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Author Topic: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room  (Read 2226 times)

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Offline TheBishop

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Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« on: November 13, 2019, 03:34:42 PM »
First, my setup: Sennheiser ME80 or ME40 -> Tascam HD-P2.  No preamps, just straight mics to recorder.

A couple of weeks ago I taped Melvin Seals & JGB at a local venue.  This was the first show that I've taped in about 11 years. I used my Sennheiser ME80s in a 20cm spaced AB configuration pointed directly at the right (stage left) PA about 20' back and 10' up.  The recording can be found at https://archive.org/details/jgb2019-10-24.aud.flac24.

Here is a layout of the room with my position marked with a red "x" as such:



The recording came out ok, IMHO, nothing special.  I haven't done any sort of mastering besides tracking and fading in and out of sets, so the levels are a bit low.

In two days I'll be going back for another show at the same venue and I anticipate being in the same spot. I plan to use my ME40s this time. Just so folks that aren't familiar with the Sennhesiers don't have to go look them up, both the ME40s and the ME80s are categorized as supercardiods by Sennheiser, with the ME80s being shotgun mics.

I've been reading the Improved PAS Technique thread at https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=167549.0 and playing with the Visualization of ORTF Stereo microphone system guide at http://www.sengpielaudio.com/Visualization-ORTF-E.htm.

If my memory is correct, from the position that I'll be taping from I think that I'll only have about a 60° orchestra angle between PAs, I'll measure it more accurately when I get there on Friday. Should I just follow the PAS table and aim with my ears? I only ask because on the ORTF Visualization page the recording angle looks very small.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2019, 03:55:46 PM »
You've got a good handle on the essence of it.  Yes, the recording angle is narrow due to the distance from the stage.  This is one of the things that makes audience taper recording different from most other types of stereo recording where the microphones are generally considerably closer to the source and thus require a wider recording angle to fully encompass it. 

You may be practically constrained by how wide you can space the mics.  But getting them wider will let you use less angle between microphones while still achieving the same recording angle, allowing you to point the mics more directly toward the primary sources (PA speakers and band on stage) while still achieving a recording with a good sense of stereo width. Even if you are not able to space the mics as far apart as the Improved PAS technique suggests, you will probably still want to use a relatively narrow angle between mics so as to keep them closer to on-axis with the source.  Most folks prefer a clean and clear sounding recording with minimal stereo width over a distant, reverberant sounding one with nice stereo width, myself included.

Once setup, rotate the entire array to orient it toward the apparent acoustic center by ear, which is likely to have you centering it more or less directly on right (stage-left) PA speaker.

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 heathen

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2019, 04:10:40 PM »
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
Mics: AT4050ST | AT4031 | AT853 (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3 | Sennheiser e614 | Sennheiser MKE2 | DPA 4061 | CA-14 omni Pres: CA9200 | DPA d:vice Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05

Offline TheBishop

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2019, 04:32:26 PM »
You may be practically constrained by how wide you can space the mics.

I've got a Manfrotto 154, so I can space the mics 65cm apart.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2019, 04:35:28 PM »
^ Right on.

Check out this thread: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=185036.0

^oh yeah, I didn't recall that thread until you posted the link.  Good cite.

OT- Oh man, big advertisement attack on the thread since I last posted here a few minutes ago.  Giant ads are now appearing right in the middle of post text, not just at the top and bottom of the page.
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 TheBishop

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2019, 04:37:18 PM »
Check out this thread: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=185036.0

Yep, I've read it.  I was struck by how similar the rooms are.  One thing I found funny from that thread:
Quote
"For the opening band I did Gutbucket's suggested setup.  We were set up at the sbd, basically straight ahead of the stage left PA.  My mic bar ended up being roughly parallel to the stage, and I aimed my mics at the stage right PA.  They were roughly parallel to each other, about 20 cm apart.  Here is a clip from the opener with that setup: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1bxVLjnm76kdEbzpCyzwKyp5IBPqISvS0"

Which is essentially the opposite of how I recorded that JGB show since I aimed at the stage left PA.



Offline heathen

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2019, 04:49:40 PM »
Check out this thread: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=185036.0

Yep, I've read it.  I was struck by how similar the rooms are.  One thing I found funny from that thread:
Quote
"For the opening band I did Gutbucket's suggested setup.  We were set up at the sbd, basically straight ahead of the stage left PA.  My mic bar ended up being roughly parallel to the stage, and I aimed my mics at the stage right PA.  They were roughly parallel to each other, about 20 cm apart.  Here is a clip from the opener with that setup: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1bxVLjnm76kdEbzpCyzwKyp5IBPqISvS0"

Which is essentially the opposite of how I recorded that JGB show since I aimed at the stage left PA.

As they say, there's more than one way to skin a cat.
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
Mics: AT4050ST | AT4031 | AT853 (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3 | Sennheiser e614 | Sennheiser MKE2 | DPA 4061 | CA-14 omni Pres: CA9200 | DPA d:vice Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2019, 05:54:05 PM »
..essentially the opposite of how I recorded that JGB show since I aimed at the stage left PA.

Not really.  In that particular case, the mics point stage-right, while the array as a whole points straight-ahead (more or less at the stage-left PA).  The array orientation is centered in a direction perpendicular to the base-line between the two mics with respect to stereo image. 

By contrast, usually the median line between the two mic angles (in other words, the "half-angle line between the two") points in the same direction that the array is pointing.

It's atypical for both microphones to be pointed in one direction and the array as a whole to be oriented toward a different direction, and makes that unusual setup asymmetrical.  In comparison, straight-up Improved PAS is symmetrical in the same way typical stereo-microphone setups are, and is really only unusual in the sense that it specifies more spacing between mics than is typically used because the microphone angles are so narrow.  But even in this asymmetrical case the same Stereo Zoom relationship still applies, suggesting a rather wide spacing between mics because they are arranged parallel to each other and behaving more like spaced omnis in terms of imaging.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 12:54:47 AM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2019, 01:29:48 AM »
If you want, go ahead and give the same parallel-mic/asymmetrical-array technique a try.  I think it would work well in that situation, its just sort of an advanced technique to jump straight to right away!   If you do, space the parallel mics as far apart on that Manfrotto bar as they will go, orient the bar so that it is perpendicular to an imaginary line from the mic-stand to the stage-left PA (assuming that's the apparent acoustic center from your off-center recording position), and point the mics at the stage-right PA.. or somewhere inside it, maybe directly toward center stage.  Just keep 'em parallel so the image isn't pulled right (stage-left) by the right mic being more on-axis with the closer and therefore louder room-right (stage-left) PA.

Otherwise go with Improved PAS based on the angle between PA speakers as seen from the recording position.

Enjoying your JGB recording now, thx.
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 TheBishop

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2019, 11:28:14 AM »
I'm going to have to try to diagram this out so I can be sure I've got this setup right...

On a side note, I used to tape "back in the day".  Started out in the mid to late '90s with a buddy's TC-D5 and his Sennheiser mics.  Bought my own Marantz PMD700 and Sennhesier mics (because I thought they sounded good and they were pretty affordable on Ebay).  The Marantz started giving me fits in 2002-2004.  I also started having kids at around that time. The town I live in didn't have a very vibrant live music scene, and the kids made it difficult to travel as much, so I put the taping equipment aside.

In 2008 I was jonesing to start taping again so I bought the Tascam HD-P2 and taped one local-ish band to try it out.  I don't know exactly why, but I didn't tape again until that JGB show a few weeks ago. That means that I've had this machine for 11 years and only recorded two shows with it!

I have been using it recently to transfer some of my old shows from DAT directly to flash since my computer doesn't have a S/PDIF input. I need to find a new cassette deck though, my old Nak BX150s don't seem to be working.

The transition from cassette to DAT wasn't too difficult for me, but I'm finding a lot of little nuances in recording directly to memory, especially at 24/96.   The levels are throwing me off a bit. With this show I reverted to my old 16 bit ways and tried to record very near the peak.  Now, I'm finding out that you don't necessarily need to do that with 24 bit recording.

The software has also changed quite a bit, too.  I pulled out my old copy of Cool Edit Pro to trim, fade, and track the JGB show.  I am just now delving in to Audacity to try to actually master the show.

Back in the day, especially with my cassette masters, I would pretty much just trim, normalize, fade, and track.  Now I want to see if I can maybe clean them up a bit.  I'm trying to be cautious though, I don't want to mess with things just to mess with them, then you lose the essence of the performance recording.

And I'm already thinking about picking up a pair of Line Audio CM4s and maybe a 4 or 6 track recorder.  Damn, this hobby really is as expensive as I remember.

Offline heathen

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2019, 11:52:28 AM »
I'm going to have to try to diagram this out so I can be sure I've got this setup right...

On a side note, I used to tape "back in the day".  Started out in the mid to late '90s with a buddy's TC-D5 and his Sennheiser mics.  Bought my own Marantz PMD700 and Sennhesier mics (because I thought they sounded good and they were pretty affordable on Ebay).  The Marantz started giving me fits in 2002-2004.  I also started having kids at around that time. The town I live in didn't have a very vibrant live music scene, and the kids made it difficult to travel as much, so I put the taping equipment aside.

In 2008 I was jonesing to start taping again so I bought the Tascam HD-P2 and taped one local-ish band to try it out.  I don't know exactly why, but I didn't tape again until that JGB show a few weeks ago. That means that I've had this machine for 11 years and only recorded two shows with it!

I have been using it recently to transfer some of my old shows from DAT directly to flash since my computer doesn't have a S/PDIF input. I need to find a new cassette deck though, my old Nak BX150s don't seem to be working.

The transition from cassette to DAT wasn't too difficult for me, but I'm finding a lot of little nuances in recording directly to memory, especially at 24/96.   The levels are throwing me off a bit. With this show I reverted to my old 16 bit ways and tried to record very near the peak.  Now, I'm finding out that you don't necessarily need to do that with 24 bit recording.

The software has also changed quite a bit, too.  I pulled out my old copy of Cool Edit Pro to trim, fade, and track the JGB show.  I am just now delving in to Audacity to try to actually master the show.

Back in the day, especially with my cassette masters, I would pretty much just trim, normalize, fade, and track.  Now I want to see if I can maybe clean them up a bit.  I'm trying to be cautious though, I don't want to mess with things just to mess with them, then you lose the essence of the performance recording.

And I'm already thinking about picking up a pair of Line Audio CM4s and maybe a 4 or 6 track recorder.  Damn, this hobby really is as expensive as I remember.

I highly recommend the TDR Nova plugin for Audacity: https://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-nova/

I'd also recommend keeping an eye on the used market for a 4+ channel recorder (if you decide to go that route).  With 32 bit recorders hitting the streets, people will be (and already are) selling off high quality 24 bit recorders.  Though there's nothing wrong with going the 32 bit route, for the sort of taping that's generally discussed here 24 bit is more than sufficient.
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
Mics: AT4050ST | AT4031 | AT853 (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3 | Sennheiser e614 | Sennheiser MKE2 | DPA 4061 | CA-14 omni Pres: CA9200 | DPA d:vice Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05

Offline TheBishop

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2019, 12:00:07 PM »
I highly recommend the TDR Nova plugin for Audacity: https://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-nova/

I'd also recommend keeping an eye on the used market for a 4+ channel recorder (if you decide to go that route).  With 32 bit recorders hitting the streets, people will be (and already are) selling off high quality 24 bit recorders.  Though there's nothing wrong with going the 32 bit route, for the sort of taping that's generally discussed here 24 bit is more than sufficient.

I've actually got Nova up right now, trying out different settings. And I definitely keep my eye out for the used stuff.  I was talking to my wife about picking up a new recorder the other day (she only rolled her eyes a little bit), and said something to the effect that it's not like it used to be, nowadays there is some big advancement with the recorders every 6 months.  24 bit to 32 bit, two track to four track to six track or more, smaller and smaller sizes with more features.  It's pretty damn crazy for an old timer.

And I've been looking around for current model field preamps, and there aren't any!

Offline TheBishop

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2019, 03:34:41 PM »
My diagram, as I understand recording PAS from an off-center location:


The givens:
Mics are supercardiods
The Orchestra Angle is 60°

My mics are spaced at 41cm and oriented at 60° from each other in regards to the mic bar (as if I were going to be located dead center and pointed straight ahead), my mic bar is then rotated and "aimed" with my ears at the apparent acoustic center.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2019, 04:10:37 PM »
Yes for PAS.. except the apparent acoustic center will not be located at actual center stage for an off-center recording position.  The apparent center will shift toward to the same side as your off-center recording position.  Looking at your diagram above and guessing from experience, I'd assume it will be just inside the right PA speaker.

This presents something of a trade off imposed by off-centeredness.  Rotating the entire array (by loosening and turning a mic-stand section while listening) to point the array in that direction will also rotate the two microphones as a unit such that they are no longer pointed directly at each PA speaker anymore.  The left mic will point closer to center stage, and the right mic will point outside of the right PA speaker and probably over at the sidewall somewhat.  This is what is necessary to center the energy of the recording, but weigh that aspect against how far away from directly at the speakers it turns the mics.  You control the balance between even stereo-image-energy across the playback stage and clean, direct Point directly At Stacks pickup.  You'll begin to home in on a prefered sweet spot between these aspects upon trying it a few times. 

When the apparent acoustic center lines up with the actual center (presumably from a centered recording location, unless the PA balance is off) there is no need to make this trade-off.

It helps to remember that PAS is advantageous because it points the primary axis of sensitivity of each microphone directly at the primary source of sound on each side, but microphones are not camera lenses or laser beams and even the tightest pickup patterns have a somewhat wide front acceptance angle, so there is actually more leeway with this than one might imagine.

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 TheBishop

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Re: Recommendation for Mic Configuration for specific room
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2019, 04:18:41 PM »
Awesome, thanks for that explanation!

 

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