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recording classical duet

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recording classical duet

Postby jimtbl » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:48 pm

hello,
I'm going to record a piano and vocal duet. The room is big and high but its acoustic not perfect. Because it is about classical music, I'm thinking to use an XY stereo technique in combination with spot mics on vocal and the piano. My concern is about mic placements, phase issues and leakage on vocal spot mic. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Re: recording classical duet

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:16 pm

If this is a classical performance then vocalists and pianist should be able to arrive at a balance that works for the audience... in which case an XY pair placed appropriately should be all you need to get the job done.

I definitely wouldn't use vocal spot mics (unless you wanted relatively clean vocal tracks for some other purpose) -- the vocalists will be fairly close to the stereo pair anyway and I'd optimise the position of the stereo pair for the vocalists. However, although the piano will also be captured on the stereo pair, it might be useful to have a spot mic on the piano if the room acoustic is a bit wild and loose, or the piano a little too distant -- depending on stage layout. That way you could edge in a bit of clarity and definition on the piano if necessary without detracting from the overall sonics.

Phasing shouldn't be an issue, but if you measure the distance between the piano spots and the main pair you can always dial in some delay to compensate if necessary. There won't be any significant spill from voice to piano spots (assuming the vocalists are in front of the piano, and you're using directional mics on the piano with the nuls towards the vocalists)... and the piano in the main pair is supposed to be there!

Optimise the balance and perspectives by moving the vocalists relative to the piano, and the main pair relative to both.

H
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Re: recording classical duet

Postby jimtbl » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:53 pm

Thank you very much for your help Hugh, I really appreciate it.
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Re: recording classical duet

Postby geefunk » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:57 am

so in regards placement, where would you put the pair for the piano to get the best sound?

thanks
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Re: recording classical duet

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:10 pm

In a normal vocal duet with piano accompaniment, the vocalists will stand in front of the piano, and a stereo pair placed in front of (and a little above) them, should capture a natural balance with good perspectives.

However, as I said earlier, depending on the actual stage positions and the acoustic of the hall, as well as the actual music involved, the piano might be a little undefined compared to the voices... and while that is natural and our ears/brain can compensate when listening in real life, this could be an issue in a recording context where there are fewer aural cues to help the listener.

So, in that case I would rig one or two spot mics on the piano, not directly over the strings as in typical pop style, but a metre or two in front of the piano in the curve of body, and elevated if possible to look across the strings roughly mid way between the (fully open lid) and the soundboard. Positions being fine tuned to achieve an even balance and natural tonality.

I would expect the main stereo pair to be chosen and placed such that the vocalists are roughly half left and right in the stereo image, with the piano stetched out between them, and the room acoustic filling the rest of the sound stage out to the edges. If some piano enhancement is required, then I would pan a single mic to the middle, or a pair to provide a similar sized stereo spread.

Depending on how much close mic is needed, delaying the spot mics to arrive a few milliseconds later than the main pair will avoid it sounding obviously close-miked.

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Re: recording classical duet

Postby geefunk » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:33 pm

Brilliant - thank you Hugh. I can picture that, and it makes perfect sense as to how the music will arrive at the mics, and how it will 'sound'.

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