View Full Version : Miking a Chorus and a Piano
March 2nd, 2007, 04:16 PM
Hi, what would be the most sensible way to mic a chorus and a piano.
Right now I have 2 cams, a wireless system, a AT897, 2 irivers, and a AT825.
I would really like to capture the different sounds of the chorus.
The piano is below the chorus in front and in center. The chorus is on risers on a stage.
I am willing to buy some more audio gear to capture the sound correctly for this chorus.
I fear if I mic the chorus by putting mics on the stage I won't hear the piano that well.
Should I mic the chorus with one cam and the piano with the other?
March 2nd, 2007, 07:40 PM
I'd set the 825 up to mic the chorus in stereo, put a wireless lav on the soloist (if there is one) and get/find an omni small-diaphragm condenser for the piano - AT used to make a small-diaphragm omni that could be powered either by internal battery or by phantom, I couldn't find one online just now so it may have been discontinued.
A cardioid can work for a single piano mic also, just needs to be further back; if it's an upright piano you can mic the soundboard from behind the piano. Try about 4-5 feet back, centered left-right and a bit higher than center vertically - too low and you'll probably get too much pedal noise.
For a grand, same deal only in that case the mic would need to be above the (horizontal) soundboard, not too close. You might need to aim the mic toward low or high end of the piano some to adjust which strings are louder.
This is assuming the final mix will be stereo - keep chorus panned fairly hard left-right, the mic will mix somewhat anyway. Piano and soloist centered. I'd use one cam for the 825 and the other for solo and piano, and if you're doing a one-man 2-cam shoot with the fixed wide cam covering the choir, try to catch tight shots of the soloist during their moments and of the pianist/hands-on-the-keyboard (tight or mid) during any piano solo parts.
Mic placement general - put your head there; if it sounds good, put the mic there. In the case of low ceilings, do NOT put a mic halfway between floor and ceiling (by at least 6" to a foot) or you'll be likely to get nulls in sound pickup.
March 2nd, 2007, 10:23 PM
Thanks. That sounds like a good plan. I'll go for it.
March 2nd, 2007, 10:57 PM
Oh, forgot one thing that could improve the overall quite a bit - depending on how "live" the room is, you might wanna put some large room reverb on just the chorus - this will "push them back" and make it sound bigger at the same time. It'll also let the solo mic sound more "in yer face".
Warning - when you think you have just enough reverb, try pulling it back in the mix and listening to it tomorrow. The tendency is to use more than you should 'cause it sounds so cool - but a bit less actually will sound more natural... Steve
March 3rd, 2007, 04:26 PM
Steve's advice is all good but you also want to try and get to a rehearsal if at all possible. It could be that if the balance between the chorus and the piano is good from a few feet away, you can just put a main stereo pair up in front of the group as a whole. Listen carefully for the amount of room reverb at a given distance and whether or not it is a 'nice sounding' reverb or just roomy and adjust the distance and levels accordingly - If the reverb is boxy or nasty you may want to mic closer and add your own 'space'.
If a simple stereo recording works it makes life a whole lot easier. For a safety net and for optimal control in the mix it's still useful to have spot mics like Steve says, but you are more likely to encounter phasing problems between the mics.
The lengths you go to might also depend on who it's for and how much it's paying ;o)
March 4th, 2007, 12:39 PM
The concert is a little over a month away. I'll hit the rehearsal to test out different miking techniques. I'll let you all know how it turns out.
I've been shooting this concert for years and they have always been happy with the quality. In the past I have only used the AT825 mic. However, this time I want to do an above and beyond job.
March 11th, 2007, 11:49 PM
I really would like to experiment with the MS miking technique for this event.
Would this technique be worth trying for this concert?
It sounds like it would be great, but I am worried about recording the piano player, since he is in the front.
March 12th, 2007, 12:11 AM
I really, really like M-S for recording acoustic music. Gotta' record it in M-S, not decode it and record in stereo, as it is so nice to do the decode in post and dial in the spread.
However, the only M-S mic I've used is one I can't afford, a $5000 Neumann RSM-190i that belongs to a friend. (since replaced by the RSM-191.) This is really a magic mic.
Most of my stereo recording is done with 2 cardoids in an ORTF config (caps about 7" apart, at a 100+ degree angle). Some people prefer x/y config (coincident capsules at 90 degrees), which does better for mono playback, but I really like the stereo spread of ORTF.
M-S also nicely collapses to mono - it may be the best stereo technique for that.
I think those are the major stereo techniques to choose from, x/y, ORTF, and M-S. With any of them mic placement is paramount. There really is only one sweet spot for the mic, which may be in the first few rows of the audience. M-S probably has the most latitude for placement if you actually record in M-S (but you can't be too far away, regardless).
...I am worried about recording the piano player, since he is in the front.
Any stereo technique depends on the performers being acoustically balanced. If they are, it works, if they aren't it doesn't.
March 12th, 2007, 03:48 AM
Ask the choir do they have any recordings they've made...and like the sound of. Find the engineer if you can and anyone else who's recorded in that hall, and grill them. He/she/they might have more clues too, eg: power supply, interference from the kitchen etc.
Definately record some rehearsals to check, I'd tape the final, choirs build up to a performance peak.
I think good M/S depends on the hall acoustics, if it's big and boomy IMO there's likely to be too much out of phase component in the sound. Some tests will show that, bearing in mind the audience will damp the hall reverb down some. Some choir masters don't like mics to close, check all that out.
March 12th, 2007, 04:06 PM
Thanks, I want to use a Beyerdynamic M130 - Figure-8 Handheld Double Ribbon Microphone with a at3031 Cardioid Studio Condenser Microphone.
Here is a link to the ribbon mic.
Would this setup work for MS miking?
March 13th, 2007, 05:37 AM
Beyerdynamic recommend the M160 as the other M/S mic, it has a similar specs to the M130. I don't know if the AT3031 would be suitable.