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Mics for orchestral film score recording?
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #61
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by brawee ➡️
Slightly off topic, but Da-Hong, what's your standard 6-mic string quartet set up?
Nothing special. Stereo pair plus four spots.

The stereo pair could be either two omnis or MS.

Whereas the spots are always omnis.
Old 14th January 2019
  #62
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When recording a quartet, has anybody tried 2 mics as spots per instrument (+main pair)?

Not long ago I heard from an engineer that the she uses 2 spot mics instead of one per instrument: she uses one as the "main spot" and the other she pans it to the opposite side with lower volume to "open up" the stereo image. I'll try it next opportunity I have.
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elpillo ➡️
When recording a quartet, has anybody tried 2 mics as spots per instrument (+main pair)?
Look up how Richard King records Yo-Yo Ma
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elpillo ➡️
When recording a quartet, has anybody tried 2 mics as spots per instrument (+main pair)?

Not long ago I heard from an engineer that the she uses 2 spot mics instead of one per instrument: she uses one as the "main spot" and the other she pans it to the opposite side with lower volume to "open up" the stereo image. I'll try it next opportunity I have.
The usual method of integrating spots is to use the main pair to establish primary stereo imagery, then pan the spot to the same position it occupies in the main pair image, and then balancing eq, delay, stereo reverb to give it some 'dimension' without calling attention to itself. M-S spots would afford even more flexibility re placement and width.

Plush has outlined something similar to the method you outline, with regard to spot miking a solo singer with orchestral accompaniment.

I've unscrewed the cardioid capsules from a Rode NT4 XY stereo mic and replaced them with the NT45-O omni capsules. Theory will tell you that XY omnis will simply combine to give you mono, right ? Well if all frequencies picked up by the caps were uniformly omnidirectional that might be true, but most omnis show a directional bias with increasing frequency, and I found this XY pair gave just enough 'suggestion of width' to be helpful, at least on violin.
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon ➡️
Look up how Richard King records Yo-Yo Ma


Solo instrument with double spot is easy. I often do it myself, even with a concerto setting. But how are you going to pan the two spots per instrument in a quartet, if you still try to preserve the image as the quartet layout? You want more open spread? Use more stereo pair, or widen the stereo pair. MS makes that task really easy.
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo ➡️
Solo instrument with double spot is easy. I often do it myself, even with a concerto setting. But how are you going to pan the two spots per instrument in a quartet, if you still try to preserve the image as the quartet layout? You want more open spread? Use more stereo pair, or widen the stereo pair. MS makes that task really easy.
Read up on how R. King does it. Yo-Yo isn't treated as a "soloist" in the ensemble. The two (omnis) are used as spots on his instrument.

Richard King: How To Record Acoustic Ensembles |
(scroll down to "on the spots" section about the mix of the spots to support the main tree he uses)

(this is from a live setup but easier to see)
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo ➡️
But how are you going to pan the two spots per instrument in a quartet, if you still try to preserve the image as the quartet layout? You want more open spread? Use more stereo pair, or widen the stereo pair. MS makes that task really easy.
Pan them inwards until the spot image occupies a (credibly small) width ? Using omni rather than cardioid spots will already give you more 'adjacent instrument spill' ....so it's arguable whether a pair of spaced omni spots would add much to the quartet-miking party. Ideally any spot spacing would be small also...20cm or so ?

Here's another wild card suggestion I saw a few years ago...instead of your closely spaced spot pair on a horizontal mini-bar, turn it 90 degrees so the bar is vertical....but still pan the mics left and right as usual. So effectively you'd be capturing (in miniature) 'height information' about the spot-miked instrument, but then translating that into 'width information' instead, when feathering it into the mix.

Crazy, out of left field Renaissance-man madness, eh !
Old 14th January 2019
  #68
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Yo-Yo's recording with two omni worked because he was sitting more or less in the middle and King pan both hard left and right. Again, how am I going to do this with a quartet? It wouldn't have worked.
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon ➡️
Read up on how R. King does it. Yo-Yo isn't treated as a "soloist" in the ensemble. The two (omnis) are used as spots on his instrument.

Richard King: How To Record Acoustic Ensembles |
(scroll down to "on the spots" section about the mix of the spots to support the main tree he uses)

(this is from a live setup but easier to see)]
Yes King's rationale about selective stereo leakage is a valid one, and the instrument being spot miked retains its central mono character.
More so in his case where he anticipated a reasonably dynamic mix landscape, where the cello spot might have to come up quite considerably at certain points...dragging the ambience and stereo spill of neighbouring instruments along for the ride !
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo ➡️
Yo-Yo's recording with two omni worked because he was sitting more or less in the middle and King pan both hard left and right. Again, how am I going to do this with a quartet? It wouldn't have worked.
You're not is the short answer, not unless you use 10 mics total (4x2 spots plus 1x2 main pair). But King's method will give you cleaner delineation of spot placement, compared with mono spots. Depends on how high you anticipate needing to push the spots in the overall mix...and whether you anticipate using 'dynamic balancing' as King did wit Yo Yo Ma ?

You probably need to ask yourself the question, and give yourself the truly honest answer: 'What do I expect the relative contribution of the spot mics vs the main pair is going to be in the final mix ?' If it's 10% vs 90% you'll be fine, if it's edging closer to 30/70 you really should employ stereo spots (of whatever flavour floats your boat)
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #71
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I would expect Advanced Audio to come out with Some M50's in a few years once his cap crew in china is better trained and can afford a new cap machine. I bet he already has plans on paper for this take of the M50.
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum ➡️
I would expect Advanced Audio to come out with Some M50's in a few years once his cap crew in china is better trained and can afford a new cap machine. I bet he already has plans on paper for this take of the M50.
I'm surprised Behringer or 747 hasn't given us an M50 lookalike by now....they're obviously not watching the EBay prices for used specimens, and have severely underestimated the potential demand. It does still have be working within spec 5 years from now, and not break down on the job, however....maybe that's the hurdle ?

An end to global warming, war and poverty/hunger worldwide...sane, visionary, responsible political leaders ...and a new M50....that's what the world needs now ! Apologies for the levity, I probably require a kick in the gravitas instead...
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #73
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo ➡️
I don't see any difference between recording an regular orchestra work vs. film score involving an orchestra. What is the fuss about microphone deployment? Why should they be any different?
I agree. On a side note, I have heard the best orchestral recordings on the big screen. Many modern CD orchestral recordings sound like a movie soundtrack. Most modern movie soundtracks sound like something remotely similar to a live orchestra - the orchestra seems to be used more and more as an FX unit, or a big sampling machine.

I have never met a orchestral player who enjoys playing with a headphone, one can or not. That already takes the musical equation out of it. It also kills intonation, especially when playing to backing tracks (I have never heard a sampled track with good intonation !)

Just for fun, look at the list of oscars/nominations for best sound, and compare old soundtracks to modern orchestral ones.

IMO it is too much about control these days, keeping options open, and not so much about art, daring to make decisions when they matter.

To the OP: I would assume if the standard for the tree are m50s, they would use two m50s as outriggers as well. Makes complete sense if you want that sound.
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon ➡️
Film scoring we put people in booths (and mic accordingly)

Film scoring we'll split orchestra (and mic accordingly) -- for instance strings/winds, brass, and perc separately. There is no sacredness to the capture. We do whatever works. That also goes for seating positions, putting people in galleries, picking up soloist on different days in different studios, etc. It is session work. Tracking the strings on one day and tracking the brass the next in a different studio (because we like the sound of each of those groups from different rooms) happens. We also do multiple passes (which means there's also a doubling/tripling of all the room mics in the mix.)

Film scoring we don't worry about visibility.

I was recording a famous classical violinist for a film score (featured soloist) with orchestra who was tracking for a film score for the first time. He has done multiple albums and was having a great time doing the film score but was telling me the experience was completely different from his albums: my concern for his placement in relation to the orchestra, surrounds, the number of mics/types I had on him (and sometimes with baffles)


And btw, to whomever wrote earlier about this, we do have pickup dates (if there's budget.) That corrects for picture edit changes, previously unapproved cues or scenes that have been in limbo, even re-thinking how a cue was recorded the first time. There are a lot of "clients" for a film score: composer, director(s) and producer(s). Even focus group screenings can change things (so in essence, suburban moms.)

And timelines are much shorter -- scoring, mixing, and delivering to the film dub stage happens in days. Not multiple weeks or months. I think some here have a grandiose idea of how much film producers budget for music (which keeps getting smaller.) And how much time is given (music and VFX/colour grading are the ones that get the shaft in post-production schedules)

As for number of mics, the most I've seen used is one per desk for strings though it is common (and I do it too) for a mic per woodwind player. But strings are almost always by section spots (vln1, vln2, etc.) The one per desk was for a special use where the recording was going to be manipulated -- not the least bit for a true orchestral sound. Horns often get mic'd front and back. Other brass usually per section. Harp depends on placement but two isn't unheard of. Piano, multiple mics -- could be all on its own pass on the main stage or in a booth too. Percussion is a free-for-all on mics
thx for some insight! - does decca predominantly get used as a main system? a word on the balance between mains and spots? what cue systems? with separate engineer or under musician's/section's control?
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #75
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I'm surprised Behringer or 747 hasn't given us an M50 lookalike by now....they're obviously not watching the EBay prices for used specimens, and have severely underestimated the potential demand. It does still have be working within spec 5 years from now, and not break down on the job, however....maybe that's the hurdle ?

An end to global warming, war and poverty/hunger worldwide...sane, visionary, responsible political leaders ...and a new M50....that's what the world needs now ! Apologies for the levity, I probably require a kick in the gravitas instead...
Has Behringer made any high quality mics? Not trying to be funny, I'm just not aware of anything they've made that i would want to use mic-wise. On another note, I keep hearing about the Line Audio CM3. Does anyone have experience with it? It's hard to believe a mic that cheap could be any good
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #76
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by session bass ➡️
Has Behringer made any high quality mics? Not trying to be funny, I'm just not aware of anything they've made that i would want to use mic-wise. On another note, I keep hearing about the Line Audio CM3. Does anyone have experience with it? It's hard to believe a mic that cheap could be any good
CM3 - really THAT good?

I will not use the CM-3 as main because I have other options, but I have 8 CM-3 that I use as spot microphones (especially on the woodwinds) on symphonic recording sessions and they really do the job. I tried also on strings but, to my taste, the Schoeps MK22 are better for this purpose.

Fred.
Old 14th January 2019
  #77
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🎧 10 years
Pentagon has painted a very detailed and accurate picture of how film scoring goes down these days. At least how it goes down in LA. I personally prefer a more traditionalist approach with all players in the room at the same time, but at this point in time, as he suggested - anything goes. We live in a hybrid world now with synths, sampled percussion, and orchestral samples being mixed in with the "real" orchestra almost all the time.

Personally, when mixing, the decca and outriggers are usually 80% of my orchestral "sound". The close mics (usually one per stand as Pentagon mentioned) are there to "chase" inner lines that may not be speaking as they should had there been rehearsal time. Samples are used and blended in all the time for chase scenes or fast cues. Romantic cues with broad sweeping lines will hopefully be real orchestra only, but even then, sometimes there are samples for "definition".

It's a different world than 1983....

Interesting discussion. I enjoyed it. Thanks to all....

bp
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #78
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
thx for some insight! - does decca predominantly get used as a main system? a word on the balance between mains and spots? what cue systems? with separate engineer or under musician's/section's control?
Yes, decca primarily as mains
Balance is almost all decca + outriggers (+ surround) with spots brought up only to “fix” the mix or to deliver something film relevant. (I think a lot of people here are forgetting “film score” is about the film and not the score. And balances shift when the underscore is mixed lower to picture.)
Cue systems are almost all a second mix desk on the stage floor: feed from control room mix desk’s live mix/additional passes, ProTools layback/backing track system of multiple stems (can be a second system separate from the record system), click from a click generator.
Mixed by an engineer sitting at that headphone mix desk. Both players and the control room will give instructions to that person for what mix to send to the players. And there are multiple headphone mixes sent out depending on what stage (sometimes each section is given options, sometimes it’s just conductor vs players). Talkback systems from CR to the stage are multiple (conductor only, everyone, players only, headphone mixer) - levels for that also managed by the headphone mixer. Depending on the stage, ancillary rooms will also have talkback (usually where copyists may be sitting)

Last edited by pentagon; 14th January 2019 at 08:13 PM.. Reason: clarity
Old 14th January 2019
  #79
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PS - for scoring stages, M50's are king. Decca + Outriggers + Surrounds (if you can round up enough of them).
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #80
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🎧 5 years
interesting...

i've never recorded or mixed scores (except that some music i recorded/mixed got used in a few small films) - however, i have been using decca within the last 35 years every now and then (mostly on the request of producers) and even got to compare it a few times with other main mic systems: unless i could make use of the mid mic routing it to the central channel for dvd-a release (which remains questionable though), i did not like it better than other systems including soundfield mics, and certainly not when downmixed to stereo - to my ears, decca is a very capable l/C/r system (with a capital C!) and beyond (surround), but i mostly favour coincident mics as mains...
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #81
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"I have heard the best orchestral recordings on the big screen."

Really? Flat, lifeless, sterile, room-less, yes. "Best"? No!

Just my $.02 and worth all of it.

Oh well, if loud and bombastic make it "best", maybe.

D
Old 14th January 2019 | Show parent
  #82
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Yannick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
"I have heard the best orchestral recordings on the big screen."

Really? Flat, lifeless, sterile, room-less, yes. "Best"? No!

Just my $.02 and worth all of it.

Oh well, if loud and bombastic make it "best", maybe.

D
Vertigo sounds quite nice, even without the movie in my mastering room. I was swiped off my feet by both the movie and the music when I saw the restored version.

Habla con ella has a scene outside on a terras, with live music playing, the image is deliberately not matching the non musicians who are acting to be playing the music. Weird, because Almodovar could have used the genuine musicians. But the recording in itself is one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever experienced in my life.

My point exactly is what you are saying Tourtelot, there is no reason to have bad sound in a contemporary movie, not even in a blockbuster for that matter. If the music must be subdued by the action or the gun blasts, the score should have been different in the first place. But maybe that belongs in another forum...

It brings to mind the anecdote about the original music for 2001...
Old 15th January 2019 | Show parent
  #83
Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern ➡️
CM3 - really THAT good?

I will not use the CM-3 as main because I have other options, but I have 8 CM-3 that I use as spot microphones (especially on the woodwinds) on symphonic recording sessions and they really do the job. I tried also on strings but, to my taste, the Schoeps MK22 are better for this purpose.

Fred.
Wow, no kidding. Thanks for letting me know Fred, heard a lot of good things about them but couldn't believe the price. I'll definitely check out that thread, thanks for sharing it and your opinions.

Any other low priced/high quality mics worth picking up? Would love to hear of them
Old 15th January 2019 | Show parent
  #84
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🎧 10 years
There is a huge thread on the CM3. They are that good...for the cash. Not for right close up. they like a bit of space vs other mics.
Old 15th January 2019 | Show parent
  #85
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elpillo ➡️
When recording a quartet, has anybody tried 2 mics as spots per instrument (+main pair)?

Not long ago I heard from an engineer that the she uses 2 spot mics instead of one per instrument: she uses one as the "main spot" and the other she pans it to the opposite side with lower volume to "open up" the stereo image. I'll try it next opportunity I have.
No, there is no reason for it. I would call your cited engineer a janitor.
Old 15th January 2019 | Show parent
  #86
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
No, there is no reason for it. I would call your cited engineer a janitor.
Richard King used stereo omni spots in the YoYo Ma Goat Rodeo Sessions cited above.... I'd call him a Master of Hydrology before I labelled him a janitor....
Old 15th January 2019 | Show parent
  #87
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🎧 15 years
Last sting quartet I did was with two mkh30 as room mic, double MS mkh800twin/mkh30 main mic, royer sf1 low beneath the stands pointing to the sides of the bodies and MKH80 on fig eight behind and above the players head.

Depending on the repertoire, the low mics were almost off, to a bit mixed in. The high spots behind the players were quite prominent in the mix.

The finished cd sounds like it has been recorded with just a main pair, all spots were time aligned.
Old 15th January 2019 | Show parent
  #88
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick ➡️
Last sting quartet I did was with two mkh30 as room mic, double MS mkh800twin/mkh30 main mic, royer sf1 low beneath the stands pointing to the sides of the bodies and MKH80 on fig eight behind and above the players head.

Depending on the repertoire, the low mics were almost off, to a bit mixed in. The high spots behind the players were quite prominent in the mix.

The finished cd sounds like it has been recorded with just a main pair, all spots were time aligned.
Interesting! I really enjoy this forum for this kind of post, where I can imagine the SE trying new things, new mics, new technics instead of the opposite way.
Thanks Yannick for sharing.

Fred.
Old 15th January 2019 | Show parent
  #89
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🎧 15 years
I could add the second secret ingredient, besides time alignment.
Convolution reverb. I use a send on the spots to a convolution reverb, with mainly predelays/early reflections. Another send for the diffuse tail, which can also be used on the main mic.

Even when I am recording in a really good hall. Ime you really need those early reflections on the spots. The icing on the cake is to sample the really good hall yourself and use that for the reverb.

I use these very same techniques on orchestral recordings. It keeps the solo mic from becoming alien to the orchestra. It blends in the spots.

A third rule I have for orchestral recording (or chamber music) is to have the solo part too soft in the main mic (if you are 100% sure you need a spot mic). This often does not work live. It involves creative setups. But in controlled situations, having the soloist too soft in the main pickup, can make for a glorious sounding spot mic (stereo), that isn't fighting with the mains. No imaging ghosting, no cimb filtering.
Old 15th January 2019 | Show parent
  #90
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5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
Richard King used stereo omni spots in the YoYo Ma Goat Rodeo Sessions cited above.... I'd call him a Master of Hydrology before I labelled him a janitor....
My post responded to a poster citing a janitor who suggested the string quartet be miced with a main pair and then two spot mics on each instrument. This same janitor then supposedly suggested blurring the stereo picture by panning the left side to the right and the right side to the left.

A janitor might suggest that.

King made a spot pick-up (at distance) with a stereo set up.

Not at all the same.
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