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Author Topic: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?  (Read 3337 times)

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Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2019, 11:11:45 AM »
Thank you. I'll look around. These mics are really small! Trying to learn about microphones (beyond fundamental principals) is a real rabbit hole to dive down. it's one of those things where it seems there is much to be gained from talking to people with lots of experience. I've been reading a bit the last couple of days, and ended up on a tangent researching "vintage" mics. Really interesting stuff, and like similar precision items (watches, for example) it seems that, if cared for, the classics still turn in outstanding performances.


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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2019, 03:43:44 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!

They're subcards, not omnis, but these might be worth looking at if you're looking for options that sound great and don't crush the bank...
http://www.lineaudio.se/CM3.html

They're about $250 for a pair.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2019, 04:12:18 PM »
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.

Typically the main pair hanging over the head of the conductor are omnis, as are the wider-spaced outrigger pair hanging to either side of the main pair, if present.  Spot mics used for piano are generally omnis. Those for percussion may be as well.  The other section and spot microphones may be directional mics, but can be hard to tell the difference at a distance by appearance. 
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 09:33:12 AM by Gutbucket »
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Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2019, 04:39:50 PM »

They're subcards, not omnis, but these might be worth looking at if you're looking for options that sound great and don't crush the bank...
http://www.lineaudio.se/CM3.html

They're about $250 for a pair.

Thanks! Those look interesting. Makes me think I really need to do a lot more homework and refresh my memory on microphone fundamentals. Even though this scenario is one I commonly record, if I'm going to get a proper pair of mics, i should be researching a "best fit" for most of my taping situations, not just this one. As much as i'd like to get a big collection of mics, it's probably not going to be in my budget for a while. Looking at Line Audio's website, they speak to how each capsule is "trimmed" to close tolerances by them during manufacture. Now I have to go figure out what that means.... :)

Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2019, 11:09:12 AM »
I didn't mean for this to turn into a discussion of microphones, but if folks don't mind... I've wandered around the internet looking for versatile (i.e., multiple polar pattern) microphones and discovering that there are a lot of options. There's mics like the Shure KSM141 which don't require swapping caps, and many that are sold with interchangeable caps. The nakamichi CM-300 3-mic recording kits from years ago seem really neat...not only are they packaged for a specific purpose; the kit was sold with omni and card caps for the mics, and they're internally powered. I looked around for comparable setups from current vendors and found a number of matched pairs, then dug a little more, with an eye for "small shop" built stuff, like the line audio mics linked to above.

That eventually got me to Busman Audio and the BSC1 stereo kit. A pair of mics with three (matched?) capsules, built-in 10dB attenuation or bass roll-off...seems like a panacea. But are there compromises? If I invested in a pair of these, would i have a pair of mics that would serve equally well as spaced omnis on stage in the environment discussed here and work as a pair of cards on a ten-foot stand above the soundboard at a rock concert in a larger venue? Sounds almost too good to be true. Am i headed down the wrong path altogether here?

Offline heathen

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2019, 11:36:08 AM »
I didn't mean for this to turn into a discussion of microphones, but if folks don't mind... I've wandered around the internet looking for versatile (i.e., multiple polar pattern) microphones and discovering that there are a lot of options. There's mics like the Shure KSM141 which don't require swapping caps, and many that are sold with interchangeable caps. The nakamichi CM-300 3-mic recording kits from years ago seem really neat...not only are they packaged for a specific purpose; the kit was sold with omni and card caps for the mics, and they're internally powered. I looked around for comparable setups from current vendors and found a number of matched pairs, then dug a little more, with an eye for "small shop" built stuff, like the line audio mics linked to above.

That eventually got me to Busman Audio and the BSC1 stereo kit. A pair of mics with three (matched?) capsules, built-in 10dB attenuation or bass roll-off...seems like a panacea. But are there compromises? If I invested in a pair of these, would i have a pair of mics that would serve equally well as spaced omnis on stage in the environment discussed here and work as a pair of cards on a ten-foot stand above the soundboard at a rock concert in a larger venue? Sounds almost too good to be true. Am i headed down the wrong path altogether here?

You can, and will, get any number of opinions from people but the best thing to do is head over the Live Music Archive and listen for yourself.  Listen to as many examples as you can.

Here's a past discussion of them: https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=141908.0 (I'd recommend paying close attention to the comments by burris and Todd R on the first page...they make good points)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 11:41:42 AM by heathen »
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Mics: Core Sound TetraMic | AT4031 | AT AE5100 | AT853 (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3 | Sennheiser e614 | Sennheiser MKE2 | DPA 4061 | CA-14 omni Pre: CA9200 Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05

Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2019, 12:05:57 AM »
...the best thing to do is head over the Live Music Archive and listen for yourself.  Listen to as many examples as you can.

Thanks for that reminder. As intuitive as it seems, I had really forgotten to consider actually listening to recordings over at the archive. I'll also check out some of those AT4041 tapes. Looking through my collection of live stuff from other people, I'm surprised I never noticed how often those show up.

Thanks again!

Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2019, 01:44:28 PM »
Fast Forward a couple of weeks and I'm in a new and more pressing quandary. Ha!

I did a ton of research and picked up some new (to me) gear, most of it from the yard sale. This includes a Tascam DR-701d, a nice set of three Nak CM-300s with the omni and card caps, and a pair of AT 4041s. I also got a couple of small tabletop/stage mic stands, one of those 10' Photek stands that people speak highly of here in the forums, a small AKG stereo bar, and a couple of cheap shockmounts and some cables. My goal was to not drop a fortune but to still get a kit i could use to record everything from a guy with a guitar to full orchestra, a black metal band, or a string quartet. We'll see how i did.

I've logged a lot of hours reading about mic positioning and matrix recording techniques as well. As luck would have it, I have the opportunity to make a recording tomorrow night, at a place in west hollywood (genghis cohen) that's a bar/restaurant with a separate stage area. The bill is "Bow Thayer with Val McCallum" and I confirmed that it will be Bow and Val w/ guitar and vocal, as here: https://youtu.be/yWlf1A7towk and here: https://youtu.be/bX8L8lvLhtw

I haven't been to the venue, but it looks like "your standard hall," which is good, imo. Carpeted with seats and stuff hanging from the ceiling, so i'm assuming it'll be pretty dry. I added some pictures I found online at the bottom of this post that give an idea of the space.

I was thinking that (based on the advice above) that I could run a spaced pair of the Nak CM-300s with the omni caps on (or right in front of) the stage, down low, avoiding the monitors, and use the AT4041s in a stereo pair on a stand, about 8 feet in the air in the middle of the hall (but how far back?) with an appropriate delay on the omnis. I'm kind of intrigued by the stereo zoom technique, and was thinking to use that instead of something like ORTF or X-Y. I also thought i might try to get a line from the board to one of my two-tracks, but i'm not too worried about that.


Thoughts?


Thanks for all the input so far.

The hall, facing the stage:


A full stage:


Looking to the back of the hall:




Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2019, 03:18:25 AM »
I ended up just using hte AT4041s on a stand at the back of the hall about 7 feet up. There was no room on or near the stage for anything. I wanted to cover about a 50-degree area, and spaced the pair 25cm with a 50-degree angle. I have to listen to what a got tomorrow, but it sounds like i got a lot of resonance. More than i'd hoped for, I think.

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2019, 04:54:35 AM »
the brah in the last pic be feelin' it

try not to setup near that guy!
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2019, 01:23:27 PM »
I haven't been to the venue, but it looks like "your standard hall," which is good, imo. Carpeted with seats and stuff hanging from the ceiling, so i'm assuming it'll be pretty dry.
Quote
I wanted to cover about a 50-degree area, and spaced the pair 25cm with a 50-degree angle. I have to listen to what a got tomorrow, but it sounds like i got a lot of resonance. More than i'd hoped for, I think.

A recording made with a stereo pair of microphones in a room tends to translate as having more reverb than you'd otherwise notice when placing your head in the same location and directing your attention toward the same sound of interest.  As such I consider all halls to be "reverberantly wet" in terms of live music taping.  For me the more useful general differentiation are those halls which provide good sounding reverb versus those which have bad sounding 'verb.

Second to that, the distance from the sound source to the recording location is the primary factor determining the ratio of direct arriving sound in comparison to the reverberant sound at the recording position.  The direct/reverberant ratio at the recording position is the primary influence on the dry/wet reverberant balance of the recording.. and that balance on the recording is a primary factor with regards to the recording sounding close and intimate intimate versus roomy and more distant.

Quote
I also thought i might try to get a line from the board to one of my two-tracks, but i'm not too worried about that.

Always good to record the dry SBD feed if you can.  That is 100% direct sound making it especially helpful for balancing an "overly roomy" microphone recording.  It may have artificial 'verb on it, but will be pretty much absent of room sound 'verb for the most part.  It reduces the need to get your microphones in close-enough proximity to the source to achieve a clear, intimate sound on the recording.  A really good, complete and well-balanced SBD recording can actually eliminate the need for ANY direct sound from your own microphones! at which point your microphones need only provide the appropriate balance of audience reaction and reverberant room sound, and perhaps on stage early-reflections.  But this will rarely be the case at a small venue where the audience hears not just the PA but much of the sound directly from the stage as well.

Quote
I'm kind of intrigued by the stereo zoom technique, and was thinking to use that instead of something like ORTF or X-Y.

Stereo Zoom is a method of figuring out which specific stereo-microphone pair arrangement is likely to be appropriate for a particular situation, and encompasses various ORTF-like as well as a few X/Y configurations.  The location of your recording microphones is the primary variable for getting a sufficiently high ratio of direct sound versus reverberant sound.  There is really no substitute for that except mixing in a decent SBD recording.. which comes from other microphones located very close to the sources.  Lacking a SBD recording, you can do your best to make the most of the direct/reverberant ratio encountered an otherwise overly-distant position by pointing a pair of directional microphones directly towards the primary direct sound sources - typically the PA speakers - and then making the most of that in terms of stereo by leveraging the Stereo Zoom to determine what the most appropriate spacing between the microphones would be given the angle between them.

See the link below to a thread topic outlining an approach which applies the Stereo Zoom to this problem specifically-
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=167549.msg2087409#msg2087409

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Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2019, 11:38:44 PM »
the brah in the last pic be feelin' it

try not to setup near that guy!

Ha! I wish that guy had been there. The crowd was pretty sedate. Made for a nice quiet audience but I wasn't thinking i was gonna be recording in a coffee house. Was kind of a restaurant/bar/venue place, all in the same space, but with the venue separate and enclosed with doors. The Moroccan Lounge downtown is like this, minus the restaurant. This place has a bar right outside the hall with its own sound system, that is kind of loud, but mostly invisible to the hall. Beyond the bar is a NYC-style (like, not szechuan or shanghinese..."new york style," old-school american chinese) chinese restaurant, which is the main reason for the place's existence. The LA-area has so many "value add" venues that are not the primary purpose. I love it. I  I will be back. The management is great and friendly as hell, the sound guy was super cooperative, and the bartender introduced herself to me and got me a shot, which she joined in herself, when i ordered a beer. It was a great night.

But yeah, that guy was probably shouting for freebird when that pic was snapped.

Offline melontracks

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2019, 12:00:31 AM »

A recording made with a stereo pair of microphones in a room tends to translate as having more reverb than you'd otherwise notice when placing your head in the same location and directing your attention toward the same sound of interest. 

Man, is that ever true. The hall was tiny. there were maybe 25 people in there and it was half-full. I spent a lot of time comparing the sound with my headphones on to the sound i was hearing with my ears. The difference was profound. Listening to the recording, the hall sounds big,


Always good to record the dry SBD feed if you can.

Kind of kicking myself today for not doing this. I had originally planned to have a pair of omnis on the stage, but the stage was so small there was literally no place to put them. Aside from placing them behind the performers, they would not only have been in the way, they'd have been in the almost-direct line of fire of one of the two wedges that were set just in front of the low stage. The soundman offered me an XLR-pair of what was going to the PAs, and offered to use the record feature on his board, but I had no computer to put the file on at the end of the night, the run from his booth to my setup was across the single doorway in and out of the hall, which was tall. It just seemed like too much trouble, and he was a little harried.

Stereo Zoom is a method of figuring out which specific stereo-microphone pair arrangement is likely to be appropriate for a particular situation, and encompasses various ORTF-like as well as a few X/Y configurations. 

I used the charts in that guy's book you can grab here and elsewhere online and picked a spot on the curve that looked like it was the sweet spot for the degrees i was trying to cover and the mics i had. I think what interests me is the idea of the system being designed to record a sound to be reproduced optimally in a stereo arrangement that is pretty much exactly what i have in my livingroom. I definitely would do what i need to do to get less reverb next time, but the more i listen to what i have, the happier i am with it.

I have done some envelopes and levels and need to break the audio into tracks and share it with the artist. If he's okay with it, i'd love to share some of it here for people's feedback. This stuff has been solid gold. I made myself a note in my workflow to come back to this thread and read it again before i head to a show. Lots to remember.

Edit: while noting my reasoning behind arranging the mics, i realized that i measured a 50* field of view i wanted to capture...then used the +/-50 curve on the stereo zoom chart...i actually should have used the +/- 25 degree curve. Oops.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 01:12:22 AM by melontracks »

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Re: Advice on Setup for Specific hall and performer?
« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2019, 06:01:58 PM »
Depending on city, see if you can borrow some better mics and/or bring someone else along with better/more gear.  If you have permission, go all in.

 

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