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Author Topic: ISO Advice re: PA Mixing & Recording A String Quartet Outside (spot / ortf)  (Read 667 times)

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Offline wehideandseek

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Namaste Y'all!
I've been asked last minute to run sound & record an outdoor performance tonight at the Grand Canyon south rim; tried searching the Classical Team / regular boards & found pretty much only info on hall / living room situations.

The under-funded Park Service is supplying four condensors of unknown make / quality, a dinosaur Sony MX-P21 & two Behringer Euro B212As for the PA.

Rigs i have:
MBHO 603A Hypers > Oade warm modified Marantz (run these active in shapeways ORTF bar)
Gefell 300's > V2 > Zoom (run ORTF)

My dilemma is running either pair of above mics vs individual spot micing of two violins, cello & viola into the mixer.
Instinct tells me run w/ ORTF & skip spot micing, but wind gusts are expected to be approx 15-18mph
My gut also says, skip the Sony & just feed Marantz/Zoom sources into the Mackie (which should pair well w/ the Behringers)

What would you do if you were in my shoes/headphones?

Extra gear i'll bring =
Mics: Two AKG SE 300B CK 93's & two Sennheiser 421-U-5's
Mackie 402-VLZ3 (can be paired to PA)

QuickLok studio tripod (1)
Two Manfrotto tripods: 5' & 7'

Manfrotto SuperClamp (1)
9Solutions SaviorClamp (1)

Manfrotto Baby Extension (1)
Manfrotto 3 section articulated arm (1)

edit: mic bars in addition to the ORTF = Shure A27M & K-M23510
« Last Edit: June 23, 2022, 05:47:33 PM by wehideandseek »
"Situation gets rough, then i start to panic..."

Offline jcable77

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If they have music stands(for sheet music) clamp the 421's as close as you can to the body of cello and viola>mixer. Run your shortest stand with the akg bluelines pointed at violins>mixer. Run ortf center stage with gefells>v2>zoom. Run tape outs or whatevers easy from mixer to marantz. Mix 2 together to taste. Hopefully you have some windscreens?

Offline wehideandseek

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...music stands ... clamp the 421's as close as you can to the body of cello and viola>mixer.
...shortest stand with the akg bluelines pointed at violins>mixer.
...ortf center stage with gefells>v2>zoom.
Run tape outs or whatevers easy from mixer to marantz.

{{{{Mix 2 together to taste.}}}}

Hopefully you have some windscreens?

Thank you!

For the "Mix 2 together do you mean straight from recorders to either Sony or Mackie Mixer > PA?
Yup, got some dead cats & such...
"Situation gets rough, then i start to panic..."

Offline jcable77

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...music stands ... clamp the 421's as close as you can to the body of cello and viola>mixer.
...shortest stand with the akg bluelines pointed at violins>mixer.
...ortf center stage with gefells>v2>zoom.
Run tape outs or whatevers easy from mixer to marantz.

{{{{Mix 2 together to taste.}}}}

Hopefully you have some windscreens?

Thank you!

For the "Mix 2 together do you mean straight from recorders to either Sony or Mackie Mixer > PA?
Yup, got some dead cats & such...
I was thinking more in post mixing the two sources. Bascically board mix> Marantz and audience-ish with your zoom. The sony would be your PA output as well obviously, which you probably wont need to push much? Your mics will obviously sound better than what they are supplying you with. How big is the place? I would think the PA would just be a light additional sound reinforcement?

Offline wehideandseek

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How big is the place? I would think the PA would just be a light additional sound reinforcement?

It's out of doors; some slight juniper & piƄone pine canopy w/ the Grand Canyon south rim behind.
"Situation gets rough, then i start to panic..."

Offline Gutbucket

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Tough gig. String quartet music is intimate and tends to emphasize the interplay between musicians and the subtleties of their musicianship, and was traditionally intended for small audiences. They tend to be quite low in output level and traditionally rely on the performance space for both acoustic reinforcement and 'verb, and even with help from a good room they tend to sound rather quiet and distant in a big hall (it's "chamber music" after all). With no room to speak of the PA will need to provide both reinforcement and 'verb lacking from no room, and the presence of wind complicates everything.  Sweetening the PA with some reverb will be advantageous (a subtle but large-room long tail may actually be appropriate at the canyon edge!). 

Stage arrangement of musicians is most likely to be setup in an arc, either in the traditional placement: first violin, second violin, viola, cello (left to right as viewed from the audience), or the more modern configuration with cello and viola positions swapped, as that positions the cello facing the audience for a bit more acoustic projection of bass.

I've had good results recording acoustic string quartet performances in a very mediocre room with an ORTF pair placed close, low and in front, down near the floor angled upward toward the second violin in back. The "from below" angle allows the stereo pair to be placed relatively close to the ensemble, which helps gets good level, reduces bad room contribution (not an issue outdoors), improves audience sight-lines compared to more even with the viols or above, and helps keep the violin sound warmer and less strident than it tends to be from a relatively close position above. 

For the PA mic'ing I'm not as much help- you may need to resort to close mic'ing each instrument.  However, an omni dead center of the arc of musicians placed at chest height might actually work well (traditional bluegrass style), as that would provide relatively close equal distance to all 4 instruments and minimal susceptibility to wind noise.  Maybe not though as quart string fiddlers won't be re-positioning and leaning in to the mic.  Probably need to keep the PA cabinets out in front sufficiently to maintain sufficient gain before feedback

« Last Edit: June 23, 2022, 07:51:00 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 wehideandseek

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Tough gig...
Sweetening the PA with some reverb will be advantageous (a subtle but large-room long tail may actually be appropriate at the canyon edge!). 

Stage arrangement of musicians is most likely to be setup in an arc, either in the traditional placement ... or the more modern configuration with cello and viola positions swapped, as that positions the cello facing the audience for a bit more acoustic projection of bass.

I've had good results recording acoustic string quartet performances in a very mediocre room with an ORTF pair placed close, low and in front, down near the floor angled upward toward the second violin in back...

For the PA mic'ing ... Probably need to keep the PA cabinets out in front sufficiently to maintain sufficient gain before feedback

Thanks so very much TummyContainer!
The musicians were seated in more of a squarish-cluster than a half circle.
The supplied items were, as expected, sub-par at best: PA was a cheap-o "Anchor" brand & way under-powered for the 850+ assembled crowd; the board had broken / janky channels & the mics were Samson CO2s (w. weak windscreens). I swapped out two of them for my AKG's & a couple of my windscreens but could not achieve close enough micing w/ the rusty non-telescoping mic-stands. This combined w/ the wind gusts made apparent at the soundcheck ten minutes before showtime that i'd have to feed the Sony (& subsequently my own PA) from an independent stereo mic mix.
I wound up running the MBHOs from the QuickLok stand just a touch forward of center above by approx 3' above, facing back & angled downwards towards them w/ the MG300s b/n your advice & other recc i'd seen in this thread "https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=103660.msg1382834#msg1382834" at approx shoulder height.
As i walked the crowd, nestled in between rocks & trees, under the Milky Way, i was able to dial in sufficient SPL all the way to the edge w/ pretty good coverage & feel darn good about the results of such scrambling (the reverb recc was very helpful!)

A big +T to jCable & you for your help!
"Situation gets rough, then i start to panic..."

Offline Gutbucket

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As i walked the crowd, nestled in between rocks & trees, under the Milky Way, i was able to dial in sufficient SPL all the way to the edge w/ pretty good coverage & feel darn good about the results of such scrambling

Sounds like a happy ending to a stressful situation.
Good to hear it worked out well!
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 jcable77

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Glad it worked out fot ya!

 

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