank you everyone for the reply. Hopefully I can do some tests with different setups and post the results here. Give a month or so
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