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Topic: A bit OT: recording large ensembles

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  1. #1

    A bit OT: recording large ensembles

    Hi all,

    I'm getting ready to purchase equipment to record choirs, bands, and orchestras in the auditorium of the school where I teach. I plan to keep mic(s) permanently installed, likely hanging from the ceiling around 20 ft in front of the stage, which is about 1/4 of the way out into the house. For simplicity, we'll stay with just a pair of mics or one stereo mic that is supplied phantom power through a simple line mixer, which will then route to a CD recorder. The auditorium itself seats around 800 on one level, and is fairly typical for a large high school.

    Am I on the right track with one of these mics?
    http://www.studioprojects.com/lsd2.html
    http://www.rodemic.com/microphone.php?product=NT4

    Any other suggestions regarding mic selection and/or placement?

    Thanks in advance,
    Eric

  2. #2

    Re: A bit OT: recording large ensembles

    There's also Line Audio Design's ST6L (and QM12 ):

    http://www.lineaudio.se/linemic.htm

    and the versatile TetraMic from Core Sound:

    http://www.core-sound.com/TetraMic/1.php
    Anders Dahnielson

    Ardour2, Qtractor, LinuxSampler, M-AUDIO Delta 1010, AKAI S2000, E-MU Proteus 2k, Roland JX-10, 4GB RAM Intel Pentium Dual CPU E2160 @ 1.80GHz Gentoo Linux 64 bit

  3. #3

    Re: A bit OT: recording large ensembles

    Maybe I should have added, regarding suggestion of microphone placement, that it's dependent on the auditoriums acoustic qualities, like its shape, to get a clear stereo image as possible. Some experimentation and carefully listening is usually all it takes.
    Anders Dahnielson

    Ardour2, Qtractor, LinuxSampler, M-AUDIO Delta 1010, AKAI S2000, E-MU Proteus 2k, Roland JX-10, 4GB RAM Intel Pentium Dual CPU E2160 @ 1.80GHz Gentoo Linux 64 bit

  4. #4

    Re: A bit OT: recording large ensembles

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric G View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm getting ready to purchase equipment to record choirs, bands, and orchestras in the auditorium of the school where I teach. I plan to keep mic(s) permanently installed, likely hanging from the ceiling around 20 ft in front of the stage, which is about 1/4 of the way out into the house. For simplicity, we'll stay with just a pair of mics or one stereo mic that is supplied phantom power through a simple line mixer, which will then route to a CD recorder. The auditorium itself seats around 800 on one level, and is fairly typical for a large high school.

    Am I on the right track with one of these mics?
    http://www.studioprojects.com/lsd2.html
    http://www.rodemic.com/microphone.php?product=NT4

    Any other suggestions regarding mic selection and/or placement?

    Thanks in advance,
    Eric

    I'd take the Rode's because they sound more natural, esp. the highs which IMO are hyped in the Studio Projects.

    I hope your hall doesn't sound bad.

  5. #5

    Re: A bit OT: recording large ensembles

    Thank you both. The Line Audio and the Tetramic look intriguing - especially the Tetramic! I'll probably have to stick closer to the budget of the other mics I'd researched - just wanted to know if I was even barking up the right tree.

    Rick, our hall is okay. It's nice for a high school, but it's not going to win any awards for acoustic design or anything. I'm just trying to make sure the recording equipment doesn't make it sound worse!

    Thanks,
    Eric

  6. #6

    Re: A bit OT: recording large ensembles

    The traditional way to do it is with a pair of spaced omni's. Earthworks are a really popular choice. Any of the qtc's. But they might be over your budget.

    You might try and hunt down a pair of Peluso's with omni caps... they're less expensive and I've heard pretty good things about them. The omnis, btw, generally give a better bass response at the working distance you have in mind which may make a difference with an orchestra compared to a soprano choir.

    Howard

  7. #7

    Re: A bit OT: recording large ensembles

    Quote Originally Posted by howardv View Post
    The traditional way to do it is with a pair of spaced omni's. Earthworks are a really popular choice. Any of the qtc's. But they might be over your budget.
    Yes. Spaced pairs (A/B) is the traditional American way while coincident pair (X/Y, M/S) is the traditional European way.

    The fact that there are these general differences in approach between the British recordings and American ones is a result of historical differences in the aims of the research teams in the two countries who developed the original stereo techniques during the early 1930's.

    In Britain, Alan Blumlein's team was most interested in providing good stereo images in a domestic environment, with as much a sense of "being there" as possible. So, they were dealing mostly with a situation in which there would only be a small number of listeners who would be able to cluster themselves in or around the "stereo seat". In this case, one pair of crossed coincident mics could be used to create amplitude panned material in two channels to be fed to two speakers. The microphones he used were figure of eight types, crossed at 90o so that as sounds crossed the stage in front of the mic pair, the level coming from one decreases whilst the level from the other increases. This arrangement gives a very natural sound, although the front soundstage is not as wide on the speakers as it is in real life (angular distortion) and the sound is more reverberant since the sounds from the rear of the mics is picked up equally loudly but is mapped onto the frontal image produced by the pair of speakers. This is why most modern usage of this coincident pair technique uses mics with cardioid polar patterns to reduce the rear pickup.

    The team at Bell Labs in the States were much more concerned with providing stereo to large audiences eg. for film sound (although Blumlein's original patent mentions film sound frequently). As such, many listeners would not be in the ideal stereo seat and there would be a considerable problem with the "hole in the middle", especially since this is where much of the dialogue would be expected to be coming from. Accordingly, they worked with three channels (the centre channel on film is still called the dialogue channel) feeding three speakers. The channels were derived from either widely spaced microphones (often referred to as a curtain of mics) or via a rather complex panpot. While this approach does not give as good results in the domestic situation as Blumlein stereo, it works very well in the area for which it was designed.
    Source: http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/mustech/3d_audio/ambis2.htm

    Then there's also the Decca Tree technique that almost became standard on classical recordings. (Not to forget ORTF and NOS.)

    BTW, I would go with the Röde too, and a DAV BG1 as preamp.
    Anders Dahnielson

    Ardour2, Qtractor, LinuxSampler, M-AUDIO Delta 1010, AKAI S2000, E-MU Proteus 2k, Roland JX-10, 4GB RAM Intel Pentium Dual CPU E2160 @ 1.80GHz Gentoo Linux 64 bit

  8. #8

    Re: A bit OT: recording large ensembles

    Also gaining popularity here in some parts is a somewhat more unconventional orchestral recording technique involving hanging 3 omnis. And setting up the mixer channels to send m1+m2-m3 to the left while sending m3+m2-m1 to the right. As you bring the 3 omnis more closely together, you can nullify phasing issues while retaining their natural ultra-flat frequency response and a point-source stereo image. I think of it as kind of like a mid-side realization of a Soundfield on a shoe-string.

    Howard

  9. #9

    Re: A bit OT: recording large ensembles

    Quote Originally Posted by howardv View Post
    Also gaining popularity here in some parts is a somewhat more unconventional orchestral recording technique involving hanging 3 omnis. And setting up the mixer channels to send m1+m2-m3 to the left while sending m3+m2-m1 to the right. As you bring the 3 omnis more closely together, you can nullify phasing issues while retaining their natural ultra-flat frequency response and a point-source stereo image. I think of it as kind of like a mid-side realization of a Soundfield on a shoe-string.

    Howard
    Cool.

    As long as the acoustic space sound good with omnis.
    Anders Dahnielson

    Ardour2, Qtractor, LinuxSampler, M-AUDIO Delta 1010, AKAI S2000, E-MU Proteus 2k, Roland JX-10, 4GB RAM Intel Pentium Dual CPU E2160 @ 1.80GHz Gentoo Linux 64 bit

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