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Author Topic: Seeking advice on an upcoming project- $2k budget, best technique in ~700 rooms?  (Read 1333 times)

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Offline love2tape

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Hello,

I would like to say from the onset that I realize that the best possible avenue of learning is going to be getting out there and experimenting as much as possible. I am by no means looking for others to do my homework for me- I have been aggressively researching all the options that are available to me, and I am still early in this process- I am only looking to pick the brains of anyone who would be so generous as to share their insight or perspectives on how I might go about capturing the best possible recording(s) in the near future, given their individual experience and perspectives. I am about 2.5 months out from this particular project- it is fairly daunting trying to catch up and hone in on exactly what information will be the best for me to brush up on, given the wealth of information at my disposal wrt audio engineering and live recording.

I have been capturing audience bootlegs for about two years now, and I am seeking to step up my game as much as possible after having been granted permission to record with the blessing of one of my favorite bands. I'll have a bit more setup time than I am used to, here- so I am trying to explore my options and come to a conclusion regarding which equipment I am going to purchase and which technique I am going to employ.

The room: https://www.google.com/search?q=saxapahaw+ballroom&rlz=1CATAAB_enUS676US676&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiY9fHzrsbdAhUIsFQKHadYCsYQ_AUIDygC&biw=1745&bih=878#imgrc=xQbwbrLCissMYM:

Me: Passionate, dorky, but lacking experience with professional equipment and formal setups.

My budget: ~$2,000

The band: Rock. Four piece ensemble- Guitar/vocals, drums, bass, and an instrumentalist who alternates between sax, clarinet, and keys.

My current setup: Zoom H4n pro w/ CA-14 omnis & the ability to occasionally plug into the board. Here's my last go of it: https://archive.org/details/tmg2018-09-14

I am currently looking at purchasing an Edirol R-44, a CSM88 (Blumlein) from B9Audio, and a Zoom H6.

The Edirol would be an investment for future advancement- For this project, I would be utilizing it to capture a clean feed from the board, and I am looking at the CSM88 due to the reports of its exceptional value, and others fervent passion for blumlein captures. The H6 would be used to power and monitor the CSM88- I would be purchasing it under the assumption that I may not be able to run it into the R-44, and I want to have the possibility of maximal mobility with the mic. My working plan would be to set the mic up on a ~9' boom near the mixer (seen at the bottom of the image posted above) in the back center of the room, set up a bar to clip my CA-14s to as a backup / to experiment with mixing it in for lows (I have always been impressed with the bass capture of the CA-14 omnis), and mix these with what I capture from the board.

I am curious for anyone's perspective on this working plan (And especially if anyone has any suggestions totally different from what I'm considering, given the nature of the room and techniques/gear they have utilized in the past)- my main concerns are the following:

-Do you think it foolish to use the CSM88 for this project, in the position I am thinking of? My research has indicated that it would not typically be set up at the distance I am planning- But I am struggling to find a better plan with it, and it seems to be a fantastic investment which could produce excellent recordings in the smaller rooms I plan to record in in the future (400-600 capacity venues)

-If you believe the CSM88 to be the wrong path, which ~1k mic(s) would you suggest for the position I am thinking of?

I expect to have a fair degree of leeway regarding setup- research has indicated that dual omnis positioned at the ends of the stage above the crowd is often a good choice. I am struggling to find quality omnis that run under 2k, though. Is this something that is worth exploring more? I am concerned regarding how it will actually end up re: buying clamps/stands and setting up on the stage given that I have no experience. Setting up at the back of the room seems like the safer bet?

And finally, I have been exploring the how-tos regarding capturing the best possible feed from the board. In the recording I linked, I was able to get a feed via XLRs into my zoom from the mixer located at the back of the venue- Am I correct in thinking this is different, and sub-par in comparison to plugging into the "soundboard", which is located on the stage?

My goal here is to purchase equipment as soon as possible, and then seek avenues to set up and experiment in my local community (Phoenix), leading up to the opportunity at the venue in the image at the end of November.

Geeze, I'm really asking a lot here, I know. I'm a total novice, and I have a LOT to learn. I've been googling as much as possible to soak everything in, and I will continue to do so. Thanks to anyone who gives this any thought, I will appreciate any perspectives that are shared. If anything this just allows me to collect my thoughts. Appreciate this forum a lot, it has been very helpful in my journey thusfar.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 02:25:43 AM by love2tape »

Offline DSatz

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I have used an R-44 for hundreds of live recordings over quite a few years now, and it has never failed me. The only thing that takes some getting used to is the two concentric level-setting knobs per input channel. (Make sure yours has the latest firmware, which improves the metering.)

But I would never choose Blumlein as my sole approach when I have to record in many different settings that I have no control over. Almost any other approach would give you a higher success rate! I think of Blumlein somewhat as the unicorn among stereo recording methods: When it works well, it works beautifully--but it requires an outstandingly good acoustical situation to begin with--to a degree that is rare even in the classical music world where I mostly work--plus an arrangement of sound sources within that space that fits the unfortunately narrow horizontal scope of the microphone pair. You also need ample opportunity to find just the right placement for the mikes. It is very nearly the exact opposite, IMO, of the basic requirement for the kind of project you describe--though if you're prepared to reject at least half your recordings, by the time the project has ended you will undoubtedly become very good at using this technique to its best advantage.

If you must use just one miking technique for all the recordings, and you want to keep down the risks of abject failure (even at the cost of some special benefit that you could have gotten in a given instance with a more customized setup), then I would recommend ORTF instead, or something like it. If you typically will be forced to record from a greater miking distance than you would choose if you could choose, use supercardioids instead of cardioids, bring the capsules a bit closer together, and narrow the angle between them a bit. Or if your miking distances can usually be as you prefer, and the recording spaces tend toward pleasant-sounding, you could have yourself some fun and use wide cardioids (spaced farther apart than ORTF) instead. (Hint: In the actual Schoeps line, rather than these "tribute microphones" if I may call them that before I think twice about it, there is a very interesting creature called an "open cardioid" which is between cardioid and the more usual type of "wide cardioid".)

--best regards
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline rocksuitcase

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Quote
I am struggling to find quality omnis that run under 2k,
Just regarding this statement: We've been using AKG ck22 omni caps with either c460 pre amps OR nbob collettes. Even with new nbobs (~$550) and used caps ($~400ish) Your well below $2k.
In fact, no affiliation- but spyder9 currently has these 460/ck22's for sale for $600: https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=186957.0

In my opinion, the caps alone are worth buying this 460/ck22 setup (At his price). I've been ogling these ck22's for a while but I made the move to a new pair of DPA 4060's (not fully paid for so not in hand yet!).
music IS love

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Offline heathen

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A pair of DPA 406x, even at full retail, would cost well under $2k. 

Edit: Also, jnorman has written very positively in the past on here about the Audio-Technica AT4022 omnis.  $700 for a pair at full retail.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 01:15:42 PM by heathen »
Mics: Core Sound TetraMic | AT4031s | AT AE5100s | AT853s (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3s | DPA 4061s | CA-14 omnis | Studio Projects CS5
Pre: CA9200
Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05 | Tascam DR-2d

Offline love2tape

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I have used an R-44 for hundreds of live recordings over quite a few years now, and it has never failed me. The only thing that takes some getting used to is the two concentric level-setting knobs per input channel. (Make sure yours has the latest firmware, which improves the metering.)

But I would never choose Blumlein as my sole approach when I have to record in many different settings that I have no control over. Almost any other approach would give you a higher success rate! I think of Blumlein somewhat as the unicorn among stereo recording methods: When it works well, it works beautifully--but it requires an outstandingly good acoustical situation to begin with--to a degree that is rare even in the classical music world where I mostly work--plus an arrangement of sound sources within that space that fits the unfortunately narrow horizontal scope of the microphone pair. You also need ample opportunity to find just the right placement for the mikes. It is very nearly the exact opposite, IMO, of the basic requirement for the kind of project you describe--though if you're prepared to reject at least half your recordings, by the time the project has ended you will undoubtedly become very good at using this technique to its best advantage.

If you must use just one miking technique for all the recordings, and you want to keep down the risks of abject failure (even at the cost of some special benefit that you could have gotten in a given instance with a more customized setup), then I would recommend ORTF instead, or something like it. If you typically will be forced to record from a greater miking distance than you would choose if you could choose, use supercardioids instead of cardioids, bring the capsules a bit closer together, and narrow the angle between them a bit. Or if your miking distances can usually be as you prefer, and the recording spaces tend toward pleasant-sounding, you could have yourself some fun and use wide cardioids (spaced farther apart than ORTF) instead. (Hint: In the actual Schoeps line, rather than these "tribute microphones" if I may call them that before I think twice about it, there is a very interesting creature called an "open cardioid" which is between cardioid and the more usual type of "wide cardioid".)

--best regards

Thank you very much for this input- it's what I feared, and the direction I was leaning in as I researched the virtues of blumlein more. I am looking into ORTF recordings and liking what I hear- even in a rock setting. Going to deeply explore this avenue. That Schoeps ORTF setup looks so great and newbie friendly in everything but price..


Quote
I am struggling to find quality omnis that run under 2k,
Just regarding this statement: We've been using AKG ck22 omni caps with either c460 pre amps OR nbob collettes. Even with new nbobs (~$550) and used caps ($~400ish) Your well below $2k.
In fact, no affiliation- but spyder9 currently has these 460/ck22's for sale for $600: https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=186957.0

In my opinion, the caps alone are worth buying this 460/ck22 setup (At his price). I've been ogling these ck22's for a while but I made the move to a new pair of DPA 4060's (not fully paid for so not in hand yet!).

Thank you- feel silly for making for that statement, I should have phrased it as 'struggling to find a standard'- I appreciate this suggestion, going to assist in some research after work tonight.

Offline KenH

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I'd recommend something like this:  https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=187791.0, but I'm biased :)   Well under $2K.
retired

Offline todd e

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get a used pair of cardiods, and FWIW, there are people selling schoeps for UNBELIEVABLE reductions in price, like 50% off, so come round here often and check the yardsale if you wanna go schoeps!

Offline capnhook

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Last time I was at Haw River Ballroom, they were mixing on the rear right-hand side (on the platform where the "kettle thing" is in your pictures), not in the center as shown.
Proud member of the reality-based community

BSCS-L->JB-mod [NAK CM-300 (CP-3) and/or (CP-1)]->LSD2->CA CAFS-Omni->Sony ECM-907**Apogee MiniMe Rev. C->CA Ugly II->**Edirol OCM R-44->Tascam DR-22WL->Sony TCD-D8


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Offline Gutbucket

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Tell us more about your project in general- 
Will you be primarily recording the band you mention?  What type of music is it?  Will you be recording other types of music as well?  You mention your budget and what gear you currently have.  What is your comfort level with the technicalities of recording, and with dealing with the recording afterwards- managing multiple files, mixing them, etc?  Are you more of a "get in and out quick" type guy, or a "go in with the band and do more complicated things" guy? How much time and effort are you willing to dedicate to the recording after the performance?  Do you want to walk out after the performance with essentially a finished recording, or are you willing to work on balancing and polishing it afterwards?

And more specifically-
Have you recorded this band in that room before?  If so, did you record the PA feed from the mixer (the soundboard at the back or side of the room, not the monitor mixer on stage if one is present) and if so how complete was it?  Was the mixer feed mono or stereo? Were all instruments evenly represented or were some missing or at very low level? How much freedom will you have there in placing microphones and wiring?  Can you put a mic stand where ever you like?  Like out in the center of the floor ~1/4 of the way back from the stage?  Can you place microphones on stage?

Your answers to these questions will help us advise you.
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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What I can say for now-
Strongly agree on not going with a dedicated Blumlein-only microphone as your primary microphone!

Consider the ideal recording you can make there as essentially being composed of 3 separate sound elements.  These are: The direct sound and early reflections radiating from the band on stage, the sound though the PA, and the ambient sound of room itself, or rather, the sonic excitement of that space by the band and audience, exclusive of the direct sound and PA sound components (basically room reverberation and audience reaction).

In essence, your task is figuring the most practical way of getting an optimal blend of those three components.  There are many different ways of going about that.  Many of them involve placing a pair of microphones where that blend happens naturally and automatically, in the air, at the recording position.  That's simple to setup, and seems the obvious choice on the face on things, but often we cannot place microphones wherever we'd like, and even if we are we are often unable to determine exactly where that sweet spot is before making a recording.  Sometimes that spot simply does not exist at all!  Or it may be good for one or two of those aspects but not all three.

So other techniques involve knitting together a balanced recording out of combinations of those components which are recorded separately, then stitched together afterwards.  The most obvious example is a combination of a pair of microphones out in the room with a seperate recording of the PA feed from the soundboard.   Others are mics on-stage plus a PA feed.  Or mics out in the audience + mics on stage..
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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Perhaps getting ahead of things here but following that line of thought-

If you are recording using a single pair of microphones only, place them out in the room in the best sounding spot facing the band and PA, where the blend of the 3 elements is likely to be best.  That's probably going to be in the center of the floor about 1/4 of the way from the stage, right in the heart of the audience up front.

Beyond that, get a SBD feed if you can.  If you have SBD, you can move the AUD mics onto the stage and not lose vocals or other direct elements which are not heard well on-stage.  You'll then get a more lush perspective with the imaging and early-reflections common to an on-stage recording.

If I really wanted to do it right, could do whatever I wanted, and didn't really know what to expect, I'd probably  aim to record all three primary elements separately by:
Placing mics on stage to record the direct sound and early reflections there
Recording the PA feed from the soundboard
And recording the sound of the room and audience

And.. here's the thing about that which I find many tapers seem to not want to accept- combination of those parts afterward becomes increasingly fruitful and less problematic if they are recorded in such a way as to be as separate from each other as possible. 

That means PA vocals and close-mic'd sound with as little room ambience and audience in it as possible (which happens automatically if recording a patch out of the SBD), direct on-stage sound and early reflections with as little PA and room ambience in it as possible, and room ambience and audience reaction with as little direct sound from the band and PA in it as possible.  The more isolated these elements are from each other, the more control you'll have over blending them together optimally.  There will always be plenty of bleed between them even if you go to extremes isolating them from each other. If you are not recording all three elements separately, try and keep whichever is recorded separately out of the recording which is capturing the other two things.

So if you have mics on-stage + a patch out of the SBD, you don't need or want mics out in the room facing directly at the PA! You already have a better version of that PA stuff. You mostly just want room and audience sound without much PA in those mics, at least to the extent that's practical.
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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Again getting ahead of things, but if you were me, with that budget I'd pickup a 6-channel Tascam DR-680mk2 for about $500 new (or less used) + a good pair of supercardioids or cardioids.  That provides lots of flexibility with a 6 channel recording capability (you can of course just use two channels only whenever you want) and an increased budget for better quality supercards/cardioids + some cables and cheap stands. I have an R44 and it is a great recorder, but my DR-680 recorders make equally good quality recordings at half the cost while providing 2 additional recording channels. 

For that gig, I'd place the newly acquired directional pair of mics at the front of the stage in a near-spaced microphone configuration such as ORTF or DIN, or more-likely space them more widely but angle them apart less.  I'd record the SBD to the second pair of inputs, and I'd tape the CA omnis to opposing sidewalls or against the front wall over the doorways on either side of the stage facing out into the room, away from the PA and band, and record those to the 3 pair of inputs.  Setup would take longer, but I wouldn't have any mics out in the center of the room that would need to be defended or which would be in the way of the patrons, and I'd be likely to end up with a better recording.  But I enjoy putting the puzzle together. 

Listen to the advice of the folks here who offer it, then begin to find your own path forward.  As former girl friend used to say: "let me tell you how to do it, then do whatever you want"
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 love2tape

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Wow, Gutbucket- this is all excellent input. Thank you so much for all the thoughts.

To respond to a few points-

Tell us more about your project in general- 
Will you be primarily recording the band you mention?  What type of music is it?  Will you be recording other types of music as well?  You mention your budget and what gear you currently have.  What is your comfort level with the technicalities of recording, and with dealing with the recording afterwards- managing multiple files, mixing them, etc?  Are you more of a "get in and out quick" type guy, or a "go in with the band and do more complicated things" guy? How much time and effort are you willing to dedicate to the recording after the performance?  Do you want to walk out after the performance with essentially a finished recording, or are you willing to work on balancing and polishing it afterwards?

And more specifically-
Have you recorded this band in that room before?  If so, did you record the PA feed from the mixer (the soundboard at the back or side of the room, not the monitor mixer on stage if one is present) and if so how complete was it?  Was the mixer feed mono or stereo? Were all instruments evenly represented or were some missing or at very low level? How much freedom will you have there in placing microphones and wiring?  Can you put a mic stand where ever you like?  Like out in the center of the floor ~1/4 of the way back from the stage?  Can you place microphones on stage?

Your answers to these questions will help us advise you.

-Two night stint w/ support from the band & management to get the best recording possible. I'll have all the setup time I need- but I need to speak to the manager regarding just how much leeway I'll have wrt mic placement. I'll be doing that on Friday, so I'll have a bit more of an idea of if mic placing a boom in the crowd is a possibility or not. Almost certain I'd be able to set up mics on/around the stage.
-It's a rock band. They play loud thrashing romps w/ a lot of drums in addition to quieter, jazzy tunes. Vocals are key- fans of the band want to hear clean vocals.
-I have not recorded the band in the room before- it will be my first time in the Haw River Ballroom.
-I am very comfortable mixing multiple recordings, though I am a novice when it comes to equalization and advanced sound editing techniques. Very comfortable mixing, aligning, and adjusting basic levels (Bass, volume, etc)
-I'll have all the time in the world to mix the audio after the fact- though the prospect of mixing an ORTF capture with the SBD is appealing, as I generally aim for a faithful recreation of what was in the room.

What I can say for now-
Strongly agree on not going with a dedicated Blumlein-only microphone as your primary microphone!

Consider the ideal recording you can make there as essentially being composed of 3 separate sound elements.  These are: The direct sound and early reflections radiating from the band on stage, the sound though the PA, and the ambient sound of room itself, or rather, the sonic excitement of that space by the band and audience, exclusive of the direct sound and PA sound components (basically room reverberation and audience reaction).

In essence, your task is figuring the most practical way of getting an optimal blend of those three components.  There are many different ways of going about that.  Many of them involve placing a pair of microphones where that blend happens naturally and automatically, in the air, at the recording position.  That's simple to setup, and seems the obvious choice on the face on things, but often we cannot place microphones wherever we'd like, and even if we are we are often unable to determine exactly where that sweet spot is before making a recording.  Sometimes that spot simply does not exist at all!  Or it may be good for one or two of those aspects but not all three.

So other techniques involve knitting together a balanced recording out of combinations of those components which are recorded separately, then stitched together afterwards.  The most obvious example is a combination of a pair of microphones out in the room with a seperate recording of the PA feed from the soundboard.   Others are mics on-stage plus a PA feed.  Or mics out in the audience + mics on stage..

These are things I have a general conceptual understanding of, but laying them out like this is very helpful. Much appreciated. I am leaning towards 'pair of microphones in the sweet spot + PA soundboard feed'.

So if you have mics on-stage + a patch out of the SBD, you don't need or want mics out in the room facing directly at the PA! You already have a better version of that PA stuff. You mostly just want room and audience sound without much PA in those mics, at least to the extent that's practical.

I have no experience with mic placement on a stage- If I were utilizing cardioids, do you have any advice based on the image of the stage of how you would go about capturing the close-sound you refer to? Right now, I am looking at pushing my budget a bit and picking up the Schoeps MSTC 64g- based on the advice here, and what I have read about it, it seems tailor suited to capturing quality recordings with less know-how. I would be able to purchase a field recorder with phantom power in order to place it wherever I wish- it seems to me that it would be a bit more idiot-proof & has a higher probability of capturing something quality that I can combine with the SBD feed- my main concern would simply be where to place it. I realize that purchasing separate mics would allow for more variation, but I believe that the MSTC would serve me well for a number of years until I build up more gear for manual setups, and I have read the danger in arranging mics in an ORTF arrangement with little experience, and how being off by minor degrees can have pretty large ramifications.

Huge thanks on the Tascam DR-680mk2 suggestion- this does indeed seem like it would fit my need perfectly, and will even provide better battery life than the R44, which is a huge plus.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 09:34:47 PM by love2tape »

Offline love2tape

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Listening to this- https://archive.org/details/LoS2017-10-19.flac16/LoS2017-10-19d1t03.flac

I am thinking ORTF from the center of the first balcony + SBD is the way to go. Not quite certain if I should be setting up on a tripod overlooking the balcony, or clamping to the bottom railing, though- going to try to look into that.


Would there be any meaningful increase in quality taking a feed from the mixer into something like the Tascam DR-680mk2 or Edirol r-44 vs a Zoom H6 with -50db attenuators? Or would they be theoretically identical as long as there's no clipping (given the attenuates)- I'll be getting whatever the feed sounds like from the mixer either way, right?

Offline capnhook

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Use your Zoom at the SBD, and take your R-44 upstairs.  Run two sets of mics clamped to the balcony rail.

Make great tapes, man.
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BSCS-L->JB-mod [NAK CM-300 (CP-3) and/or (CP-1)]->LSD2->CA CAFS-Omni->Sony ECM-907**Apogee MiniMe Rev. C->CA Ugly II->**Edirol OCM R-44->Tascam DR-22WL->Sony TCD-D8


"Don't ever take an all or nothing attitude when it comes to making a difference
and being beautiful and making the world a beautiful place through your actions.
Every little bit is registered.  Every little bit.  So be as beautiful as you can as often as you can"

"It'll never be over, 'till we learn."
 
"My dream is to get a bus and get the band and just go coast to coast. Just about everything else except music, is anti-musical.  That's it.  Music's the thing." - Jeb Puryear

Offline hoppedup

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It's a long shot, but you could ask in the Team NC thread if anyone would come out and run their rig as well. In general, tapers seem to be less active around here these days, but it couldn't hurt to ask. More coverage is always a good thing. Especially if you don't have a lot of experience with flying mics.

I've taped at HRB a few times and always by the board. There is a roped-off area where you can put a stand at the left front corner of the board. It isn't DFC, but it sounds pretty good. I personally wouldn't run omnis unless I were really close to the PA or onstage in that room.
AKG SE300B CK91
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Offline Gutbucket

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Listen to the guys who've recorded there before. First hand knowledge is hard to beat. Especially if you dig what you hear from their recordings made there.

Path of least resistance to a good recording will be mics clamped to the balcony railing + SBD as captnhook suggests.  I'd suggest PAS (Point At Stacks) technique from back there with optimized spacing between microphones based upon the angle between them.  See the Improved PAS link at the bottom of my posts for details.  Record both the SBD and mics on the same recorder if at all possible as it makes things so much easier and IMHO often ends up sounding better than syncing files from two seperate free-running recorders, but that would require running cables between balcony and board.

However, since you have stage access, I'd strongly lean toward running mics on stage + SBD. Mics on stage will result in a far more impactful, upfront, wide, detailed, and less reverberant sound than mics in the back of the room.  If you can get access to two channels of the snake which runs from stage back to the soundboard, you can place whatever multichannel recorder you decide on at the soundboard location and won't have to make long cable run along the side wall in order to record both of those sources onto one recorder.  Your omnis should work nicely spaced something like 2 to 7 feet apart along the front edge of the stage.  Their setup and exact spacing isn't critical, just place them so that they get an even coverage and are not picking up the floor monitors.  Try to get a good direct line of sight between the snare drum and whichever mic closer to it.  Having SBD makes the spacing between omnis less critical as the SBD will fill any tendency toward "hole in the middle" which can sometimes happen with overly wide spaced omnis (but tends to be less problematic on stage anyway). 

In that case I'd probably also run the Zoom up on the balcony rail separately just as a safety.

 
« Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 12:25:50 PM by Gutbucket »
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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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I have no experience with mic placement on a stage- If I were utilizing cardioids, do you have any advice based on the image of the stage of how you would go about capturing the close-sound you refer to? Right now, I am looking at pushing my budget a bit and picking up the Schoeps MSTC 64g- based on the advice here, and what I have read about it, it seems tailor suited to capturing quality recordings with less know-how. I would be able to purchase a field recorder with phantom power in order to place it wherever I wish- it seems to me that it would be a bit more idiot-proof & has a higher probability of capturing something quality that I can combine with the SBD feed- my main concern would simply be where to place it. I realize that purchasing separate mics would allow for more variation, but I believe that the MSTC would serve me well for a number of years until I build up more gear for manual setups, and I have read the danger in arranging mics in an ORTF arrangement with little experience, and how being off by minor degrees can have pretty large ramifications.

See above on placing omnis on stage.  Easy peasy.

I'd advise against going with a preset configuration stereo microphone.  Yeah it's convenient, but too limiting.  If you were doing studio or controlled environment taping, sure.  Nailing mic angles exactly isn't that critical, whereas being able to trade angle between microphones against the spacing between them is extremely valuable for live music taping where the microphones are placed further away from the source.  With a fixed config you are constrained to placing the microphones in the sweet spot every time, and that's not always going to be an option (and does not seem to be the best option there).  A pair of cardioids or supercardioids and a bar which allows for spacing and angle adjustment will suit the situations you encounter far better and also allow you to advance more quickly in you knowledge of how near-spaced configurations work.

For similar reasons, If you had to choose a fixed near-spaced microphone configuration, something like DIN with a 90-degree inclusive angle instead of the 110-degree inclusive angle of ORTF will work better in most AUD taping situations.  These days many tapers here at TS carry a few different 3D-printed mic bars which they choose between depending on the recording situation.  That sort of splits the difference between clean setup convenience, and flexibility.  However they are already familiar with the sometimes subtle differences between the various configurations and know which ones they like and prefer in certain situations.  I'd still suggest going with a mounting bar that allows you to adjust both angle and spacing between microphones, as that will allow you to get your head around how this all works, and can make better recordings when a preset bar is not appropriate.
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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One more thing- Don't run your mics onstage for this unless you can the SBD feed as well.  Stage mics alone can work really well for some instrumental acts, but not for anything with vocals.  But with SBD, on-stage mics rock!
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Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline love2tape

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Thank you all a ton. I am going to pick up the Neumanns and the AKG C460b ck22's that were posted in this thread :) I can pick up a https://www.wilkinsonaudio.com/product/ortf-clip-km184/?v=7516fd43adaa if I want to go ORTF, and I am going to see about placing the ck22's on both ends of the stage. Thinking I'll close mic with the omnis, ORTF from the balcony, and capture a SBD feed with one of my zooms + -50db pads. Excited to see how this all plays out. Now I just need to see about how to set up the mk22's on the stage, and how to clamp to the railing- if anyone has any suggestions in these regards I am all ears.

Offline gewwang

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I've taped once at the Haw River Ballroom and the balcony is a pretty far distance from the stage. I was there for Jeff Tweedy solo acoustic and went up there for a beer and it didn't sound very good from that far back and all the disinterested people were up there drinking and chatting.

Offline love2tape

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I've taped once at the Haw River Ballroom and the balcony is a pretty far distance from the stage. I was there for Jeff Tweedy solo acoustic and went up there for a beer and it didn't sound very good from that far back and all the disinterested people were up there drinking and chatting.

Appreciate this- may I ask where you were taping from, in terms of mic placement? My plan would be to clamp to the bottom railings on the 1st balcony ORTF- so the mics would be at foot-level of the balcony, overlooking the crowd below, just a bit above where the PA system is set, and I would mostly be using this for ambiance. I linked to a recording that used this method at the same venue a bit above and it sounds pretty nice to my ears. I'd probably be mixing it pretty low over the rest of the tracks. This is a sold out show and the band generally has pretty respectful / excitable crowds- want to get a good central image for when everyone sings along.


With regards to omni placement near the stage- does anyone have any thoughts re: clamping to the railings by the stairs? The stage is pretty small, and it's hard to imagine placing them anywhere right up against the stage that wouldn't be bumping right against the monitors, so that seems to me like a pretty good bet for parallel placement that would be close to the action but still above the crowd and away from the monitors.

e: Oh, also, I asked this from the person who is selling the Neumanns, but in case anyone here can assist-

What exactly is the benefit of running the mics through a Lunatec V3 as opposed to plugging straight into, say, a Tascam DR-680mk2? Is it solely the quality of the preamps, or is there something else going on, there?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 07:51:56 PM by love2tape »

Offline gewwang

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Appreciate this- may I ask where you were taping from, in terms of mic placement?

Jeff Tweedy was a sold out show so at first the venue told me I couldn't bring the stand inside. After I promised that I wouldn't set it up, they let me bring it in then I talked to the sound guy (in the sound booth which was on the right side of the room against the wall). I asked if it'd be okay to setup my stand against the wall and he agreed to that. Then a fellow taper showed up who knew the sound guy and we were able to move the stand over about 3 feet, but for the most part the stand was outside of the stacks anyway on the right side of the room.

Offline KenH

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What exactly is the benefit of running the mics through a Lunatec V3 as opposed to plugging straight into, say, a Tascam DR-680mk2? Is it solely the quality of the preamps, or is there something else going on, there?
I'm sure others will chime in, but a good/great preamp like the V3 makes a huge difference in sound quality.  When I started I first got a Tascam HD-P2, then the Neumann's running directly into it. A friend who listened to a recording with this setup (Gov't Mule I believe) said, you need a preamp, and proceeded to sell me his V3.   The preamp is what powers and processes the input from the mics (as would a unit like the Tascam), but V3 does it much better.

Good luck with your purchase  8)
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Offline Gutbucket

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With regards to omni placement near the stage- does anyone have any thoughts re: clamping to the railings by the stairs? The stage is pretty small, and it's hard to imagine placing them anywhere right up against the stage that wouldn't be bumping right against the monitors, so that seems to me like a pretty good bet for parallel placement that would be close to the action but still above the crowd and away from the monitors.

I'll still press for on-stage mic placement.  Being allowed that access is a gift and a treasure.  Think twice before not taking advantage of it.

Typically on-stage placement is between or, even immediately adjacent to floor monitors.  Just don't place a microphone in the direct-radiation zone in front of a monitor.  You don't have to put them up high, a foot or two above the stage is fine.  In addition to capturing a far more lush and dynamic sound of the instrumentation and drums, you will get much better audience reaction in mics placed there, often with a perfect balance of band and engaged audience.  Up front is where audience engagement and interaction is greatest, that's where the folks who really love the band and want to sing along will gravitate in the room. 

Mics far from the stage up in the balcony will capture a more distant, less-engaging perspective with less audience excitement, maybe distracted conversation at points.  If you didn't have stage and SBD access that placement would be a good option, but pretty much only for three reasons: The PA projects and points directly at the balcony so clarity is actually decent (if the PA was not in use for say something completely acoustic, a balcony location recording would be likely to sound unacceptably distant and reverberant); it places the mics far enough from most of the audience such that hopefully no single individual audience member or conversation dominates in the recording; it's an out of the way, easy to defend recording position.  I have no doubt that you'd be quite happy with a recording made from there + SBD, and that's the right choice a lot of times (maybe most of the time), but it is a compromise you needn't make for this performance for a recording you seem very excited about making.

Getting a bit philosophical again- Recording location strongly trumps almost everything else. Everything else is details and compromises in comparison.  Place your mics where the musical excitement and energy you wish to convey resides, assuming that's what you want to reproduce.  Put them in the back of the room and you'll reproduce the musical excitement and audience energy which dominates there.  It's pretty much that simple.  It's just not always doable or practical under the constraints we're typically faced with.
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 KenH

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Also want to chime in that I think ORTF (110 degrees mic angles, 17 cm apart at the capsules), unless up close, isn't optimal further back.   For that reason, I most often used 60 degrees, 30 cm apart.   I think that setup picks up more direct sound w/ the Neumann's, and less reverberation from say, the walls on the sides.  In fact, I applied a simple forumla, (180 - MicAngle)/4=# of cm apart for the mics, thus 180-60=120/4=30 cm apart.   180-40 (ever more direct) = 140/4=35 cm apart.    Even made a moke inspired mic bar for this purpose with those settings marked.   Worked for me anyway...

If you look at the Stereophone Zoom, those numbers/combinations all fall into the sweet area for cardioid mics (based on where ORTF lies).
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Offline Gutbucket

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^ Agreed totally.  However, in this case he's basically using the ORTF setup for room sound and crowd reaction so whatev, ORTF will be fine for that.  love2tape, what KenH is talking about is the closely-tied relationship of the spacing between microphones and the angle between them.  It's why I suggested the Improved PAS approach which is a simplified way of applying Stereo Zoom to maximize clarity while retaining good stereo qualities at distant recording locations.  All the common near-spaced mic setups (ORTF, DIN, NOS, etc) are approximated by entries along the Improved PAS table, further extending the trend of those configurations in both directions.
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 rocksuitcase

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What exactly is the benefit of running the mics through a Lunatec V3 as opposed to plugging straight into, say, a Tascam DR-680mk2? Is it solely the quality of the preamps, or is there something else going on, there?
I'm sure others will chime in, but a good/great preamp like the V3 makes a huge difference in sound quality.  When I started I first got a Tascam HD-P2, then the Neumann's running directly into it. A friend who listened to a recording with this setup (Gov't Mule I believe) said, you need a preamp, and proceeded to sell me his V3.   The preamp is what powers and processes the input from the mics (as would a unit like the Tascam), but V3 does it much better.

Good luck with your purchase  8)
love2tape: using an external pre-amp is generally an "upgrade" to a rig as a substitute for the onboard pre-amps in the recorder. Some recorders have decent stock pre-amps but most of them are less quality than any external pre-amp. There are some resellers, such as OADE brothers who perform modifications to the recorders' pre-amps themselves, and IMO these pre-amp modifications are worth the cost of them. (in the YS if you see a recorder marked 'OADE' or 'OADE mod' it means what I just typed).
There are generally five external pre-amps used around here: the Shure FP24; the mix-pre/mix-preD; naiant variations; Grace Lunatec V2/V3; church variations.
Each one has its pros and cons performance vs cost vs size vs powering options, but the V3 you mention is widely considered one of the optimal ones if a bit pricey.

The other side of this would be the Sound Devices Mixpre3/Mixpre6 recorders with excellent quality onboard pre-amps. They are priced accordingly AND takes a bit of a learning curve to use them but also widely considered around here to be great choices given their small size and no need for external pre-amps.
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Offline goodcooker

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If it was me I would buy the Busman modified Tascam DR680 in the Yard Sale and pick up a pair of cardioid microphones. They are more useful in more situations IMHO than any other pattern.

I would use your leverage with the band to place the mics in ORTF on the stage or at the stage lip and use the house snake to run those mics back to the console. Keep your recorder at the board and take the signal from the mics back there in addition to a board feed. With the extra channels on the DR680 you could also take a direct out for the vocal channel and mix it to taste later if needed. Alternately you could get the FOH to send the stereo matrix out through the snake to the stage and take a patch there while running your gear from the side of the stage. This takes a little advance legwork, planning and a willing FOH engineer. Be prepared with lots of cable in every termination just in case. Once it's set it is the easiest way to get a SBD+AUD 4 channel recording.

If you choose mics that aren't too spendy (again, if it was me, I'd get a pair of Audio Technica 4051s) you could come in well under your budget and still get all the other stuff you would need to operate in the wild - batteries, cables, adapters, shockmounts, more cables...

Caveat - if the SBD is digital which many are nowadays the old fashioned "snake" which is just a bundle of cables with an inout box for the stage and a fan of outputs for the SBD may not even be in play - working with your friendly local FOH can usually get you what you need. Even digital boards have a bunch of analog outputs.
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Offline Gutbucket

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External preamps can be good, can make a significant difference sometimes, are fun to play around with.. but are not essential or fundamental (and will consume your budget).

Get started with a focus on basic fundamentals-   Recording location & microphone setup, simplified signal chains which don't have lots of interconnects, proper level setting.  Minimize the number of things which can go wrong, because they will.  Once you've sort of settled into what works for you, fine tune your approach and chase sonic perfection with preamps and such.  You'll have a good handle on everything else at that point.  And even then, you don't need to use external preamps to make outstanding recordings.  I rarely use them anymore these days unless I need one for a specific reason. 

A beautiful thing about taping is that there is no single way to going about it - different tapers value different things and gravitate to different approaches.
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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Okay, a couple more pointers on putting mics on stage in case you decide to go that route (no worries if you don't, really!), then I'll bow out.  I didn't intend to dominate the conversation, so apologies to everyone else for so many words, perhaps too much information, and my sometimes dissenting poing of view.  Folks here know how I roll.

Some mics on stage detail stuff- 
Either spaced omnis or ORTF cardioids as goodcooker suggests should work well at the front of the stage. As mentioned already, stay away from the radiation directly out of the floor wedge monitors.  Close to the side of monitors is fine, and behind them in the space between a wedge and the stage-lip is fine, although typically on a small stage they will be pushed close to the lip.  But mostly likely you can just sort of center you mics between floor monitors, pretty much in line across the stage with them.

Try to get a clear line of sight to the snare-drum.  You ideally want a clear line of sight to all sound sources on stage, especially that clean snare drum snap.  If possible, place the mics so as to be off-axis to guitar cabinets.  They project a lot on-axis and can dominate.  The balance of the entire band on stage will often bet better balanced if the guitar amp cabinets are not pointing directly at the microphone positions, but don't sweat that one too much. 

Again, these are details.  The main point is that is were the sound and excitement is, and a recording make there + SBD is going to sound very different from one made from the balcony.  If you do record with mics on stage, put the Zoom up in the balcony as well if you can so you can draw your own comparisons afterwards.  That kind of comparison, between recordings you've made yourself, is incredibly valuable for determining your own path forward.
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Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline love2tape

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Gutbucket, I greatly appreciate your advice. Getting a disparity of opinions and ideas is exactly what I came here for. You all have been a huge help.

I have another question that can't seem to answer via googling or the Enter the Matrix guide (which is great)- what exactly does "running your mics through the house snakes" look like in practice?

I am going to be running 2x C460b (ck22 omni caps) and 2x KM184. I've spoken to the band's manager- he assures me we will have full support from the venue. So I'll likely be reaching out to see if I can contact their engineer soon- Trying to figure out what sorts of questions to ask. Does 'running through the house snakes' basically mean that I would set up my mics on stage, plug them in VIA xlr to something on the stage (for which I need to ask if there will be room), and then be able to take my Tascam DR680 to the mixer at FOH and run XLRs from the board to the DR680 and be able to mix everything, my mics and a SBD feed in the 680 from back there?

Researching, I see phantom power is a concern here- I'm trying to decipher a) if my general understanding of "running through the house snakes" is correct and b)what I need to be concerned about re: phantom power for my mics. Is it a case of 'phantom power off on the dr680, house snakes will power your mics' or do I need to find out how to both power my mics and run them through the house snakes safely and reliably? I want to be as unobtrusive as possible, so being able to monitor everything to the side of the mixer seems very preferable if that's possible, here.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2018, 04:35:44 AM by love2tape »

Offline goodcooker

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snip < what exactly does "running your mics through the house snakes" look like in practice? > snip

You have the idea correct but there are a couple of ways to go about it. Think of the house cabling as just a really long set of XLR cables.

1) You plug your mics into the stage box - it's a box that has all the inputs that correlate to the channels on the mixing console on the other end - that's assuming there are unused inputs. On the other end there is what's usually referred to as a "fan" - an output cable for each of the channels that matches the numbers of the box on the stage. You take your channels' cables and plug them into your deck located at the mix position. You use the deck as you normally would and send P48 to your mics - MAKE SURE you do not send P48 to the mixing console through your SBD patch. IIRC the DR680 has switchable phantom power on sets of 2 input channels so don't activate P48 on your SBD patch channels.

2) it's possible the FOH can route your feed to one of the AUX sends and send it to the box on the stage the same way he would send a monitor mix. You set up your mics on the stage and run your cables over to the side somewhere out of the way and take your SBD from the sends on the stage input box. Almost all stage setups that have the FOH engineer also mixing monitors will have some capability to send AUX channels to the on stage box. You take your patch from up front and run your gear off to the side, around back or wherever you can be out of the way.

3) This method requires more help from the FOH but isn't that complicated if he/she is amenable to doing it and if the console is capable of it and of good quality (to be honest I'd imagine most decent modern mixers have preamps that are as good as the preamps in a Tascam DR680) - you can run your onstage mics into the inputs on the stage end of the snake and let the mixing console provide P48 and level control (make sure that any EQ or dynamics processing is disabled - you just want a clean signal) and you take the direct out from each channel into your DR680 located near the mixing console. This is easier to accomplish if you can set it up and give it a run during the sound check. I used to do this very thing (but 4 channels instead of 6) with my R4 and a 20 foot 4 channel TRS snake that I bought off CL for $25. I was friends with the house sound guy and bribed him with treats pretty regularly but we both knew what to expect and I just said hello and set up my stuff - he asked if I was in the usual channel numbers - I set my gains and went to the bar to get a beer.

Any of these scenarios will work but 1) is the easiest and requires less effort from the house guy who has other shit to worry about than your recording.

Remember to bring more cable than you think you need, get there early, be aware of when and how to ask questions of the crew who are working and bring gaff tape but don't tape down your cables on the stage over any others that could be a problem when resetting the stage during band change over. Find out what kind of console they have and do a little homework to familiarize your self with the input/output options and connections to anticipate what you will need to bring. If you get in a bind Guitar Center has Hosa brand molded end TRS stereo cables for pretty cheap.
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Offline love2tape

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That’s awesome, thank you. Here’s hoping for enough inputs for #1! I’m getting a lot more confident with the prospects of a great capture, here- really happy I’m not just going with my original ‘ORTF from balcony railing + SBD’ plan (or heaven forbid - blumlein from the back) . I am excited to see what I’m able to mix with spaced omnis and 2x cards on stage (still not sure how I’ll set up the cards- thinking ORTF dfc on stage lip? Depends on how cluttered the stage is- still looking into my options) and sbd, and potentially also taping up my CA-11s or CA14s for a crowd capture above the center of the room. (All mixed to separate tracks so I can throw it out if I want)

Offline Gutbucket

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If you can put both the AKG omnis and the Neumann cardioids on stage in addition to recording the SBD, so much the better.  Run the Neumanns in ORTF in the center of the stage if you want, and space the omnis out to either side 3' or more, maybe around the 1/4 and 3/4 points across the stage. With the omnis in play on stage I'd go with a narrower angle (like DIN or whatever) in the center pair to focus on the back-line & drums and slightly reduce audience pickup in that pair, but that's just splitting hairs. 
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<<

 

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