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SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:43 pm

If the kids make noise it's not a problem, but in my experience the under 5s generally tend to be overawed and very, very, very quiet and shy... and then it really is a problem.

H
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Driller » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:08 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
It's one of those 'this is a great idea' things that will never ever work well and the sound operator will always get the blame. Been there, received the complaints, advise against and avoid like the plague now... ;-)

Basically there is no winning position with this situation! Small kids, and PAs just don't work well together.

If I decide to go ahead with this I’m hoping these words won’t echo in the nightmareish aftermath!

Bob Bickerton wrote:I guess it’s worth asking how many are in the audience and is the courtyard isolated from ambient noise such as traffic or aircraft.

There is some air traffic but only sporadic and the courtyard isn’t next to any major road so far noise isn’t a problem. There is no stage as such, just a delineated level area where each group gathers to do their “thing”.

There will be around 200 parents listening seated and standing.

Bob Bickerton wrote: I’m perplexed at the necessity for a multi-mic approach. I have now, for several years, run an outside stage for schools in a local arts festival, adjacent to a busy road, with a variety of acts including a range of primary school age choirs. For this I use a pair of MKH8050s as well as a Fohhn LX61 system with pretty good results to audiences of around 100 to 200.

Of course, you’re not going to get rock concert levels, but attaining sufficiency gain to enable diction seems fine.Bob

Sounds very similar to my situation and that gives me some hope of pulling this off. Can you please tell me how you position thoses mics and on what sort of stands? Presumably you use mic covers for wind noise.

In your view would any sufficiently sensitive but lower budget mic work in place of those lovely but rather pricey MKH8050s? (Beyerdynamic MC-950?)

Same as you, we don’t need massive volume levels just something to help the voices carry.
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:56 pm

Can you engineer a dress rehearsal with at least the youngest kids? That would give you an opportunity to test the setup and see if it will be good enough?
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Driller » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:05 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Can you engineer a dress rehearsal with at least the youngest kids? That would give you an opportunity to test the setup and see if it will be good enough?

That’s a very good shout and I can’t believe I didn’t think of that, thanks!
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:11 pm

:thumbup:
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:01 pm

A dry run with a rehearsal would be a good idea. Presuming you don’t have 10 vocals mics to hand already, and given its a recurring gig, would it be worth hiring both configurations and the selecting which works best?

Maybe start the rehearsal with older kids (who would be more patient) then, when you’ve concurrently optimised both systems bring in the wee folk to test.

Regarding placement (for the stereo pair) I have them at the one third/two third points at head height and maybe 2 metres in front. Have the speakers in front and to the sides and point the null of the mic to the nearest speaker. Also explore panning around 50%. Yes, you’ll need serious wind isolation - I use Rycote Super-Softies and of course you’ll need to use a high pass filter to remove unwanted lower frequencies. A graphic EQ will be your friend with either approach.

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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Driller » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:05 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:A dry run with a rehearsal would be a good idea. Presuming you don’t have 10 vocals mics to hand already, and given its a recurring gig, would it be worth hiring both configurations and the selecting which works best?

Maybe start the rehearsal with older kids (who would be more patient) then, when you’ve concurrently optimised both systems bring in the wee folk to test.

Regarding placement (for the stereo pair) I have them at the one third/two third points at head height and maybe 2 metres in front. Have the speakers in front and to the sides and point the null of the mic to the nearest speaker. Also explore panning around 50%. Yes, you’ll need serious wind isolation - I use Rycote Super-Softies and of course you’ll need to use a high pass filter to remove unwanted lower frequencies. A graphic EQ will be your friend with either approach.

Bob

Apologies for the late reply, I've been snowed under with work.

Bob, thanks again for sharing your valuable experience and expertise, all noted and understood!

I've organised a dry run with some of the older kids as suggested and will make a purchase of a couple of K&M choir stands and a pair of Beyerdynamic 950s (supercardioid) or 930s (cardioid).

Strangely, having being playing music and recording for the best part of 30 years I've just discovered the existence of the little node of sensitivity at the back of supercardioid mics. Quite a surprise!

I'm pretty set on these SDCs as they seem to have a great cost/quality ratio and a high sensitivity at 30mV. So the final great philosophical question is do I go for cardioid and benefit from the null at 180° or supercardioid and have more directionality but that sensitive spot in the tail so to speak?

Your lovely MKH8050s are supercardioid of course!

ETA I went for a pair of the cardioids, will do an update when the test is done.
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:22 pm

I’d be thinking supercardioid rather than cardioid. Knowledge of nulls and where you point them is the key. Neuman km185 and Sennheiser e614 have more controlled (according to published polar patterns) than MC950.

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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Driller » Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:15 pm

Thanks for that clarification Bob. I'll cancel the 930 stereo pair and have a look at those others.

ETA dear oh dear what a minefield. I can afford those Neumanns but I just can't morally justify them lol
and those e614s are only €200 each so surely they can't be as good as the MC930s which are twice the price?

Also it says on the shop site that the e614s are very sensitive and yet on the Sennheiser site it says they are only 3mV/PA...
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Driller » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:18 pm

I've decided to stick with the cardioids because:

1) They are clearly indicated as choir mics and
2) The way I see it, with 40 kids in a group, if you point a supercardioid at them, you're only going to pickup a small fraction of the voices whereas a couple of cardioids will pick up more of the group plus there's a better null point at the rear of the mics to get best level before feedback.

This is only kids singing, there are no loud accompanying instruments to isolate the mics from which would be a sure indication for a supercardioid.

What's more the MC930 exists as a stereo pair (which I've ordered) and includes wind shields and a carry case, the superardioid mc950 is only available as singles and no windshields.

Anyway I'll post up an update having played around a bit.
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:51 am

Well I understand the MC930s are very good mics, and anyway you've ordered them. The key will be the get those speakers as far in front of the mics as is possible.

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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Driller » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:38 am

Good shout, I'll work on that, it's a big courtyard so space isn't a factor.

I am considering getting some slim array type speakers though (I think you said thats what you use?) as my EON15s are going to block out the show for some of the audience.

LD systems Maui 28 G2 looks handy.
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:35 am

Yes, I really like the mini-line array speakers.

I have a couple of Fohhn systems, LX61/XS10 and LX150/XS30, bought on a whim having read reviews in sound on sound!

Beware, this can be an expensive place to hang around!

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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby blinddrew » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:54 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:Beware, this can be an expensive place to hang around!
it's amazing how much i didn't know i needed until i started reading this site. :)
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Driller » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:00 pm

An update. Got the gear and set it up with a single MC930 in the garden on a high boom using one JBL EON15.

As General Melchett said-bugger me with a fish fork! What a difference!

Set the JBL up about 2 meters in front of the MC930. The gain achieved before feedback was huge. At one point I could hear some people walking in the street 10 meters away on the other side of the 2M high garden wall chatting through the speaker but couldn't hear them directly with my ears.

Very, very impressed by these microphones and as mentioned before, speaker placement is extremely important.

No wind noise with the dead mammals that came with the matched pair.

Just one question: the event will take place in the school playground which has an asphalt surface. Someone mentioned using tons of gaffa tape to fix the cables down. Any tips with gaffa tape on asphalt?

Next Friday I'll do a dry run in the school yard with some of the children.
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:29 pm

You'd be much better off using heavy rubber matting to cover the cables. Gaffa tape won't stick well to asphalt.
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Kwackman » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:55 pm

Driller wrote:Just one question: the event will take place in the school playground which has an asphalt surface. Someone mentioned using tons of gaffa tape to fix the cables down. Any tips with gaffa tape on asphalt?.

If it's not a very long run, rubber mats might work?
Places like Tesco and Lidl do fairly cheap large doormat sizes.
Re-useable and much easier for the de-rig!
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Bob Bickerton » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:22 pm

That’s good news, it’ll be interesting to hear how the real thing goes.

Yes, rubber mats are the way to go.

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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Driller » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:07 pm

Thanks for the tips on the mats everyone, I'll grab a whole bunch of them
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Re: SDC (Cardioid) or Shotguns on Vocal Group

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:07 am

Only downside with rubber mats is that they go walk-about. So a few years back, I got a bunch of them branded and with yellow strips down the long edges. They work a treat and haven’t had any gone missing since.

Just saying for reference.

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