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Mic Placment to record opera singer and pianist?
Old 28th January 2009
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Question Mic Placment to record opera singer and pianist?

Hey guys- I have a friend who is doing a demo for an opera that he is trying to get into.
We have access to a large performance hall at our school that has a baby grand. We have an accompanist as well.
My question is this. I have a Pearlman TM-1 and an API 7600. Thats it, only one mic.
So how should it be placed to capture both the singer and the piano player adequately?
Thanks.
Old 28th January 2009
  #2
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d_fu's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Rent or borrow a stereo pair and preamp... I don't think you'd get very far with a demo recording in mono...
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 10 years
Really? Well I do have an Apogge Ensemble. Its got good pres.
Would Shure SM81s do the job?
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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d_fu's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes, that'll be much better. Try an ORTF setup or something like that.
Old 28th January 2009
  #5
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DCtoDaylight's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sctt_stone ➡️
Hey guys- I have a friend who is doing a demo for an opera that he is trying to get into.
We have access to a large performance hall at our school that has a baby grand. We have an accompanist as well.
My question is this. I have a Pearlman TM-1 and an API 7600. Thats it, only one mic.
So how should it be placed to capture both the singer and the piano player adequately?
Thanks.
+1 on the pair of 81's and the Ensemble- that's a nice little setup. NOS or ORTF should be fine.

My 2 cents would be to set the mics up on a stereo bar on a stand, then have the singer and pianist get into whatever positions they feel comfortable in and start warming up. Use your ears to find a spot where they sound good and balanced, and then put the mics there. Then make a few test recordings, and adjust depending on the results.

You might try having them set up a bit further upstage than they would for an actual performance - this would make it easier to have your mics on stage rather than out in the audience, which will make the adjustment process easier.

Good luck!
Old 28th January 2009
  #6
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springer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
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Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 15 years
I used a pair of SM-81s for just about everything for the first several years I was recording. Actually got some pretty good sounding results with it. You just need to work a bit harder on mic positioning than you do with the better mics out there.

I would recommend any coincident or near coincident pair a few feet out and a few feet up. Balance to taste. You'll get a better ensemble sound when you move further out until you get too much room. Closer in will highlight the singer to the detriment of the piano, but in some recordings that is ok. Use your ears and have the singer/pianist ok it before you settle on your mic positioning.

--Ben
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Imagine you are in a concert hall, with the mics being the audience (yup, they have to be stereo). Have the piano a little to the left of the stage (leftish in the stereo image) with the pianist with his back a bit towards the audience (piano rotated about 45 degrees so that the tail is 45 degrees towards the back of the stage). Now place the singer, for starters, kind of inline with the keyboard. The singer can move closer or further from the mics to get the right balance, and should be able to maintain good eye contact with the pianist at the same time. The singer will be centre stage in the stereo image, the piano slightly left (to emphasise the importance of singer and to enhance clarity).

I used that kind of approach on many singers' demos in London in years gone by and got a lot of repeat business from their agents, so I must have been doing something right!
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 10 years
Ok. So I did not have a chance to get the SM81s before recording.
Luckily the singer is a freind so he understood that this was basically a practice run.

To my suprise we got a pretty damn good mono recording using the Pearlman TM-1 and my API 7600 into an Apogee Ensemble.

Took 5 takes to get the mic placment right but this is what we did.

First off let me say that the room is a giant old recitle hall that was built in the 1930s, It Seats 3,500.
There is a 2.4 second delay from the stage to the back wall.
And there are acoustic baffles hanging from the celling above the stage.
The piano was a 1930s Bossendrfer grand piano.
So all I had to do was not screw up the sound.

Anyway the best recordin I got was by pushing the piano to the back of the stage
and placing the Pearlman in Omni mode about three feet away from the open lid.
Center of the piano body.
I angled the mic slightly down towards the piano.
I then had the singer stand about 20 feet away from the mic on the other side.

So the mic was in between the two.

Anyway it worked out surprisingly well and I have already gotten another job from it.
Same hall same pianist different opera singer.

Mabey I should grab those other mics now.heh
Old 5th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
just to throw out something out there to think about…

I did a concert recording last saturday with a varied program using two main pickup techniques:

1. Home made Jecklin disk with Oktava MK-012's (omni capsules)

2. 3 KM 183's spaced about 10 feet apart (left, center and right) in the pit just kissing the stage but not touching it and angled 30 degrees upward from the stage.

The second technique sounded awesome. If ever you get a chance to try something like that go for it!
Old 23rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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mljung's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by alex! ➡️
just to throw out something out there to think about…

I did a concert recording last saturday with a varied program using two main pickup techniques:

1. Home made Jecklin disk with Oktava MK-012's (omni capsules)

2. 3 KM 183's spaced about 10 feet apart (left, center and right) in the pit just kissing the stage but not touching it and angled 30 degrees upward from the stage.

The second technique sounded awesome. If ever you get a chance to try something like that go for it!
Alex - do you have you a little sample you could upload, preferably a snip of both setups recording the same part so one can compare..?
:
Mads
Old 23rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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MaTr1x2051's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
My go to pair for little demo projects like these are KM184s in ORTF. I prefer the 184s over the 183s because a few of the halls I regularly work in seem to have severe bass control problems... especially when dealing with piano.

I try to find a place where both the piano and the vocalist/instrumental will sound natural and balanced. This is usually dicated by the piano. I usually have the mikes about 10 feet out from the piano and 10 or 12 feet up, maybe more. That will almost always give a nice and balanced piano sound. From there I listen to the balance of the ensemble and adjust as necessary. Bring the mikes lower to darken the piano and brighten the soloist; Push mikes further back to gel the ensemble more and get more ambience; here you just play it by ear.

One thing that really upsets me is when you have a recording like this and the soloist sounds wonderful and clear and the piano is muffled and muddy. The piano is just as important musically as the soloist, and it is definitely possible to capture both (with just 2 mikes) clearly and balanced.
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