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Author Topic: Mic & Setup advice: Small Acoustic Jam sessions  (Read 696 times)

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Offline CorFit Chris

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Mic & Setup advice: Small Acoustic Jam sessions
« on: July 08, 2016, 06:19:20 PM »
I'm going to be capturing intimate acoustic sessions for several bluegrass and string based bands at some upcoming festivals this summer.  Most will be in relatively quiet locations outdoors or in tents.  Regardless of what i already have, I'm looking to buy two new mics (been considering LD condensers).  I'll also be putting together a weekly podcast in September where i'll have touring bands setup for 40 minute Q&A's with about 5 songs in acoustic fashion mixed in.  Any advice on best mics & configurations would be greatly appreciated.  I typically record everything else on a stage from the soundboard area, but will be venturing into stage setups for small venues soon.  Thanks
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Offline Bruce Watson

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Re: Mic & Setup advice: Small Acoustic Jam sessions
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2016, 10:46:09 AM »
I'm going to be capturing intimate acoustic sessions for several bluegrass and string based bands at some upcoming festivals this summer.  Most will be in relatively quiet locations outdoors or in tents.

Really, you don't want LDCs for this duty. Why? Wind. LDCs are very susceptible to wind noise, and difficult to protect from wind. Also, there aren't any RF LDC condensers that I know of (Rode or Sennheiser maybe?), so all of them are susceptible to humidity problems (you are outdoors, yes?). But you can get very nice RF SDC condensers.

The best option (given what little you've told us about what you're doing) is probably a mid/side pair of SDCs. Specifically, the Sennheiser MKH30 (side) with an MKH40 (mid). The Senny's are RF condensers and the go-to pair for exterior MS work for everything from nature sounds to music fests. That and you'll need one of the Rycote windbaskets that's specifically designed for this pair (how popular do they have to be to get Rycote to do that?). And yes, you are going to need that wind basket even in what you think is calm conditions.

The MS pair will be relatively easy to setup (like all stereo pairs, they need to be placed properly), needs only a single stand, is relatively unobtrusive, gives an excellent stereo image when used properly, and gives you some options to modify the image in post if you want.

A distant second choice might be a pair of SDC cardioids in ORTF or NOS. Again, for exteriors I'd look at the Sennheisers, either the MHK 40s or the 8040s. An ORTF pair will be harder to protect from the wind, but ORTF gives a particularly nice stereo image IMHO (about half loudness differences, and half time-of-arrival differences).

Much as I like the sound of ORTF, for this duty MS is a no-brainer.

Offline CorFit Chris

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Re: Mic & Setup advice: Small Acoustic Jam sessions
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2016, 03:21:07 PM »
Thanks for all the great info and advice here Bruce.  So, it appears that the LD multi-pattern mic investment may not be the best for this usage.  I didn't give any budget range in my OP, but these mics you suggested are about twice my budget.  I need to figure out a way to make $ off my investment if i'm going that high on price. 

Sounds like your opinion is that a MS setup is best if possible, but ORTF or NOS will due as long as I can control the wind noise.
LMA: https://archive.org/details/@corfit
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/orithris
Mics: AKG 460 (ck61 & ck63) | Studio Projects C4 (cards & omni's) | CA-14 cards | SP-SPSM-9
Recorders: Tascam DR-70d  |  Tascam DR-60d  |  Tascam DR-2D
Preamp: CA Ugly
Camera: GoPro Hero 4 Silver

Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re: Mic & Setup advice: Small Acoustic Jam sessions
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2016, 07:37:07 PM »
You might consider split or baffled SDC omnis.  They'll be the least susceptible to wind noise of all the options mentioned so far, and I think omnis generally sound great for unamplified, acoustic music (and especially bluegrass).  Either should produce very natural sound on playback, though this can be either good or bad, depending on a variety of other factors.  And, like other stereo mic configurations, you'll have the option to adjust the configuration in real-time to tweak imaging (though not also in post-production, except for mid-side / XY / Blumlein) by:  adjusting distance from the performers, the included angle of the array (probably 0ยบ for the omnis), the angle of the array relative to the performers, and the spacing between the mics (or mics and baffle).
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 10:55:14 AM by Brian Skalinder »
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