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Recording Orchestra and Choir

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Recording Orchestra and Choir

Postby RLG14a » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:53 pm

Hi,

I am looking at the possibility of recording an amateur choir and orchestra singing Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. Not all the parts will be filled and it is possible the orchestra may end up more like a chamber ensemble but I cannot control this. Anyway I am looking at purchasing 2 to 4 mics for the purpose. At the moment I am looking at a matched pair of oktava MK012's (full set (cardioid, hyper, omni set) and another matched pair of the same mics cardioid only. That comes to around £650.

Next question is placement? I was thinking main pair could be either a coincident or near coincident (ORTF most likely) pair of cardioids (angled accordingly) above and a little behind the conductor. Then a second pair for the choir. Spaced omnis or another coincedent/near coincident array.

Any thoughts?
It would hopefully not be a live recording and I should get to choose the venue (most likely a church or the town hall)

Cheers
Rob
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Re: Recording Orchestra and Choir

Postby Bob Bickerton » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:55 am

I'd say an ORTF pair of cardioids would be a good start and then spaced omnis as either outriggers or choir mics. How big is the choir relative to the orchestra? Room acoustics will be all important.

Also have you read Hugh's articles on stereo miking techniques, recording choirs and orchestras etc? All good stuff there.

Bob
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Re: Recording Orchestra and Choir

Postby RLG14a » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:49 am

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your reply. I will have a read of the article you suggested. I am unsure how big the choir will be at this time (it will be a couple of months before recording) but probably at least twice the number of singers to the number in the orchestra. In the last concert this choir did the string section of the orchestra was really more of a quintet. I know this is going to be a difficulty but the idea is to just do my best with the choir and orchestra as this will be a more experimental than commercial recording.

Cheers
Rob
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Re: Recording Orchestra and Choir

Postby mjfe2 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:28 pm

RLG14a wrote:I was thinking main pair could be either a coincident or near coincident (ORTF most likely) pair of cardioids (angled accordingly) above and a little behind the conductor. Then a second pair for the choir. Spaced omnis or another coincedent/near coincident array.

I'd recommend spaced omnis on the choir because you'll only have two of them. Two cardioids might spotlight certain sections of the choir too much, especially if the choir's fairly big. Also, the inherent colouration of cardioids is brought out most when recording voices so that's another reason to go for omnis. A nice side-effect is that the omnis will function as ambient mics for the orchestra because they'll be capturing mostly indirect sound.

ORTF cardioids on the orchestra will be fine. I prefer omnis when miking an orchestra so minimally, just to get a good sense of bass, but it might be a chamber orchestra anyway, as you say.

Aren't there solos in Carmina Burana? You'll have to experiment with positioning the soloists. If there's room in front of the orchestra then the cardioids will pick up a crisper sound (with the omnis providing supporting ambience according to your taste), but it could also work to have them sing amongst the choir, possibly taking a step forward first.\

Good luck and let us hear the results!
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Re: Recording Orchestra and Choir

Postby RLG14a » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:08 pm

I have to get the gig first :P
Thanks for your advice I do have a budget mic (Studio Projects B1) that I could (at a bit of a distance) for the soloists.

Thanks again
Rob

Oh and I will post if/when I've done the recording (at least 2 months away though).
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Re: Recording Orchestra and Choir

Postby Jeraldo » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:22 pm

Try getting a stereo array "right" that will establish room tone (or lack of, if needed), image, and spatial cues. It's OK, and often better, if the choir is a little under represented-that will enable orchestra and choir to have independent levels.

Then deploy a pair (spaced, probably) for the choir, in such a way that it permits you to have independent control over the level of the choir relative to the orchestra. You can do that with cards positioned high and pointed 90 degrees or a little more (upward) from the mic stand. IOW, not downward. Position so that you have a blend of everyone. (You can accomplish the same with hypercards, but the angles will need to be completely different. Using a more directional mic, like a hypercard or fig 8 can contribute to a better blend because they can be placed further away from the ensemble while maintaining the selectivity of what's being captured.)

The three Oktava capsules all have a very full and extended low end, so even an array of cardioids or hypercardiods can deliver a big sound.

If you have soloists, have them move closer to the main array or your choir mic's.

Adding appropriate delay (post) to your choir mic's may help preserve the stereo image, allow higher levels of the choir mic's, and contribute to a more natural sound.

When you get the Oktavas, do some basic checks-make sure all of the bodies are wired with the same pin hot, etc.

Four mic's should be fine.

'Sounds like a fun project.
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Re: Recording Orchestra and Choir

Postby RLG14a » Sat May 25, 2013 9:30 pm

Quick Update:

I have been in touch with the choir director and been given permission to record their second concert.

Equipment is on order.

Just a few things to sort out before the concert (it is in a school so I need to sort out that).

But other than that all set. Concert is midway through next month (June) but coming closer. Thanks for the advise I will be sure to post with how the concert goes and some audio to follow.

Cheers
Rob
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