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Pipe organ recording equipment and technique
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #181
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maestro's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
Shelves are helpful when placement is compromised, or the room is balanced in a way that doesn’t record well (organ can be tuned very bass heavy , which can sound fine to our ears but not through the mics, and not in a way that can be easily mitigated by changing mic or placement. My experience anyways).

The HF shelf can be useful, but can also bring out mic or room noise problems. Using multiple complementary pairs can be useful too in flattering louder or softer parts of the instrument and mitigating mechanical or room problems in a way that A single pair alone can’t always.
Thank you for this. While I do own 4006s and other suitable equipment I recently recorded a hymn for Solo Tenor and Pipe Organ using a Zoom H6. I also connected an AKG414 to spot Tenor. Just listening to my 'mix' the low end sounds a bit on the boomy side (Zoom was beside the Organ console and pipes). Will I bypass under 100hz?
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #182
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro ➡️
Thank you for this. While I do own 4006s and other suitable equipment I recently recorded a hymn for Solo Tenor and Pipe Organ using a Zoom H6. I also connected an AKG414 to spot Tenor. Just listening to my 'mix' the low end sounds a bit on the boomy side (Zoom was beside the Organ console and pipes). Will I bypass under 100hz?
If you had put a finger in one ear and listened only with the other and put your head in the place where the mikes are, likely it would have sounded boomy, and likely this is because there were standing waves in the room (because there always are) and you are listening at a place which is a peak at some frequency.

You don't want a shelf for this so much as a very wide peaking filter. Set the filter fairly narrow, say a Q of maybe 2, and set it to boost as far as it will go. Now, sweep it back and forth until you can make the boom as awful as possible... your goal is to find the center frequency at first. Once you know that, now go from boost to cut. Slowly increase the cut and make the filter wider until it sounds right. Then do a little less than you really need.

Another important thing here is that the filters on both channels match perfectly. This is easy to do in the digital world, but a major pain to do in the analogue world. Even though I sell a great equalizer, it's not the right tool for this job because you can't get precise enough channel matching easily.

Equalization for stuff like this is mostly a salvage job... better to find the right place for the mike in the first place. But sometimes the right place for the mike is blocking a TV camera or causes you to lose a paying seat in the front row and when that happens you use eq. And sometimes you're working fast and don't notice until you get home.

Oh yeah, also... don't equalize unless you really, really trust your monitors. Because you can make things worse....
--scott
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #183
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maestro's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Some fantastic advice there, thank you! I will try your EQing tip.

Monitors and room are fairly good except I don't hear the full low end picture. Listening back to mix on iPhone, tablet, laptop etc it sounds really good (well for me!) but on quality headphones and Bose Bluetooth speaker it has a fair amount of bass, too much i guess.

100% agree re mic placement. I was a little rushed on this occasion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
If you had put a finger in one ear and listened only with the other and put your head in the place where the mikes are, likely it would have sounded boomy, and likely this is because there were standing waves in the room (because there always are) and you are listening at a place which is a peak at some frequency.

You don't want a shelf for this so much as a very wide peaking filter. Set the filter fairly narrow, say a Q of maybe 2, and set it to boost as far as it will go. Now, sweep it back and forth until you can make the boom as awful as possible... your goal is to find the center frequency at first. Once you know that, now go from boost to cut. Slowly increase the cut and make the filter wider until it sounds right. Then do a little less than you really need.

Another important thing here is that the filters on both channels match perfectly. This is easy to do in the digital world, but a major pain to do in the analogue world. Even though I sell a great equalizer, it's not the right tool for this job because you can't get precise enough channel matching easily.

Equalization for stuff like this is mostly a salvage job... better to find the right place for the mike in the first place. But sometimes the right place for the mike is blocking a TV camera or causes you to lose a paying seat in the front row and when that happens you use eq. And sometimes you're working fast and don't notice until you get home.

Oh yeah, also... don't equalize unless you really, really trust your monitors. Because you can make things worse....
--scott
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #184
Gear Nut
 
Can someone explain why so many pipe organ recordings are done with wiiiide AB (many feet apart)? Why would one want to record anything with such a huge hole in the middle? I do a lot of my listening with headphones, and these recordings are so phasey and empty in the middle they are actually unpleasant to listen to. On speakers, all the sound is to the far left and right, with nothing happening between them. Why wouldn't you want it to sound as though you were there in the church?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #185
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Peter Allison's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
Can someone explain why so many pipe organ recordings are done with wiiiide AB (many feet apart)? Why would one want to record anything with such a huge hole in the middle? I do a lot of my listening with headphones, and these recordings are so phasey and empty in the middle they are actually unpleasant to listen to. On speakers, all the sound is to the far left and right, with nothing happening between them. Why wouldn't you want it to sound as though you were there in the church?
Probably as they do not know what they are doing. Ha ha ha
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #186
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
...possibly because depth is a bit more difficult to achieve than width (and they simply do not know what they are doing)?

[i truly hate listening on headphones - if i have to, i do it only for short time span/as long as absolutely needed; to judge the width of a mix and for hearing a more natural stereo soundfield, i'm using a crossfeed matrix and therefore drag a spl phonitor mini to location recordings (which gets fed from the afl/monitor bus)]


Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
Can someone explain why so many pipe organ recordings are done with wiiiide AB (many feet apart)? Why would one want to record anything with such a huge hole in the middle? I do a lot of my listening with headphones, and these recordings are so phasey and empty in the middle they are actually unpleasant to listen to. On speakers, all the sound is to the far left and right, with nothing happening between them. Why wouldn't you want it to sound as though you were there in the church?

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 weeks ago at 01:34 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 3 weeks ago
  #187
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Most any pipeorgan recording in NL is monitored on cans; perhaps the shortcomings in (wide) AB are not so obvious there.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #188
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
Can someone explain why so many pipe organ recordings are done with wiiiide AB (many feet apart)? Why would one want to record anything with such a huge hole in the middle? I do a lot of my listening with headphones, and these recordings are so phasey and empty in the middle they are actually unpleasant to listen to. On speakers, all the sound is to the far left and right, with nothing happening between them. Why wouldn't you want it to sound as though you were there in the church?

Many organ CD recordings are made by engineers who are either hobby-ists (small labels) or experienced professional engineers recording all sorts of classical music, but organ only so once in a while. (larger labels).

To make good organ recordings you need to specialize and do it often. Even recordings that sound OK for most of us, can sound for the expert organist/organ builder wrong, simply because of balance reasons and typical organ like things that only the experts in that field recognise.


Spacing between microphones is very much depending on the organ type, the location and how the organ is placed in the room. There are organs that sound pretty natural as in the room with spacings up to 3 meters or more without any hole in the middle, and there are organs where 80 to 100 cm just works out fine, going wider causes problems.

In general I think A-B recordings are made with much smaller spacings today than e.g in the 1970s and 1980s. I can remember when B&K (DPA) came on the market with their 4000 stereo set including the expensive microphone bar of only 80cm. We made jokes that B&K chose for that length so it could fit into the Samsonite case that was supplied with it. In the old days we never went smaller than 1 meter with A-B, only then when Manfrotto came with their small stereo-bar, some of my collegues began using it.

Even after 40 years I still am searching for the set-up to make the organ sound like it sounds in real, but I found out that is hard or maybe even impossible.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #189
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Moreso than with any other acoustic instrument, with organ you are inevitably accepting that the sound it generates is inextricably associated with the space it is located in ?

Therefore you are not recording the instrument per se...but the hall, church or cathedral that houses it. Hence miking technique is dictated by such factors as avoidance of frequency/level nulls and peaks, and seeking an even-ness of tone and ambience.

You'll thus do whatever is necessary (in mic placement terms) to attain this 'ideal blend'...and simple mic spacing parameters alone are no determinant of stereo width integrity. As Orgeltonmeister has outlined above, each location is unique in this regard, and requires its own approach.

A somewhat too-wide headphone image usually confers a stereo speaker image which is about right, in width and 'solidity of centre image' terms.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #190
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
This is all great info, thank for sharing.

When you’re hired to make an organ recording, how do you approach planning for the project? Do you have any go-to setups you start with based on instrument type/placement/room/etc? And what mics do you prefer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister ➡️
Many organ CD recordings are made by engineers who are either hobby-ists (small labels) or experienced professional engineers recording all sorts of classical music, but organ only so once in a while. (larger labels).

To make good organ recordings you need to specialize and do it often. Even recordings that sound OK for most of us, can sound for the expert organist/organ builder wrong, simply because of balance reasons and typical organ like things that only the experts in that field recognise.


Spacing between microphones is very much depending on the organ type, the location and how the organ is placed in the room. There are organs that sound pretty natural as in the room with spacings up to 3 meters or more without any hole in the middle, and there are organs where 80 to 100 cm just works out fine, going wider causes problems.

In general I think A-B recordings are made with much smaller spacings today than e.g in the 1970s and 1980s. I can remember when B&K (DPA) came on the market with their 4000 stereo set including the expensive microphone bar of only 80cm. We made jokes that B&K chose for that length so it could fit into the Samsonite case that was supplied with it. In the old days we never went smaller than 1 meter with A-B, only then when Manfrotto came with their small stereo-bar, some of my collegues began using it.

Even after 40 years I still am searching for the set-up to make the organ sound like it sounds in real, but I found out that is hard or maybe even impossible.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #191
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
This is all great info, thank for sharing.

When you’re hired to make an organ recording, how do you approach planning for the project? Do you have any go-to setups you start with based on instrument type/placement/room/etc? And what mics do you prefer?
It's been a while... but if I went out today, I'd have pairs of omnis (Gefell, DPA) and cardioids (MKH8040, CM3, TLM193) and a fig.8 (AT4050) and, on "soundcheck day" (in a "session" scenario) we'd listen, test, listen to the test, move around, rinse and repeat. If it's a church service or one-off performance with no soundcheck, a pair of A/B omnis where my ears and gut say "here".

Here's a similar situation... I was hired to do the audio capture for two "live streamed Covid-seated" (50 people in a 300-seat room) events at a local church. The organ (a lovely Schanz) is built into the back wall, balcony, of the church, a typical long, narrow design, with a shallow choir loft and the console in the balcony, tall ceiling, "deep" altar. The balcony "shadowed" half the floor from direct view of the organ. During a short sound check the first day (of the two), the organist played the attached piece (the most "vigorous" on the program) and I started walking backward down the center aisle and stopped at about 2/3, where the sound "came together" in my ears. Gefells were located 11' up (able to "see" the entire organ) and just inside the pew on either side. The chain was pretty simple... Gefells into a Mackie Onyx 1220 (also sending to the BMD switcher/recorder) and tracked into a Logic session. The MP3 was pulled from the "live" timeline with very little EQ (some high-pass to diminish street noise... a major urban thoroughfare 30m from the exterior wall behind the organ) and no other processing. It's a bit "wide" in cans, but not nearly so from the AR9s in the living room.
Attached Files

Last edited by hbphotoav; 2 weeks ago at 04:51 PM.. Reason: Added example...
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #192
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Organtonmeister is spot on, thanks for your contribution!

I do a fair amount of organs and sometimes I can't get an organ to sound good because the room where it resides is horrible.

My go-to technique is usually 2 omni's in AB of 80-ish cm. When the situation allows (or asks) more, two additional omni's go deep in the church.

The video below (eq'd and compressed for YouTube) is recorded with just the two 4006's (modified by Rens Heijnis). I think this sounds really good and does the magnificent organ (and church!!) complete justice.

Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #193
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdeboer ➡️
Organtonmeister is spot on, thanks for your contribution!

I do a fair amount of organs and sometimes I can't get an organ to sound good because the room where it resides is horrible.

My go-to technique is usually 2 omni's in AB of 80-ish cm. When the situation allows (or asks) more, two additional omni's go deep in the church.

The video below (eq'd and compressed for YouTube) is recorded with just the two 4006's (modified by Rens Heijnis). I think this sounds really good and does the magnificent organ (and church!!) complete justice.

Magnificent ! sound and interpretation.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #194
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Wolfgang Rübsam taught me to use spaced cardioid mics for organ recording. Really works well.

Some close and some far, blended together.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #195
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Wolfgang Rübsam taught me to use spaced cardioid mics for organ recording. Really works well.

Some close and some far, blended together.
Is there an exact preferred spacing or range that usually works?

Any differences between front and back pair?

What about wide cardioids?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #196
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Close pair is Schoeps mk4 cardioid. Spacing can vary from 6 feet apart to 15 feet apart.
Then distant mics are usually Schoeps mk21 wide cardioid. (Sometimes rear facing)

Almost all of the Naxos Organ Encyclopedia releases are done this way.
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