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Author Topic: Open recording some solo sets at an art museum - any suggestions?  (Read 540 times)

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Offline if_then_else

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It might be a long shot, but I thought I might just ask if, by any chance, anybody here has ever recorded a solo performance at an art museum?

The thing is: I've got two solo sets coming up at the local forum of contemporary art. Two members of one of my favourite bands are going to perform their drone / ambient sets to an audience of about 60-70 people. (There's a temporary exhibition with the ready-mades and installations of one of their regular co-workers at the same venue.)

Open taping (video and audio) has been confirmed by both the artists and the venue manager.

Now, I don't know if there's anything like a proper PA or a soundboard available. About three or four years ago, I already attended a show with Stephen O'Malley from Sunn O))) in the basement of the museum and it was only his guitar and one amp.

If given a free hand, how would you best set up a microphone array for ambient / drone music?

N.B.:
- These are seated solo performances.
- The first set will feature a hurdy-gurdy, floor toms and looped vocals.
- The second thing will feature an electric guitar, looped vocals and spoken words.
- The dynamic range of the second set will be huge: ranging from very quiet to extremely loud and distorted guitars.
- One set will be seguing into the other seamlessly.
- I've got some Sennheiser MKH-8020 omnis as well as some MBHO subcards and hypers available. I will be recording into a mixpre-6.

I'm currently leaning towards the subcards in XY-120 and the omnis in wide AB (if possible, close to the artists) to capture as much as possible of the bass frequencies.
Any specific config that would be suited better for this sort of event?

Offline ilduclo

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Re: Open recording some solo sets at an art museum - any suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 01:43:07 PM »
nice set of split omnis close to the stage. This has worked great for me with the dpa 4061's. As a great follower of strange music, I'd be really interested in getting a copy of this, should that be OK with the arteests. :drool:
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 01:44:46 PM by ilduclo »

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Open recording some solo sets at an art museum - any suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 04:01:34 PM »
Agreed.

It's likely to be very 'verby, which can work well or not depending on the music.  I've recorded avant-garde solo bass clarinet and other solo stuff which isn't especially rhythmically percussive in an art museums where the super-verbatious ambience is absolutely delicious.  Generally, the more sparce, ambient, and slow-paced the music, the better it will translate when performed in a very echoic environment.  As the instrumentation becomes more complex, and as thing become more percussive and the rhythm speeds up, things get messy quick.  Spoken word can be a particular challenge.  A museum is basically an reverb chamber with artwork.

Sounds like you have a good plan.  Get close to the artists.  Proximity is your friend.  Mic setups which convey the lush verb in an open and beautifully seductive way will work better than trying to fight the ambience using highly directional microphones which will still be swamped in 'verb, but translate it in a more closed, colored and less flattering way.
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Offline ilduclo

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Re: Open recording some solo sets at an art museum - any suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2017, 09:05:09 AM »
For the record, how did the show go? What gear did you end up using? Recordings come out ok?

Offline if_then_else

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Re: Open recording some solo sets at an art museum - any suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 09:30:46 AM »
For the record, how did the show go? What gear did you end up using? Recordings come out ok?

So, in order to provide some feed-back about the show:

Both the artists and the museum staff were super helpful. I was allowed to mount my gear early (about 45 minutes before the general public was allowed to enter the room).

The show itself took place in a former wine cellar in the basement of the museum. Great location, very appropriate for this sort of event. The event manager told me before the performance that they'd only allow 35-40 people into the room.

The only downside with the location was that the floors in the cellar had been paved with pea gravel. So, every time the artists (or someone in the audience) were moving, there's a crunching noise on the recording. Anyway, I consider this inevitable under these circumstances.

As suggested by the other posters, I used a 4-mic array on a small stand next to the artists to record the event (subcards in X-Y-120, omnis in A-B - spaced approx. 70cm apart). I also shot a HD video version of the performance. My camcorder was mounted on a small table top tripod (Feisol TT-15 mkII) and a Sirui VH-10 video head - which enabled me to use an extreme "worm's-eye" view.

Due to the extreme dynamic range of the music, I decided to use some attenuators between the mics and the XLR-ins of my mixpre-6. The mixpre-6 was switched to custom mode with the front knobs acting as gain controls (rather than faders).

* AUD1: 2×MBHO-KA300NB (X-Y placement) -> 2×MBHO-604 -> 2×Cordial CPM 3,0 FM-Flex cables -> 2×Shure A15AS attenuators (@-25dB) -> SD mixpre-6 (CH 1+2)       
* AUD2: 2×MKH8020s (wide A-B placement) -> 2×Cordial CPM 5,0 FM-Flex cables  -> 2×AT8202 attenuators (@-30dB) -> SD mixpre-6 (CH 3+4)     

The resulting footage has been submitted to the artists, their label and the museum. I might post some samples here later on if/when public circulation has been approved.

Offline ilduclo

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Re: Open recording some solo sets at an art museum - any suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2017, 10:59:43 AM »
thanks, a hurdy gurdy! Keiji Haino plays one, too!

 

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