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Author Topic: Off-center setup/config for specific room  (Read 1878 times)

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Online heathen

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Off-center setup/config for specific room
« on: January 16, 2018, 11:06:14 AM »
I'm looking for ideas about how to best set up in a specific room where the recording location is off-center, and close to a wall (for Colorado folks, I'm referring to Cervante's Other Side).  A few assumptions to begin with: (1) ignore the possibility of getting a sbd feed, as I'm focusing on how to best set up an audience recording; (2) mic stand has to be set up at the sbd (see attached sketch of the room), and most likely in front of the sbd; (3) using a stereo pair of mics (something directional like card or hyper); and (4) using a stereo bar that allows the distance, and angle, between the mics to be adjusted (coincident and near coincident configs are fair game).

How would you set up and configure the mics under this circumstance?

(With regard to assumption #3, I would be curious if some oddball config involving more mics or different patterns would be useful here.)
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 09:34:47 AM by heathen »
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Offline Moke

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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2018, 11:13:35 AM »
do they mix mono, and do the mixing to that single stack side (sending same signal to opposite side)?
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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 11:19:44 AM »

I would go with AB cards pointed straight at the stage left (right if facing the stage) PA speakers.

Alternately I would space cards around 25cm and point the right mic dead ahead at the stage left speaker and the other at the middle of the stage - so sort of a narrow angle DIN arrangement turned a little towards the middle of the room.
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Offline rigpimp

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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 11:21:20 AM »
Is there a spot to hang mics from the center of the ceiling?  Cafe Du Nord in SF has a similar setup and I was able to stand on a bar stool and clamp to a beam/rail in the center and run cables to the side.
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Online heathen

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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2018, 11:37:52 AM »
do they mix mono, and do the mixing to that single stack side (sending same signal to opposite side)?

I don't know the answer to that.

Quote from: rigpimp
Is there a spot to hang mics from the center of the ceiling?

Not that I know of.
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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2018, 12:17:55 PM »
do they mix mono, and do the mixing to that single stack side (sending same signal to opposite side)?

I don't know the answer to that.

Quote from: rigpimp
Is there a spot to hang mics from the center of the ceiling?

Not that I know of.

Ceiling beam - lighting truss - electrical conduit - I've used all of those at some point over the years. Just have to figure out a way to get your mic cables suspended. I've used gaff tape and zip ties...
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Online heathen

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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2018, 01:06:11 PM »
That's a good idea but at least for purposes of this discussion let's assume it's not feasible.  (And it may not be feasible at all, though I'm not certain.)
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Offline noahbickart

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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2018, 02:10:55 PM »
I'd settle for a "stack tape." Imagine that your direct sound will come exclusively from the Stage Left PA speaker.

I'd use cards or hypers x/y, or, if you can, m/s.
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Offline kuba e

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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2018, 03:26:59 PM »
Heathen, how big club is it? What do you expect to to be in sbd feed?

(With regard to assumption #3, I would be curious if some oddball config involving more mics or different patterns would be useful here.)

Try the Oddball, it is fun. Probably it is the best to setup in the acoustic center of the room. But i think, if you are not too close to the walls and you point mics to the acoustic center, it will be good. Gut will advise you better. I think he recommended supercards for small clubs. Look in his last version of his OMT document. Gut posted great examples of OMT, he was recording from side of the room too -
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=184876.msg2251498#msg2251498
photos - http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=184876.msg2251751#msg2251751

I'd use cards or hypers x/y, or, if you can, m/s.

Noah, why do you prefer x/y config for cards and hypers? Is it because you want to manipulate the stereo image in post? Small spacing (din or whatever) for cards or hypers should add nice feeling to the sbd feed too.

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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 03:31:11 PM »
Heathen, how big club is it? What do you expect to to be in sbd feed?

Here are some pictures and details of the place: http://www.westword.com/location/cervantes-other-side-5164940

As to your question about the sbd feed, do you mean what will be through the PA speakers versus ambient sound coming from the stage?
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Online Gutbucket

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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2018, 03:36:22 PM »
This is a stack tape + stage sound + ambient room sound situation.   < Those are the three primary acoustic parts which are going to affect the recording, and I suggest thinking about how to go about capturing those elements in proper balance with each other first of all.  Secondary to that, consider ways of getting a playback image which doesn't sound lopsided.

Working backwards let's start with the image-balance secondary aspect thing, which is easy to manage yet counter-intuitive - some mic setups will accommodate a lopsided image-balance better than others, but regardless this general recommendation always stands: Point the entire array at the apparent acoustic center of the sound as heard from the recording position.  Don't trust what you're eyes tell you with this!  Stand where you will put the mics, close your eyes, try and forget where you are, and turn your head to find the best balance while a band is playing.  Then open your eyes and turn the top part of your stand or clamp-rig or whatever to rotate the entire mic setup until it points in the same direction.  In this situation you'll probably end up with it pointing more or less straight ahead at the right PA speaker.  But it could be slightly to the left of the right PA if the bands onstage sound is loud compared to the level of the PA, or could even be slightly right towards the wall if the wall is very reflective.  Don't overthink this part and try to compensate for being off-center by pointing your rig towards center stage or the left PA speaker way over on the far side or whatever.  That will only make the off-center image balance situation worse and sound more unbalanced on the resulting recording.  Just aim the whole setup in whatever direction sounds most balanced.

More on the first part when I can..

[kuba e posted while I was typing- yes, I used my outdoor 6 channel OMT spaced omni setup indoors two evenings the weekend before last in almost this exact situation (mirror imaged actually, I was on the far-left side) and was astounded how well it worked, as that was not designed with either small rooms nor far-off center recording positions in mind.  I've been thinking alot about why it worked so nicely given those constraints since, and I'm going to revise my "small room OMT variant" recommendations somewhat.  But yeah, photos of that are in the new Oddball Mic Technique Thread part 2.  More on all this later..]
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 03:49:33 PM by Gutbucket »
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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 04:03:55 PM »
do they mix mono, and do the mixing to that single stack side (sending same signal to opposite side)?

I don't know the answer to that.

Quote from: rigpimp
Is there a spot to hang mics from the center of the ceiling?

Not that I know of.

The other day, I sent you a link to a recording dated 1988-01-02.
It was done in a room exactly like your drawing. That recording is AB omni right stack tape, fwiw. It was mastered to casssette back in that day, so listen with that thought.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 04:05:27 PM by Moke »
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Offline kuba e

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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2018, 04:46:00 PM »
Heathen, how big club is it? What do you expect to to be in sbd feed?
As to your question about the sbd feed, do you mean what will be through the PA speakers versus ambient sound coming from the stage?

Yes, exactly. You can try record onstage or stage lip mics plus sbd feed. In the onstage mics, you will catch instruments that are loud and the sound engineer does not amplify them in PA. And vice versa in sbd feed you have instruments that are quieter and need to amplify. It can be nice recording, onstage recording completes sbd feed. And sound engineer can bring your signal of onstage mics through a snake to sbd. Then everything is in one place.

I've seen pictures on google. It's a narrower room. Here should advise someone more experienced. Theoretically, I love audience recording, so I would try it without sbd feed and place the microphones closer to the stage where the best sound is. Practically, I prefer to be out of the crowd, so I would do audience (by sbd) or stage lip plus sbd feed.

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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2018, 04:53:24 PM »
I'd use cards or hypers x/y, or, if you can, m/s.
Noah, why do you prefer x/y config for cards and hypers? Is it because you want to manipulate the stereo image in post? Small spacing (din or whatever) for cards or hypers should add nice feeling to the sbd feed too.

Coincident techniques tend to have a strong mono-phonic center image which can help when off-center if you are not pointing at the "apparent acoustic center" as suggested above.  Also some tapers feel that coincident configs help in less than ideal rooms for other reasons.

If the PA dominates from this location sort of like a stack tape, some space between mics can help create more of a sense of stereo spaciousness and reduce the tendency of a SBD/stack-tape to sound overly dry/flat/monophonic.
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Re: Off-center setup/config for specific room
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2018, 05:37:56 PM »
I suspect the OMT stuff works well in these situations because it's sort of leveraging a different way of making stereo - the spaced omnis create the ambient stereo bed which isn't influenced as negatively by being far off-center as a standard directional near-spaced setup, and the center mic(s) fill-out the center of the playback image.  In that way it sort of synthesises a balanced stereo image on psycho-acoustic terms even if that's not exactly a faithful representation of the imaging heard from that location live, as required for "purist" two-channel taping mic arrangements to really shine.  The proximity to that on-axis PA directly in front of your setup location then becomes an advantage, like a SBD patch, while the off-center position becomes less of a problem image-wise.

In some ways it would be ideal to have a second mirror-image recording position near the bar on the other side of the room.  That would make for a "wide-omnis hanging from the ceiling in front of the PA" type setup which can work really well- close enough to the PA speakers to get clear SBD-like sound (which is certainly mixed mostly mono if not fully mono and would play back as a solid center-image even with that over-wide omni spread), close enough to the stage to pickup on-stage sound and whatever is not represented in the SBD, and high enough to get just enough but not too much room, audience and bar noise.  That arrangement has worked very well for some permanent small-club installations other members at TS have setup.

But you're more or less constrained to only half of that arrangement.  In that way I suspect your position should be pretty good for proximity and direct/reverberant/audience sound balance, but you'll need to think more about getting a well-balanced image and good spatiality.
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