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Mixing Opera Vocals questions (Netrebko/Deutsche Grammophon)
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Mixing Opera Vocals questions (Netrebko/Deutsche Grammophon)

I've been watching this video of Anna Netrebko and Elīna Garanča with a choir and orchestra by Deutsche Grammophon:

https://youtu.be/0u0M4CMq7uI?t=116


Netrebko and Garanča each have their own stereo pair of mics right over their music stands (visible at 2:38). I see this on a lot of female opera singers in classic studio (non-live) recordings.

-How is it mixed so that the stereo image doesn't move when they turn side-to-side?

-If you had to guess, how much is solo-stereo-spot and how much of the mix is mains?

-How is it that comb filtering isn't a problem with the stereo vocal spots?

-Does anyone recognize the mics? I often recognize TLM170's or 193's on sopranos in this configuration (presumably set to cardioid), but don't recognize these.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
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Most times the two microphones are NOT used together. They are two in number in case something goes wrong with one of the microphones OR one microphone could be feeding the house sound and one feeding the recording van. The same goes for the mics in front of a world leader. Both are never used together but one is a spare. FWIW
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Micing singers in stereo is an excellent option because when the mix is done, one can pan the singers somewhat left and right in the stereo picture and "float" their voices without it sounding "pasted on" and in your face.

For example for Garanča, her mics are panned at 8 o'clock and 10 o'clock, floating here voice to the left of the stereo picture. Likewise, Netrebko gets her mics panned at 5 o'clock and 2 o'clock--her voice ending up "floated" on the RT.

It is always desirable to mic in stereo.

There is no comb filtering because the two mics are not combined on top of each other. They occupy separate spaces in the stereo picture.

You're right that there is a mixture of mains and stereo spots, especially in concerts (which this is not). In sessions, any mixture of the two set ups is used. There is no set convention.

This video contains recorded audio that has been Eq'ed, reverbed, and post-produced complete with dynamic range control.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
Most times the two microphones are NOT used together. They are two in number in case something goes wrong with one of the microphones OR one microphone could be feeding the house sound and one feeding the recording van. The same goes for the mics in front of a world leader. Both are never used together but one is a spare. FWIW
See Plush on video addressing this..from 7:28 https://youtu.be/CkbkoP8tCMk
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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fred2bern's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Sennheiser MKH80
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #6
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unless the soloist moves a lot and except for redundancy, there is zero technical or aesthetic need for using two mics as spots on physically small sound sources - and of course there are subtle amounts of phase cancellation with all but coincident mic systems; they can get perceived as pleasing though.

every technique comes at a price and the choice depends on production style/mixing skills - one can however very well 'fake' the effect of using two mics...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 10:28 PM.. Reason: wording
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
The spot mics blend so well in the mix, the end of the passage is beautiful.

Would you then guess, that the Sennheiser MKH80 are in omni-mode?


bojan
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #8
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
unless the soloist moves a lot and except for redundancy, there is zero technical or aesthetic need for using two mics as spots on physically small sound sources - and of course there are subtle amounts of phase cancellation with all but coincident mic systems; they can get perceived as pleasing though.
I just noticed that the new Decca book devotes most of their chapter on classical voice to the two-vocal-spot (stereo spot) technique. They say 8-12" spacing panned 70-90%.

But *almost* every soprano I have seen moves their head left or right when they get to a 'passionate' part, which was a problem whenever I tried this technique, but I never hear much left-to-right shift in pro's final tracks, so I really wonder about the mixing.

For example, here's Patricia Petibon with a stereo spot pair of TLM193 or TLM170 maybe? *Lots* of head turning when the queen of the night hits those high's (see 2:19 or the ending), but I don't hear it too much in the mix!

https://youtu.be/CodvdRTX8zo
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bojan_1 ➡️
The spot mics blend so well in the mix, the end of the passage is beautiful.

Would you then guess, that the Sennheiser MKH80 are in omni-mode?


bojan
^^ I would love to know---I was thinking about looking for a pair of TLM193 (cardioid only) to try the soprano stereo spot technique with, but that plan doesn't work if omni's are the go-to choice here...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tessitura ➡️
I just noticed that the new Decca book devotes most of their chapter on classical voice to the two-vocal-spot (stereo spot) technique. They say 8-12" spacing panned 70-90%.

But *almost* every soprano I have seen moves their head left or right when they get to a 'passionate' part, which was a problem whenever I tried this technique, but I never hear much left-to-right shift in pro's final tracks, so I really wonder about the mixing.

For example, here's Patricia Petibon with a stereo spot pair of TLM193 or TLM170 maybe? *Lots* of head turning when the queen of the night hits those high's (see 2:19 or the ending), but I don't hear it too much in the mix!

https://youtu.be/CodvdRTX8zo
cannot comment (much) on this issue as the perceived shift in the stereo soundfield is one of several reasons why i'm NOT using widely spaced stereo spots if i don't have to (and certainly no wide panning either) - i do occasionally use two mics at a different distance but these can easily (and perfectly) get aligned to each other and then used (or blended) as needed.

now on the example you posted, the mics are not spaced very widely and i doubt they were panned as wide as the decca engineers suggested...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 01:10 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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fred2bern's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I always spot singers with 2 microphones. After several tests I have always found that this technique mixes more naturally than a mono spot.

Once more, my taste.

The singer is in the center of the orchestra, in front of the conductor. Singers appreciate to be there because music is played all around them, they feel comfortable. There is not a lot of spots in the mix because the singer is most of time not so far away from the C of the Decca tree.

I use 2 Neumann TLM170 or 2 M149, in cardio, spaced a bit shorter than left to right shoulder distance, pointing straight forward.
I also have MKH80s, never had the possibility to A/B on a male voice. But on Mezzo or Soprano, the Neumann always won the game.

It looks like the Petibon Youtube link above.
By the way I'm very surprised how she looks to the score. She should know this by heart and just give a look at the score to check the bar numbers to know where to start again... But that's another subject.

Fred.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #13
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
See Plush on video addressing this..from 7:28 https://youtu.be/CkbkoP8tCMk
I don't do multi-track recordings. I do direct to two track stereo. I have tried the stereo miking of a singer and don't find it a good solution. The singer seems to swim in the mix which I don't find enjoyable or true to life. Everyone has their own approach and there is "no one way fits all". If Hudson does it and it works for him and his clients then...GREAT! My clients seem to like my way of working.

FWIW
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
I don't do multi-track recordings. I do direct to two track stereo. I have tried the stereo miking of a singer and don't find it a good solution. The singer seems to swim in the mix which I don't find enjoyable or true to life. Everyone has their own approach and there is "no one way fits all". If Hudson does it and it works for him and his clients then...GREAT! My clients seem to like my way of working.

FWIW
i do use lots of mics and tracks but i consider using stereo mic setups on soloists to be a waste of resources - makes me wonder though what people who are into it do when working with four our five singers? still using two mics on each? and how about other spots? also each instrument getting double spots?!

i haven't ever seen anyone using dual mics on tom-toms, hats, rides etc. and only very, very rarely on a snare (to get a wide stereo image when using brushes without using efx).

i do get the point that 'processing power' aka any means to affect the signals were rather limited in the middle of the last century - not so much in 2021...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 15 years
this too, really great, thank you! Did you record it, studer58? Chapeau!

What are the spot mics here?

My question, if the mics are in omni-mode referred to the thought, that the discussed stereo issues with tilted singing directions would be less problematic.

bojan

PS Fred, I could imagine, that the singers have added phrasing and dynamics during the rehearsal right before the recording, this would explain the reading, that you critize, wouldn't it?
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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fred2bern's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
It is not a question of imposing one technique on another, but of sharing an experience.
I never wrote that it's the only way to do it, just that it's my taste but also my soloists'

I really think that it is a matter of taste, but also of knowing how to do it, and of being able to hear the difference.

Then you can choose.

There are a lot of producers who record this way for DGG, Decca, Warner etc., with big names, and I find it hard to believe that everyone is deaf.

It is therefore one option some choose over another.

However, there are also excellent recordings with just one microphone, even for these big labels, I totaly agree.

Fred.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bojan_1 ➡️
this too, really great, thank you! Did you record it, studer58? Chapeau!

What are the spot mics here?

My question, if the mics are in omni-mode referred to the thought, that the discussed stereo issues with tilted singing directions would be less problematic.

bojan

PS Fred, I could imagine, that the singers have added phrasing and dynamics during the rehearsal right before the recording, this would explain the reading, that you critize, wouldn't it?
No, this is a pair of videos from Warner Classics ...major record label, originally US based. I'm not sure what the spot mics here are...reasonably safe to assume they are "very expensive German LD condensors"
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
I don't do multi-track recordings. I do direct to two track stereo. I have tried the stereo miking of a singer and don't find it a good solution. The singer seems to swim in the mix which I don't find enjoyable or true to life. Everyone has their own approach and there is "no one way fits all". If Hudson does it and it works for him and his clients then...GREAT! My clients seem to like my way of working.

FWIW
It's not only Hudson's method...it seems to be standard major-label voice miking in the studio, for CD release. Not just Decca either, although it's outlined in great detail in "the Decca Bible" released earlier this year, discussed in the relevant thread in this forum.

Nobody's insisting you change your methods Tom...just be assured it's not an 'oddball freak thing" either, however....

https://youtu.be/IvEXDwnqBJ4
https://youtu.be/gMO0KFL3E58

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 05:04 PM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
It's not only Hudson's method...it seems to be standard major-label voice miking in the studio, for CD release. Not just Decca either, although it's outlined in great detail in "the Decca Bible" released earlier this year, discussed in the relevant thread in this forum.

Nobody's insisting you change your methods Tom...just be assured it's not an 'oddball freak thing" either, however....

https://youtu.be/IvEXDwnqBJ4
https://youtu.be/gMO0KFL3E58
I believe the first video shows a double Pavarotti mic, which is not for stereo but rather "one for recording and one for the audience", or just one for backup.

The second video with Sabine Devieilhe is very interesting---what on earth is the third spot mic with the round capsule area sticking up between the stereo spots?

Also, do people familiar with this technique do cardioid or omni patterns? Decca's book doesn't go into detail there---it seems like cardioid is standard but I really wonder if omni (or wide cardioid TLM170's at least) would mix easier.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tessitura ➡️
The second video with Sabine Devieilhe is very interesting---what on earth is the third spot mic with the round capsule area sticking up between the stereo spots
I don’t think it’s between the spots’ , that’s a perspective trick of film...notice that it’s out of focus, so either well in front of or behind the singer, probably for woodwind or percussion?
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I don’t think it’s between the spots’ , that’s a perspective trick of film...notice that it’s out of focus, so either well in front of or behind the singer, probably for woodwind or percussion?
Behind is the spot for flutes.
It could be a Violet Design "The Globe", vintage edition.
http://www.violet-design.com/globe
Attached Thumbnails
Mixing Opera Vocals questions (Netrebko/Deutsche Grammophon)-ww-spots.jpg  

Last edited by fred2bern; 6 days ago at 11:10 AM..
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #22
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bojan_1 ➡️
Would you then guess, that the Sennheiser MKH80 are in omni-mode?
bojan
Just found one answer from the new Decca Book in the section on Classical Voice & Piano duo:

"Using omnis or wide cardioids would undoubtedly produce a good vocal sound but they will pick up too much piano, and it will be difficult to use fader movements to keep the singer supported at all times without noticeably changing the piano sound."

So at least Decca's engineers prefer a stereo spot pair of cardioids or ribbons on the voice + a pair of omni's on the tail of the piano.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern ➡️
Behind is the spot for flutes.
I tcould be a Violet Design "The Globe".
http://www.violet-design.com/globe
They're all over the place, as shown in your pic...must be a favoured winds spot !
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #24
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
It's not only Hudson's method...it seems to be standard major-label voice miking in the studio, for CD release. Not just Decca either, although it's outlined in great detail in "the Decca Bible" released earlier this year, discussed in the relevant thread in this forum.

Nobody's insisting you change your methods Tom...just be assured it's not an 'oddball freak thing" either, however....

https://youtu.be/IvEXDwnqBJ4
https://youtu.be/gMO0KFL3E58
Since I am not doing much remote recording due to COVID-19 restrictions it is probably a moot point.
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
Since I am not doing much remote recording due to COVID-19 restrictions it is probably a moot point.
Berlage Saxophone Quartet, recording with Alpha Classics recently: 'On the third day of recording of LUDWIG's Ballroom album we proudly present our third soloist: the amazing Barbara Hannigan !'
Photography:@anneliesvandervegt

But..this looks like a Schoeps M-S spot pair on her voice: seems to be 2 shiny xlr plugs and a pair of cables where they exit near the stand/base ?

https://youtu.be/lXHSKfrZFTg
Attached Thumbnails
Mixing Opera Vocals questions (Netrebko/Deutsche Grammophon)-barbara-hannigan-2.jpg   Mixing Opera Vocals questions (Netrebko/Deutsche Grammophon)-barbara-hannigan-3.jpg   Mixing Opera Vocals questions (Netrebko/Deutsche Grammophon)-barbara-hannigan.jpg  

Last edited by studer58; 3 days ago at 04:28 PM..
Old 1 day ago | Show parent
  #26
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
Berlage Saxophone Quartet, recording with Alpha Classics recently: 'On the third day of recording of LUDWIG's Ballroom album we proudly present our third soloist: the amazing Barbara Hannigan !'
Photography:@anneliesvandervegt

But..this looks like a Schoeps M-S spot pair on her voice: seems to be 2 shiny xlr plugs and a pair of cables where they exit near the stand/base ?

https://youtu.be/lXHSKfrZFTg

Looks like a stereo and mono microphone setup for the singer. Piano lid is off which is not normal for this type of recording. I really like the microphone support system, I wonder if it is custom or commercially available???

Thanks for sharing...
Old 1 day ago | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
Looks like a stereo and mono microphone setup for the singer. Piano lid is off which is not normal for this type of recording. I really like the microphone support system, I wonder if it is custom or commercially available???

Thanks for sharing...
It looks like standard Manfrotto mounting hardware, not sure about the short stereo bar linking the stereo spot pair...just a 6-8" spacer bar you'd find in any music accessory shop
Old 1 day ago | Show parent
  #28
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
Looks like a stereo and mono microphone setup for the singer. Piano lid is off which is not normal for this type of recording. I really like the microphone support system, I wonder if it is custom or commercially available???

Thanks for sharing...
Manfrotto 154B (or actually two Manfrotto 154b's):

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ne_Holder.html

I have a pair and really like them, as you can rotate each mic independently both left/right (via the gold pin) and up/down (by rotating the mic mount on the bar).

I don't recognize any of the mics in the photo---they look too 'round' to be Neumann?
Old 1 day ago
  #29
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🎧 10 years
Not quite opera...but close enough ?

CM3 as mono voice spot in this video...and you can hear it as a 'blob' in what's otherwise a stereo field created by the overhead AB omni main pair...not terrible, just not all it could have been...

One of those situations where an XY or close/parallel AB CM3 pair would have made a much better voice spot !

I know it looks like the voice spot is being obscured by her music stand, but it was in fact far enough forward to get a relatively clear input !

https://www.facebook.com/bethany.ann...72641552965511

Last edited by studer58; 1 day ago at 05:37 PM..
Old 1 day ago | Show parent
  #30
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tessitura ➡️
I don't recognize any of the mics in the photo---they look too 'round' to be Neumann?
The fat black one in the center looks like the Josephson C716 and the two on the sides have a strong similarity to Gonzo Audio XL67. (Gonzo is an obscure audio delicatessen manufacturer in the Netherlands, only known in small studio circles and producing very affordable microphones. A one man operation, born out of sheer electronics perfectionism. http://gonzoaudio.nl)

The Berlage Saxophone Quartet is Netherlands based (named after the famous "Amsterdam School" architect Berlage) and the recording that the pictures are from is most likely a Dutch or Belgian event as well, so a pair of Gonzo mics would not be too strange there.
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