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Extremely close-spaced A/B pair on classical vocalists?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Extremely close-spaced A/B pair on classical vocalists?

I often see live classical voice recordings with famous vocalists that are mic'd wth a very close-spaced pair of SDC's (i think). They appear to be a pair of parallel mic's (A-B array) with just ~2" of spacing between them, at chest height maybe 2-3 feet from the vocalist, like here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYZngjS04SI
^^ good image of mic's at 1:05

What is the idea behind this setup? Is it being used as a stereo pair, and if so, why are the mic's so close together and why not NOS/ORTF/etc.

Also, can anyone tell me what the mic stands they're using are? They're very minimalist with what appear to be integrated XLR cords.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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brhoward's Avatar
 

This has been discussed hear before:

[quote]What is this microphone array? - Gearslutz

It's an AB cardioid mic technique to avoid the pasted on sound of a single mono spot mic. It can provide a luxurious sound. Small movements of the singer are rendered with detail and it brings a more life-like quality. You could do this with omnis, but I have only approached this technique with two cardioids.

But the in video you linked, the mics are very, very close. I wonder too, sounds pretty mono to me.

Last edited by brhoward; 2 weeks ago at 10:33 PM.. Reason: omission of statements
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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jnorman's Avatar
Could just be for redundancy sake for the vocal track.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
Could just be for redundancy sake for the vocal track.
May be a wise tactic for broadcast (radio, TV, concert PA) but for recording it's most likely for the purpose as outlined above. Plush described the close pair as a way of 'floating' the spot-miked image in to the overall picture, without it acquiring the pasted on character of a single mono spot mic.

If I recall correctly he recommended to pan the spot pair out a little (say 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock ) to impart a little space or width/dimension to the stereo spot image....while avoiding the dramatic image shift (when the singer turns their head a little while singing) that you'd get if they were panned hard left/right.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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Interesting. Does anyone know what mic stands they're using in the video in the original post? I see these stands a lot in classical voice recording, but don't see anything like this at Sweetwater, etc. They appear to be integrated XLR's, as there are no cables and they're very thin.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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These are Schoeps RC1200 extension tubes for the Collette series mics. They go between the capsule and the preamp tube of the mic, using a brand-specific thread, not XLRs. It is bog-standard technique and gear for live amplified performance of Opera vocals. The two mics are not used for any stereo effect - either for PA or for broadcast. Rather, one mic will be feeding the house PA (and probably Broadcast, through a splitter) and the other one is feeding the Artist's foldback (aka Monitor) speakers. There are two reasons for this - firstly many of us who do these concerts choose to use a tighter capsule pattern for the Foldback mic than for the 'FOH' mic. In my case I like a cardioid MK4 (or even better, an MK4S if I can get one) for Foldback, and a MK21 Wide Cardioid for FOH as I find them smoother as the artist moves around, and if they start moving too much, they hear the drop-off or tonal change in their Foldback before the audience does and it pulls them back centre. This is Opera-specific, for other genres I'd go for two Cardioids, or a Hyper and a Cardioid. The second reason is that having the mic feeding the Foldback separate from the one feeding the House and Broadcast, gives you a little safe zone between when the 'incipient feedback' from the monitor speakers back to the mic starts colouring the sound in that 'system' (often called 'ringing' - but at a level where it's not developed into runaway feedback or howl-round) and when that becomes audible in the FOH, Broadcast or Recording. You sometimes see three mics per Artist, in this case the third is for broadcast, so they have full control over mic preamp levels and a cleaner signal path without splitters. For smaller venues, the Artist may not need stage foldback, in which case the two mics could be FOH and Broadcast instead. And yes - you also get redundancy built-in if the various consoles take both mics, with the one not intended for them normally switched off.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njrsound View Post
These are ...
Fascinating post---thank you--i just learned a number of interesting things. It sounds like you've mic'ed a soprano-with-orchestra before.

In this type of setup, is the cardioid soprano spot mixed with a room pair that picks up her voice? Why not make it a stereo pair of cardioids (4 tiny mic's would not look much worse than 2, after all).

Also, aside from the fact that SDC's are small and photogenic, why choose one over an LDC/ribbon for a mono spot on soprano?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Here is a project where the solo singers are recorded with mono spots.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPvugVYv03c

I have these recordings and they sound good. Looks like all DPA, many quite low.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tessitura View Post
n this type of setup, is the cardioid soprano spot mixed with a room pair that picks up her voice? Why not make it a stereo pair of cardioids (4 tiny mic's would not look much worse than 2, after all).
Also, aside from the fact that SDC's are small and photogenic, why choose one over an LDC/ribbon for a mono spot on soprano?
The answer to both is because it's usually an Outdoor or Arena concert. There's no desirable room ambience to be captured (even for Broadcast) - much better to feed a nice outboard reverb. Second they are really close to the Orchestra (first desk of V1s might be 3 feet away) so if you moved them off-mic enough that a pair of LDCs with wind protection on didn't block their whole face from view for a large number of patrons (and the TV cameras), you would be getting more Orchestra than Vocal in the mics. Finally, LDCs are generally more susceptible to wind noise, even with good protection.

PAs are rarely fed Stereo for singers, except for Reverb effects. If you did as you suggest with a spaced pair, and sent one to the left side of the PA and one to the other, the effect as the singer moved around would be grossly exaggerated in the audience except for a two or three seat strip up the middle of the room. If you panned the two mics in towards centre to ameliorate this effect, they would comb-filter (phase) badly instead. Broadcast might like the stereo pair, but would have to add TWO more mics as the PA crew would want the singer centred on their mic. Broadcasts have Directors, whose default position is less mics rather than more!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Here is a project where the solo singers are recorded with mono spots.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPvugVYv03c

I have these recordings and they sound good. Looks like all DPA, many quite low.
This is a great recording--thanks for posting. They really managed to capture the resonance that the vocalists aim for without sounding 'tin-like'. I often hear opera recordings that sound either bright and a bit breathy (more like a pop singer), which is something classical vocalists try to avoid, or a bit 'tin-like'/phasey.

Is the best guess that the DPA mic's are wide cardioids?

I was under the impression that mono recording of classical voice was anathema around here. This is all very interesting.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
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DaveyJones's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by njrsound View Post
These are Schoeps RC1200 extension tubes for the Collette series mics. They go between the capsule and the preamp tube of the mic, using a brand-specific thread, not XLRs.
Specifically though, these are the twin active tube stands from Schoeps, NOT two of the RC1200. Schoeps call them the R2C-KC and Schoeps market it as a redundancy feature and not a two mic pickup.

https://schoeps.de/en/products/acces...es/r2c-kc.html


Dave
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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The twin Schoeps system mentioned by Dave indeed is intended for redundancy. Such a short distance between two mics to obtain stereo is rather useless.

But it happens, micing a solo voice or one solo instrument, to add a bit more “room” to the stereo image. But when you do it, do it gingerly.
Avoid e.g. ORTF for such purposes. It causes terrible phasing issues. There is a record label, will remain unmentioned, which uses ORTF on a soloist, placing the soloist in the centre of the ORTF, which ends up with quite horrible phasing in mono, and sounds hazey and unfocussed in stereo.

But sometimes it can be better to spot mic the soloist in mono, to make matters more clear in the stereo image. E.g. a soloist playing while standing in front of a symphonic orchestra.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Pieter View Post
But sometimes it can be better to spot mic the soloist in mono, to make matters more clear in the stereo image. E.g. a soloist playing while standing in front of a symphonic orchestra.
A viable alternative to this is to spot mic in xy stereo, which gives a smaller (and more natural) stereo width...and mono compatible to boot !
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
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ISedlacek's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tessitura View Post
I often see live classical voice recordings with famous vocalists that are mic'd wth a very close-spaced pair of SDC's (i think). They appear to be a pair of parallel mic's (A-B array) with just ~2" of spacing between them,
Maybe it is just in case one mic fails ?

Otherwise difficult to imagine any sound advantage of stereo pick-up in case of vocals ... I tried quite few times and found there is nothing like one great mic (better maybe LDC) for vocals ...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISedlacek View Post
I tried quite few times and found there is nothing like one great mic (better maybe LDC) for vocals ...
Or perhaps one reasonably good LDC mic for vocals...and a great stereo reverb....?
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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using very narrow a/b for anything other than redundancy is pointless and a waste of resources: if you want a wider image, use efx.

if recording at some distance (say more than 1.5m), i'm mostly using sdc's; if going closer, some ldc's yield a nice a character but off-axis behaviour can outweight the positive effects of the ldc...
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Couple of comments from the cheap seats....
This is not a stereo pair, it is a redundant pair.
Schoeps makes a double clip for the collette stand as well as a double windscreen so the mics stay together when the stagehands move the stand.
All the best,
Mark
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