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Old August 16th, 2010, 07:10 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert R. Schultz View Post
Hmm. So it is possible to swap out capsules on the NT5?
Yes


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
NT45-O according to the Rode website
You said it.
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Old September 18th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #32
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Pattern v. Placement v. Balance

Just wanted to chime in and offer a few clarifications:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Robert .. it's not advisable to promote and encourage anyone to modify and operate any Rode mics in any fashion, other than the way they were intended by Rode. You'll be operating the mics outside their designed specifications, in direct contradiction to the user manual .. and voiding the warranty.
Putting tape on a microphone will not void any warranties. Can't promise it'll sound good, but then again, it might be great. Shure actually offers a microphone just like this -- the KSM 141. It is switchable between cardioid and omni. When you twist the cap, a mechanical baffle rises over the vents, changing the pickup pattern to omni. This also happens when a singer cups a mic on-stage with their hands. The "hand baffle" changes the pattern to omni, often resulting in feedback problems.

However, the advice concerning omnis has its own complications:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Cooper View Post
...you can lift the LF response by turning them into omnis simply by wrapping tape around the side vents. If you get a little bit closer to the orchestra to compensate for more audience noise, you may then find an overall improvement to the general balance, but you would need to experiment with placement etc.

The difference between an omni & a cardioid pattern is approx 1.4 times the distance as far as side pick-up is concerned. In other words an omni needs to be about 1.4 times closer for the same amount of audience sound.
To restate what Ron pointed out, you need to have a cardioid microphone at 1.7 times the distance as an omni in order to achieve the same source:room ratio. So, if you had a cardioid pair in ORTF at 17ft and it sounded really good, you would need to have the pair of omnis at 10ft to achieve the same ratio of source:room. What does that mean? It means that moving 7ft closer and using omnis didn't actually help reduce audience noise!

Additionally, being closer will result in a harsher sound on the strings. If you are recording an amateur or scholastic orchestra, this is often the opposite of what you want! If the room sound is awful, you may try EQing and adding reverb in post, but just remember that closer does not always equal better.

You will also change the balance of the sections of the orchestra (violins : violas : low brass : etc etc) as you get closer. Every time you cut your distance in half to your source, you increase your signal by 6db. Because we cut our distance to the front of the orchestra from 17ft to 10ft (1.7:1), the instruments front row of instruments received a 4-5db boost. However, our distance from the instruments in the back only changed from ~47ft to 40ft (1.175:1), resulting in a boost of less than a decibel.

So what's the real trick here? It's knowing what an orchestra is supposed to sound like, and then choosing you mic placement and/or polar pattern based on that sound. It will change from space to space and from group to group. This is the REAL reason why a versatile microphone might be useful. All of the mics that have been mentioned can get good results on orchestras. If I were in your position, I would strongly consider the Octava MK012s because of their price, quality, and availability of cardioid, omni, and HYPER-cardioid caps all in one little kit.

Better yet, team up with an audio engineer in your area for the best results, but it can't hurt to have some decent microphones in your locker for solo gigs.

For those of you that are interested in learning a little more about issues like this, check out DPA's Microphone University: DPA Microphones :: Microphone University - The Essentials
Especially this graph: http://www.dpamicrophones.com/en/Mic...e_distance.gif
Or Audio-Technica's page on the matter: Audio-Technica - Microphones, headphones, wireless microphone systems, noise-cancelling headphones & more : What's The Pattern?
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Old September 18th, 2010, 11:35 PM   #33
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You've made a couple of really good points! Thanks for the post.

I guess there's areason why the orchestra is structured the way it is with brass and percussion etc in the back!

Also - if the orchestra is any good, the director has it balanced so it sounds great right where he is - mf for the back isn't quite the same as mf for the violins and folks in the back have to almost lead the beat to keep balance. I play in the back row and we're always being yelled at for being behind even when we're right on the beat - have to get a bit ahead of it when you're in the back and have a slow-speaking instrument to boot!

So you're right on with your comment re having to know what the orchestra is supposed to sound like and knowing the particular group you're recording and the space itself.

By the way, thanks to your post an analogy occurred to me. A telephoto lens on a distant camera will "flatten" the image more than a wide angle lens close up. Just like a hyper at 2X the distance will flatten the group more than an omni close up.
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Old September 19th, 2010, 05:14 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian Brown View Post
Putting tape on a microphone will not void any warranties.
In a lot of cases yes but don't bet on it .. signs of something being taped to a mics body in a lot of cases can lead to other strange mods which haven't worked either and the mic very roughly returned to original specs for warranty. You'd be surprised what turns up for some claims.

Folks would be better off spending their time on something else rather than trying to 2nd guess any long established pro mic designers.

Cheers.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 06:38 PM   #35
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Great! Now what about a mixer?

Thank you Christian, Jim and Allan! I’m receiving a wonderful education on sound and orchestra just through reading your words.

A few weeks ago I went ahead and bought a slightly used Rode NT5 matched pair for $244! Two for nearly the price of one new NT5 at $219! eBay is awesome.

Taking previous comments into consideration, I realized that a cardioid would be better for this particular orchestra as they aren’t very good–backing away would help blend any performance issues and a cardioid is necessary to keep audience levels at bay. Now your recent comments confirm this!

So when I need an omni or two, I can just buy the NT45-O capsule(s) and be ready to go!

Right now I have a Mackie 802-VLZ3 mixer that I really like, but it would be great to have a digital mixer so that I can record individual tracks right into Logic or Soundtrack with my MacBook Pro. The Mackie Onyx mixers seem really nice and can be used to plug into my laptop or even my 5D Mark II (via an attenuator cable). What do you guys recommend for, say $500?
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 07:06 PM   #36
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Hello Robert. Sounds like you are moving onward and upward.

Since you are doing audio for video, I would steer away from laptop based interfaces. After all, you don't want to bring a computer to every gig, and you want to make sure you get something that is as versatile as possible and will last you a long time. To that effect, try taking a look at the Edirol R44, Tascam DR-680, or even higher-priced units geared towards the video community by Sounds Devices.

A stand-alone unit will go with your where-ever you go, from concerts to interviews to short-films. And if you are just doing two tracks right now, then there definitely isn't any advantage to a computer interface.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 09:00 AM   #37
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NT5-Mactahed pair FS in Classafieds

BTW, since we were on the topic of the Rode NT5, I wanted to let everyone know that I just listed a NEW matched pair of Rode NT5's in the classified section.

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/private-...ml#post1572450
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Old September 26th, 2010, 01:38 AM   #38
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For 90% or more of what I do 2 channel is fine and I use a Sound Devices 702. For the occasional time whem I ned more mics I will record my main stereo pair into the SD702 as usual and then run the output of the 702 into a Mackie Onyx FW interface and run single instrument mics into the same interface and then record in Cubase on a Mac. Advantage is that I have my main stereo pair on the SD 702 a well as the Mac so I'm reasonably well covered and only the additional instrument mics depend on the Mac. And I run everything on an APC battery backup power unit for insurance.

I could get a larger SD unit, but the cost isn't really justified for the rare occasions whn I need more than two channls.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 10:29 AM   #39
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Mastering Opinion(s)?

Thanks again guys for all your advice and input on this. I ended up buying some nearfield monitors (Mackie HR624 mkII) instead of a digital mixer.

The recording and performance went splendidly on Sunday, and I'm finishing up the mastering (or tweaking, in my case) now.

But there's a rather strange phenomenon that's happening. As soon as I begin playing any piece of the recorded music, my eardrums act like a low pressure weather system moved in. It doesn't happen to other music. It doesn't matter what volume, nor what audio system I play it on. I think it's just some frequencies are too pronounced, but I haven't trained my ears to identify equalization problems, being a video guy.

Would you guys listen to my attached file and tell me what the problem might be? And whatever else you find wrong with it too.
Attached Files
File Type: mov Symphony No. 2 Allegro vivace-AAC 128Kbps.mov (12.35 MB, 86 views)
File Type: mov Symphony No. 2 Allegro vivace-AAC 256Kbps.mov (16.00 MB, 74 views)

Last edited by Robert R. Schultz; October 27th, 2010 at 10:42 AM. Reason: added higher quality audio file
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Old October 27th, 2010, 11:31 AM   #40
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To me it sounds like the low end is lacking. Your 256kbps file hung up for me, so I'm listening to the 128. The brass is the most prominent thing on this. I would start with a flat EQ curve. Try boosting the lows at around 120hz go get the articulated notes of the bass, and maybe 70-80kz too to get some oomf. Perhaps a little high end boost to ad some "air" to the spectrum.

Not sure what do do about the brass. Maybe there was just too many of them? Or too few strings? The brass is more on the right channel. so perhaps a multiband compressor on the right channel focused on the frequency of the brass, to sort of pad that down in the loudest sections, yet leave the rest of the orchestra alone, effectively bringing up the strings.

Listen to it at a low volume, and at medium volume. If you are mixing too loud your ears will get tired and start acting like a compressor, effectively lying to you. Make sure your ears are even in height with the tweeters, and that your monitors form an equilateral triangle with your head and eachother. That is the sweet spot. Angle the monitors in towards your ears.

You say this was recorded with a pair of NT5s? I have an NT4, with has the same capsules. I know how conductors can be, but if you can get a couple more mics near the sides you could get the bass and strings better represented. Overall it's a nice recording, but the Brass is the prominent thing here. I would go to a practice and experiment with placement, taking notes so when you get the recording back in the studio you know where the mic(s) were on the best recording.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 02:17 PM   #41
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It's not even all the brass dominating, - it's the trombones (noisy b*gg*rs by nature - I should know!) and just occasionally the horns. The trumpets are as distant sounding as the strings for the most part.

I listened with the bass end boosted and it improved the sound but I think it's mainly a question of the musical balance - at least from the perspective of where the mics were placed. It sounds like the trombones were pointing more at the mics than the trumpets were, but it may be more the distance or even the playing. I would have a better idea if I could see a pic of the orchestra and where the mics were.

I think the suggestion of trying out different mic placements at a rehearsal is very sensible. I'm not sure if reducing the frequency range where the trombones operate (approx 80-500Hz fundamentals) on one channel would help but give it a try. Double Basses operate right down to about 40Hz for a normal 4 string bass or even lower for a 5 string but a lot of the character of the sound is from the harmonics.

BTW I couldn't get the 256 bps file to be recognised either.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 02:25 PM   #42
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Thanks Chad! I adjusted everything you suggested, save the compression on the brass. I spent 45 minutes playing with it, but it wasn't very natural for the piece. At the end I remember having a conversation with the conductor who said this music by Schubert has an unusually high range to it, so I think I'll preserve the original dynamics in it.

Attached is the new file, with a compromise in size (apparently anything over 16mb gets stuck on download). The compression reduces the depth and air considerably, though. It has a different name (the other one was incorrect).

From an equalization perspective, is there anything else I can do to enhance it?

EDIT: Sorry Colin! I posted mine before reading yours. The mic placement was about 10ft behind the conductor and about 13ft high, the mics were pointed down at the strings, but the woodwinds and brass were on separate higher levels with lovely 3ft walls behind each, so some frequencies were resonating more than necessary. It was in a church.
Attached Files
File Type: mov Symphony No.9 Allegro vivace-256kbps.mov (15.36 MB, 68 views)
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Old October 27th, 2010, 02:56 PM   #43
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I'm not sure what exactly you did Robert, but it sounds like there is more bass and the strings are coming through better.

If you had iZotope RX, you could remove any coughs from the audience or clicks in the room. You could even select only the offending horns and reduce their gain by 2 or 3 db, but as it is it seems better.

Nice work!
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Old October 27th, 2010, 03:04 PM   #44
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I thought that latest file was better. I boosted the bottom end a bit more and enjoyed listening to the performance which has a lot of good playing in it. There's still a lack of definition from the bottom end (basses and timps particularly) but I'm not convinced you can do much about it (harder timp sticks might have helped in that acoustic and I suspect there's a bit of fumbling in the basses at times and a fair bit of resonance is evident). The trombones are still very prominent but that's how I llke it! It's a great piece (pun on symphony title intended) - thanks for sharing.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 06:19 PM   #45
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Since KSM 141s were mentioned in this thread, as is orchestra recording in general, I thought you might be curious to hear this sample of a recording I did recently.

KSM141s in omni, about ~40cm apart, angled 90*. Rode NT5s on the woodwinds, ~20cm apart, angled ~100*, very low in the mix.

...


Strike that. Why can't I upload mp3s? Additionally, I can't upload the 10mb .wav due to file size limits.
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