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Singer playing piano: fig 8 or supercard?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #31
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
I expect the lid to be fully open, as the classically-trained soprano who is the main focus of the recording (the pianist will only be joining her in a few of the pcs) is used to that. Plus, the music being recorded was originally written for orch accompaniment, so a large sound from the piano will be wanted.

Whether card or fig 8, a placement somewhat behind the lid, as you suggest, would also keep more of the soprano out of the pianist's mic.
If its a session and not a concert, why does the soprano even have to be on the open lid side of the piano ? The other side of the lid is a valid location for a singer, as per Tryygvi's Decca recommendation, for greater isolation from the piano.

Fig. 14.8a, page 11 and associated text...although 14.8b is less likely to frighten people with iconoclasticism...and give damn good eye contact between pianist and singer, plus you get your Decca tail mics retained ! Of course, with 14.8a, rather than the Tree as shown, you'd simply use a single voice mic (or small-spaced cardioid pair) .....as in 14.8b


As he explains....
"In the case of music involving a piano with other instruments, it may be difficult to control the powerful piano sound in relation to the other instru- ments. If there are several other instruments, such as in a piano quintet, the arrangement shown in Fig. 14.8a is safest, presenting the dead side of the piano to the omni-directional trio on the strings. If, however, there is only one other instrument, the arrangement in Fig. 14.8b is more satisfactory. It is possible to use a pair of cardioid spot microphones on such an instru- ment, discriminating against the piano to some extent. With a little care, adequate separation may be achieved, the omni-directional pair on the piano providing most of the bloom. Thus an intimate, integrated sound can be obtained, whilst at the same time preserving the all-important aural contact between the musicians"

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/DeccaTr...Tryggvason.pdf

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 03:06 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #32
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
You can do this whole thing with a single mike pair if the room is good, if the singer doesn't move around, and if you have good monitoring. Chances are that one of these three isn't the case, though.

Whether you can use a figure-8 or not depends on what's in the rear lobe. If it's a slap echo from a reflective wall on the other side of the room, forget it and go with the cardioid.

It IS possible to use a figure-8 with the tail of the piano in one lobe and the vocal in the other lobe, and then just add an ambient room pair in post to give it some sense of space. I am not a fan of that approach because it gives you the disadvantages of still having to get the piano/vocal balance right with positioning during the tracking session along with the disadvantages of having to add ambiance separately, BUT it reduces the problems with the vocalist moving and some people like it.

And of course... if you have a million tracks like nearly everyone does these days... there's no reason not to just put up both and decide at mix down.
--scott
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #33
Gear Nut
 
Thanks for the link to the Tryg paper; very similar to what's in the new Decca book (not surprisingly). Worth considering, for sure.

I suppose the arrangement of the soprano standing next to the singing pianist (rather than in/near the crook) is what Scott's picturing for a balance from a single pair, and I have kept that under consideration.

I don't expect problems with the acoustic; it's a church that is booked rather regularly for commercial recordings (St. Stephen's, Belvedere, CA).

The main reason I was planning a spot on the singing pianist (and inquiring about which pattern could result in less bleed from the piano), is that both artists are lifelong cantors, not classical concert performers, and neither has had a whole lot of recording experience. Therefore, I wanted them both to be as comfortable as possible, and not throw any unusual arrangements at them - so soprano in front of the piano, and a usual main pickup placement. Also, only a few of the many pcs to be recorded (in only two fairly short sessions) are duets, so wanted to optimize everything for soprano/piano and supplement the tenor at the piano for the few duets, thus maintaining a consistent color and stereo picture over all the pcs. From the soprano's description, the tenor's voice is quite big and bright, so I expect the spot will be needed more to bring him a bit 'closer' than for level balance, so it's level will likely be quite low.

Would probably be worth trying the soprano next to the pianist, and getting a balance on the main pair only; if the tone and stereo picture of the piano are perfectly fine (though probably a bit unlikely), this could be used for the whole session, but if I couldn't find a spot that resulted a good piano sound, I wouldn't want to make that compromise just for the few duets.

To circle this back to the original question: For those who have tried both card and fig 8 (with null aimed at piano) on a singing pianist, which resulted in less bleed?

A very relevant quote I just found in the Decca book: "The side axis null on a ribbon mic is more effective at source rejection than the rear null on a cardioid (especially on a high-end condenser cardioid, where a flat off-axis response is prioritized over off-axis rejection)."
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #34
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
To circle this back to the original question:
Without circling, I have a couple of questions (that may or may not be original):

1.Why is this not a multi-track recording to give you options in producing a good finished audio product?

2. Is this a recording for video, which might explain some of the restrictions you are citing regarding the placement of participants and microphones?
Old 1 week ago
  #35
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wildplum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Why not use a cardioid mic in conjunction with a piano "bra" (not an official name: a sound absorbing barrier place between the mic and the piano) as is used in many pop recordings to achieve an acceptable level of bleed? These are usually ad hoc things (not commercial products); I sure a little searching can find pictures of this type of thing.
Old 1 week ago
  #36
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I always thought the Rode promo of Katie Noonan singing at the piano sounded pretty good. Not just a Fig 8 on her voice, but a pair for the piano as well.
https://youtu.be/lEgRsHjoF4c
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #37
Gear Nut
 
Thanks for posting that - a beautiful image of aiming the null of an 8 at the piano, and what that can sound like.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad ➡️
I always thought the Rode promo of Katie Noonan singing at the piano sounded pretty good. [. . .]
Nice example. I stand corrected.

Ray H.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #39
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Yup, that works.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Yup, that works.
It’s a Rode mic promo. Of course they make it work.
Bet your Bitcoin that is NOT direct to stereo. Nice room, too.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman ➡️
It’s a Rode mic promo. Of course they make it work.
Yeah, but still, it's an example of someone using a ribbon in that manner and pulling it off. I didn't think anyone would come up with even one.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #42
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Yeah, but still, it's an example of someone using a ribbon in that manner and pulling it off. I didn't think anyone would come up with even one.
True. And it sounds very good. To me it doesn’t have any obvious hints of processing.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #43
Gear Nut
 
I apologize to anyone who, like deedeeyeah found me to be "erratic" on this thread - it was probably my fault for not stating my original question more simply; I only wanted to hear from anyone who'd tried both card and fig8 on a singing pianist, but most of the responses contained advice about how to mic the whole thing (which, in itself is much appreciated), but didn't answer that one question. So I kept trying to steer it back to that, but apparently did so in a way that offended some (I'm no diplomat).

Thanks ALL who contributed; I think between the Decca book's quote and the Royer vid the answer is mostly clear - strictly as to bleed from the piano - other considerations for choosing between the two have been valuably pointed out.

I hope others can find the discussion useful.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #44
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Yeah, but still, it's an example of someone using a ribbon in that manner and pulling it off. I didn't think anyone would come up with even one.
of course not: i'm not using fig8 or ribbons if i don't have to :-)

more seriously: it would be way more revealing (or interesting in the first place) to compare the use of mics with different patterns but otherwise mostly similar behaviour and what happens if circumstances (or just even one parameter) change - unfortunately, this ain't possible with ribbon mics...

..so it is not honest to draw conclusions from an example just because it sounds decent but we do not know the exact circumstances and therefore cannot compare it with our case (of which we also have only inaccurate and partly contradictory data, as you rightly pointed out earlier).

i for one would not rely on the slightly better lateral damping of fig8 mics, if only because of the potential disadvantages of the rear lobe: i'd use a cardioid on the pianist when singing; patterns of all other mics are open to discussion/depend on the room/what's available/preferences...

...but then, i'd go full tilt anyway: spots, mains, ambis, dynamic processing, eq, efx etc.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #45
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
I apologize to anyone who, like deedeeyeah found me to be "erratic" on this thread - it was probably my fault for not stating my original question more simply; I only wanted to hear from anyone who'd tried both card and fig8 on a singing pianist, but most of the responses contained advice about how to mic the whole thing (which, in itself is much appreciated), but didn't answer that one question. So I kept trying to steer it back to that, but apparently did so in a way that offended some (I'm no diplomat).

Thanks ALL who contributed; I think between the Decca book's quote and the Royer vid the answer is mostly clear - strictly as to bleed from the piano - other considerations for choosing between the two have been valuably pointed out.

I hope others can find the discussion useful.
While perhaps annoying or irritating to any OP who simply wants a specific question answered, with binary curtailments in tow, the sort of 'diversionary' answers and apparent red herrings and alternate suggestions made in threads like these do have value...if only for others who might later investigate the thread for their own problem-solving ?

These diversions can also be of value in suggesting alternate methods...perhaps not originally entertained or even discarded as impractical/unworkable ? There's much value in the humility of appreciation that others may have trod the same road before you...and saved you the trouble of wheel-reinvention (or a poor recording) !
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #46
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Well said.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #47
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
I apologize to anyone who, like deedeeyeah found me to be "erratic" on this thread - it was probably my fault for not stating my original question more simply; I only wanted to hear from anyone who'd tried both card and fig8 on a singing pianist, but most of the responses contained advice about how to mic the whole thing (which, in itself is much appreciated), but didn't answer that one question. So I kept trying to steer it back to that, but apparently did so in a way that offended some (I'm no diplomat).
The thing is that in a situation like this where you aren't isolating everything, you have to mike the whole thing together because everything interacts. The microphone on the vocalist is going to change the way the piano sounds. The piano mikes will change how the vocalist sounds. You can work with it or you can fight it, but it's easier to work with it.
--scott
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #48
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🎧 10 years
You’re right Scott, it’s all about inevitable synergistic spill…you can’t fight it but with intelligent mic (pattern) choice, proximity and perhaps positioning you can to some degree wrangle the ratio and quality of spill from each mic set into the other(s)…so it becomes ‘least objectionable’, and maybe even supportive of an integrated performance
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #49
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
You’re right Scott, it’s all about inevitable synergistic spill…you can’t fight it but with intelligent mic (pattern) choice, proximity and perhaps positioning you can to some degree wrangle the ratio and quality of spill from each mic set into the other(s)…so it becomes ‘least objectionable’, and maybe even supportive of an integrated performance
You'll notice my longstanding obsession with trying to get as much as possible with a single pair, right? I don't even think of it as spill, but as one big cohesive sound that you're trying to pull apart into pieces.
--scott
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #50
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
You'll notice my longstanding obsession with trying to get as much as possible with a single pair, right? I don't even think of it as spill, but as one big cohesive sound that you're trying to pull apart into pieces.
--scott
Yes….you’ve got infinitely more positional possibilities with a main pair vs 2 (or 2 pairs of) individual mics
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #51
Gear Nut
 
What would argue against an 8 in my situation vs the Rode video is, nice as that sounds, it's in a controlled studio environment, whereas I'll be in a large reverberant space. Though the 8 may have less piano bleed that a card, it will have a lot more room bleed (which is what I assume deedeeyeah was referring to as the 'disadvatages of the rear lobe'). That may sound nice, and it may not. Since I want to maintain a fairly constant overall sound between the duet pcs and the soprano-only pcs, the card may be a safer bet. A slight shift in the color of the piano from the bleed into the cardioid on the duets would be preferable to a shift in the overall room sound.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #52
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
What would argue against an 8 in my situation vs the Rode video is, nice as that sounds, it's in a controlled studio environment, whereas I'll be in a large reverberant space. Though the 8 may have less piano bleed that a card, it will have a lot more room bleed (which is what I assume deedeeyeah was referring to as the 'disadvatages of the rear lobe'). That may sound nice, and it may not. Since I want to maintain a fairly constant overall sound between the duet pcs and the soprano-only pcs, the card may be a safer bet. A slight shift in the color of the piano from the bleed into the cardioid on the duets would be preferable to a shift in the overall room sound.
The figure-8 will have less room bleed from the sides and more from the rear. This is a good thing in a long skinny room with unpleasant slap from the side walls (like some stone churches) but it's a bad thing in a short wide room with unpleasant slap from the rear wall (like some wooden churches). Neither one is necessarily bad. Putting up both is not a bad idea at all if you have an extra channel.
--scott
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #53
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Yannick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The room pickup of a fig8 and card are different but percentage wise identical. Most fig8 have much less off scis coloration than cardioids.

I still do not see the problem in trying both and deciding on the spot ?

The hypercardioid will have less room pickup for the same distance.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #54
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DaveyJones's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick ➡️
I’m sorry, but I studied the instrument for about 25 years, recorded maybe one hundred piano cds with not the slightest pianists, ranging from 1745 pianoforte to modern concert grands and everything in between, and I NEVER used a tail pair as main mic.

I can safely vouch for the fact that a piano, whichever century it was built, was nog designed to sound correct in that direction.

The “decca” method some adhere to was augmented by a tail pair, and surely not exclusively that. Unless they must be those awful recordings I could never force myself listening to.
Wow, this is quite a statement; you must be very assured!
Please send me some reference of recordings that you do, and some that you don't, think hit the mark.

I'm all ears... (excure the pun)
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #55
Gear Nut
 
I've always loved the sound of the Gottschalk piano pcs recorded by John Dunkerley, back in the '70s ("Great Galloping Gottschalk", Ivan Davis); anyone know if he was an adherent to the tail pair?

He's one the main authors of the new Decca book, so . . . ?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #56
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Yannick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyJones ➡️
Wow, this is quite a statement; you must be very assured!
Please send me some reference of recordings that you do, and some that you don't, think hit the mark.

I'm all ears... (excure the pun)
I still quite like this one, have nice memories about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FG5UuV_m6g
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #57
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
I only wanted to hear from anyone who'd tried both card and fig8 on a singing pianist . . .
I can speak a bit to the use of an RE15 in this manner -- it's excellent, and can deliver an uncanny amount of isolation while keeping a benign quality to the bleed that does come through. The rearward part of its polar pattern is well behaved . . . subjectively, there's not so much a noticeable backlobe; more like there's just not quite as deep as a null as a cardioid, but the side rejection is superior. It goes without saying that all the RE15s in the world are getting pretty old, and many seemed to live a rough life . . . so YMMV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
This will be a straight to 2-track session; very much classical-style, so EQ and compression will not be involved.
I think the basic requirement for this workflow will be for the musician to be a strong enough singer to at least roughly balance their voice against their piano output. I did a bunch of recording of Jewish and mainline Protestant liturgy for online presentation last year, all mixed live to two-track so the videographer could do a short-turnaround edit. A recurring cast member was this super-boomy Steinway D in a live room, accompanying different singers of varying strength, in varying positions relative to the piano as deemed visually appropriate. My strategy was not to mic the singers and piano as separate things, but rather as an ensemble with a main pair and then spot-mic the singer . . . meaning that there was enough "room sound" of the singer in the main pair to allow for a good blend of the spot mic.

I used Schoeps CCM2S in a 40cm AB pair about 1.5 meters in front of the piano/singer and perhaps 2.5 meters off the stage floor, and the RE15 turned out to be my preferred singer spot. I was generally placing it about 25 - 50 cm away, and orienting to keep the piano to the mic's side. For strong singers a bit of compression on the peaks was applied, and for the weaker ones I'd put the spot through the FOH system a little bit to add some more of their reverberation back into the AB pair . . . a bit of a fig-leaf against dryness of having the spot mic higher in the mix.

Anyway, I hope this helps a bit . . . FWIW I wouldn't have reached for a fig-8 pattern for any of this - especially in a live-to-two-track mix scenario. Surely there are (have been?) people who can place ribbon mics by sight and make perfect use of their nulls for rejecting close adjacent instruments, without having to listen and twiddle . . . but I am most definitely not among them.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #58
Gear Nut
 
Very useful info from a similar situation - thanks so much.

Luckily, the main soloist is an opera-trained soprano; no shrinking violet.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #59
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DaveyJones's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick ➡️
I still quite like this one, have nice memories about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FG5UuV_m6g
Is this an example of a piano recording that DID sound correct or one that DOESN'T sound correct in terms of perspective?

Did you record this? Was is done tail end (some might say Decca) or front facing?

Dave
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #60
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveyJones ➡️
Is this an example of a piano recording that DID sound correct or one that DOESN'T sound correct in terms of perspective?

Did you record this? Was is done tail end (some might say Decca) or front facing?

Dave
The tail miking is intended as a spot mike to bring definition and centering... it does not work without a room pair to get perspective.

The tail miking is pretty much an attempt to get direct piano sound without comb filtering from the big reflection off the lid like you get from mikes on the side, and without having to get in so close that the tone changes and mechanical noises become an issue.

As described in the Decca book it can be a good part of a piano recording but it is not the whole recording all by itself. It's not really my thing but it's a useful technique to have.
--scott
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