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Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

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Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hooty2 » Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:07 pm

Hi all.
Taking a risk here, but, live and learn!
I was recently asked to record a concert at Tewksbury Abbey as part of the Cheltenham music festival. Artistes were Jess Gillam (young musician of the year & Manchester Camerata)
Stress was put on the Archive requirement of the project and I was asked not to get too hifi about it all...but for me..a real opportunity to do my best, with world premier presentations to boot!
I have put up two possible files for submission on Soundcloud. It is track two i am specifically asking about here (schoeps cmc65)
You may like to snippet a listen at the Royer track for comparison?

One: https://soundcloud.com/user-463354445/t ... x7/s-y3R8a
Is made with Royer SF-12 with x2 AKG CK32 (omni) outriggers on discreet stands),

Two: https://soundcloud.com/user-463354445/t ... ed/s-2FfIP
is made with x2 CMC65 in cardioid/70 deg 25cm with CK32 outriggers. A spare CK32 was a last minute placement onto the harpsichord...just in case.

Both stereo rigs were on a bespoke configured bar on a Panamic cathedral stand...a little closer than i would have liked but had to be guided on exact location (H&S)

I have marked the schoeps track in five places, in middle of the songs...

Do you folks who actually know what your'e doing have any opinions on the sound?
The gavin bryers vocal CD playback was requested to be that loud and i had no control over it's level.
mark two (arvo part) was off stage in the lady chapel...i have tried to emulate the spacey effect of this in the hall, but i also put x2 MC930 stereo pair to get some definition for the archive if needed, without it the sound is a bit too vague i think.
the others...concern me in case the sound is too upfront and not enough of the Abbey character is represented?

Any takers for feedback?...if so, be candid.
regards
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hobbyist » Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:40 pm

hooty2 wrote:Hi all.
Taking a risk here, but, live and learn!
I was recently asked to record a concert at Tewksbury Abbey as part of the Cheltenham music festival. Artistes were Jess Gillam (young musician of the year & Manchester Camerata)
Stress was put on the Archive requirement of the project and I was asked not to get too hifi about it all...but for me..a real opportunity to do my best, with world premier presentations to boot!
I have put up two possible files for submission on Soundcloud. It is track two i am specifically asking about here (schoeps cmc65)
You may like to snippet a listen at the Royer track for comparison?

One: https://soundcloud.com/user-463354445/t ... x7/s-y3R8a
Is made with Royer SF-12 with x2 AKG CK32 (omni) outriggers on discreet stands),

Two: https://soundcloud.com/user-463354445/t ... ed/s-2FfIP
is made with x2 CMC65 in cardioid/70 deg 25cm with CK32 outriggers. A spare CK32 was a last minute placement onto the harpsichord...just in case.

Both stereo rigs were on a bespoke configured bar on a Panamic cathedral stand...a little closer than i would have liked but had to be guided on exact location (H&S)

I have marked the schoeps track in five places, in middle of the songs...

Do you folks who actually know what your'e doing have any opinions on the sound?
The gavin bryers vocal CD playback was requested to be that loud and i had no control over it's level.
mark two (arvo part) was off stage in the lady chapel...i have tried to emulate the spacey effect of this in the hall, but i also put x2 MC930 stereo pair to get some definition for the archive if needed, without it the sound is a bit too vague i think.
the others...concern me in case the sound is too upfront and not enough of the Abbey character is represented?

Any takers for feedback?...if so, be candid.
regards



FWIW I am certainly not a golden eared snob type but I am not totally deaf either:)

Sampled the soundcloud files: Hard to tell on my PC speakers , especially stereo aspect as the speakers are next to each other,
but it sounded good to me.

It was better than most of the stuff I try to listen to on the PC from various forums. And certainly better than utoob which is mostly craplike sound, based on the few times I had to use one of their vids.

For an archive it is definitely excellent IMHO.

Only thing I would suggest is to compute the distance and angle if you are going to use a near coincident set up. I presume you did that when you said bespoke.

Too many will just look up ORTF or DIN and use that distance and angle without consideration of the actual room, source, or mike location.
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby forumuser840717 » Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:34 pm

hobbyist wrote:Only thing I would suggest is to compute the distance and angle if you are going to use a near coincident set up. I presume you did that when you said bespoke.

Too many will just look up ORTF or DIN and use that distance and angle without consideration of the actual room, source, or mike location.

Whilst I do agree with your comment about chosing a setup that's appropriate to the circumstances, and considering how the manipulation of spacing and angle can be useful, if you're going to call it ORTF/NOS/DIN/whatever, then you need to use the configuration specified in the description of those setups.

Otherwise you're just using a near-coincident pair. Nothing wrong with that but I get really fed up with people saying things like I used "ORTF with omnis" or "NOS at 70 degrees and 35cm spacing" You might as well say "I used XY but with three spaced omnis". It's simply wrong.

Of course, one reason that there are specific named configurations for these near-coincident pairs is that they've been found to work as described in enough cases for them to be worth noting down and not just so that people can use them as starting places for experimentation. Though that's fine if you know enough about what you're doing to know when and how to bend/break the 'rules'. Just randomly tiddling about with these specs can produce good things but can also be a waste of time and if described as "ORTF but...." can lead to confusion and misleading of people who read the "ORTF" without understandiug that the "but...." means that they're not hearing ORTF. These terms have specific meanings and shouldn't be bandied about to refer to any old random near coincident setup.
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:09 pm

hobbyist wrote:Only thing I would suggest is to compute the distance and angle if you are going to use a near coincident set up.

For the benefit of the forum members with less experience and knowledge than your good self, could you explain how they might compute the right distance and angle* for the near-spaced array?

* For the avoidance of confusion I presume you are referring to the array capsule spacing and mutual angle, rather than the distance between mic array/source and stereo recording angle?
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hobbyist » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:20 pm

forumuser840717 wrote:
hobbyist wrote:Only thing I would suggest is to compute the distance and angle if you are going to use a near coincident set up. I presume you did that when you said bespoke.

Too many will just look up ORTF or DIN and use that distance and angle without consideration of the actual room, source, or mike location.

Whilst I do agree with your comment about chosing a setup that's appropriate to the circumstances, and considering how the manipulation of spacing and angle can be useful, if you're going to call it ORTF/NOS/DIN/whatever, then you need to use the configuration specified in the description of those setups.

Otherwise you're just using a near-coincident pair. Nothing wrong with that but I get really fed up with people saying things like I used "ORTF with omnis" or "NOS at 70 degrees and 35cm spacing" You might as well say "I used XY but with three spaced omnis". It's simply wrong.

Of course, one reason that there are specific named configurations for these near-coincident pairs is that they've been found to work as described in enough cases for them to be worth noting down and not just so that people can use them as starting places for experimentation. Though that's fine if you know enough about what you're doing to know when and how to bend/break the 'rules'. Just randomly tiddling about with these specs can produce good things but can also be a waste of time and if described as "ORTF but...." can lead to confusion and misleading of people who read the "ORTF" without understandiug that the "but...." means that they're not hearing ORTF. These terms have specific meanings and shouldn't be bandied about to refer to any old random near coincident setup.


I would say they do 'work' , but only work best in the exact same room with the exact same mike placement and same size source as the folks who specified those techniques.

Otherwise there is nothing wrong with using near coincident using values you computed for the room, mike placement, and source size.
Sengpiel has many pages that will let you help compute the optimum.

If close enough is good enough then don't worry about it at all. Just stick a pair of mikes there and enjoy what you record.

I dare say a lot of people read a third hand description of ORTF NOS DIN or whatever and took the numbers as gospel.

And too many people are careless with terminology especially those who do not understand where it came from originally or how.
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:37 pm

hooty2 wrote:Do you folks who actually know what your'e doing have any opinions on the sound?
I definitely don't fall into that category but I can confirm that I'm thoroughly enjoying it. For what it's worth, I don't think you've lost too much of the abbey character - it doesn't leap out at you but it only takes a moment's attention to position yourself there.
Though I must confess I would prefer a smidgeon more of it. ;)
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hobbyist » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:44 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
hobbyist wrote:Only thing I would suggest is to compute the distance and angle if you are going to use a near coincident set up.

For the benefit of the forum members with less experience and knowledge than your good self, could you explain how they might compute the right distance and angle* for the near-spaced array?

* For the avoidance of confusion I presume you are referring to the array capsule spacing and mutual angle, rather than the distance between mic array/source and stereo recording angle?


First you need to figure out the result you need for the final usage intended. Do you need mono compatibility, widest image, or what.
Then pick levels, timing, or combination approach.

If you are not going to do it by testing, aka trial and error, with measurement, then you can get close to the best spacing/angle, and distance, using the various pages at sengpiel to use Both distance from source and its size along with the space/angle of the mikes.

MIke sensitivity and other factors may also tend to constrain your choices for distance, as may requirements of the client or venue you are at.

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator ... ension.htm
find the angle from the orchestra (source) size and the distance to be used.

then use this which has many mike types and a boatload of parameters to choose
http://www.sengpielaudio.com/HejiaE.htm
put the orchestra angle (distance dependent) from above into these formulae then read out results based on mike type and spacing/angle

repeat with other distances as appropriate


also of interest
http://www.sengpielaudio.com/Fragen08.htm

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/WellknownS ... Angles.pdf

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator ... sAngle.htm

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator ... curves.htm
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby Aural Reject » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:47 pm

This is in no way a response directed at the OP...but :headbang:
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:04 pm

hobbyist wrote:... then you can get close to the best spacing/angle, and distance, using the various pages at sengpiel to use Both distance from source and its size along with the space/angle of the mikes.

I'm familiar with how to work out the distance a particular array needs to be from the source given its SRA and the width of the source. And calculating the SRA given the polar patterns, capsule spacing and mutual angle. That's just trigonometry and there are several handy calculators for that -- like the Sengpeil pages you've listed, or that Neumann app I mentioned to you a while back, and others besides...

But none of these calculators are any help in evaluating the acoustic of the venue, and thus the perspective captured by the (calculated) array.

So, just to be clear, are you recommending placing the mic array to achieve good perspective by ear, and then calculate the correct capsule spacing/mutual angle to achieve the desired SRA... In which case, what mic config do you start with? Or are you advocating calculating the appropriate array distance in some way ... In which case how?

I'm aware different enginers have different techniques, so I'm genuinely interested in your particular approach.

H
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hobbyist » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:58 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
hobbyist wrote:... then you can get close to the best spacing/angle, and distance, using the various pages at sengpiel to use Both distance from source and its size along with the space/angle of the mikes.

I'm familiar with how to work out the distance a particular array needs to be from the source given its SRA and the width of the source. And calculating the SRA given the polar patterns, capsule spacing and mutual angle. That's just trigonometry and there are several handy calculators for that -- like the Sengpeil pages you've listed, or that Neumann app I mentioned to you a while back, and others besides...

But none of these calculators are any help in evaluating the acoustic of the venue, and thus the perspective captured by the (calculated) array.

So, just to be clear, are you recommending placing the mic array to achieve good perspective by ear, and then calculate the correct capsule spacing/mutual angle to achieve the desired SRA... In which case, what mic config do you start with? Or are you advocating calculating the appropriate array distance in some way ... In which case how?

I'm aware different enginers have different techniques, so I'm genuinely interested in your particular approach.

H

Usually I am in a relatively small room, not doing full orchestras in a big hall. But even then you may be limited by stage size, or restrictions by the source or venue.

If you are in a large venue then it depends. Where can you put the mikes? Do you have significant options? Then it is up to your ears to try some and see how you like the results. Maybe if I had enough experience in those places then I could tell by ear and just listening to the room , I could tell which technique would be best and where to put it.

I like to do several takes all at once to ensure one will be better.
Mid/side, xy, ABC, and a near coincident as computed.
And like phish did for fans, take an output from their FOH board too.

At least if you compute where the mikes should be relative to the source and their angle for the distance and size of the room you are better able to make the final decision.

The good news is that the bigger the source, often the bigger the room too, so the room is not as big a factor, with cardioids. But you might want to consider some omni ambience mike(s) in the back.

If it is a full orchestra in a smaller recording studio somebody should already have figured out the best miking unless this is a brand new location and you are an early user.
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:07 am

hooty2 wrote:...Do you folks who actually know what your'e doing have any opinions on the sound?
The gavin bryers vocal CD playback was requested to be that loud and i had no control over it's level...

I listened to some of the tracks last night and intended to listen more carefully this morning but cannot now access the tracks on SC. My impression on the Gavin Briers section was that while the orchestra sounded relatively "close" to the mics, the old man sounded muffled and much further away, a strange effect. This in addition to his being sometimes swamped by those instruments.

If it was my project I would just import the relevant CD track(s) of the man's voice, exactly what was played at the venue, time line it up and bring his voice up as much as needed to better balance with the orchestra.

Cheers,
Tim
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hooty2 » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:15 am

To all..
A hasty response..
I suddenly realised i may be out of order posting the tracks before checking it's ok to do so.
I took the tracks off SC.
I will add to the general thoughts expressed however at some point.
Thanks and apologies
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:08 am

Tim Gillett wrote:My impression on the Gavin Briers section was that while the orchestra sounded relatively "close" to the mics, the old man sounded muffled and much further away, a strange effect. This in addition to his being sometimes swamped by those instruments.

I didn't hear the originals before they had to be removed but from your description I guess you are referring to Briars' Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet in which the old man's voice is in fact a loop. So hooty2 would have been constrained by how the loop was actually played back, and for all we know that might have not been so well done.

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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hooty2 » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:26 am

It was an extended late night relax, looking out at the wild garden that fostered my rising panic that i may have made a 'rights' faux pas by posting the tracks without prior permission.
I skimmed through the above posts looking for any comments on this aspect and I retain a generalised impression of the thoughts expressed regarding mic placements and configurations etc.

I decide here-on to respond with that general impression in mind for the moment.

Firstly a particular apology to Tim, and anyone else, for the time taken and the will to revisit the tracks...that have now gone...maybe the whole thread should be taken away? (MODS?)

More revealing than the result probably, here is my process on the day (& before)

I have recorded before in the Abbey & knew there to be a big reverb.
I had been instructed to keep the set up simple and unobtrusive as possible.
I had been advised that the Abbey staff are on the ball about how things will be (that's me being diplomatic)
I had never done a public & professional gig like this before, and one that was not with the good will and lee-way of my school cohort.
I had contacted Manchester Camerata to know the size and make up of the ensemble. (++to MC who were more than helpful)
I had wanted the chance to use the Royer Stereo mic on such a situation but had concern that i may be positioned too close to the stage area & also that the rear image would be too boomy.
I reckoned that the balance between direct/reverb sound & stand location would not be fully up to me.
The second stereo pair was a plan B.
I worked closely with the Michael Williams graphics (microphone arrays for stereo & multichannel sound recording).
I like the suggested SRA & it's relationship to the stereo reproduction as regards 'crushing' and i felt there may be some lee-way in positioning of the stand in respect to the stage that would be useful over a certain range (hence the 25cm/70deg) & maintain the representation of the instruments over the sound stage (localisation) while also presenting a large space feel
Maybe i got this thinking wrong?
I added the omni outriggers in case the cardioid pair did not capture enough of the Abbey sound...(the room),... & as a second option for capturing the sides if the stand was not optimum or compromised..

All reasonable thoughts for an aspiring amateur? (saying that is riskier than accepting the commission)

so yes, in truth, i have relied upon pre judgements in the hope there would be enough +/- considering all the contributing factors and that i would maybe/likely have little opportunity for refining the set up.

a FOH p.a. was in place too, for the CD playback and the fx'd solo intro (which for other reasons was played sans fx).
For some reason the cd playback of the mans voice did not appear on my recording rig at recording stage and the foh chap couldn't offer that as had hoped.....i think the desk was repatched and the send was lost on the way....
so...i relied upon the stereo mics/outriggers to capture the mans voice.
MC were very clear about the volume the Cd was to be played at and the recording reflects that and the balance between them thru the programme.
I actually made my own loop of the GB track from my own CD and even cleaned up the background somewhat & considered using that in post (much as Tim suggested)...but then considered, it may not be my role or right to do that?
Indeed, we had two people come to the tech desk & ask " why on earth did 'YOU' play the cd like that, we couldn't enjoy the music!"

The Arvo Part off stage was one thing i did attempt to manipulate in post to at least balance the off-stageness and the spacey abbey sound and the fact of listening to it on a recording.....without the added defintion it's a bit too vague ...you could say..."you had to have been there..."

so, in conclusion, i put some thought and hope into what i was doing and sharing all this gives a little insight into the mind of a recording wannabe.

I don't think i made a hash of it and i will be reading the thread carefully now to see how to refine and advance my own process (if MODS allow it to ride?)
& for that opportunity i have to wait until the school xmas concert in Gloucester.

In the event anyone wants private access to the tracks with professional discretion, please PM me for a private link.

i appreciate the thoughts and advice so far offered.
Regards
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:13 am

Thanks for the detailed and informative insights into how you went about this recording and all of the issues that impinged on it. Fascinating!

You seem to have coped well with the typical constraints that can be place on one doing a 'live' recording when an audience is present. Often you have to make the best of the constraints regarding 'Mics here and nowhere else; as unobtrusive as possible; no shiny mics; you can't run cables there; no that's not acceptable, you'll have to take some of those mics down' etc etc etc.

You're right to be cautious about making recordings available publically without having sign-off first. Probably the right call to take them down.

As you know, I'm just up the road from you. Always happy to be 'Mr Shifta' for you subject to my availability. :thumbup:
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:49 am

Thanks for the extra info Hooty2, with live recording there's always a compromise to make along the way, or a few... ;)
As I said further up, i'm no expert but I really enjoyed what you captured. I did prefer the additional ambience of the Royer recording, but if you'd only had the plan B option i'd still be happy with it. You've clearly got way more than just an archive copy. :)
I know there are some who would say that if you have good material, good players and a good acoustic then you should be able to to just lob a mic up anywhere, but it rarely works like that in practice! :D
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:18 pm

hobbyist wrote:If you are in a large venue then it depends...

Hmmm...

So basically, your approach is to put up a lot of different arrays in different places and just hope one of them will work. Fair enough -- a lot of people work the same way.

At least if you compute where the mikes should be relative to the source and their angle for the distance and size of the room you are better able to make the final decision.

This is what's confusing me. You keep referring to computing distance from source and size of room, but all based on stereo width, rather than acoustic perspective. Surely the latter should take priority, and only once that is optimised should the stereo width be decided and the array adjusted accordingly?

The good news is that the bigger the source, often the bigger the room too, so the room is not as big a factor, with cardioids.

This makes absolutely no sense to me. Different rooms have wildly different acoustics. So for a given array at a given distance with a given stereo recording angle, that means wildly different recording perspectives in different rooms...

Dont get me wrong -- there's nothing wrong with trial and error placements to find the optimum mic position to achieve the desired perspective. We all do it to some degree. And, when time and circumstances don't permit that, it's a reasonable option to hedge bets by rigging multiple arrays in different places. We probably all do that too.

But your talk of 'computing' the array spacing/angle is only the very last part of the job, to achieve the desired stereo image width.

Of course, it ~is~ perfectly possible to calculate the required distance between an array and the source? But you need to know the Critical Distance (Dc) measurement of the room itself.... But then you really would be 'computing' things! ;-)
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hobbyist » Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:07 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
hobbyist wrote:If you are in a large venue then it depends...

Hmmm...

So basically, your approach is to put up a lot of different arrays in different places and just hope one of them will work. Fair enough -- a lot of people work the same way.

At least if you compute where the mikes should be relative to the source and their angle for the distance and size of the room you are better able to make the final decision.

This is what's confusing me. You keep referring to computing distance from source and size of room, but all based on stereo width, rather than acoustic perspective. Surely the latter should take priority, and only once that is optimised should the stereo width be decided and the array adjusted accordingly?

The good news is that the bigger the source, often the bigger the room too, so the room is not as big a factor, with cardioids.

This makes absolutely no sense to me. Different rooms have wildly different acoustics. So for a given array at a given distance with a given stereo recording angle, that means wildly different recording perspectives in different rooms...

Dont get me wrong -- there's nothing wrong with trial and error placements to find the optimum mic position to achieve the desired perspective. We all do it to some degree. And, when time and circumstances don't permit that, it's a reasonable option to hedge bets by rigging multiple arrays in different places. We probably all do that too.

But your talk of 'computing' the array spacing/angle is only the very last part of the job, to achieve the desired stereo image width.

Of course, it ~is~ perfectly possible to calculate the required distance between an array and the source? But you need to know the Critical Distance (Dc) measurement of the room itself.... But then you really would be 'computing' things! ;-)

My preference is for multiple arrays. It offers more flexibility to make the final mix. And it reinforces some learning when you can hear the differences each gave for the same exact set up.

I have used a simple near coincident pair successfully.

Acoustic width seems more important to me. As I noted you often are constrained where the mikes can be put so worrying about the room is less important within reason. My experience is that acoustic perspective is good if you are close enough. Or even at the back of the room like I had to do once as it was the only location available.
That critical distance is something to avoid. The 3:1 'rule' should apply to that distance too. And again, you do not always have the option to put the mikes where theory says they would be best at.

Room acoustics are different but cardioids capture primarily the source and less of the room. That is why you might want omnis towards the back so you could mix in some ambience if desired.

The computing of the width is to avoid problems. Doing it first simplifies everything. Within that width there is then the parameter of distance that you choose to best record based on what data the computer gives you for distances and as constrained by the physical room itself. So yes once you have the distance then the angle/spacing is finally determined for you. And if the venue dictates the distance then you do the best angle/spacing that works for that value.

Different paths along the edges of a cube to get to the far corner?
One for when the distance is fixed. Another for when you have flexibility. And of course you must keep in mind room acoustics so as to not make a bad choice of distance for the stereo part but pick a bad location for practical recording.

LIke you noted stay away from the critical distance. Generally you want to be closer to the source or you want to be much farther away while realizing the stereo part will not be as good even if the sound itself is good. So better to be far away on a small source not a big orchestra. That one I mentioned was a violin recital. Stereo would not really have added that much if I could have been up close.
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:03 pm

hobbyist wrote:My preference is for multiple arrays. It offers more flexibility to make the final mix. And it reinforces some learning when you can hear the differences each gave for the same exact set up.

Fair enough, and I certainly agree with the educational aspect of this approach. Presumably, though, the intended aim of learning the character of different arrays in different positions is to be able, eventually, to select the right array and locate it in the right place to achieve the required result first time?

Just for clarity, my background is in live broadcast where a multi-array approach is often not practical (or acceptable). Instead, it is generally desirable to minimise the rig and derig times as well as system complexity, which means employing the simplest mic setup possible to get the job done, and placing those mics in the appropriate positions from the outset to achieve the required balance and perspectives. This was why I was interested to better understand your 'computations' ... But I realise now we were at cross purposes.

Acoustic width seems more important to me.

Fair enough. I think we'll need to agree to disagree on that. For me the most critical qualities of a recording by far are the instrumental balance and the acoustic perspective -- by which I mean the contribution of room acoustic (reverb) against the direct sound. And these properties apply equally as much to a mono recording as a stereo one (or a surround one). These are determined almost entirely by the physical position of the mic/array. Acheiving a satisfactory stereo spread Is trivial by comparison, and is easily done by manipulating the mic array mechanically or electrically after the desired perspective is found. ...in my experience and practice, anyway.

...you often are constrained where the mikes can be put so worrying about the room is less important within reason. My experience is that acoustic perspective is good if you are close enough. Or even at the back of the room like I had to do once as it was the only location available.

We obviously have different experience and priorities -- which is not a criticism, just an observation.

That critical distance is something to avoid.

To avoid it, you have to know what it is -- either by measurement, calculation, or imperical experience. But the point I was making was that if it is known, it is possible to calculate the optimum distances for mics/arrays of different polar patterns, and from that where to place a specific stereo array for good results.

And for anyone unfamiliar with the term, the Critical Distance (Dc) is the distance from a sound source where the sound pressure level of the (directional) direct sound is equal to the level of the reverberant sound. The critical distance is large for a dead room, and short for a very reverberant one. Space or ambient (room) mics are placed beyond the Dc value, while the main pickup mics must be inside the Dc value -- the precise amount determined by the polar pattern(s) and desired wet/dry balance.

The computing of the width is to avoid problems. Doing it first simplifies everything.

Odd... It seems quite the reverse to me!

And of course you must keep in mind room acoustics so as to not make a bad choice of distance for the stereo part but pick a bad location for practical recording.

Ah yes... I think this is where I came in! :-D

H
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hobbyist » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:01 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
hobbyist wrote:My preference is for multiple arrays. It offers more flexibility to make the final mix. And it reinforces some learning when you can hear the differences each gave for the same exact set up.

Fair enough, and I certainly agree with the educational aspect of this approach. Presumably, though, the intended aim of learning the character of different arrays in different positions is to be able, eventually, to select the right array and locate it in the right place to achieve the required result first time?

Just for clarity, my background is in live broadcast where a multi-array approach is often not practical (or acceptable). Instead, it is generally desirable to minimise the rig and derig times as well as system complexity, which means employing the simplest mic setup possible to get the job done, and placing those mics in the appropriate positions from the outset to achieve the required balance and perspectives. This was why I was interested to better understand your 'computations' ... But I realise now we were at cross purposes.

Acoustic width seems more important to me.

Fair enough. I think we'll need to agree to disagree on that. For me the most critical qualities of a recording by far are the instrumental balance and the acoustic perspective -- by which I mean the contribution of room acoustic (reverb) against the direct sound. And these properties apply equally as much to a mono recording as a stereo one (or a surround one). These are determined almost entirely by the physical position of the mic/array. Acheiving a satisfactory stereo spread Is trivial by comparison, and is easily done by manipulating the mic array mechanically or electrically after the desired perspective is found. ...in my experience and practice, anyway.

...you often are constrained where the mikes can be put so worrying about the room is less important within reason. My experience is that acoustic perspective is good if you are close enough. Or even at the back of the room like I had to do once as it was the only location available.

We obviously have different experience and priorities -- which is not a criticism, just an observation.

That critical distance is something to avoid.

To avoid it, you have to know what it is -- either by measurement, calculation, or imperical experience. But the point I was making was that if it is known, it is possible to calculate the optimum distances for mics/arrays of different polar patterns, and from that where to place a specific stereo array for good results.

And for anyone unfamiliar with the term, the Critical Distance (Dc) is the distance from a sound source where the sound pressure level of the (directional) direct sound is equal to the level of the reverberant sound. The critical distance is large for a dead room, and short for a very reverberant one. Space or ambient (room) mics are placed beyond the Dc value, while the main pickup mics must be inside the Dc value -- the precise amount determined by the polar pattern(s) and desired wet/dry balance.

The computing of the width is to avoid problems. Doing it first simplifies everything.

Odd... It seems quite the reverse to me!

And of course you must keep in mind room acoustics so as to not make a bad choice of distance for the stereo part but pick a bad location for practical recording.

Ah yes... I think this is where I came in! :-D

H


I understand it is not always feasible. But sometimes it is.
Stuff happens. I prefer to use more when possible to also ensure that one of them is good. If not I go with my experience such as it is for the space that will be used and the source in question.

In a studio I would set up one array and check it then just use it.
For live I would prefer more. That is rarely possible but sometimes it is.

Broadcast work is certainly different than what I can do as a hobbyist.

I prefer to minimize room acoustics to capturing the live performance as it sounds. If desired I could mix in the ambience mikes to give a larger flavor of the room. Instrument balance is important. But for me that is easier to achieve without also having to worry about the room. And with stereo it tends to be more how they play unless I could also mike them separately which opens another can of worms.

Clearly your work with live is far different than mine at home or with small local venues. So our approach and goals would also differ.

Critical distance can be measured. While you may have time and equipment to do it, I tend to ignore it and hoping I am not near Dc,
[ unless I were to ever be paid and then I would check out everything first to ensure it works,] and hope that up closer or way back will work. Again cardiod mikes tend to minimise the effect of the reverb while emphasising the source content.
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