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Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

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Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:36 am

I'm wondering about this, and it's uses, it seems to be popular for orchestral recording, but is it useful for other applications, such as choirs, organs?
I'm only asking as my desired, and what I have! mic's are an M&S pair, and I want to experiment with other things, on choirs specifically, I only have two omni's though, and I believe a Decca tree requires three, and maybe, even a couple of outriggers?
Maybe it's a waste of time for my application, but I've heard good things about the Tree, especially regarding stereo imaging.
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:53 am

Arpangel wrote:I'm wondering about this, and it's uses, it seems to be popular for orchestral recording, but is it useful for other applications, such as choirs, organs?

Yes.... although it tends to work best on large scale sources, rather than smaller ensembles or instruments.

...I want to experiment with other things, on choirs specifically, I only have two omni's though, and I believe a Decca tree requires three, and maybe, even a couple of outriggers?

There are several viable variations on the theme. For example, you can use an MS array in place of the centre mic, and then omnis for the left/right arms. That way you can use just the Mid mic as part of the tree, or you can decode the MS pair and use the omnis as outriggers... lots of flexibility.

Or you can use three cardioids (or hypo-cardioids) instead of the classic tree omnis... (only small-diaphragm types, though so that the off-axis colouration is minimised).

The standard Decca Tree uses Neumann M50s which, although notionally omni, become quite directional at high mid and high frequencies -- so cardioids (or hypo-cardioids) do actually make a reasonable alternative.

I've heard good things about the Tree, especially regarding stereo imaging.

... it has very imprecise imaging -- like all spaced mic arrays. But some people like and prefer that... ;-) A crude visual analogy is that coincident arrays (XY, MS) are a bit like a precise line-drawing, whereas spaced arrays (AB, Decca Tree etc) are more like a watercolour.

Each is lovely in the right circumstances, but they have very different characters and applications.

H
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby Ariosto » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:49 am

Arpangel wrote:and what I have! mic's are an M&S pair

I did not know that Marks and Spenser made mics! :lolno:
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:10 am

Not just any mics... :lol:
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby MOF » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:38 pm

hypo-cardioids
I think you meant ‘hypercardioid’ Hugh.
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby forumuser840717 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:46 pm

I think he meant hypo (aka sub) cardioids. e.g. Neuman AK43, Schoeps MK21, DPA 4015, that funny-looking squashed ball-like pattern between cardioid and omni on some switchable pattern mics, etc.

Hypercardioids would be one of the last patterns I'd think of for a Decca Tree in any circumstances whereas hypocardioids are a reasonable alternative especially if one is using a tree of reduced dimensions.

If using omnis, it's a good idea to use diffraction spheres on them to increase directivity. It really does make a noticable difference to the way the tree images and to the spectral balance. Also to where the array is positioned.
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:13 pm

MOF wrote:
hypo-cardioids
I think you meant ‘hypercardioid’ Hugh.

No, I meant what I wrote.

Perhaps you haven't come across hypo-cardioid pattern mics, or know them as sub-cardioid patterns...
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby MOF » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:10 pm

MOF wrote:
hypo-cardioids
I think you meant ‘hypercardioid’ Hugh.

No, I meant what I wrote.

Perhaps you haven't come across hypo-cardioid pattern mics, or know them as sub-cardioid patterns...

Now you mention it I know what you mean, I just don’t think I’ve ever come across the term as hypo, ‘subcardioid’, yes I have.
If I’d thought about it a bit longer I would have realised that hypo is the opposite of hyper and made sense in the context of Decca tree recordings i.e. tending towards omni pickup.
In answer to the OP I’ve never used a Decca tree.
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:07 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I'm wondering about this, and it's uses, it seems to be popular for orchestral recording, but is it useful for other applications, such as choirs, organs?

Yes.... although it tends to work best on large scale sources, rather than smaller ensembles or instruments.

...I want to experiment with other things, on choirs specifically, I only have two omni's though, and I believe a Decca tree requires three, and maybe, even a couple of outriggers?

There are several viable variations on the theme. For example, you can use an MS array in place of the centre mic, and then omnis for the left/right arms. That way you can use just the Mid mic as part of the tree, or you can decode the MS pair and use the omnis as outriggers... lots of flexibility.

Or you can use three cardioids (or hypo-cardioids) instead of the classic tree omnis... (only small-diaphragm types, though so that the off-axis colouration is minimised).

The standard Decca Tree uses Neumann M50s which, although notionally omni, become quite directional at high mid and high frequencies -- so cardioids (or hypo-cardioids) do actually make a reasonable alternative.

I've heard good things about the Tree, especially regarding stereo imaging.

... it has very imprecise imaging -- like all spaced mic arrays. But some people like and prefer that... ;-) A crude visual analogy is that coincident arrays (XY, MS) are a bit like a precise line-drawing, whereas spaced arrays (AB, Decca Tree etc) are more like a watercolour.

Each is lovely in the right circumstances, but they have very different characters and applications.

H

Thanks Hugh, the M+S pair in the centre sounds attractive, I'm going to have a go at that.
Trouble is I should be experimenting, not waiting for suggestions, after all, moving mic's around isn't exactly life threatening! The problem being time, to asses a mic array that's designed for large sources requires.....a large source! And at rehearsals/concerts you only have limited time. Cue the benefits of owning lots of mic's and being able to set-up different rigs alongside each other, space and health and safety permitting.
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:35 am

FWIW my approach to recording orchestras, choirs and acoustic ensembles these days is to use what I believe is one of Tony Faulkner’s arrays - an ORTF pair with Omni outriggers at 600mm spacing on a single bar.

This seems to give lots of options in terms of focus versus spaciousness and gives me the option to choose one or other or a mix of both in post.

There are occasions when I might have to take a different approach but more often than not the above gives me what I need and is useful if setup and soundcheck times are limited.

Bob
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby John Willett » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:23 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:FWIW my approach to recording orchestras, choirs and acoustic ensembles these days is to use what I believe is one of Tony Faulkner’s arrays - an ORTF pair with Omni outriggers at 600mm spacing on a single bar.

This seems to give lots of options in terms of focus versus spaciousness and gives me the option to choose one or other or a mix of both in post.

There are occasions when I might have to take a different approach but more often than not the above gives me what I need and is useful if setup and soundcheck times are limited.

Bob

:thumbup:

What I use. :thumbup:

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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:31 pm

Glorious drive-by promo post of 'products wot I sell....' :crazy:
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby Arpangel » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:54 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:FWIW my approach to recording orchestras, choirs and acoustic ensembles these days is to use what I believe is one of Tony Faulkner’s arrays - an ORTF pair with Omni outriggers at 600mm spacing on a single bar.

This seems to give lots of options in terms of focus versus spaciousness and gives me the option to choose one or other or a mix of both in post.

There are occasions when I might have to take a different approach but more often than not the above gives me what I need and is useful if setup and soundcheck times are limited.

Bob

I'm always a bit confused when calculating the distance between spaced omnis and wide sources, I know there is a fornula, but everyone seems to have different opinions.
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:15 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Glorious drive-by promo post of 'products wot I sell....' :crazy:
Don't worry Hugh, none of us can afford that lot anyway! :D
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby John Willett » Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:22 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Glorious drive-by promo post of 'products wot I sell....' :crazy:

But it is my own personal kit what I bought myself and what I actually use - and a picture that shows the configuration that adds to the conversation.
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby John Willett » Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:25 pm

Arpangel wrote:I'm always a bit confused when calculating the distance between spaced omnis and wide sources, I know there is a fornula, but everyone seems to have different opinions.

The 60cm width seems to be a width that works well for many applications - hence several bars having this length. I have the Grace Space Bar as well as the Gefell one and both these are this lentth - I think the K&M bar is also this length.
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Re: Anyone used, or uses a Decca Tree mic arrangement?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:45 pm

Sacrilege I know, but I rarely ‘calculate’ the necessary spacing between omnis. I’ll generally set them up between 60 and 80 cm and have a listen.

I find this microphone bar particularly useful and not too expensive: https://www.k-m.de/en/products/mic-stands/accessories/23560-microphone-bar-black/23560-300-55?c=179

Bob
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