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Headphones for AB mic position calibration?

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Headphones for AB mic position calibration?

Postby SableTones » Thu May 09, 2013 6:37 am

Hi
I have to make a stereo recording of lower to upper school orchestra's for ONC assessments. Despite being told the recording quality is not of prime concern, i would like to present the schools work as best as I can.

I have two questions.

There is no possibility to use monitors to finalise the position of the two Rode NT55 mic's (omni capsules) used in an AB spaced pair configuration. My starting point will be theoretical figures in a book using the angular width of the source to set the distance between the capsules. On this ocassion i will have no rehearsal time with the musicians to help me decide.

How far can headphones help or hinder my decisions?

I have not used AB/OMNI set up before and I am wondering how 'undetailed' or 'unlocalised' the various orchestra sections may be? I want to blend the performances together nicely while getting as much of low frequency audio as i can but without compromising the assessment of the ONC adjudicators.

any advice would be gratefully received (p.s. it's tommorrow!)
SableTones
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Re: Headphones for AB mic position calibration?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 09, 2013 8:39 am

sabletones wrote:i would like to present the schools work as best as I can.

Always a good plan!

There is no possibility to use monitors to finalise the position of the two Rode NT55 mic's (omni capsules) used in an AB spaced pair configuration. My starting point will be theoretical figures in a book using the angular width of the source to set the distance between the capsules.

I presume you're talking about using the Michael Williams book. No problem with the data he provides... but I would urge caution against using spaced pairs for this kind of application for the simple reason that mono compatibility can be an issue and if you can't check while rigging/rehearsing you could get badly caught out! it would be logical to assume that a musical assessment would be made while listening in stereo, but experience suggests that is certainly not always the case!

Personally, I'd go for an ORTF array with the cardiod capsules as it provides reliable mono compatibility, but with a reasonably spacious sound that sits mid-way between coincident pairs and spaced pairs.

How far can headphones help or hinder my decisions?

Assessing mic positioning in headphones is definitely an acquired skill! It's important to listen on headphones as some of your intended audience might well listen that way too, but evaluating on speakers is more important in my view.

I have not used AB/OMNI set up before and I am wondering how 'undetailed' or 'unlocalised' the various orchestra sections may be?

Depends on the spacing and the positioning relative to the orchestra. I've never been happy with a simple spaced pair. The Decca Tree arrangement with a third central and forward mic works a lot better in my opinion and adding outriggers helps even more! But a well-placed ORTF array generally gives the best results for the least effort and equipment in my experience!

H
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Re: Headphones for AB mic position calibration?

Postby SableTones » Thu May 09, 2013 10:29 am

ok...i'm convinced.

i have only used ORTF in the past with my MC930's. i will curtail the experimental drive this time. As i'm using my Tascam DR100mk11 i cannot apply all your advice this time. Points raised very helpful and i will try a mixed rig next time with better monitoring etc.

i do appreciate the quick response

cheers and thanks
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