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Recording an Orchestra - Cold

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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby jimh76 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:27 am

Thanks for everyone's help on this.

I'll update on how it went. Thanks for the offer of equipment, but I'll see how I get on with my stuff

Jim
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby jimh76 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:33 am

Sorry about the double post. Not sure what happened there.

I've just had confirmation I'm doing the rehearsal on Sat at 1.30.

I'll update on Sunday.

Cheers. Jim
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Sep 22, 2019 11:38 pm

You may not have the equipment for a true stereo recording. But I'd suggest that even an 'untrue' one, made with an un-matched pair, will sound better than mono.

You ask: "Would any of my setup sound better than a handheld recorder like the Zoom models?" Have you GOT a Zoom? I'd certainly consider stationing someone to hold it in 'the best seat in the house'. Maybe a pole? I've made some excellent recordings with the likes of a Zoom on a 'Deadhead' pole.

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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:29 am

Exalted Wombat wrote:You may not have the equipment for a true stereo recording. But I'd suggest that even an 'untrue' one, made with an un-matched pair, will sound better than mono.

You ask: "Would any of my setup sound better than a handheld recorder like the Zoom models?" Have you GOT a Zoom? I'd certainly consider stationing someone to hold it in 'the best seat in the house'. Maybe a pole? I've made some excellent recordings with the likes of a Zoom on a 'Deadhead' pole.

Agree with both comments.

The very first time I used my Zoom many years ago was at a very small venue where the manager would not allow any mic stands or cables. In any case I was preoccupied with operating two video cameras so I had a friend who was sitting in the best seat in the house ( we had arrived early) to hold the Zoom.

The only proviso might be to train the assistant to handle the recorder carefully to avoid handling noise. Alternatively, the assistant could place the recorder on a short, lightweight mic stand directly in front, in between the knees if needed. Since then I've always include a shock mount to isolate the Zoom mics from floor vibrations that may transmit up the mic stand.
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby jimh76 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:53 pm

Hi sorry,

I think i confused people there. The people i am recordinghave prviously used a hand held device to record, so was just asking if my equipment would sound better.

Cheers

Jim
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby jimh76 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:21 pm

Hi,

Another quick question. I've decided to go for ORTF for the main pair with the 2 Rodes left and right. Possibly my SE X1A as the centre mic filling in the middle, but I have a few more questions.

1. For the centre ORTFs, is it ESSENTIAL that they are exactly 17cm and 110 degrees, as I will probably be doing it by sight, and my stereo bar isn't that adjustable?
2. Should the ORTF go quite near the orchestra or should they be further away, or is the only difference how much of the room they pick up?
3. Does the lack of bass of using cardiods at distance affect the sound to a large degree.

Cheers,

Jim.
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby Aural Reject » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:08 pm

Word of warning - ORTF requires your microphones to be matched...you’re trying to use different models which have different responses which may give you some unexpected results....didn’t Hugh suggest a L-C-R which gets round that?

By definition ORTF uses that spacing and angle...or it isn’t ORTF ;)

Not really sure what you’re getting at wrt filling in the middle? There shouldn’t really be one.

Don’t be overly concerned about a lack of bass. This a standard bear coincident array that’s used for this kind of thing a lot.
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby jimh76 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:20 pm

Cheers Aural, but the ortf mics are the same model. They're not matched, but the same model so there shouldn't be too much of a difference between them. Plus it's not a critical recording as it's only recording their rehearsal. The mid mic is there for what Hugh suggested and to also fill in the middle if I decide to go with the ortf instead of the l-c-r as I know you can lose a little of the middle with ortf.

As I say, I'm doing this both for fun and to learn via mistakes :tongue: I know it's not going to sound as good as professional mics with different polar responses, but looking forward to having a good.

Thanks for everyone's help though, I'm a lot closer to getting a good sound than I was a fortnight ago. :thumbup:
Cheers

Jim
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:11 pm

Have you bought additional mics since you started this thread?

If not, I fear you may be misunderstanding. The Rode NT1 and NT1a are different mics with different characteristics. ORTF - or any of the 'pair' stereo recording systems - require, ideally, a matched pair or at least two mics of the same make & model within the same version edition.

Hugh suggested a spaced pair of the Rodes as spaced pairs aren't so critical about the same characteristics. 'Spaced' in this context means the order of a few feet apart. That's why he also suggested a middle mic to fill the hole in the middle if necessary.

If you do have two mics of the same make/model then setting up in ORTF is made much easier if you make up a template of the required dimensions and angles. I have one in my mic box which I can deploy if needed - although my stereo-bar has specific markings for ORTF.
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby Aural Reject » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:48 pm

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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby Wonks » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:34 pm

jimh76 wrote:
My mics are'nt top of the range, so I've listed them below:

Rode nt1 (original grey)
Rode NT 1a
Rode M3
SE x1a
2 x Red5 Audio RV4
1 x SE 1a
other dynamics like SM57s x 3 etc, but assume I wouldn't be using these.
.

I suspect the ORTF pair are the Red5 RV4s.

The Rødes are the L and R of the LRC set.
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby forumuser840717 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:47 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Hugh suggested a spaced pair of the Rodes as spaced pairs aren't so critical about the same characteristics. 'Spaced' in this context means the order of a few feet apart. That's why he also suggested a middle mic to fill the hole in the middle if necessary.

If you're referring to where Hugh said:

Hugh Robjohns wrote: ... I'd go down the spaced mics route -- Bob Fine stylee... :-) (check out Mercury Living Presence if the name means nothing!) .

The lack of matching between mics won't be so noticeable if they are widely spaced and capturing different parts of the orchestra anyway. So I'd place one beside the conductor, one half-way between the conductor and the back desk on the left, and another half-way to the back desk on the right. Pan the outside mics fully left/right, and the central one.. er... centrally!

Then you may want to read up on Bob Fine and the Mercury Living Presence recordings.

As Hugh explains, the spacings involved are way more than the few feet or so more commonly in spaced pairs. Positionally, think more in terms of the centre mic bisecting the image and each of the outer mics again bisecting their respective left and right halves of the image. (Of course the exact spacings will probably be fiddled with and adjusted to account for specific circumstances.) And they don't work as a spaced pair with an added centre fill, nor as some kind of bastardised Decca Tree type setup. They need to be considered as a 3-mic array in their own right that all works together as a single system. It's particularly worth learning what the centre mic contributes and how it's mixed.

And with the OP's mic selection I'd probably try Hugh's suggestion first (assuming that there are some reasonably tall, stable stands available).
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby jimh76 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:12 am

I suspect the ORTF pair are the Red5 RV4s.

The Rødes are the L and R of the LRC set.

Correctomundo Wonks.

I've tried my stereo bar and it won't do an ortf, so i'll try the x/y for the middle, the rodes for the far left and far right and add in the SE X1A as the centre mic. This way, i have 2 separate ways of recording and i can see which sounds best. The simple x/y stereo Red5s, or the L-C-R using the 2 rodes as far eft and right and the se mic as the centre.

As i say, i'm really looking forward to it and it's a freebie, so if it doesn't sound studio recording, i'm not too worried.

Oh well, here goes............
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby Aural Reject » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:17 am

Ah, apologies - I read it as ORTF with the Rodes.

What's your stereo bar? I'm surprised you can't fashion something in ORTF even with one of the generic style bars....or is it that you're concerned about the mics not being on the same horizontal axis?

I quite often use ORTF with outriggers at the front (often with another pair at the rear) as an archive rig, though it depends on lots of things what I choose.

Be aware, though, that the spacing of the front outriggers may not be the same as that required for the Bob Fine method described by Hugh then in more detail by forumuser840717 (who happens to rather more of an expert at orchestral recording than most). It's worth having a read up as they've suggested, as it's perhaps not as simple as it first seems.

As you say, though, it's all part of the learning experience....so try it, and if it doesn't work, try something else.

Have fun.
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:08 am

jimh76 wrote: I've decided to go for ORTF for the main pair with the 2 Rodes left and right...

Ah! Both Aural Reject and I misunderstood what you meant. Apologies.

I hadn't understood that you were going to use an ORTF pair AND spaced mics.

... and to others... Yes, I put my hands up that I hadn't read the article(s) cited on particular spaced techniques. I was just trying to make the point that 'spaced' means feet and not inches...

Hope it goes well OP... and I'm now I'm intrigued as to who is 'forumuser840717'. :lol:
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby jimh76 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:27 am

Cheers.

Yes my stereo bar is not adjustable and I think the actual end adaptors are almost 17 cm apart already (I think it's a QTX one).

I'm looking at the adjustable K & M one as would be able to get the ortf correct with this.

Great idea about the template mikestranks.

Depending on how this goes and whether I could possibly start charging a bit of money, I may look at investing in a pair of the Rode M5 stereo pairs as these get good reviews and don't break the bank. The RV4s have been good to me for acoustic recording, but are a very old "cheaper" mic now.

Thanks,

Jim.
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby jimh76 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:24 pm

Man,

I remember recording my acoustic guitar with a bright blue dynamic karaoke microphone with attached lead back in the 90's, and still thinking at the time it sounded amazing......

Then I heard about Red5 selling mic's only on t'internet which is why they were a lot cheaper, and thinking they sounded amazing.

Now I use even better spec mics, at 24/96 and always think it sounds "good".......but could sound better.

Progress? :tongue: :shock: :crazy:
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:03 pm

If you're serious about doing this sort of work properly then you're going to have to up your game considerably. That's not a criticism - we all started at the bottom of the ladder and some of us have only climbed a rung or two.

Forget the M5s; they're really not suited for this type of work if you want people to pay you.

As a minimum look at the Line Audio CM4s and OM1s - available in the UK from PinkNoise systems.

And get some decent high stands - or stand extenders as I referenced in an earlier post - some Rycote shockmounts and a better stereo bar. The Rode one is a bit plasticky, but it's good for the money.

... and forget about 24/96 for now. Until you've raised your game - and probably until you're approaching heights way above me - then 24/44.1 is perfectly adequate.
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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Sep 27, 2019 7:05 pm

jimh76 wrote:1. For the centre ORTFs, is it ESSENTIAL that they are exactly 17cm and 110 degrees

Those are the specifications for the ORTF array. If you rig the mics with a different mutual angle and/or spacing it won't be an ORTF array... But it will still be a near-spaced array and it will capture stereo, albeit with slightly different characteristics to the ORTF format... And those different characteristics may be beneficial.... Or not! The most likely obvious resulting from altered measurements will e a different stereo recording angle.

Like Mike, I use a template. I simply drew a pair of lines crossing at 110 degrees, and then placed some crosses on the lines where they are 170mm apart. I then printed it into transparent film, but ordinary paper works too. If the template is placed on a table you can assemble the ORTF array precisely, upside down with the mics placed appropriately on the template sheet. The benefit of the transparent sheet it that it can be held over an already rigged ORTf array to check nothing has moved!

2. Should the ORTF go quite near the orchestra or should they be further away, or is the only difference how much of the room they pick up?

The stereo recording angle for an ORTF array is about 90 degrees. So, if a sound source moves left from the centre line in front of the mic, it will sound like it is moving left from the phantom centre of your speakers. When that sound source is at an angle of 45 degrees to the ORTF array, the sound will have reached the left-hand speaker and be fully left.

What that means in practice is that if you want the orchestra to fill the stereo image, the ORTF array has to be positioned such that the orchestra fits within an arc spanning +/-45 degrees from the centre line. If the array is closer than that point, the orchestra will have an exaggerated spread for instruments near the centre, as well as their being over-emphasised (louder and closer), with bunching of instruments at the left and right speakers.

Conversely, if the array is too far back, the orchestra won't stretch fully between the speakers, and the outer regions to left and right of the orchestra will carry the room reverb and audience noise.

Of course, moving the array closer to or farther from the orchestra will also change the overall perspective -- the balance of direct sound to reverberation. As a result, it is usually necessary to decide first where the mics need to go for a good perspective, and then what kind of array to use to provide the appropriate stereo recording angle... Bearing in mind that different arrays will also change the perceived perspective to some extent, so there's a bit of iteration required to fully optimise things!

3. Does the lack of bass of using cardiods at distance affect the sound to a large degree.

It all depends what you mean by a lack of bass! If you used a pair of SM58s as an ORTF array it would sound extremely thin and unsatisfying. But normal, single-diaphragm studio cardioid mics should be flat down to 40Hz or lower when used at a distance. Closer placement results in the bass boost due to the proximity effect.

...and you can always use some EQ if necessary...

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Re: Recording an Orchestra - Cold

Postby jimh76 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:28 pm

Hey Peeps,

Well I have to say it went well.

(Although I left my mic case at home and had to go back and get it.....luckily I only lived 10 mins from the venue).!?!

After listening to the session, it actually sounds really good to my ears. The lady who I arranged it with had a sneaky listen at the end of the session, and she was really impressed, so that bodes really well.

There were a few teething problems (I thought a lead had gone at some point, until I noticed the mic was actually switched off on the body).

I used:

Red5 RV4s x 2 as the main x/y pair about 8 foot in the air in the centre about 6 foot the orchestra.
Rode NT1 left side, angled about 45 degrees down wards, facing towards the middle of the left hand side instruments.
Rode NT1A right side, as on the left. Both these mics were about 8 foot in the air.

They had a solo singer doing vocals near the front so I used my SE Elec X1a about 2 feet away pointing at his mouth, and is did sound really nice (although I kept getting page turns from his lyrics on this mic, so may have to gate, unless this distracts too much from the sound).

They had a solo viola on the other side, so I used my Rode M3 as the spot mic for her, but listening back, the stereos seem to pick this up fine, so probably won't use that one.

I know that I don't compress classical, but would compressing and gating the vocal mic affect the sound, as he does go a bit too quiet at points (plus page turns etc)? Or should I just ride the fader for the mix? I checked it all in mono, and it doesn't sound bad, so that is 1 worry I had. Although I think the vox mic sounded better with the phase reversed.

Anyway, I had so much fun, and that's the main thing.

Thanks for everyone's input,

Jim.
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