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Author Topic: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...  (Read 1256 times)

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Offline jagraham

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FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« on: July 10, 2018, 09:35:21 AM »
So the thread title describes my setup at STS9 at CrossroadsKC over the weekend. When I got to the venue, the venue security director made me take the stand back to the car, saying I could do any type of audio recording I wanted, just couldn't have a tripod. I'm told by both him and the light technician that this is actually in the band's policy, which is weird because I've run with a stand before. Anyway, the best option I found for clamping was the rear corner of the VIP barricade up front. The mics were pointed up and above the stacks. So basically my mics are a little below 4', 20' back, right in the thick of a rowdy STS9 summertime crowd. Sounds like it will be awful, right? The recording is actually stunning! I couldn't believe how good it came out being down in the crowd, right next to people dancing and enjoying the show. Of course there is some phasing with people moving around, and a couple times people did have conversations right near the mics. Overall, people were very cool about it, and the crowd interference is nothing more than it would have been had the mics been on a stand 6' high in the same location. Check them out on archive below.

Anyone have much experience with this? Like I said, I didn't really have high hopes for this recording but it came out well.

https://archive.org/details/sts92018-07-06.cm300s.cp1s.16bit
https://archive.org/details/tauk2018-07-06.cm300s.cp1s.16bit < The TAUK page on LMA has a pic of my setup.
Mics: Nak CM-300s, Nak CM-100s, CP-1s, CP-2s, AT-853s(Cards, Hypers, Omnis) CA-14s(Cards, Omnis)
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Offline Perry

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Re: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2018, 03:57:29 PM »
When you said the mics were pointed "up and above the stacks it reminded me of a similar event this summer. I was taping outdoors, 9' high, at the sbd, 70' from the stage. A rainstorm rolled in at one point and we had to lean the mic stand back in order to get the capsules under the protection of the pop-up that was shading the sbd. Listening to the show afterwards, the sound was quite flat/lacking in presence until the point where I leaned the mic stand back. During those few seconds, the sound came to life, bright and clear like I normally get with my rig. Another taper was clamped to my stand and his results were the same- the sound really came together with the stand leaning back, mics pointed above the PA. I started to wonder if it was actually possible to have the mics too high and then I read about your experience and realized my mics were also pointed above the stacks when the tape sounded its best. Is there an advantage to pointing above the PA when outdoors? Am I picking up sounds that would normally be reflected by a ceiling when indoors? Hoping one of the experienced microphone guys will chime in here.
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Offline Perry

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Re: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2018, 04:00:53 PM »
That TAUK tape does sound amazing.
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Offline heathen

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Re: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2018, 04:21:40 PM »
On a somewhat related note, at the Gorge for Phish I was around 60 feet from the stage, FOB, using my Tetramic.  When decoding the first night in post, I ended up with the mic angled up 14.4 degrees.  I thought there was a noticeable improvement with the mic (virtually) angled/aimed up a bit compared to being level.  I believe when Gutbucket took an initial stab at decoding it he had an even greater angle.

Perhaps at these shows when we're set up relatively close to PA stacks that stretch up high and are designed to project sound even further out, angling the mic up gets more direct sound from the PA hitting the capsules on axis?  (I'm mostly talking out of my ass here as I don't really know any of the technical side of things.)
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Offline goodcooker

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Re: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2018, 07:53:25 PM »
On a somewhat related note, at the Gorge for Phish I was around 60 feet from the stage, FOB, using my Tetramic.  When decoding the first night in post, I ended up with the mic angled up 14.4 degrees.  I thought there was a noticeable improvement with the mic (virtually) angled/aimed up a bit compared to being level.  I believe when Gutbucket took an initial stab at decoding it he had an even greater angle.

Perhaps at these shows when we're set up relatively close to PA stacks that stretch up high and are designed to project sound even further out, angling the mic up gets more direct sound from the PA hitting the capsules on axis?  (I'm mostly talking out of my ass here as I don't really know any of the technical side of things.)

If I'm up close at a loud big show I angle up a little. I think it helps to get PA sound direct and less room and crowd. Lots of FOB guys I helped block for did the same and I think the proof of the idea is in the recordings - get closer for more SPL (therefore more band and less crowd) and angle up for more direct vs diffuse sound arrival. Especially outdoors I always angle a little up but I tend to run more open patterns - either omnis or subcards- so the differences in "pointing" the mics may be negligible depending on frequency.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2018, 11:24:53 AM »
I suspect this has more to do with reducing the level of the floor bounce (crowd head-bounce?) which combines with direct sound path from the PA at the microphones, somewhat reducing the combing effect of that multipath arrival, than it does with pointing the mics at a specific portion of the PA.

It is true that large hanging line-array PAs may have various sections of the array EQ'd differently and more SPL coming out from the upper sections, such that the sound projected from the topmost part of the array is heard as well balanced from the far back of the venue or the upper balcony, versus the sound from the bottom most part directed to the front of the audience.  However, from typical audience distances even highly directional microphones will not offer sufficient angular pattern differentiation across such a narrow front area to be able to pick up more of the top section when located in the radiation zone of the mid or bottom section of the PA.  The reason EQing a line array that way works is that the PA has sufficient vertical pattern differentiation to not have the radiation from the top PA section leak downward to a listener (or microphone) located in a section closer to the front.  Pointing the mics up won't favor the top of the PA array versus the bottom, as both sections of the PA remain relatively close together in angular sense as seen from the recording position. But changing the height of the microphones can do so, if it raises the mics up into a different PA radiation zone.

As heathen mentions, with an ambisonic recording you can point the virtual microphones however you like afterwards, so an important step for me in dialing in the optimal configuration is choosing the most appropriate elevation angle.  For AUD recordings, the main effect of adjusting the elevation angle is usually a change in clarity and high frequency response, and I listen for for best clarity when making that decision.  That adjustment is more significant than I first thought it would be and those observations have lead to me intentionally pointing my non-ambisonic PA facing mics higher than I otherwise would, and I now generally point at the top or just over the top of the PA stacks as standard practice.  I do that to sort of split the difference between having the direct on-axis point of the microphone still pointed at the PA while maximizing the angle above the audience and "floor bounce vector" from the ground in front.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 04:16:18 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2018, 11:36:19 AM »
Low can be good!   Really depends on the audience behaviour.  If audience noise isn't an issue there can be multiple advantages- Less wind down low, sound is dialed in for audience head level, and as mentioned in the above post, some (not all) PA's will transition to a significantly different response only a few feet above head level, even those which are not hanging line arrays broken into sub sections addressing different areas of the venue.  There can be a relatively sharp high frequency cut outside of the PA high frequency horn's radiation pattern, so raising the mics too high may sometimes reduce clarity.  That of course needs to be balanced against what needs to be done to manage audience noise levels.

On stage for jazz stuff I especially like having the mics just above the stage, as it seems to improve clarity and reach over a hard surfaced stage, minimizes the floor reflection, and makes for minimal sight-line intrusions.  For classical material it can provide greater clarity from the first chair musicians up front while improving the balance and sense of depth to the louder horns and percussion in back, and can achieve a more natural timbral balance and more realistic listener's level spatial perspective.

I once made a stellar outdoor festival recording of Lyle Lovett with the mics lower than shoulder height down at seat back level, as his soundman came over to the section to request all mic stands in the section be lowered to seat back height prior to the performance.  Fortunately the audience was super respectful, especially since I then had my microphone array which points in all directions only a few feet from the surrounding audience, essentially pointed directly at them during a relatively quiet performance.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 04:20:27 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline Jhurlbs81

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Re: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2018, 03:28:10 PM »
sound is dialed in for audience head level

^This.  I tend to run a lot lower than most and always wonder how it sounds 15' above my head. lol

Offline heathen

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Re: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2018, 04:02:12 PM »
I tend to run a lot lower than most
Same here.  I always wonder, does a couple more feet up really make that much difference in cutting down crowd noise?
Mics: Core Sound TetraMic | AT4031s | AT AE5100s | AT853s (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3s | DPA 4061s | CA-14 omnis | Studio Projects CS5
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2018, 04:38:28 PM »
I always wonder, does a couple more feet up really make that much difference in cutting down crowd noise?

It can.  IME it's often the closer-by audience sound, the talking and stuff I can make out clearly, which tends to grab my attention.  Putting the mics up higher pushes that stuff deeper into the general din and roar of the overall audience sound.  The audience noise level on average may not be a whole lot less up there, but the close-by elements of it are more diffuse, less identifiable as easily overheard individuals, and generally less attention grabbing.

For me the answer to "how high to go?" is based on:
How I think the PA is behaving as described above
The comfortable limits of my stand and the weight of the gear I have aloft
What is acceptable given the venue (sight-lines)
What I suspect the audience will be like (both noise-wise and blocking-wise)
What the wind is going to be like
etc.

Ignoring all those things, going high vs staying low is pretty much a crap-shoot with respect to the audio sounding better up there or not, and I feel the safe call in that regard is to stay within a few feet above head level.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 04:40:39 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline Jhurlbs81

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Re: FOB mics clamped at 4', 20' back in a GA crowd...
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2018, 09:12:10 AM »
This thread made me think of a recording I did back in 2009.  It was the first recording made with the Telefunken 260s using a DC powered box.  I was using 30v cells to power the tubes.  This was before H20's DC upconverter design.  We were told we had to keep the mics at head height.  There were a few of us and we all grumbled a bit as we dropped the mics down to 6' high.  At HOB boston the board is directly in front of the taperssection so KB was right in front of us at FOH.  It turned out to be one of my favorite recordings I've made.  Since then I always try to balance reducing crowd noise with getting direct sound mixed for our ears (not our 15' high poles).

https://archive.org/details/um2009-04-09.m262.flac16
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 09:13:58 AM by Jhurlbs81 »

 

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