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Hanging Mics - Is there an optional "hangle"?
View Poll Results: What's the optimal hangle?
High angle, close to talent
0 Votes - 0%
45deg of course!
0 Votes - 0%
Lower angle, further away
0 Votes - 0%
Doesn't matter
0 Votes - 0%
3 Votes - 100.00%
Voters: 3. You may not vote on this poll

Old 1 week ago
Here for the gear

Question Hanging Mics - Is there an optional "hangle"?

Sorry for the pun, but it was too obvious not to use.

Situation: Recording of small stage live performance theater and musical theater with the occasional classical (black box, recital hall, etc). I'll probably have to hang as stands are not an option and BOH is 30m away. Audio is for recorded video, not commercial recording or live streaming.

Mic(s): Inexpensive (~$500 or so) to a 32bit float recorder (Zoom F6/ PreMix II, etc). The actual mic is for another thread over in Low End Theory I'm thinking. Would hang with a Neumann MNV21MT or similar.

Question: Assuming the mics can't get lower than 3m above the un-miced talent, what hanging angle should I be looking for on the mic(s). Closer to the stage with higher angle, or further back at a lower angle? I'm guessing the mic being hyerpcarteroid shotgun, SDC, or omni has a bearing on this?

Disclaimer: I'm an audio noob, but I know that at this price range and distance nothing is going to sound "great". I'm just trying to be better than an on-camera shotgun 30m away! Of course if y'all tell me that in these scenarios something like an NTG-5 from 30m will be better than an NT5 from 8m, I'm open to all options!
Old 1 week ago
Gear Addict
lukedamrosch's Avatar

Originally Posted by MilSF View Post
I'm guessing the mic being hyerpcarteroid shotgun, SDC, or omni has a bearing on this?
Pickup pattern is an essential consideration when hanging mics.
Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear
tourtelot's Avatar
Originally Posted by lukedamrosch View Post
Pickup pattern is an essential consideration when hanging mics.
Ummm, yeah.

Old 1 week ago
Gear Head

Think about it like a high school math problem. Microphones have a pickup pattern (even omni's are more directional to high frequencies). Your sound source has an acoustic "width". To capture the entire sound source, you might want to have direct sound hitting your microphone inside of its optimal pickup pattern. You might not - that it outside this post. But assuming that you want to capture everything the performers are doing, that is the "width" you need to capture.

Now you have the makings of a high-school geometry problem. You have a microphone array. The microphones have a pattern - say cardiod. The microphones could be arranged as an XY pair - in which case, you have a 90 degree window, typically 45 degrees right and left of the center line of your array. Now, how far back does your array need to be have the whole performing area enclosed in the capture? That is one answer. If you space the microphones apart, or use different polar patterns then this distance will adjust.

The other thing to consider is that moving forward and backwards in the hall is not without other effects. You will change the ratio of direct to reverberant sound. You may not like having microphones 45' back in the hall drowning in reflections and picking up only weak direct signals.

This is the "engineering" part of audio engineering. Typically, venues are not set up so that you can hang a mic anywhere you want. If you can, that is a wonderful luxury! The work is to pick the available place that is likely going to have the best vantage point for optimizing direct/reflected sound, the microphones you have available, and the acoustic width you are trying to capture. Yes, these are all "variables", but unless you have a very large mic locker, or are buying microphones to fit this exact use case, you likely have some constraints. You must first asses the constraints, and then within them, make the best choice available.

Much engineering work has been done on polar patterns and capture angles. You may want to familiarize yourself with the work of Michael Williams who has published extensive articles around this very topic. Here is one of them.

While this post doesn't give you an answer, it may give enough context for you to provide more details. The right people are here to help, but without the details, I'm afraid that no one knows how, and that may explain the responses you've gotten so far. The best thing is that this is mostly engineering - it is knowable. There is a pretty good set of answers given the constraints. You will ultimately have or develop preferences within the range of what is possible. But it is possible to start with something that will work well, and be better than anything you do back at the camera location.
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