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Old June 24th, 2010, 06:03 AM   #16
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Wow. I'm flabbergasted at all the responses you guys have made! Thank you.

What should the mic arrangement be (x/y, ortf, etc)? I know this is something I need to try out at the dress rehearsal, but from your experience what would you recommend? Below is a screenshot from a quick video of the orchestra at the venue they've been practicing in (the one for the concert is different). This is their setup:
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Recording an Orchestra with 3 Microphones?-screen-shot-2010-06-24-5.58.23-am.jpg  
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Old June 24th, 2010, 07:49 AM   #17
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What happened to the instruments that normally fill that huge hole in the middle? As a first try I'd put a stereo pair on a stand in the middle between the second and third row, directly behind the conductor, right where you see those dark "cup holders" on the back of the second row of seats, then tweak it from there. Experiment with both X/Y and ORTF, they're not THAT different, and see which one works best in this environment.
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Old June 24th, 2010, 08:47 AM   #18
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Oh. So the mics should be placed directly behind and above the conductor, but back in the second/third row seats?

Thanks guys for all your wonderful responses! I'll let you know how it goes this weekend!

robert
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Old June 24th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #19
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Not engraved in concrete but that's a good starting point. The exact placement needs to be worked out on a case by case basis.
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Old June 25th, 2010, 07:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert R. Schultz View Post
Wow. I'm flabbergasted at all the responses you guys have made! Thank you.

What should the mic arrangement be (x/y, ortf, etc)? I know this is something I need to try out at the dress rehearsal, but from your experience what would you recommend? Below is a screenshot from a quick video of the orchestra at the venue they've been practising in (the one for the concert is different). This is their setup:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert R. Schultz View Post
Oh. So the mics should be placed directly behind and above the conductor, but back in the second/third row seats?
Yes - ORTF pair of your NT5 (don't use the other mic.) behind and above the conductor and I would say the second/third row would be about right.



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Not engraved in concrete but that's a good starting point. The exact placement needs to be worked out on a case by case basis.
Agreed, but the above *is* a good starting point.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 12:02 PM   #21
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Mixing the Sound

Thanks guys for all your previous responses. I did end up using the ORTF configuration. Unfortunately the room's acoustics turned out to be utterly awful. After trying to mix it on and off for over a week, I'm stuck in a deep rut trying to get it to sound decent. I'm not an audio guy–this is for a video, so Soundtrack Pro is what I'm using. I have an appreciation for good sound but simply can't get this to sound right.

Would you guys give me some pointers on the attached sound file?
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File Type: mov St. Paul's Suite-First Movement.mov (1.68 MB, 88 views)
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Old July 5th, 2010, 02:37 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Robert R. Schultz View Post
The video is for the conductor's resume`
It sounds much better than I was expecting after what you said in your last post, Robert.

Coming from a musical rather than a technical background what I would say is that it is probably a fairly accurate recording of what the performance sounded like, but that is not going to do much for the conductor's resumé. While there is dynamic contrast in the upper strings, the 'cellos and basses seem to be thumping it out with a distinct lack of subtlety. I don't have a score in front of me just now but if you can get hold of one and check the dynamics of the lower strings you might be able to reduce the level of the right side from about 1'05" though to about 1' 21" to match the upper strings. There are also some unwanted noises at 1' 03-4' which detract from the professionalism of the production - not sure what you can do about that, or some of the intonation for that matter.

It think the recording is pretty good (although the stereo image seems to change slightly during the performance or I am imagining it?), but the performance is indifferent. Others here will have more experience of music production from the technical side and perhaps be able to suggest fixes for the clarity of the sound from about 1/3 of the way through which seems rather muddy. That's my 2 pence, feel free to disagree.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 03:43 PM   #23
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Thanks Colin! I completely agree with you about the musical performance.

I did most of what you suggested and here is the result:
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File Type: mov St. Paul's Suite-First Movement 2-AAC 256Kbps.mov (6.93 MB, 88 views)
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Old July 5th, 2010, 04:20 PM   #24
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That sounds more balanced to me, and the other points seem less noticeable. I think you've done a good job.

Despite what some people on this list might say, I find that if the vision is well done most people either don't notice or choose to forgive shortcomings in the audio of a recording of a performance. I say this after many years of recording school, youth and amateur ensembles where there is only so far that the quality of the performance can be taken. Professional production values on vision will lift an amateur musical performance and if the audio is technically sound, that's really all you can do. In fact, a little fuzziness can be a merciful thing - the back desks of professional orchestras sometimes don't bear too close an audio scrutiny.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 05:03 PM   #25
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I'm not sure that this will help, but for many years here in the UK I was Principal Examiner for A Level Music Technology - for US readers, this is the qualification level that many people have as the pre-requisite for getting into university when people are 17/18.

In the old version, one of the set tasks each year was a direct to stereo recording of a piece of music - mainly viewed as something just like this, or at least something that has a controlled acoustic balance of it's own - so a choir would do, as would maybe a big band - but NOT pop or rock with amplifiers. X/Y without doubt was the most common, with a few A/B and even a few specialist set-ups like Decca Trees.

In the main, the clever set-ups did much less well - mainly because they need really experienced ears to set up and balance. Getting it wrong really messes up the stereo field. With x/y and ORTF (not too common with beginners) getting the angle right makes a big difference.

I listened to your recording, and I reckon you should be quite pleased with what you captured. Most of the problems are down to the musicianship, and the conductor. He allowed many of the inner parts to be masked by others, which is a shame as there were quite a few quite clever bits that the first violins stamped all over! With more time, and the ability to experiment with moving the mic position, you did a good job. Getting the right place for the microphones is tricky - and as people have said, over the conductors head is a pretty good starting place - but forwards, backwards and height adjustment make big differences. When you have time - things get easier. I must admit that I tend to use X/Y or M/S as preference when the venue acoustics are good. When the orchestra is unbalanced in structure, as many are, I sometimes even resort to spot mics, that the purists hate, but recording to multitrack, having the ability to just be able to lift the flutes when they're a little outnumbered, can be handy. Takes a while to tweak the timing and eq to make it blend, but it works. It's amazing what technical slips can go un-noticed when the content is good. Back in the 70s, I was part of a project recording a big band material - and we were doing a Glenn Miller album. The producer hadn't done much stereo work - it was still fairly new, and it was decided that as much of the Miller 'feel' came from the interplay of the saxes vs the trumpet and trombones doing the classic - doo-wop, doo-wop stuff, we'd hard pan them one saxes hard left, the bones and trumpets right. The spill was too much, so we even physically moved them further apart than you'd ever see them perform. At the time, we thought the result was amazing - but when I heard it played around 10 years ago, it was simply horrible - but the musicians were great, the music was great and for years, I don't think anybody noticed.

If you got nice shots to go with this, everyone will be happy. After all, the only negative aspects were out of your control.
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Old July 5th, 2010, 09:46 PM   #26
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Well that certainly makes me feel better. I've been going around the house listening to the audio file on different sound systems and it does sound so much better than it did earlier. Now I can match and fine-tune the settings to the other 20 songs. Fortunately I have only 4 songs to edit on video.

I will say though, the conductor has pushed this orchestra much further than the ones before him. They rehearse only once a week.

Below is the video recording of St. Paul's Suite: First Movement. Enjoy!

Holst: St. Paul's Suite-First Movement on Vimeo

Last edited by Robert R. Schultz; July 6th, 2010 at 06:21 AM.
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