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Old September 26th, 2014, 12:59 PM   #16
Inner Circle
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Re: Discreet acoustic folk music recording

Audio engineers will be the best advisers. I am not an audio engineer.

This is something we did a few years ago in a "live" hall, which is the rehearsal venue for a symphonic orchestra.

It is what is known as a Decca Tree. The mikes were all Rode NT2a. The centre mike was set to omni. The side mikes were set to figure-eight.

The mixer was a three-channel Sound Devices SD-302. The centre channel 2 was switched to both output channels, the left mike was to output channel 1 and the right mike to output channel 2.

In your environment, the recording may still be too reverbrant but might luckily turn out to be faithful to the environment without being too echoey. The Decca tree might be of too much visual impact for your client unless the column can be concealed or disguised.

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Old September 26th, 2014, 03:32 PM   #17
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Re: Discreet acoustic folk music recording

A Decca tree in a reflective environment can be great for classical music. I've done a bit of composing of film underscores with dry MIDI samples, and they sound terrible. Add a great impulse response to simulate well-placed mics in a live hall and percussion and French horns come alive!

I think bluegrass is a different animal. It needs to be drier and more intimate - exactly why close mics would be best.

For my money, I think John Willett's suggestion of a stereo pair and a reflection filter is the way to go. I'm thinking that spaced mics, rather than an x-y pair might be best. With spaces mics, you aim them at the solo performer. With an x-y pair, they aim around the performer at the room. I'd want to maximize the direct sound. A mid-side setup could work as a single-location solution, but the figure-8 mic would need to be far enough ahead of the reflection filter to not be muffled. The "side" signal could be used to balance the stereo effect with the room tone. (Add just a touch of the side mic...)

The spaced, directional pair, each in a reflection filter is especially interesting. One could potentially hang a pair of blankets or acoustic slabs behind the performer, off to the sides, directly in line with the mics' lines of sight to help tame things. Since both the mics and blankets/slabs would be off center, it would keep a clean line of sight to the performer, which meets the promoter's goals.
Jon Fairhurst
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Old September 27th, 2014, 11:51 AM   #18
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Re: Discreet acoustic folk music recording

Greg -
This part really bothers me:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
If they put the recording mics in typical "PA position" -- i.e. perhaps a foot from the performer(s) -- then the audience (or organizers) complain because it's supposed to be an "acoustic" performance and the mics "look wrong." I wish this weren't the case, but I'm told this situation can not be changed. (You can't teach a pig to sing, nor can you explain acoustics to some folks.) ....

I would like to help these folks if I can. (By the way, there is absolutely no pay involved in this recording project.)
Acoustic instruments have a wonderful sound and it's a crime not to be able to capture it as best one can.

After reading all the posts about how to capture it by "playing by their rules", I can't help but feel frustrated. So, ..... why not play by their rules? Capture the video using the built-in camera mic (guaranteed to produce crappy audio) then show the boneheads what it's like? Hey, it's what they want, right?

Who wants these videos? The performers? Or someone else?

So, another thought: If it's the performers then they can tell the audience/directors to shove it. Either they play with a good mic(s) or they dont play, their (audience/directors) choice.

If it's the players that'd like a video then perhaps they could be recorded at the same location but at a different time, or maybe at a totally different venue.

As an aside, I've read posts about recording acoustic guitars where posters who do this sort of thing are really particular about the kind of mic used. Part of the problem with what "sounds good", though, may be with people's hearing as we don't all have the same hearing ability.
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Old September 27th, 2014, 11:56 AM   #19
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Re: Discreet acoustic folk music recording

Oops - post got duplicated - can't delete.

Last edited by John Nantz; September 27th, 2014 at 02:01 PM. Reason: No delete option!
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