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Author Topic: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics  (Read 1665 times)

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Offline BradleyJY15

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"Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« on: March 06, 2022, 09:59:59 PM »
Delete soon after response.

Do you aim mics to audience or back of stage when taping from a stage lip?

My head hurts thinking about this. I can think of reasons to do either.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2022, 10:12:30 PM by BradleyJY15 »
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Offline relefunt

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2022, 01:09:01 AM »
You can do a pair facing the band or add a pair facing toward the audience (to get room reverb plus applause). Adding the rear facing pair makes sense if you are getting a soundboard feed that you believe is very close to what you will pick up at the stage lip.

It probably goes without saying -- but care should be taken when adding room reflections into a mix to try to avoid comb filtering as much a possible.

PS -- this is not a dumb question. My parents were teachers and they loved saying that there are no dumb questions. They were wrong but this isn't an example!
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Offline BradleyJY15

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2022, 10:03:32 AM »
Thanks! That makes sense and was sort of what I was thinking.
Schoeps MK22 & MK41 -> Nbob Actives -> Naiant PFA -> SD MixPre-6ii

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2022, 12:11:34 PM »
Good question actually.

Most of the time a pair on stage facing the band is what you want.  You are likely to get about the right amount of room and audience picked up by that pair alone.  Start there before adding microphones facing the audience.  What you won't get much of in that pair is whatever is coming through the PA if there is one.   That content is likely to sound distant and reverberant in the band-facing on-stage pair.  If there is anything important in the PA, you'll want a soundboard feed or an AUD pair with clean PA pickup or even a single mic on a PA or monitor.

As relefunt mentions, if you had a soundboard feed that you know contains everything you want from the band in a perfect mix, you could just use an audience-facing pair to get the audience reaction and room 'verb which will still be missing from the soundboard feed.

It probably goes without saying -- but care should be taken when adding room reflections into a mix to try to avoid comb filtering as much a possible.

Comb-filtering generally becomes a potential problem when combining channels that contain the same direct-sound content.  It is more likely to pose a problem with the relatively-common taper thing I come across of folks mixing two microphone pairs supported by same stand which are in relatively close proximity to each other and are facing the same direction.  You won't get comb-filtering from mixing together directional mics that were facing in opposite directions, such as two pairs on stage with one facing the band and one facing out into the room / at the audience. 

If you do use more than one pair of mics on stage with some mics facing out at the audience, you will want to carefully adjust the relative level of the audience-facing mics in the mix by ear, rather than just guessing at what level might be appropriate.  This takes listening around to a few different parts of the show to find the most appropriate fixed level setting.  If you want to get fancy, it can work well to automate the level of the audience/room pair, bringing it up more during quiet parts and between songs, down more during the loud sections when the room gets densely energized and whenever the audience reaction and room-bloom tends to provide a less positive contribution.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2022, 02:51:42 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline BradleyJY15

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2022, 01:14:45 PM »
Thanks Gutbucket for the additional info. I want to start playing with different mic techniques for some local bands. I hope to have board or PA feeds in addition to my mics, but they may provide a poor/not well rounded mix. Small rooms. In any case, I am excited to play with different miking locations with local bands, where a bad result is not a big deal, but a great learning experience.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2022, 03:07:18 PM »
Keep in mind that whenever you are mixing separate sources you may need to shift one source in time with respect to the other (perhaps several if there are more than two separate sources) to get the transients well-aligned, avoiding smear or even audible echo.  This tends to be less necessary with on-stage mics mixed with a soundboard feed because the distance to the sources isn't hugely different in both cases, but it can still happen if there is some processing delay going on.  It's more likely to be needed with mics placed further back in the room, like a typical audience pair or dedicated room ambiance pair, when you may need to delay the on-stage mics and/or soundboard feed to align them in time with the more distant mics. 

You won't generally need to delay anything if all your sources are on-stage mics, regardless of what direction they are pointing.
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<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline nokeeo

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2022, 04:19:28 AM »
Hey Gutbucket!  This is all very useful thank you.  Any advice for avoiding the comb filter for the average stereo taper?

Offline DSatz

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2022, 07:04:11 AM »
https://www.sageaudio.com/blog/recording/3-1-rule-mic-placement.php -- applies to microphones whose signals are mixed together in the same (or overlapping) frequency ranges.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2022, 07:07:10 AM by DSatz »
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Offline lmgbtapes

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2022, 02:24:22 PM »
I love running healy (omnis ear distance) near stage lip when I get SBD + AUD matrix. Helps particularly with the drums, but I mainly like creating a "front row experience" in my tapes. This allows for as much of that as possible without having to worry about the crowd around me being -too- hot. I try to place as close to center as possible but I'm usually at the mercy of stage monitors so placement can be all over the place.

Band I record plays clubs anywhere from 200-2000 capacity. Generally mixes really well. Example:
https://archive.org/details/tmg2021-08-06/02_Aulon+Raid.flac

Here's an example from smaller club where my SBD capture didn't pan out-- still surprisingly usable.

https://archive.org/details/tmg2021-08-20/02_Jaipur.flac

Contrast against some mk4s on stand at SBD at same show:
https://archive.org/details/tmg2021-08-20.mk4.flac24/tmg2021-08-20mk4_t02.flac

So yeah. Just wanted to provide omni example. My goal here is mainly to get as much of the drums as possible (I love Jon Wurster and drums are never as loud in SBD as I'd like) and get crowd excitement from the pit. I still have relatively little experience taping compared to a lot of people here. I need to experiment more too.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2022, 02:34:21 PM by lmgbtapes »

Offline morst

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2022, 03:32:18 PM »
When you see bands point mics at the crowd, they are likely for one of two purposes
First, they can be used for performers who wear in-ear monitors, so they can hear crowd response.
The first day Steely Dan performed with In-ears, they thought the crowd hated them cause they didn't hear the response. The next show, their monitor engineer, the late great Roger Nichols, pointed a couple shotguns into the crowd and dialed that up and the problem was solved.


The second reason to point mics at the crowd is to fill in the response on an otherwise dry board mix, typically multitrack.


Myself, I point my on-stage mics at the kick drum, when it's in the middle.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2022, 04:37:36 PM »
As I understand it, the "Healy Method originated as Dan Healy's solution to the same problem that the Grateful Dead were having with then new to them in-ear monitors, as the band couldn't hear the audience or communicate easily with each other clearly when off mic.

I like to arrange an on stage microphone-array so that it has a clear line of sight to the snare drum.

Omnis on stage generally work well for tapers because they are somewhat forgiving of placement without any ability to monitor prior to recording, there tends to be sufficient proximity to the sources for them to work well (even when they would not from an audience position farther back in the rooom), and they capture the direct radiation of the sources and on-stage early reflections in a natural way.

When the array includes directional mics placed down low at the level of the kick drum and relatively in close to it, I try to arrange things so my center microphone is on-axis with the snare, yet the face of the kick drum is slightly off-axis, in order to avoid any proximity-enhanced "whoomp" of air pumping out of the front of the kick.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2022, 04:39:59 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline roffels

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2022, 05:58:07 PM »
Is there any advantage to spreading the mics out on the stage? I had a tiny tripod on stage at a show the other night, and mostly captured the drums. Ordinarily this would be fine, but the drum kit was pretty loud in the SBD feed, leaving the guitars pretty quiet in the mix. I was thinking maybe having a 6 foot spread on the Omnis might help, but that might give a really weird stereo image.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2022, 06:12:31 PM »
It can help by spreading the mics out and getting them closer and more on-axis with the sources on either side of the drums, when a single microphone position in the center would otherwise be too close to whatever is in the middle, resulting in a recording dominated by that central source.  How far you can space them will depend. 3 feet is pretty safe, 6 may or may not be OK. If you have a SBD feed you can space them somewhat more without worry as the SBD will contribute strong mono content helping to fill any hole-in-the-middle, same goes for a single center microphone or stereo pair in the center between wide-spaced omnis.  In the past I've run 4 omnis across the front of the stage a few times with about ~3' between each, which provided nice even coverage across the entire stage with mixing/panning options.

Alternate option is to use a significantly wider angle between microphones (using directional pattern mics), making the angle between them wide enough so that the central overlap region of the two patterns ends up being somewhat less sensitive than over to either side. This is trickier to get right without monitoring.  You'll want to reduce the the relatively small spacing of a typical near-spaced configuration as the angle is increased to compensate imaging.  If using cardioids, sensitivity doesn't drop off much until relatively far off-axis, so for this approach to be effective you'll probably need to point them 180 degrees apart, directly to either side, and keep some spacing between them.  Using super/hyper-cardioids try them in X/Y with a 150 degree angle or so between them.

[Edited for clarity and inclusion of the second option]
« Last Edit: March 17, 2022, 01:36:39 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline checht

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2022, 10:56:53 PM »
This thread is just in time, as I've been revising onstage placement, and am soon going to add another pair of mics.

Currently using mk41s. Started with them at stage lip ortf about 2' high, pointed at band. Too much wedge sound. So last 2 shows I moved back to about even with the front of the kick drum, center stage. Mics at 9', ortf, pointed down and a bit towards the house. I Had a chance to try different setups during a long soundcheck, and liked this the most. With a bit of SBD mixed in, I like this much better than stage lip or others.
https://archive.org/details/sd2022-03-12/sd20220312.matrix.2448-02.flac

I have a pair of Vanguard pencil condensors on the way, and was thinking to try 'em out with omni caps. Would very much appreciate input on placement and aiming. Stage lip gets a lot of crowd noise, most venues are 200-300 capacity.

Thoughts?

« Last Edit: March 27, 2022, 12:50:57 AM by checht »
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Offline morst

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Re: "Dumb" Question about onstage mics
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2022, 02:39:20 AM »
This thread is just in time, as I've been revising onstage placement, and am soon going to add another pair of mics.Currently using mk41s. Started with them at stage lip ortf about 2' high, pointed at band. Too much wedge sound
Thoughts?

I use wide cards or cardioids, the MK41 is a supercardioid with a bit of a back pickup lobe, not present on the patterns I run.


I will suggest, and I've suggested it in other threads, to GO LOW, bro.
Tuck those mics UNDER the stage wedges like 2-6 INCHES off the stage deck, on the shortest little stand mounts you can find.
(image attached of something similar to mine)
You won't pick up much monitor "wash" if the monitor speakers are pointed AWAY from your mics!


(never tried mic'ing a stage with super or hypers but this is my style with the directional mics I've used for the purpose)




 

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