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Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

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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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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:08 pm

Thanks for the clarification. I understand why you take the approach you do. Different situations always involve different compromises. We can all learn by being open minded and considering different techniques for different situations...

BTW, the equipment needed to measure the Dc value is only a source of noise or tone, a small portable speaker, a sound level meter, and a tape measure. And it takes no more than five minutes in most cases.
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hobbyist » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:03 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Thanks for the clarification. I understand why you take the approach you do. Different situations always involve different compromises. We can all learn by being open minded and considering different techniques for different situations...

BTW, the equipment needed to measure the Dc value is only a source of noise or tone, a small portable speaker, a sound level meter, and a tape measure. And it takes no more than five minutes in most cases.

True but the tape measure and the time to do it could be an issue.
As well as being able to do it at all. Depends where you are and what you are recording as well as your status and the venues quirks with respect to what they will let you do.
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:08 pm

Sure. Can't say I've ever had a problem when I've wanted to do it, but I can Imagine situations where it may prove awkward to achieve.
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Re: Abbey Concert Recording Opinions Required

Postby hooty2 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:01 am

As the OP, i felt a response was warranted after a very interesting thread so far.....
Time for my mood killer!

(before that diversion, i want to add this: I often measure my foot and then pace unobtrusively when getting distances for spot delays. I want to try the technique to ascertain Dc point if only to see how my subjective feel matches up but also, as i have read many times, microphones assay the room in their own special way according to type and response etc.......)

The mood killer moments:
1) a physics teacher joined me on my terrace last night and out of a varied set of topics (brexit, weather, cathedrals), he declared that: 'in modelling, a complex state, when presented with a strategic simple outcome, will become un-stable'
2) you must know the workshop cum party game, whereby first person writes a line...passes to second who adds a line and then folds over the first line before passing to third person who only responds to second line and so on. The resultant 'poem' is read as a whole and is certain to evoke feelings of awe & serendipity among most if not all.
3) Exposing my therapy workshop history: as a break in some creative activity, a 20 minute break is used to brainstorm a stream of uncensored writing.....then we are asked to condense it to salient points, maybe 7 at most...we then conjure a three line Haiku or similarly molded aphorism.

Anyone out there care to offer me a succinct bit of education that can be drawn out of the thread above?
Or...at risk of deserved joshing...a poem?
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