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mic position

Postby awjoe » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:20 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoSn2Y-b6wI

Steve Winwood doing 'Can't Find My Way Home' in front of a fireplace with an acoustic. I'm wondering about the mic placement. Assuming the person who put those mics there experimented enough with position to find a good sound, why do you think the mics are so far from the source? Because of the reflection from all the stone? Or for a clear camera shot?
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Re: mic position

Postby Dave B » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:41 am

Sounds lovely.

I suspect that the logic is that he sings strongly, so the main mic doesn't need to be so close or pointed directly at his mouth. The left hand mic seems to be the main one and the right is pointing at the guitar fretboard to avoid booming (usually the 12th fret for close mic'ing).

It sounds so good that I'd say that the mics are positioned optimally and the camera mounted in the gap rather than rigging the mics around the camera.

(I'm probably wrong but it's a nice theory)
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Re: mic position

Postby Luke W » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:46 am

I'd agree, it's not unusually distant for a nice sounding guitar in a nice sounding room.
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Re: mic position

Postby Humble Bee » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:07 am

Beautiful!
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Re: mic position

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:13 am

If you've got a nice sounding room there's a lot to be said for getting the mics further away, you capture the sound of the whole instrument, in all its complexity.
Tried it once in my room, really didn't work! :)
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Re: mic position

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:15 am

Will listen on the proper speakers later, it's lovely (and I love the song). But, like Drew, I suspect (and looking at the fireplace, BTW, I love the huge crack from the log fire at 0:53) it is a huge room with a nice acoustic so close mics were not required.

Agree about the camera placement Dave........
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Re: mic position

Postby CS70 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:00 am

If you look at how big the mics appear with respect to the guitar and the man himself (the 87 on the left looks almost as high as the OM 42 body) can well be a result of the lens used and the position.

Besides, it's a video.. nobody guarantees that it's taken up in real time ;-)
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Re: mic position

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:03 am

The guitar sounds OK but to my ears the voice has a hollow, comb filtered sound. Compare this version. I find the vocal a lot clearer: https://youtu.be/UyV6lfarqSY
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Re: mic position

Postby CS70 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:13 am

Yeah I didnt think it sounded that great either - but then I'm listening on a laptop with earbuds

It's very hard, if not impossible, to make a Martin OM 42 sound bad. :)
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Re: mic position

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:26 am

Given that it's a YouTube the audio quality is on the lap of the gods anyway...

I prefer the acoustic version but I do hear some artifacts in there. But, the guitar on the live version sounds appalling. Both are tuned down (presumably to help SW get the high notes as he's got older), the Electro to Eb with a 'drop Db at the bottom, the acoustic to D with a drop C.

edit :- just found a 1969 vid of BF performing it as a new song, also in Db with the guitars dropped a semitone plus the 6th string dropped to Db.

I like the '69 better than the other electric version but Winwood's vocals are a bit dodgy at times........
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Re: mic position

Postby awjoe » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:54 am

Tim Gillett wrote:The guitar sounds OK but to my ears the voice has a hollow, comb filtered sound.

Yup. But it fits the song. That hot reverberant sound.

I've never put mics that far from a guitar I'm recording but then, I've never recorded in a big room with a fireplace to match, either.

Here's my A/B. I like the sound of his voice in B better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8878chOvfI

And those mics aren't much closer, either. I need to consider changing my ways.
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Re: mic position

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:41 pm

To my ears that track also has a comb filtered vocal sound similar to the fireplace track. Whether it "fits the song" could be a matter of opinion. It would be interesting to be able to hear the two mic feeds separately to see if the mixing of the two mics is causing the effect or adding to it.
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Re: mic position

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:44 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:The guitar sounds OK but to my ears the voice has a hollow, comb filtered sound.

Yes I heard that. I assumed it was due to proximity to the fireplace and was quite deliberate. I quite liked it.

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Re: mic position

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:58 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:The guitar sounds OK but to my ears the voice has a hollow, comb filtered sound.

Yes I heard that. I assumed it was due to proximity to the fireplace and was quite deliberate. I quite liked it.

CC

Yes maybe the proximity to the fireplace is a contributor also.

Maybe the vocal sound we hear was meant to be exactly like that, but I feel it's unlikely. That the reflections from the fireplace back into the mics just happened to be exactly the vocal effect the producers would have chosen out of all the possible vocal effects available to them in post seems to me unlikely. I doubt they would have chosen such a comb filtered sound if in fact they had a choice. It seems more likely the sound recordist gave the producers that sound and the mixing guy had to work with what he was given.

Effectively the comb filtering effect is throwing away parts of the natural voice even before they've been recorded. Speaking for myself, that's not the way I would capture the voice. As a recordist I'd rather give the producers as much of the natural voice as I could. What they did creatively with the vocal track in post would be their business of course.
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Re: mic position

Postby Ariosto » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:46 pm

I have to say I did not like that recording of the singer much. The guitar sounded very muddy and the voice strident. Of course that was probably the singer, but I'm not into that sort of music, so probably best to disregard my comments!
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Re: mic position

Postby Wonks » Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:18 pm

Steve Winwood produces his own albums, so I expect he just stuck up a couple of mics and a camera and got on with it. Looks like it's a very cold day, inside as well as out, so he probably didn't want to spend too much time faffing around.
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Re: mic position

Postby CS70 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:00 pm

It's Stevie Winwood.. an artist and singer way before an engineer/producer. My guess he simply was home and felt like making a recording and got on with it, putting a couple mics and a camera without caring so much. It strikes me like something he's doing for fun and for the fans. He doesn't have anything to prove - as he's got a lots of great studio recordings under his belt.

Without making any comparison on notoriety (which would be obviously ridiculous :D), I know it's something I'd do - using a phone or pad for example, with far worse sonic results than a couple of 87.. you feel like you've something good and want to just play it and you don't have an audience right there so you video it..
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Re: mic position

Postby Wonks » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:08 pm

Only 122 production credits. Not as many as some, but a not insignificant number and on some very successful albums.
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Re: mic position

Postby CS70 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:34 pm

Indeed. And even without a great sound, it's a great little video anyways. The man cares for music and the vibe is evident.
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Re: mic position

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:58 am

It's a decent recording of a lovely performance, that there are some technical failings does not detract from that performance. And, it's a YouTube FFS, it might have sounded brilliant before they got there hands on it...............
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