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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #60 on: July 20, 2009, 12:34:12 AM »
Good stuff. Nice little room you've got there. Thanks for the photos.
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Offline boojum

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #61 on: July 21, 2009, 01:58:47 PM »
Good stuff. Nice little room you've got there. Thanks for the photos.

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Offline jnorman34

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #62 on: July 21, 2009, 06:15:10 PM »
yep - makes me want to install a few balconies when i remodel my studio...
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Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #63 on: August 22, 2009, 10:00:25 AM »
Hey team...

I popped my classical cherry last night... it was prolly like so many first time experiences that we've all heard about.  There were some embarrassing moments, we were clumsy, we didn't quite know what to do... but hell, we went ahead and did it anyway and  It.Felt.Good.  ;D

I've moved from Minneapolis to a far northern MN outpost and my taping opportunities have gone from normally 3 nights a week to "when ever I can afford the 6hr drive back south".  Pretty dry.

But for the last 31 years a small group of "Boarder Landers" have been getting together to play orchestral and chamber stuff and last night was this summer's big show.  So I went and asked if they'd like a recording and, after a surprised, "You want to record us??" I was welcomed in.

The room was a smallish recycled church I expect, with a stage area (used to augment audience seating) and rather high ceilings which followed the roof line and was finished flat forming two broad hips to the otherwise square room.  It was pretty lively in there too and I was a little worried about reverb but it sounded pretty good in reality.  Lots of windows on the sides opened to the deck outside... nothing like the rumble of a Harley rolling by during a rendition of the Brandenburg Concerto #6.

They played in two groups a youth/adult "Sinfonia" and adult "Orchestra", each dominated by violin, viola and cello.  Two basses played in the Sinfonia form, only one in the Orchestra.  No percussion/piano, no reeds or brass... just rows and rows of strings.  The combined Sinfonia sat 35 players... is that a lot?

I set up a pair of TLs in omni mode about 40"-48" apart just ahead of the conductor's stand (a big no no I'll wager) and raised my shorties to max height of 42" and let'er rip.

I think the sound is good if a bit focused on the immediate first chair circle.  I'm tempted to play with a little reverb in post as I think it may serve to balance that out a bit.

So, tell me what I did wrong?  ;D  (30 seconds of the forth movement of A. Corelli's Concerto 8 is attached... for your amusement.)
« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 10:03:02 AM by U~Ca^ »
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #64 on: August 22, 2009, 11:48:31 AM »
I haven't listened to your recording--sorry--but when there's too much focus on the front/center performers (a fairly common problem), the usual suggestion is to try placing the mikes a little farther away and perhaps somewhat higher up.

But you always have to weigh that problem against the problem of picking up too much reverberation (hall sound). Sometimes wide cardioids are a better choice than omnis for that reason. They're still warm and soft like omnis and most of the nice full rolling bass is still there, but they can maintain focus from a slightly greater distance.

Anyway, congratulations on making the brave leap.

--best regards

P.S.: You may want to read http://taperssection.com/index.php/topic,100121.0.html (or not).
« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 11:53:37 AM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #65 on: August 22, 2009, 12:14:58 PM »
D', thanks for your comments.  I had no doubts that my placement would render a weighted product.  I was just trying to get something for these folks, given the little amount of time and a desire to be rather low profile about the whole recording deal.  (One of the players suggested I should be hanging my mics from the ceiling or from the wall behind them.  That wasn't going to happen.)

As I sat there I kept thinking that Blumlein might not have been a bad option but I didn't have my taller stand... I would have set up behind the conductor had the audience seating not been so terribly close.  In retrospect and with a different audience configuration that's prolly where I should have run a simple X-Y card set or perhaps a j-Disc.

Maybe next summer...
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Offline Mike R.

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #66 on: August 23, 2009, 10:09:37 PM »

I did listen to the clip, and agree that you're too close.  Think of it this way.  If the front row is 4 feet away, and the back row is 16 feet away from the mics (just a wild guess), you're going to be getting a lot more energy from that fron row than the back.  24 dB down if I'm not too brain-dead right now.

The solution is get your mic position more equidistant from both front and back musicians.  Yes, farther in the audience, higher, or both.  There are lots of tradeoffs involved when you've got the audience, and even more when the recording is not the primary focus of the performance.

Thanks for sharing!
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #67 on: August 26, 2009, 07:58:38 AM »
Mike R., the front/back disparity is only partly a matter of amplitude. The pickup from the musicians in front will also have a much higher proportion of sound arriving at the microphones directly, while the pickup from the musicians in back (and off to the sides beyond the microphones) will have a much higher proportion of reflected sound. So the pickup from the front is clearer and more direct.

I suspect that the formula you used was based on a free sound field--a space with no reflected energy. In a concert hall the difference wouldn't be so drastic. It's harder to predict "real-world" attenuation in a reverberant environment; it's easier to measure it, if you can get into the hall.

As you point out, the audience hears all the musicians from a more or less equal distance. For recordings to sound right over loudspeakers, the microphones must nearly always be placed closer to the sound source than the preferred audience position. In part this is because the playback environment adds sound reflections of its own (so to deliver the right balance of direct and reflected sound, the original has to be a bit clearer than what the audience would normally hear), and in part it's because by now, we're all used to hearing an enhanced pickup of detail--the basis on which "high fidelity" was sold to the public ("presence" was the buzzword back then). But this closer placement amplifies the disparity between distance-to-front and distance-to-back.

--Another technique that can help maintain "focus" with pressure (omni) microphones at greater distances is the use of accessory spheres around the capsules. The "Decca tree" approach is based on this, but the technique actually predates commercial stereophonic recording. The capsules need to be appropriate for the distance; you wouldn't use a capsule with flat 0-degree response for this.

--best regards
« Last Edit: September 19, 2009, 12:59:49 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #68 on: August 26, 2009, 07:12:15 PM »
So, you're saying that because I recorded from the belly of the beast that my pull is crap?  I knew going in that it wasn't the right/best/optimum spot.  I shouldn't have asked, "What did I do wrong?" but rather, "What do you think of this crap?"  ;D

I do appreciate the enlargement on the whole orchestra recording deal, though.  If I ever get a little more advanced look at the room and the program, I'll have a much better feel for what I can get away with.  Thanks.
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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #69 on: August 26, 2009, 07:42:23 PM »
.
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Offline Ben Turnbull

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #70 on: August 26, 2009, 07:54:03 PM »
--.-
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Offline boojum

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #71 on: August 26, 2009, 07:57:06 PM »
So, you're saying that because I recorded from the belly of the beast that my pull is crap?  I knew going in that it wasn't the right/best/optimum spot.  I shouldn't have asked, "What did I do wrong?" but rather, "What do you think of this crap?"  ;D

I do appreciate the enlargement on the whole orchestra recording deal, though.  If I ever get a little more advanced look at the room and the program, I'll have a much better feel for what I can get away with.  Thanks.

Reading Eargle and Bartlett have helped me a great deal in getting the basics of mic placement.  Then I can start from a reasonable place and proceed to the sweet spot.  Mics are like real estate: it is location, location, location.  Once I had begun to get the broad outlines of placement down I found that my recordings were getting better.  It takes practice.

Cheers
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #72 on: August 27, 2009, 07:45:30 AM »
U~Ca^, be of good cheer. As you practice and learn, you begin to expect more from yourself. This can lead to dissatisfaction with what you've done in the past--but when you can hear in your mind's ears what a better recording might sound like, you will already be making better recordings on the basis of that "sound picture." I promise this.

When I was first learning to record concerts, I called some experienced engineers and asked them to let me tag along to see how they did it. To my surprise, no one told me "no." From what I saw, it seemed that there were two crucial phases: the initial, planned setup, then the quick adjustments that they would make while the musicians warmed up. I got the feeling that the second part was almost as important as the first, and that it was where a lot of their experience and critical listening abilities showed themselves.

I eventually got to where I could "sight-read" a hall better than I could in the beginning, and to where I could learn a lot from listening through headphones to guide the quick adjustments. But there's still no substitute for going to the dress rehearsal, trying out several plausible setups, and listening to the results through a familiar set of loudspeakers until you know which setup you prefer and why.

It also helps if you don't change too many variables at the same time. Try your favorite mikes in several different arrangements and compare the results, or try several different mikes in the same arrangement and compare the results--but comparing microphone type A with microphone type B when A and B are set up very differently can be confusing. The range of results that can be produced with different placement of the same microphones can be quite surprising.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 09:43:30 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline guosh86

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #73 on: August 28, 2009, 12:11:54 AM »
just heard the recording - it does sound as though the front row is too loud with respect to the rest of the orchestra. what i'd usually look out for when recording is the blend and balance between instruments as heard from the audience and try to replicate that. reading bartlett helped me get the basics too, especially with the section on 'troubleshooting sound'.

when i first started out, i believed that getting the conductor's perspective was important since he was the one controlling the sound. it was only later that i realised conductors usually had someone seating in the audience to comment on the balance - thus taking the acoustics of the location into consideration. and so i started moving my mic stand higher and further back

one thing i noted was that by raising the mic stand too high, there was actually the possibility of making the front row too soft, and the back rows way too loud due to the different distances between the mics. and i guess thats where experience comes into play. it took me quite a number of other performances to finally find the sound i wanted, and no doubt theory helped as well

a couple of months later i started working at a studio after realising one of my colleagues in the army band was an engineer there. that was where i picked up the most information i could, as they did rather large projects which helped fine-tune my placement of mics. interestingly, that colleague of mine does not have any theoretical background in the work that he does - he's not read any books about recording, but has gone purely by work experience and his own ears.

to me, its really interesting how someone can simply use their ears and come up with an ortf placement without knowing it ever existed, or place omnis pretty close to the 3-to-1 rule without knowing about it either. perhaps being a classical musician helps in understanding the end result that is desired, in which case its good to just go with your ears. if not, i've found this forum and gearslutz a really good place to get opinions over the sound that you want

in terms of discrete recordings with desirable results, its really a give and take. i heard some recordings from iso mic and they were fantastic, but its a real killer on the sightlines. and i've also done quite a few recordings where the conductor refuses to allow me to put my mics behind him as he feels its stealing the limelight from him  ::). in which case, the recordings have not turned out very well at all. but i believe there are ways around this... i've just not found them yet  :P maybe someone else here has?

welcome to team classical recording though, hope to hear more from you in the future!

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Team classical recording
« Reply #74 on: August 28, 2009, 04:48:12 PM »
..what i'd usually look out for when recording is the blend and balance between instruments as heard from the audience and try to replicate that.

It strikes me that distance/height relationship is a particularly valuable variable to play with for this material -vs- the type of typical live band recording that is the main focus here at TS because of three things: 1) were talking about true acoustic sources without any PA reinforcement 2) all those individual sources take up a huge amount of real estate on the stage 3) each of those sources have different directional radiation patterns. 

Turning it around, the influence of those things (excepting the PA part) is what historically determined the traditional positional arrangement of elements within the orchestra.

The radiation pattern of the instruments is a big factor.  The violins sound shrill from close and above, but sound more tonally balanced from the same distance away from directly in front.  I've made recordings from the front row center audience perspective (~10' behind the conductor, not an elevated mic position) that I really enjoy becasue of the great sense of natural depth between the front sections and back sections of the orchestra, while retaining a nice modern detailed presence and timbre from the instruments up front.  I don't hear that same sense of depth in many commercial recordings where they strive to (and have more ability to) balance the front and back sounds a bit more by placing the mic higher.  So although I made those recordings that way because of the constraints I was placed under, I find the results sound more natural with an audience perspective- increased depth and reverberance from the back sections with some attractive modern detail and presence element from the violins and violas without them sounding shrill or independent from each other.  Sounds big, deep and there.  That's my self justification anyway.

On the other hand, I've made other recordings from a high tier to the side and almost directly above the front sections of the orchestra that I figured would be compromised at best, but which worked pretty well despite the large distance because of the extra brightness radiating upwards from the strings.

Quote
..or place omnis pretty close to the 3-to-1 rule without knowing about it either.

Not sure exactly how he was using it, but I can't let this one pass without commenting since it's one of my pet peeves that I see repeated all over the web incorrectly applied to stereo mic'ing.  The 3:1 rule applies only to multiple mics that are summed to a single channel, not to to stereo mic'ing or discrete multichannel recording.  If you think about it, nearly all popular stereo mic'ing techniques would break it.
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