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Old July 1st, 2007, 06:27 PM   #1
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Need Mic recommendations for church ambient sound

As a wedding videographer I find myself many times not able to tap into the church (DJ's) PA. Many times the PA speakers are mounted on the ceiling so I can't put a mic in front of the speakers. I have wireless lav's to use on the groom and officiate, but need to obtain a couple mics that are good for picking up the ambient sound in the church and or reception venue.

I've been looking at the AKG C1000 Stereo Twin Pack (Pair of C1000S Studio Microphones) the Rode NT5 - Cardioid (x2) Studio Condenser Microphones (Pair) and the Studio Projects C4 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphones (Matched Pair)

I really like the fact that the C4's have the interchangeable Omnidirectional and cardioid capsules (thinking the omnidirectional capsule would be best for picking up ambient). Then I like the fact that the AKG's will use phantom power or battery power however I'm wondering if they or the Rode NT5 are a good choice for ambient audio?

Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Last edited by Ron Priest; July 2nd, 2007 at 07:12 AM.
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Old July 4th, 2007, 04:21 PM   #2
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IMO, you have a lot of latitude with ambiance mics and mic placement. A wide range of coloration and of relative loudness of various sounds will be accepted as natural for the setting when heard later.

So I think you're free to let your other considerations rule. If your really feel you need two mics for this purpose, then personally I like a pair of cardioids. A little directionality can often be helpful, plus they can be arranged for X/Y stereo. I have a pair of AT3031's
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Old July 4th, 2007, 04:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by David Ennis View Post
If your really feel you need two mics for this purpose, then personally I like a pair of cardioids. A little directionality can often be helpful, plus they can be arranged for X/Y stereo. I have a pair of AT3031's
Hi David, thanks for the feedback.

I guess I should of explained why I felt the need for 2 additional mics for the ambient sound. I'll be using the Edirol R4 - 4 track recorder to capture my audio at both the ceremony and reception. My typical set-up at the ceremony would be to use the R4 in a 4 channel wav mode (recording 4 mono channels in a single wav file) So I'll use a wireless lav on the groom and another one the officiate, with a wired mice on the podium and a 4th mic (wired) for ambient.

At the reception, I would most likely use the R4 in the Stereo X2 mode, where it will capture 2 stereo wav files. The first set of stereo inputs would be connected to the DJ's left and right record outputs (if a allowed and or they are accessible), while I would use 2 mics on the 2nd stereo track to capture the ambience. So I figured it would be better to purchase a matched pair.

I'm just not sure if I need those mics to be omnidirectional, or cardioids as you suggested. If I used a more directional pair of mics, would I point them towards the front of the church in the area of the wedding party, or would I point them towards the PA speakers? Again, at the reception, if the cardiods were used, do I point them to the sound source, or the amplified source?

Finally, what is the proper arrangement for X/Y stereo using separate mics, and how far apart should the mic's be?
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Old July 4th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ron Priest View Post
Hi David, thanks for the feedback.

...
Finally, what is the proper arrangement for X/Y stereo using separate mics, and how far apart should the mic's be?
X/Y means the mics are arranged so that their diaphrams are one above the other with their centres in a straight vertical line, as close together as you can get them without the mics actually touching each other. If you were looking down on the array from above, the mic pair would look like an upside down "V" with the diaphram centres at the apex, the point aimed towards the centre of the sound stage, and the legs pointing away. The angle between them is generally about 135 degrees.

With PA in the room, you're going to have some adventures figuring out the best positioning and aiming.
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Last edited by Steve House; July 5th, 2007 at 04:07 AM. Reason: Corrected typo in degrees
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Old July 4th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #5
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With PA in the room, you're going to have some adventures figuring out the best positioning and aiming.
So would you suggest if I'm wanting to capture my 2nd stereo track as ambient (or my only stereo track if I can't connect to the DJ's board) that maybe I should think about just using a stereo mic such as the Rode NT4?
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Old July 4th, 2007, 05:47 PM   #6
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Steve's right. I misread your post as giving up on the PA speakers and just going for ambiance. When in use as entertainment in the midst of conversations and other activities, the PA can blend in as part the ambiance. But when it's the center of attention there is no getting around the fact that you need the best audio you can get from it. For me, the third choice after a board feed and close miking the PA loudspeakers would be shotguns trained on the loudspeakers. I've done it with Rode VideoMics with good results. The general rule is to avoid shotguns indoors, but I feel that this is an exception for several reasons. Hypercardioids are recommended in lieu of shotguns indoors. They may work well enough too, with the added advantage that you can get mics that will take hyper capsules while there are no shotgun capsules.

Regarding X/Y stereo, there are lots of easy quick tutorials on stereo miking all over the place. A Google search will turn them up.
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Old July 5th, 2007, 03:48 AM   #7
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So would you suggest if I'm wanting to capture my 2nd stereo track as ambient (or my only stereo track if I can't connect to the DJ's board) that maybe I should think about just using a stereo mic such as the Rode NT4?
A stereo mic is convenient but I can't see it as necessarily being 'better' than two conventional mics in a stereo array in terms of sound quality and characteristics. After all, the Rode NT4 you mention is simply two NT5 cardioid capsules mounted on the same handle and preset permanently in an X/Y arrangment. You'd get exactly the same result with a pair of NT5's and a stereo mount.

I'm a bit hazy as to what your objectives are. In the church are the officiant and B&G mic'ed and fed to a PA? In the reception, are you trying to record the DJ's music or are you trying to record speeches etc fed through his PA system?
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Old July 5th, 2007, 09:37 AM   #8
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Main objective is to capture audio independently of PA

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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
You'd get exactly the same result with a pair of NT5's and a stereo mount.

I'm a bit hazy as to what your objectives are. In the church are the officiant and B&G mic'ed and fed to a PA? In the reception, are you trying to record the DJ's music or are you trying to record speeches etc fed through his PA system?
Good morning Steve, it's raining Cats & Dogs here in Kentucky.

My first and foremost objective is to capture the best possible audio on a 4-track recorder (specifically the Edirol R4) independently of any church or DJ's PA system. If those systems are available to me, then I will of course utilize them to my best advantage. However, as previously stated, many times I am not permitted to plug up to the church or DJ's soundboard and at the same time, the PA speakers are not mounted at floor level thereby not affording me the opportunity to place a mic on a stand in front of them.

For the ceremony, It's irrelevant whether I have access to the venue’s soundboard or not. I can't depend upon the sound guy at the church to give me good audio for my video. However, if I do have access to their mix, then I'll probably connect it to my Zoom H4 and capture it as backup audio.

So the following is my primary setup at the church. I already have 2 wireless Sennheiser's to place on the groom and officiant, recording them on their own separate channels of the R4. I have a Rode NT3 mic that I plan to use at the podium for the 3rd channel. As of yet, I do not have a 4th mic to capture ambience with on the 4th channel. Therefore, I what insure that I make a wise purchase, and one that will fulfill two objectives.

If the NT3 doesn't work well for me at the podium, then I still need 2 additional mics for the ceremony; One to replace the NT3 at the podium, and the other to capture ambience (none of the tracks at the ceremony need to captured in stereo, I will acomplish that in post with an additional mix of some on-board camera audio). I also want to use these 2 mics at the reception to the best of my advantage whether I have access to the DJ's on board mix or not.

At the reception, the worse case scenario is that I don’t have access to the DJ’s soundboard and the PA speakers are mounted on the ceiling. So, I need to develop “plan A” Again I’m wanting to capture my reception audio to the R4 separate from the camera’s audio. Of course, I’ll still have the camera’s audio from their onboard mics, but that’s irrelevant, and for the most will not used it for the edit. I do want my reception audio to be captured in stereo so this is dependant upon the mic(s) still to be purchased. The purchase of a single stereo mic would make it easier to setup at the reception, but a single stereo mic doesn’t full-fill my requirement at the ceremony for the podium and ambient sound. So I guess I’ve answered my own question, my purchase needs to be 2 separate mics.

The ideal scenario at the reception is to have access to the DJ’s audio out from his soundboard which will allow me to record a clean stereo mix of the music and any announcements or toasts that would be coming through his mix. Then, in addition to this stereo track, I want to record a 2nd ambience stereo track, which gives me the greatest flexibility during post.

So the bottom-line I suppose, what 2 mics would provide the most bang for my buck and kill two birds with one (well I guess two actually) stone (s).

Thanks for everyone's feedback, sorry for the long post.
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