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Old 1st August 2019
Lives for gear
Yannick's Avatar

My main technique is double MS plus two flankers, plus a bass section mic. (6 mics).
Then a ms wind mic, plus french horn section, plus the other side of the winds (4)
Then you probably need at least one timpani mic.

That gives a total of 11 mics.
If there is harp, 12.
Then, often there is percussion or double percussion, 14.
If that is the case, a small or big brass section, 16.
Or a soloist, which needs a stereo spot.

Most of the time, I manage with 13-14 mics, rarely more than 16. (Choir and if some producer wants string section spots).

As a rule, I never spot string sections, except double bass. It kills a nice string sound if there is one. With a good orchestra I find it quite easy to have too much string sound in the main pickup, the balance is up to the composer and the chef.

As a side note, the sound difference between just the main+flankers and the entire mix is not big. The section mics are there for clarity and precision.