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Old June 26th, 2007, 02:33 PM   #16
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Jim, you have a basic choice in front of you:
2 condensor mics, which allow several stereo recording techniques.
1 M/S mic, which can do MS or also serve as a cardoid or hypercard (depending on the mid capsule, usually but not always cardoid).

I love ORTF, and use it as much as I can.
MS is one mic, and is great for run and gun stereo recording (yes, it exists!)

One very important thing to bear in mind for any stereo recording technique - there is really only one right spot for the mic(s). If on a mic stand, that spot is usually objectionable to a paying audience or to video cameras. Fly rigs can be very helpful, of course they take time.

As a starting point, the mic(s) might form the point of an equilateral triangle, with the ensemble being the base of the triangle. Then, adjust back and forth for a good ratio of room sound to direct sound - this is typically more important than adjusting for stereo spread. If in MS, of course, you can have a spread adjustment in post (I'd always decode in post, not at the point of recording).

MS has the obvious advantage of a very nice collapse to mono, I think we all have to make our own choices about how important this is. There are several older threads where this has been debated.

In your budget range two very fine cardoid mics are perhaps more available than one very fine MS mic. A pair of cards are, IMHO, more versatile as well.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 03:15 PM   #17
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Seth,

Thanks for the insightful comments.

I think what has me on the fence is exactly the fact that the two cardiods would probably, as you say, be the more versatile choice. That's what's leading me down the path of a modular system, as I'd be able to start with either two cardiods or one each cardiod and figure 8 and add the other mic capsule down the road. So it becomes a question of starting point.

What's your feeling about ORTF for a small ensemble as opposed to a large group? Do you think it exaggerates the sense of space?

I also appreciate the comments re placement - in the end that's probably more important than the hardware itself (assuming the hardware is of good quality) - as, of course, are room acoustics.

Oh, and by the way, the quality of the group might play a small(?) part in all this too!
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Old June 27th, 2007, 02:44 AM   #18
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M/S does not necessarily mean 1 physical mic (as some readers might have thought on reading Seth's post - I know he didn't mean to imply that) although that is frequently adopted by manufacturers for stereo mics iwth the decoding done in the mic. The classic M/S is a figure-8 and a cardiod mounted in a coincident arrangement with the cardiod facing front and the figure-8 pointed transversly. I think your idea of a set of 2 power units with a pair of cardioid capsules plus a figure-8 capsule is an excellent approach, giving you a very flexible kit to cover a variety of situations, the Schoeps collette series and AKG ULS or Blueline series comes to mind as candidates. What the heck, add a pair of omni capsules and a hyper capsules as well and cover all the bases.

The Waves plugin I was thinking of is the S1 Stereo Imager

http://waves.com/Content.aspx?id=275
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Old June 27th, 2007, 03:53 AM   #19
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Steve,

Thanks much for the link to the S1 plug in. I have to admit though that their web page gives very little info on the plugins.

For example - what packages do they plug into? Also they show a TDM and a Native version, but no explanation about what these choices mean. Any hints you could give?

I think right now I'm close to making a decision to go with the Schoeps Colettes, just still waffling back and forth about whether to start with a pair of cardioids or a cardioid and a figure 8. Or to go for all three right up front (Budget, budget, did someone say "budget"?)

A bit of a budget buster indeed, but do-able. I think mics of this quality will be a good investment and and actually cheaper than fooling around with lower end stuff, considering both my time and the fact that it's for classical music.

When I add in a couple of miscellaneous bits and pieces, the investment in sound gear will wind up beng about 2X the investment in camera gear, which is probably a reasonable ratio, considering the kind of stuff I'll be recording. After all the heading on this forum says that sound is 70% of what we see!

If I were still a "kid" I might be tempted to play around with a variety of lower cost stuff as a great learning experience, but with the big Seven Zero fast approaching, the time vs money equation gets evaluated differently than it used to!
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Old June 28th, 2007, 02:52 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Steve,

Thanks much for the link to the S1 plug in. I have to admit though that their web page gives very little info on the plugins.

For example - what packages do they plug into? Also they show a TDM and a Native version, but no explanation about what these choices mean. Any hints you could give?

...

If I were still a "kid" I might be tempted to play around with a variety of lower cost stuff as a great learning experience, but with the big Seven Zero fast approaching, the time vs money equation gets evaluated differently than it used to!
The TDM version is for ProTools while the native version is a plugin for all VST/Direct X compatible workstations like Vegas, Soundforge, Premiere, Nuendo, etc

Glad to see there's a fellow geezer taking their career in new directions like I am. Just coming up onto my 62 milemarker next week and in my case I've been working the last couple of years to update my skills and get my career back onto a track that it got diverted from about 20 years ago. I agree completely on your assesment of the time/money trade off. I've found that it's always more expensive overall to start low and upgrade to the stuff you really need later than it is to get the right stuff from the very start. I try to get the best tools one can afford.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 03:24 AM   #21
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Thanks much, fellow geezer! I'll be 67 in a couple of months and I'm still working a full time job as a business development consultant for a Japanese company in partnership with a US tape drive maker. I really enjoy it.

Video is something I've been interested in since the days when the term "portable camera" referred to something that was B&W and recorded on 1/4" tape and the 10 pound camera was attached by an umbiical to a luggable tape deck that hung from the shoulder. But I mainly worked with large format still cameras until recently.

I'm planning to buy the mics in the next couple of weeks, and I'll be sure to post on the experience as soon as I get some mileage on them.

And sincere thanks also to everyone who's helped educate me in this thread.

Last edited by Jim Andrada; June 28th, 2007 at 03:25 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old June 30th, 2007, 12:01 PM   #22
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M/S with 2 ribbon mics. This one

http://www.beyerdynamic.com/cms/Stud...ctdatabase_pi1[showUid][showUID]=11&tx_sbproductdatabase_pi1[showUid][backPID]=42&cHash=5c79858b5c

And this one.

http://www.beyerdynamic.com/cms/Stud...ctdatabase_pi1[showUid][showUID]=10&tx_sbproductdatabase_pi1[showUid][backPID]=42&cHash=3a176923df

or:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ern?sku=272027

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ern?sku=272028

$600 each. Total=$1200
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Old July 2nd, 2007, 03:33 AM   #23
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HI - Jim, nice to see someone really going for good stuff.

Just a thought - is there someone with a pair of Schoeps you could borrow? I've used them for sound effects fieldwork when I was at the BBC, because of their neutral sound and incredibly low noise, which is vital for recording sometimes very quiet sound sources - way quieter than anything you'd encounter in music! We trialled some of the switchable-pattern ones, which physically changed things around in the capsules, but ended up using just the fixed capsules. Again from memory, they have a very "neutral" character, which you might / might not like when it comes to music recording. They're expensive mics so if you have the opportunity (a good store ought to let you do this, I would have thought) you might want to check them out first. I have to say I wouldn't choose them for music recording.

If you have the chance to experiment, perhaps the best thing of all is to use / borrow a multimic interface, record the mics individually into a computer and then you could really compare the sound and miking techniques. I don't think there's one single answer to the question of technique, and in any case it varies with instruments / rooms, as you and others have mentioned. And a good balance for TV will be very different from one for audio-only.

You might also enjoy this article my former colleague Hugh Robjohns has written, covering useful overviews of the different techniques here: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1997...mictechs2.html
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Old July 2nd, 2007, 11:40 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
I think what has me on the fence is exactly the fact that the two cardiods would probably, as you say, be the more versatile choice. That's what's leading me down the path of a modular system, as I'd be able to start with either two cardiods or one each cardiod and figure 8 and add the other mic capsule down the road...
Well, this is a great approach! So few mic systems have a figure-8 capsule available... there is a Sennheiser, AKG, Schoeps has both a figure-8 and a multi-function capsule. I'm not aware of any others. It would be nice if there were some products from mid-range manufacturers such as Audio-Technica or Rode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
M/S does not necessarily mean 1 physical mic (as some readers might have thought on reading Seth's post - I know he didn't mean to imply that) although that is frequently adopted by manufacturers for stereo mics iwth the decoding done in the mic. The classic M/S is a figure-8 and a cardiod mounted in a coincident arrangement with the cardiod facing front and the figure-8 pointed transversly...
Um, well, glad Steve caught me on that. It is true, I've become somewhat focused on single-body M/S mics. It all started on a shoot a couple years ago in which a buddy brought out his $5,000 US Beyerdynamic M/S mic. Wow, what a versatile and outstanding mic on a video shoot with acoustic music groups. The sound was indeed incredible.

Unfortunately, I can't afford such a mic, and have been more focused on mics like the AT 835ST (soon to be replaced by something much more expensive), the Shure VP-88, Studio Projects LSD2, etc. But I've not had a project to justify purchase - still using my Oktava MK-012 in ORTF for music and loving the sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
What's your feeling about ORTF for a small ensemble as opposed to a large group? Do you think it exaggerates the sense of space?
Most of what I've done with ORTF has been small group, with good results. Typical would be a small Turkish ensemble - a reed flute or two, a few strings, a hand-drum, sometimes vocals. Around 3-6 pieces. I've never heard an objectionable exaggeration of space... but, I've been very careful in mic placement, and, I'm not afraid to pan each channel a little to center in post if needed. Never mind that the math of phase cancellation tells you not to do it, if it sounds good (on decent reference monitors), it is good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
I also appreciate the comments re placement - in the end that's probably more important than the hardware itself (assuming the hardware is of good quality) - as, of course, are room acoustics.
I can't believe we've gotten this far in the discussion without discussing room acoustics. The room is *everything* in stereo recording techniques. Most rooms designed for music are fine. I've done many recordings in churches, with their long decay time they can be problematic, usually the mic(s) will need to be closer to the performers. If I were doing a serious recording for release I'd want to bring my reference monitors and listen in a different room from the performance to determine mic placement... especially in a church.

Smaller rooms with their immediate slap tend not to be so good for stereo recording techniques.
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Old July 2nd, 2007, 11:59 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Harmer View Post
...Just a thought - is there someone with a pair of Schoeps you could borrow? I've used them for sound effects fieldwork when I was at the BBC...

...You might also enjoy this article my former colleague Hugh Robjohns has written, covering useful overviews of the different techniques here: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1997...mictechs2.html...
Excellent article! As good an overview of stereo recording techniques as I've seen. Do also look at part 1 of the article: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1997...reomiking.html

My understanding is that much of the resurgence of interest in M/S recording can be traced to a BBC requirement that ambient SFX be collected in M/S. Even here in the states, if you want to string on a BBC shoot you'll need an M/S mic.

Mark, can you confirm this?
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Old July 2nd, 2007, 01:22 PM   #26
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Mark, Nice to hear from you again!

I think what you're saying is that the Schoeps are very neutral and perhaps a bit "clinical". I certainly understand the concern.

As I recall, you said you used Neumann modular mics on the recording of the pipes. I'd be most inerested in your feelings about the differences between the Neumanns and the Schoeps for music.

Also, thanks much for the link to the Sound on Sound article - just one question on terminology. He mentions a "Brixton briefcase" and I'm wondering if that's equivalent to what we in the US sometimes call a "ghetto blaster".

Oh, and by the way, they're forecasting temperatures in the mild 110 to 112 range the next few days here in sunny southern Arizona. Sure you don't want to pop over for a visit?
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Old July 10th, 2007, 04:09 AM   #27
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Stero Imaging Tool

As part of my ongoing attempt to better understand the "mechanics" of microphone configuration, I've actually e-mailed a couple of mic makers with some hopefully not too dumb questions.

The folks at Schoeps were kind enough to send me the following link which helps visualize the stereo imaging of various configurations.

http://www.hauptmikrofon.de/ima2-fol...ssistant2.html

I have little knowledge of the ins and outs of this black art, so can't comment too much on how good this tool is, but just thought I would pass the link along for what it's worth.

FWIW, the specific question I had asked was how suitable other microphone types (eg wide cardioid) would be for ORTF. In this specific case, they commented that a wide cardioid at 28 cm spacing and 90 degree included angle would probably be successful and, according to the tool they referenced, might image rather similarly to a standard cardioid at 17 cm and 110 degrees

Hopefully I'm not making too much of a hash of all this. Comments/criticisms/corrections welcome

Last edited by Jim Andrada; July 10th, 2007 at 04:20 AM. Reason: Fix Typo / Add additional comment
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Old May 15th, 2013, 12:11 PM   #28
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Re: Recording classical music

Hi Jim,

Did you ever get to record those brass quintets?
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Old November 17th, 2013, 08:07 AM   #29
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Re: Recording classical music

Lots of good advice here. If you'd like to read a tutorial on stereo miking techniques, here is one:
https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/type/www...y_Readings.pdf

If no mic stands must be visible in the shot, and hanging mics is not an option, you might consider using boundary mics on the stage floor to capture a small ensemble. They have the advantage of preventing comb filtering due to phase interference from floor sound reflections. If they don't pick up enough room acoustics, you could mix in another stereo pair back in the room, or add high-quality convolution reverb in post.

At the bottom of the page below is an audio sample of boundary mics picking up some small musical ensembles and singers:

Bartlett Boundary Recording Mic - Bartlett Audio

Hope this helps,
Bruce Bartlett
Bartlett Audio
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Old November 17th, 2013, 07:54 PM   #30
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Re: Recording classical music

Tori Amos did an album not long ago called Night of Hunters that consisted of vocal, piano and small classical ensembles. They close mic'd each instrument in a dry studio (no room ambiance) and the effect is as if you were sitting in the middle of the ensemble clearing listening to each instrument. It's absolutely brilliant and much more engaging than traditional recordings that use stereo mics and room ambiance. It gives you the perspective of being in the orchestra and not the audience. You can download hi rez 24 bit tracks of the album on HD tracks if you want to hear an example.
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