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Author Topic: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?  (Read 3338 times)

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Offline melontracks

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Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« on: April 18, 2019, 05:21:36 PM »
Coming up this fall, I have an opportunity to record a great singer songwriter, and I’d really like to get the best tape possible. I have permission from the musician, who will be singing and playing an acoustic guitar with both the vocals and the guitar separately mic’d by the venue, running to a pair of small PAs. The hall is actually the basement of a guitar shop and is maybe 20 or 25 feet across by 50 or 60 feet long, rectangular, with maybe a 10-foot ceiling. The stage spans the entire front end of the hall, elevated about 10 inches, and seating consists of maybe 100 folding chairs. I have permission from the artist to record, and permission from the venue to record, including “a line out from the PA, which you are welcome to tap into. It's RCA type jacks right now, though there is a chance we'll replace our PA between now and then.”

My modest setup includes a Tascam DR-05, a Tascam DR-22WL, Church Audio ST-11 mics (one set of wires with a pair each of card and omni caps), and a Church Audio CA9100 preamp.  I also have a pair of Core Sound LCB omni mics, but rarely use them.

I would be inclined to just run the line out from the PA to the DR-22WL, hang the ST-11’s with the omni caps in an X-Y pattern from the ceiling by a super clamp and magic arm about 15 feet from the stage, run that through the CA9100 to the DR-05, set both recorders so the input is just below clipping and call it good. The last time I saw this guy in this space, the crowd was attentive and silent (all 20 or so of us) so audience noise should not be a concern.

Even though I’ve been taping live music for almost 20 years, my “good” or “great” recordings are always a mystery to me. I’m an amateur in the truest sense of the word. I’d really like to get the best recording possible, so please help me out with any advice you have about how I can improve my chances here.

What would you do with the gear i have in this setting?

Thanks in advance for your tips!

Chris
 

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2019, 05:49:15 PM »
I would take the sbd out and run 3ft spaced omnis right in front of the performer.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 06:07:43 PM by beegar »
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Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2019, 06:41:06 PM »
I would take the sbd out and run 3ft spaced omnis right in front of the performer.

Man, I hadn't even considered that. If you did an A-B like that right on stage, would you also run the X-Y omnis above and mostly behind the audience? I usually covet the sbd line out because i feel like it's an insurance policy against me making a bozo mistake on mic placement.

Offline aaronji

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2019, 06:58:15 PM »
Running omnis XY doesn't really make sense; it will be essentially mono. I would do beegar's suggestion or, with a good crowd, you could also do the spaced omnis from the ceiling. You might also consider a near coincident arrangement with the cards from the ceiling or stage. If you can borrow a four channel recorder, with two from the board/PA and two from the mics, that would be great, as everything would be time synced. Six channels (omnis, cards, and board) would be even better, as you could mix to taste afterwards...

Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2019, 07:42:10 PM »
Running omnis XY doesn't really make sense; it will be essentially mono. I would do beegar's suggestion or, with a good crowd, you could also do the spaced omnis from the ceiling. You might also consider a near coincident arrangement with the cards from the ceiling or stage. If you can borrow a four channel recorder, with two from the board/PA and two from the mics, that would be great, as everything would be time synced. Six channels (omnis, cards, and board) would be even better, as you could mix to taste afterwards...

My thought on the XY above the audience was that I would be using less of those two channels in the mix, so the stereo image wasn't as important as continuity on the two tracks, but that's just me thinking intuitively, and probably incorrectly. I'm kind of limited to the gear i have, unfortunately, so I'd have to dig out the old minidisc or rockbox'd iRiver if i wanted six channels. I've gotten pretty good at cropping, matching, and stretching recordings to correct for clock speed differences between multiple two-track recorders. But yeah, you're right...I should just get a 4-track recorder. Not a starving college student anymore. I had thought about cards in an ORTF arrangement, but this has always been my most hit-or-miss arrangement. I read somebody's post not too long about about pointing cards directly at the PAs. Didn't really get the thought process behind that. Would that be similar to the spaced omnis on the ceiling, only with less audience noise? That's probably something I can find more info about elsewhere in this forum...

Offline capnhook

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2019, 10:06:02 AM »
Spread your omni's and record them stereo with your Tascam DR-05.  XY omni is mono.  If you need mono, you can sum your stereo later.

Get a SBD patch and record with the DR-22WL.  Use some -20dB attenuators or an in-line -20dB stereo attenuator cable as insurance against a really hot board signal.  Ask for a stereo feed if it is available.

Have fun, and make great tapes man.
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Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2019, 12:00:29 PM »
Thanks for all the input so far.

It sounds like spaced omnis are the way to go. Perhaps I run two pairs in different locations in the hall and press one of my old recorders back into service to get the sbd.

More specific to placement, if i were to put a pair on stage, should it be roughly at the height of the guitar? He'll be seated.  I don't want my equipment to be in the way. This video of him https://youtu.be/y13ijvXZBPM isn't ideal because it's not just him, but if you disregard the dobro player, this is how he'll be playing the night i'm taping. at around 1:15 you get a good picture of the mics they were using to record, and while i know their goal here is different than what mine would be, is the height of the pair of mics on the guitar about where i'd want my pair of spaced omnis on the stage? At the venue, iirc, they have just one mic on guitar and one for vocals. Assuming the vocal mic stand is a couple feet in front of the artist, would i be okay clamping my stage omnis to the vocal mic stand?

Also, if i hang a pair of spaced omnis from the ceiling, in a hall like this, are there considerations beyond managing audience noise that would dictate the optimal distance from the stage? If someone has a favorite general guide for this, i'd appreciate a link. I use Paul White's "Basic Live Sound" but everything else i can find is kind of brand-specific.

Thanks for your patience.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 12:02:44 PM »
What beegar and the good Capt'n said.

Record the SBD + a pair of spaced omnis.  Generally you'll want to space omnis around 3' apart if you can.  If you are recording the SBD as well you can actually space them wider than that.  But since this is a solo act, shoot for 3-4' apart placed on stage between the performer and audience.

Pointing the mics at the PA speakers (or hanging each omni say 6' directly in front of each PA speaker) is a good strategy when you cannot record the SBD directly.  When you can record the SBD directly, mics pointed at the PA or hanging directly in front of it will produce a recording which is in large part a redundant duplication of that same direct SBD sound.  That's one reason why spaced omnis on stage are a good option for this - they will provide what the very close-placed PA microphones feeding the SBD recording do not. 

A coincident X/Y microphone arrangement (both mics in the same place, angled apart) can be appropriate for directional mics, but not omnis.  But since the SBD recording will provide lots of clear monophonic center-heavy sound, a spaced microphone arrangement becomes more attractive for the on-stage or AUD microphone pair.. because the spaced arrangement will provide a type stereo which the SBD does not. 

The idea is to create two recordings which complement each other nicely rather than being mostly redundant, such that when mixed together they produce a superior recording in combination than either one on its own.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2019, 12:14:33 PM »
Spaced omnis from the ceiling will provide good room and audience "your are there-ness".  That can work well especially in combination with SBD. But spaced omnis on stage in front of the performer will also provide that, as well as delicious direct sound + early reflections from both his voice and guitar.  So I'd go that route if you can.

Best if you can space the omnis a bit farther apart and further away from the PA reinforcement close-mics which are directly in front of the performer, rather than mounting them on the same mic-stand.  But if that's what works practically for you, no worries.  Don't sweat their height too much, they can be anywhere from right down at stage level up to ceiling level.  Just try to keep them from being right at audience mouth level so you don't get spotlight focus on the closest audience members right up front.  Ideal would probably be between guitar and mouth level of the performer as long as that doesn't put them right in the face of the folks in the front row.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2019, 12:21:27 PM »
Just followed your youtube link to discover the artist is Malcolm Holcombe.
He's great, a true appalachian treasure! 

Like Capt'n says, have fun and make great tapes man.
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 melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2019, 01:23:34 PM »
Excellent! This is great stuff.

Yeah, Malcolm is great! Although i record tons of stuff, from country to extreme metal, i kind of feel a responsibility to do an extra-good job here, considering the subject. The uncomplicated arrangement encourages me to think i can do especially well with what i have, so even though my ask here is kind a "teach me to play stairway to heaven" request rather than a "what scales should i practice" one, i feel like i'll still learn, even if some/all of the science behind it is beyond me.

Offline heathen

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2019, 03:30:55 PM »
I'm not sure if this has been suggested yet, but if you get a sbd feed see if you can get vocals to one channel and guitar to the other.  Then you can mix them to your taste in post.
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Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2019, 04:48:06 PM »
I'm not sure if this has been suggested yet, but if you get a sbd feed see if you can get vocals to one channel and guitar to the other.  Then you can mix them to your taste in post.

That's a good tip. I've not asked for that before, but yeah, often the vocals are way heavier in the mix to the PA than the instruments in the small halls that I tape in, I assume because a lot of the sound from the instruments is coming from individual amps. Even with just a singer and a guitar, I can see where the mix for the hall might not be best for the tape. Thanks for that!

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2019, 11:18:23 PM »
If I were to get a new pair of omnis for the occasion, what would most tapers use for a stereo pair of spaced omnis on the stage at artist-level? My wife and I are subscribers at the LA Phil, and they will have dozens of mics on stage when recording a performance. I haven't had a chance to ask them what they're using, but they're very small. I guess they're probably very expensive too, but I'm pretty sure they're omnis, because sometimes they're two to an instrument (piano or percussion, for example) and sometimes they're one to a group (violin/viola/woodwinds). I feel like that's probably what I'm looking for? I'd like something small, versatile and not too expensive, but then who wouldn't. If people have favorite mics for this scenario, i'd like to hear. I'll also go do more research on my own. If there's a good thread about it here, a link would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2019, 03:39:48 PM »
DPAs (4060s might be fine here as it seems like the show won't be super loud) would be the ideal pick, and you can find deals on them on ebay or in the yard sale.
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
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