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Classical songs

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Classical songs

Postby guttenor » Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:23 pm

Hi!
I have a Zoom F6 in my possession. I'm planning to record a couple of songs for piano and dramatic soprano. The mics I have right now are a couple of C 535 EB. I will put them five to ten meters from where we perform (I play the piano). Do you think the mics are good enough. My plan is to put the songs, which I have composed, on Spotify.

best regards
Gustav
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Re: Classical songs

Postby Arpangel » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:30 pm

These are cardioids, five to ten metres for these mic's seems a long way, I would maybe move in a bit closer and have them in an ORTF configuration if possible, adjusting the position of the soprano to suit.
This is a strange situation, you have an excellent recorder there, but not perhaps, ideal mic’s.
No doubt someone will be along in a moment to offer more advice.

:think:
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Re: Classical songs

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:41 pm

The easiest way is to try it and see...

At your planned distance* with those mics I would expect the resulting sound to be rather 'roomy' as well as a little lightweight at the low end (below 100Hz) -- but probably only noticeable on the piano elements, and easily fixed in a computer DAW with a little bass boost EQ.

*A distance of 5-10 metres does seem a long way back for a piano/vocal duet, even in a nice concert hall. It really all depends on the room acoustics, though, and the nature of the songs.

Your mics have a cardioid pattern, of course, and at your (minimum) 5m distance the stereo recording angle of piano/vocalist will on be a few degrees. Either with a grand piano sideways-on and the vocalist central, or with the piano off centre one way and the vocalist off-centre the other, the source image width will be pretty narrow, with lots of room acoustic filling out the edges.

So you'll be looking for stereo array configuration that gives a relatively narrow stereo recording angle (SRA) so that the piano/vocalist occupy a reasonable proportion of the stereo width. As Tony suggests, an ORTF (17cm capsule spacing with 110 degree mutual angle) arrangement would be a fair starting point as that array has an SRA of around 90 degrees. However, may I suggest the NOS array (30cm capsule spacing and 90 degree mutual angle) which has an SRA of 80 degrees might be an even better option.

Good luck -- and please post links back here for your recordings.
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Re: Classical songs

Postby guttenor » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:02 pm

So, do you recommend that I use a pair of shotgun mics and not carioids. Any specific model you can recommend? I don't have a big budget, maybe 3000 € per mic. i have very little knowledge about recording music so I'm going to do some research about Ortf. Thanks for your answers!
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Re: Classical songs

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:24 pm

guttenor wrote:So, do you recommend that I use a pair of shotgun mics and not carioids.

Noooooo... Horrible things. Off-axis colouration is nasty and would be revealed very clearly in your intended application.

I'd recommend not putting the mics quite so far away... I'd start at 2-3 metres for that kind of ensemble.... but as I said, it all depends on the acoustics of the room you're recording in.

Any specific model you can recommend?

There's nothing particularly wrong with the mics you already have. They're not the greatest, and there are better options, of course, but they'll definitely capture something reasonable if used appropriately. I'd start with them, and then you have a starting reference point from which to develop your recording skills and sound appreciation. If you can identify what you don't like about a recording, we can then help you improve the technique or suggest alternative mics... But I'd definitely start with the 535s and see how you go.

I don't have a big budget, maybe 3000 € per mic.

That is a pretty big per-mic budget that would cover all the high-end pro mics typically used in this kind of application -- DPA, Schoeps, Sennhesier, Neumann... etc etc... but it would be an unnecessary spend at this time.

i have very little knowledge about recording music so I'm going to do some research about Ortf.

Start here:

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/comparing-stereo-miking-techniques

And then have a play here:

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/Fragen08.htm

There are visualisations of the ORTF and NOS arrays, as well as many other popular configurations, and you can tweak the parameters to see what happens!

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/Visualization-ORTF-E.htm
http://www.sengpielaudio.com/Visualization-NOS-E.htm
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Re: Classical songs

Postby guttenor » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:59 pm

Imean 300 € of course. My mistake!
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Re: Classical songs

Postby MOF » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:38 pm

(I play the piano)
I suggest you set up your recording equipment and record one of the loudest sections, before the soprano arrives, check that there’s enough headroom and that it’s the sound you’re after. When the soprano arrives record that section again and review the recording to ascertain the best position for relative level, stereo position and reverb.
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Re: Classical songs

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:14 pm

I suspect the soprano will be significantly louder than the piano :D
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Re: Classical songs

Postby MOF » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:38 pm

I suspect the soprano will be significantly louder than the piano :D

:lol: If it’s a boy soprano probably not, even so I think an adult female soprano will be singing at a volume to match the accompaniment and a Grand piano at full bore is a pretty loud piece of kit.
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Re: Classical songs

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:00 pm

No mention of a Concert Grand (it's a reasonable assumption but by no means certain).

Wikipedia has this to say :- "A dramatic soprano is a type of operatic soprano with a powerful, rich, emotive voice that can sing over, or cut through, a full orchestra."

and this :- "Some dramatic sopranos, known as Wagnerian sopranos, have an exceptionally big voice that can assert itself over a large orchestra (of more than 80 or even 100 pieces). These voices are substantial, often denser in tone, extremely powerful and, ideally, evenly balanced throughout the vocal registers. So probably not a boy then.....
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Re: Classical songs

Postby gs06 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:01 pm

Never underestimate a boy soprano! If you have ever heard a soloist sing in a concert hall with an audience of 2000 people and experienced how his voice fills the whole room, you know that size doesn't matter... :-)
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Re: Classical songs

Postby blinddrew » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:59 pm

Any properly trained voice can be incredibly powerful. The first time you hear a professional really project is eye opening. :)
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Re: Classical songs

Postby Arpangel » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:13 am

MOF wrote:
I suspect the soprano will be significantly louder than the piano :D

:lol: If it’s a boy soprano probably not, even so I think an adult female soprano will be singing at a volume to match the accompaniment and a Grand piano at full bore is a pretty loud piece of kit.

My partner was an opera singer, when I first recorded her...I’m still finding bits of the mic diaphragm in the carpet :D
They have fantastic dynamic range, that coupled with a grand piano, and you need to really keep those levels own -18/20 at 24/48 or 96 so you’ve got plenty of headroom.
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Re: Classical songs

Postby MOF » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:16 pm

Hopefully both performers will self balance, I just thought it made sense to set the maximum piano level and mic’ position first to save time (and voice, although that’s probably less of a problem for a trained opera singer, that might be on stage for an hour or more and singing for a good deal of that time) to be able to concentrate just on the performance.
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Re: Classical songs

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:53 pm

Sorry, yes and it would at least prove the system was working as expected. You'd still need at least a level check with the singer before the performance.

Gustav, you haven't mentioned the venue or the type of piano, a concert grand in a concert hall will require a different approach to an upright in a small rehearsal room or domestic space.
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