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Offline dirtrider

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How some pros do it
« on: February 02, 2010, 07:12:47 AM »
Been enjoying NPR's "Tiny Desk Concerts" so much, felt compelled to thank Bob and staff, and ask how they record these, this is their response:

I used to mic these myself with a good stereo mic.
I love having the band play to the mic.
These days, our engineer Kevin Wait has been micing and mixing the shows.
Here are some of Kevin¹s thoughts
Hope it helps

All the best
Bob

Production Tools for NPR All Songs Considered Tiny Desk Concerts:
 
 
* In the spirit of the Tiny Desk Concerts, we don¹t always know beforehand
how many musicians will arrive or even what instruments/arrangements will be
played. After a quick set up we generally have the act play a half-song for
levels, and the show begins. For ease of use and flexibility, I have fallen
in love with the Sennheiser 418s mid/side stereo shotgun mic:
http://www.sennheiser.co.uk/uk/home_en.nsf/root/professional_wired-microphon
es_broadcast-eng-film_005284
 
* Besides the simplicity of ³a mic on a stand,² the mid/side configuration
allows the user to instantaneously (electronically) vary the width of the
stereo field. This allows the same mic to be ³focused² for a solo performer
or, on a moment¹s notice, a group of 10 or 12 (or 30) musicians. The 418s
has very low self-noise as well. Note: this mic by itself will NOT decode to
stereo. It will need to be mid/side decoded the old-fashioned way (3 faders,
phase-flip on a mixer, or by a device like the SD722 below!)
http://www.wikirecording.org/Mid-Side_Microphone_Technique
 
* The recorder is a Sound Devices 722:
http://www.sounddevices.com/products/722.htm
<http://www.sounddevices.com/products/722.htm>  This recorder has fantastic
(forgiving) mic pre-amps and handily decodes the mid/side signal from the
418s into stereo L and R. It¹s menu includes requisite phantom 48V power,
high pass filters to keep the rumble out, and a super-nice limiter for when
levels get out of control.
 
* We have experimented lately with micing the host discreetly so the host
questions can be heard better in the mix. We add a Sennheiser Wireless
ENG100
http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/home_en.nsf/root/professional_wireless-
microphone-systems_broadcast-eng-film_ew-100-series_021418 with a stock omni
lavaliere mic. This addition necessitates a small mixer. The other option is
to simply raise the level of ³chatter² in the stereo mix at post-production.
Both techniques are far from ideal but we strive to keep it technically
simple as to not disrupt spontaneity of the performances.
 
* The last step is mastering the audio. Even with great tools, the
limitations of the space include difficult mic placement, resonant surfaces
(lots of glass in the skinny end of the 635 Mass. Ave. building,) small
acoustic space, street noise, etc. I use Adobe Audition to EQ out annoying
resonant frequencies, then apply some normalization and slight compression
to get the hottest, most transparent signal to the web listener.
 
 
Final Thought: Having said that, truly, the success of the audio recording
is in the mic placement. Results similar to the NPR method can be realized
with any decent stereo recorder and a point-source stereo mic or stereo
array (2 mics properly arranged.) Most audio SD/CF flash recorders (Marantz
PMD-620, for example) have stereo mics built in. There is no set technique
to record music, though I find closer is better. Have your act/band stand
physically as close together as possible and aim your mics/device about
mouth level maybe 2¹-3¹ away. (Look at the Tiny Desk videos and can see our
mic (albeit low) in some of the shots.)
 

Offline DigiGal

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2010, 12:30:42 PM »
Thanks for posting this information, "All Song Considered" and "Live Concerts from All Songs Considered" are available as podcasts from iTunes.
Mics: AKG CK91/CK94/CK98/SE300 | Shure VP88 | Senn ME66/K6/K6RD Cables: Gotham GAC-4/1 "StarQuad" w/Neutrik EMC | Gotham GAC-2pair w/AKG MK90/3 connectors | DigiGal AES>S/PDIF cable Preamp: Sound Devices MixPre-D Recorder: Marantz PMD 661 Edit: 27"3.4GHz QuadCore i7 iMac | OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 | Wave Editor | xACT  | Transmission | Final Cut Pro X                                                            

stevetoney

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2010, 01:10:19 PM »
As a mechanical engineer with a 4 year degree in which I had to study my ass off to pass calculus, differential equations, mechanisms, fluids, chemistry, etc, I don't really appreciate it when the term 'engineer' is lightly applied.  As much as they'd like their salary bumped higher, there's not much  'engineer' in a sanitary engineer. 

However, I do respect the concept of sound/studio engineer.  There's so much technical knowledge involved with getting good audio recordings.

Offline DATBRAD

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2010, 02:30:07 PM »
As a mechanical engineer with a 4 year degree in which I had to study my ass off to pass calculus, differential equations, mechanisms, fluids, chemistry, etc, I don't really appreciate it when the term 'engineer' is lightly applied.  As much as they'd like their salary bumped higher, there's not much  'engineer' in a sanitary engineer. 

However, I do respect the concept of sound/studio engineer.  There's so much technical knowledge involved with getting good audio recordings.

Steve, Just to keep you down to earth, I have to tell this joke. "A little girl was riding in the car with her Dad when they came to a traffic jam. Up ahead, a tractor-trailer had attempted to go beneath an underpass that was too low, and the trailer was wedged under the bridge and the rig was stuck. All around the rig, there were various engineers that were called to the scene to try and solve the problem. There were industrial engineers and civil engineers all wringing their hands suggesting all sorts of very complex and ambitious solutions that would require their deep involvement and hand holding throughout the process to ensure success.

Meanwhile, the car with the little girl had moved up in the traffic and was now next to the group of engineers as they were hashing out all the details of the various ideas they had and working out the enormous resources their solutions would require to succeed. Then, the little girl stuck her head out of the window and asked them, 'why don't you just let the air out of the tires?".  ::)

As an industrial operations manager for over 20 years now, I can tell you I have lost count of how many times I have had actual real life interactions with engineers that were very similar. While I respect the education required to be a real engineer, I also have found that often, the solutions require more common sense than anything else.

Back to your regular programming........
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stevetoney

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 02:51:22 PM »
LOL.  I deserved that one Brad.  Yeah, there's no doubt about it...and I agree wholeheartedly.  I'm surrounded by engineers.  When my wife accuses me of thinking too much like an engineer, I remind her that it took me four years of highly specialized training to develop this way of thinking!  LOL. 

Back on subject, I do think that the recording studio requires a hella lot of hands-on experience to learn how to optimize sound recording with the equipment one has available to them.

As a mechanical engineer with a 4 year degree in which I had to study my ass off to pass calculus, differential equations, mechanisms, fluids, chemistry, etc, I don't really appreciate it when the term 'engineer' is lightly applied.  As much as they'd like their salary bumped higher, there's not much  'engineer' in a sanitary engineer. 

However, I do respect the concept of sound/studio engineer.  There's so much technical knowledge involved with getting good audio recordings.

Steve, Just to keep you down to earth, I have to tell this joke. "A little girl was riding in the car with her Dad when they came to a traffic jam. Up ahead, a tractor-trailer had attempted to go beneath an underpass that was too low, and the trailer was wedged under the bridge and the rig was stuck. All around the rig, there were various engineers that were called to the scene to try and solve the problem. There were industrial engineers and civil engineers all wringing their hands suggesting all sorts of very complex and ambitious solutions that would require their deep involvement and hand holding throughout the process to ensure success.

Meanwhile, the car with the little girl had moved up in the traffic and was now next to the group of engineers as they were hashing out all the details of the various ideas they had and working out the enormous resources their solutions would require to succeed. Then, the little girl stuck her head out of the window and asked them, 'why don't you just let the air out of the tires?".  ::)

As an industrial operations manager for over 20 years now, I can tell you I have lost count of how many times I have had actual real life interactions with engineers that were very similar. While I respect the education required to be a real engineer, I also have found that often, the solutions require more common sense than anything else.

Back to your regular programming........

Offline leddy

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 04:13:15 PM »
I think the use of the word "engineer" in the audio world evolved from the early recording days where studios often built their own equipment, or at least had to know how to do repairs.  Those guys were engineers. 

I agree that it gets used too loosely in today's audio world. 
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Offline DSatz

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2010, 09:15:48 AM »
tonedeaf, it may comfort you to know that in Texas (see http://www.tbpe.state.tx.us/eng_req.htm) no one may use the word "engineer" to advertise their services unless they are in fact a graduate engineer with a state license. People who do recording in Texas have to call themselves something other than "recording engineers."

That term seems to be uniquely American in any case. In Germany a "Tonmeister" must be a graduate of a program that includes not only acoustics and recording but also extensive music-reading skills. It combines what we would call producing and engineering.
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline dirtrider

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 11:55:48 AM »
Who'd 'ave thunk this thread would go here ???

Offline boojum

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2010, 01:56:49 AM »
I am a fan of MS and am glad to see that folks who pay the rent with their technique are using it with good results.  It has a lot that is good.  I, too, like the tiny appearance on one mic stand that it presents.  And the ability to fiddle with it in post, and the fact that SD decodes the MS on the fly.

It's all good.
Nov schmoz kapop.

Offline Shadow_7

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2010, 06:01:54 PM »
Nice to know of a different mic that might suit my needs.  Close is always better, but I often don't have that luxury.  And I often find myself compromising on mic position to balance the other noises in proximity.  Generally with elevation, which has it's own issues.  Wind noise, wind profile.

I guess this makes me a software designer.  Since I only have an AA degree, and I live in Texas.  Although I think of an engineer as someone who actually KNOWS which way to point the mic.  Instead of just doing what everyone else seems to do.  Recalling the old addage that engineers don't make good inventors since they know more ways NOT to do it, than they have useful knowledge.

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2017, 11:22:41 AM »
Wow. In stock now at B&H for ~1,700. Seems like a decent deal to have both a Mid shotgun and side fig 8 all in one body.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/283358-REG/Sennheiser_MKH418S_MKH418S_Stereo_Shotgun.html
https://en-uk.sennheiser.com/global-downloads/file/2881/MKH418S_ProductSheet.pdf

this is making me rethink a few ideas I've had using the OMT set up. As in use this in the middle, take the three channels mix them with the spread Omnis. Boom!- maybe    lol
We have tried an MS set up and also just crossed fig 8's in the middle before using kindms 414's. so just thinking out loud here.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2017, 12:03:37 PM »
Yeah, I dig the integrated M/S shotgun microphone idea and wish there were more options like that for doing exactly what you describe 'suitcase.   I've been dreaming of a miniature electret bi-directional for use as a Side microphone for a long time, and of the unusual, potentially-cool setups which it would make possible.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2017, 12:06:13 PM »
Yeah, I dig the integrated M/S shotgun microphone idea and wish there were more options like that for doing exactly what you describe 'suitcase.   I've been dreaming of a miniature electret bi-directional for use as a Side microphone for a long time, and of the unusual, potentially-cool setups which it would make possible.
It is spendy, but a very nice microphone especially given what the NPR engineer uses it for.   didn't you try the naiant fig 8 for this reason a few times?
music IS love

When you get confused, listen to the music play!

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Offline EmRR

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2017, 03:36:51 PM »
Funny, I thought Kevin might still be 'engineering' those events.  I used to work under him occasionally as freelance "2nd engineer" with a remote truck.  Usually 16-20 hr days for a very low flat rate and no promise of a meal, arriving for recording sessions, anything from concert recordings to gospel albums in churches, haul everything in, set it, record it, take it all back down and leave.  Usually 20-30 microphones, video capture, separate communication links in and out of the building, and I believe he had a master electricians certification for tying into mains panels.  Glad to be out of that racket, as I'm sure he is too!

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: How some pros do it
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2017, 03:49:48 PM »
Yeah, I dig the integrated M/S shotgun microphone idea and wish there were more options like that for doing exactly what you describe 'suitcase.   I've been dreaming of a miniature electret bi-directional for use as a Side microphone for a long time, and of the unusual, potentially-cool setups which it would make possible.
It is spendy, but a very nice microphone especially given what the NPR engineer uses it for.   didn't you try the naiant fig 8 for this reason a few times?

^ Yes, I sometimes use the Naiant X-8S placed coincident with the center supercard to form an Mid/Side pair between wide omnis as you describe.  That makes for a very nice 4 channel recording option, and it would make for an especially streamlined and manageable arrangement using a single Mid/Side microphone such as this.

It is one of the three "entry to OMT" techniques I'd suggest for a taper wanting to give the OMT setups a try.  Namely, those three options between wide-spaced omnis are- A front and rear-facing center pair, a PAS X/Y center pair, or a Mid/Side center pair.  My only hesitation with either M/S or X/Y in the center is that if limited to 4 channels it means giving up the rear facing OMT microphone channel, and I've really grown quite fond of that.  However I realize it also represents much less of a conceptual leap than pointing one of the microphones backwards, and I expect more tapers would be more open to giving it a try.

Using 5 microphones I'd always retain the rear-facing microphone without question.  With 6, I prefer going to two sideways facing supercards spaced out towards the omnis a bit in place of making the center mic a Mid/Side coincident pair.  Those sideways-facing supers actually do something quite similar to the bidirectional Side microphone in a few ways.  But they also bring other types of goodness by forming an more optimized 4-way directional array in the center sampling all four directions in a near-spaced way, and provide a sort of perceptual zoom effect I'm still working on understanding..

I did some test recordings at Wanee a few years ago with both the sideways facing supercards as well as the Naiant 8 coincident with the center supercard to from a center Mid/Side pair (actually had both front and rear facing supercards setup as Mid/Side pairs, recording 8 channels in total).  But I still haven't gotten around to really comparing the differences between the two properly.

The Naiant X-8S is very affordable and works well as Side mic, but is not miniature, especially light weight, nor powerable like standard two-wire low-voltage mics.  If I had miniature lightweight bidirectionals, I'd try mounting them coincident with the wide omnis, facing forward to form a sort of sideways Mid/Side pair on each side, providing front/back balance of the wide omnis for improved direct/ambient control in stereo (as well as direct/ambient balance over surround channel feeds).  I see this as one of the last things I still want to explore in the evolution of OMT.  I could then derive any forward facing pattern and vary that through omni-directional to any rearward facing directional pattern, on either side.


As for the Sennheiser MHK418S, I'm somewhat surprised Schoeps doesn't make something similar in their CMIT shotgun line.  So much smaller, lighter and more streamlined than clipping on a bidirectional mic along with the associated cabling and fitting all that inside a blimp.  Plus, serious professional Schoeps location recordists could clip on a single rear facing MK4 and have a very manageable and lightweight shotgun center dual-Mid/Side setup with no more complexity at the end of the boom than a standard stereo Mid/Side setup.
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made easy- >>Improved PAS table<< | made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

 

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