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Chamber orchestra and piano mic'ing
Old 2 weeks ago
  #31
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For "natural" 5.0 recording with proper localization of individual performers, I lean towards arrays built on OCT principles. It produces the best localization of any "tree" style method I've tried, and it's easily adaptable to different ensemble widths. There's a fully worked-out psychoacoustic theory for how the array works. Unlike a Decca tree, it is designed to minimize conflicting localization cues. This presumes the client even wants discernable localization, which film people don't always. In contrast to D's remark, OCT does require the center channel for playback and it doesn't downmix well to L/R only. (OCT2 is a down-mixable compromise.)
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #32
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➡️
Too small an ensemble for a tree, IMO. I've never quite understood why film people always default to a tree when it's going to get split to L&R so the center channel can be reserved for dialog.
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
5.0 ain't no sorcery: just make sure that the l/c/r pickup is solid (or actually the l/r pickup: except for some dsd aficionados, no one uses the center channel much for music production anyway) and then add some ambient sound for ls/rs!
Just to clear this up, the center channel is almost always used in 5.1 and above music mixes destined for the cinema (and Netflix and broadcast etc etc). Especially when there's a nice ensemble properly captured in that format.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #33
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Some interesting takes here.

The basic parameters of 5.1-compatible recording, Decca tree for main pickup, are totally reasonable.

I'm not sure what would be achieved by pre-empting problems and separating out the sections unnaturally in order to then blend back together later. One has to assume that the composer/orchestrator have done their jobs and created music that will be coherent played as an ensemble in a room together.

Same goes for capturing in stereo and upmixing later. There's the ensemble, the room and the microphones, and not utilizing those for capture natively in 5.1 would be a missed opportunity.

With your stated dimensions, I'd bring the conductor and tree forward on the stage and place the piano behind them, projecting into the hall with the lid as a baffle to the main array. That keeps the piano spill centred but cuts down on the amount of direct sound in the tree.

Space the strings in a generous semicircle around the conductor - I'd space them a bit wider than they'd naturally sit, just to spread the sound picture a little wider and a little more diffuse.

Film music recording tends to straddle a compromise line between classical and pop techniques, and I think that's what you should go for here. Decca tree works in this context a) because it translates well to the LCR front channels b) because the imaging isn't necessarily pin-point accurate - that's not always desirable when competing against dialogue and FX.

Spot mic everything, and as the piano is the most important singular element I'd give yourself two colour/width options on it. Knowing nothing else about the music or recording environment, I'd go with the Royers as a closer AB pair and the OM1s as a wider, slightly more distant option.

I'd have the MK2 as your surround mics feeding the rear channels. They can be facing straight forward at the main ensemble. The key thing is to get some height and some width on them. In a cinema setting, the rear channels are reproduced by huge arrays of speakers that line the side and rear walls. ITU-type rearward-facing carefully spaced and angled techniques become rather academic in such circumstances. Instead, I'd opt for something deliberately smushy and ambient, especially given the small ensemble size.

I've attached a plan below that would give you a starting point. Heights and spacings are just suggested starting points but should get you in the ballpark. Good luck!
Attached Thumbnails
Chamber orchestra and piano mic'ing-screenshot-2021-09-27-15.52.23.jpg  
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #34
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Yannick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I would still go for the piano on the back, as opposed to the omni micarray to the back of the piano. The latter always sound awkward when mixed with the piano spots. Almost no natural sounding piano concerto recordings are a result of this.

You still need to decide if the surround mics need to capture the hall or the ensemble. Fig8 sideways are great for the former.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #35
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam miller ➡️
Just to clear this up, the center channel is almost always used in 5.1 and above music mixes destined for the cinema (and Netflix and broadcast etc etc). Especially when there's a nice ensemble properly captured in that format.
i was referring to music-only releases, not cinema soundtracks...
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #36
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
i was referring to music-only releases, not cinema soundtracks...
Music only releases by all the major and boutique labels doing 5.0 and 5.1 surround recordings sold on nativedsd.com (the DSP with at least 80+% of the download surround music sales today) use and rely on a center mic for their center channel.

Last edited by tailspn; 2 weeks ago at 06:49 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #37
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
@ HangArt , you really won't know the optimal upstage/downstage position of the LCR array until you hear the balance between the ensemble in the hall for the hall's contribution. Upstage/downstage determines the balance between the ensemble and hall, height determines brightness and near instrument balance.

Given the distances involved if you do not also multi mic every instrument, I suggest using your three MK-2S as the main mics due to their HF accentuation providing "reach".

Tom
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #38
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tailspn ➡️
Music only releases by all the major and boutique labels doing 5.0 and 5.1 surround recordings sold on nativedsd.com (the DSP with at least 80+% of the download surround music sales today) use and rely on a center mic for their center channel.
i've been responsible for dozens of surround format releases in various formats and various genre: almost none of the producers i get to work with allow me to make full use of the center channel for music, mainly out of the fear that the home hifi systems of their core clientele is still (and will remain to be) stereo; and the same applies to earbuds, used by the younger generation.

the only exception were some dsd releases of which labels assumed would get sold exclusively to people who bumped up to surround systems: worth noting that most of the systems i've seem used a center speaker which performed vastly different than the rest...

in terms of making use of the center channel, there's been a pretty stark contrast between genres: most classical folks don't seem to bother much and just mix to discrete 5.0 while in jazz, r'n'r and cross-over projects, center channel reproduction has been a much bigger consideration and vastly different mix strageies have been used - even more so in live situations which use amplification:
fully discrete mixes simply don't survive large scale amplification (via typical l/r main hangs and realitively wimpy frontfills) very well and suffer from downmixing to the point that i can agree with producers not to over-use the center channel - ymmv...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 2 weeks ago at 09:50 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #39
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Who and WHERE is the listener?

I think one has to be cognizent of the ultimate playback situation. A consumer system may have an under- or over-screen center speaker which is different from L/R or, worse, none at all. A colleague used to do audio sweetening for Starz Video releases and she had a lot of special tricks to give theatrical mixes more impact in a home setting. I've heard the imaging on major label releases sometimes completely fall apart at AES conventions when played in a conference room. Those were really good speakers, but a 30 foot stereo baseline in a room wider than it was deep just didn't work in the majority of seats.

Another factor is that you don't really know what will happen in the following production stages. You may deliver a hard center channel, but the stem mixer or mastering engineer has a divergence knob and you don't know where they'll set it.

Now that earbuds are ubiquitous, I think there's a case to be made for putting up a separate baffled pair (Jecklin, Scheider, or Fritz) just for that.

Dolby Atmos authoring is an attempt to address this for film and video, but I don't really see how it helps a traditional classical capture. If you're delivering conventional 5.0 or 2.0 audio, it's an interesting question what kind of microphone techniques are most robust against subsequent matrixing and steering algorithms. Should you go fully coincident and use only amplitude cues, or should you use time-only technique and roll with spaced omni's? How robust are near-coincident practices like ORTF? For mics other than the main pair, dare you pan anything at all?

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #40
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➡️
For mics other than the main pair, dare you pan anything at all?
of course - but then, my mixing platform has a unique virtual surround panning algorithm which creates directional imaging by adding phase and frequency spectrum information to amplitude panning; its behaviour can get adjusted to the (real) surround mic system being used.

(this algorithm was a decisive factor when selecting my mixing platform)


Quote:
it's an interesting question what kind of microphone techniques are most robust against subsequent matrixing and steering algorithms. Should you go fully coincident and use only amplitude cues, or should you use time-only technique and roll with spaced omni's?
beyond theoretical considerations, this often depends on the distribution format...

...and hence large productions often use several different main mic systems so live sound, video production and radio broadcast can use their favourite approach.

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 2 weeks ago at 10:37 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #41
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➡️
Dolby Atmos authoring is an attempt to address this for film and video, but I don't really see how it helps a traditional classical capture. If you're delivering conventional 5.0 or 2.0 audio, it's an interesting question what kind of microphone techniques are most robust against subsequent matrixing and steering algorithms. Should you go fully coincident and use only amplitude cues, or should you use time-only technique and roll with spaced omni's? How robust are near-coincident practices like ORTF? For mics other than the main pair, dare you pan anything at all?
An example to discuss might be the blu-ray release of the Bach St. Matthew Passion recorded in Thomaskirche (Leipzig, De) in 2012 in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (that is, lossless). It also included a 2.0 mix:

https://www.amazon.com/J-S-Bach-Matt...s=music&sr=1-1

What this does, for me anyway, is illustrate the difference between a stereo version and a 5.1 version of the same performance. After a lot of listening (it's 164 minutes long!) and thinking about what I was hearing and why, my conclusion (right or wrong) is that the main differences between the 2.0 and 5.1 mixes is my listening room acoustics. That is, I hear them in the 2.0 mix, but the 5.1 mix overwhelms my listening room and gives me the (approximate) acoustics of Thomaskirche.

The 2.0 mix is flat, but accurate. The image is clean, and I can locate individual singers and players without much trouble. The 5.1 mix is wholly enveloping, but isn't as accurate. It's harder to locate the players and singers in the mix. Just like it is when sitting in the church (at least it sounds like what I remember from a brief visit and a fabulous concert about five years ago). The 2.0 mix is sharp, the 5.1 mix is blurry. I like the 5.1 mix much better. And I'm still puzzled by that. It's... "not like me" as they say.

So, after all that, how do I get the sharpness of the 2.0 mix with the envelopment of the 5.1 mix? How do I record that? What kind of an array does that?

Morten Lindberg of 2L in Norway does a respectable job, but for me his releases have this same basic problem -- the tradeoff of sharpness / accuracy for envelopment. And he does just what I would probably do given the opportunity -- five different mics pointed toward the five different "speakers", mostly spaced omnis. But it's hard to argue with a guy who's won 62 (!) Grammy awards.

I'm confused. Same as always. Sigh...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #42
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Thank you so much for the great advice!
There are plenty of options. I would love to try them all! But unfortunately this will not be possible.
The main problem is that I won’t have much time to adjust the microphones and layout.

For example, I really like this recording.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDDHu3909N4
If I can see clearly, it is recorded with a single ORTF.
The ORTF layout requires cardioid microphones, but I have only the cm3, and km184.
I would prefer to use Schoeps microphones as the main microphones, but I have only the MK2 omnis.
I also understand that film music recording requires greater instrument separation.
Perhaps, I better stick to the attached layout plan, modified by your advice.

I really liked what Adam Miller advised, but I can’t physically put the piano behind the tree. I think, I will go that way, but the piano behind the woodwinds.
Attached Thumbnails
Chamber orchestra and piano mic'ing-shot5.jpg  
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #43
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam miller ➡️
Some interesting takes here.

The basic parameters of 5.1-compatible recording, Decca tree for main pickup, are totally reasonable.

I'm not sure what would be achieved by pre-empting problems and separating out the sections unnaturally in order to then blend back together later. One has to assume that the composer/orchestrator have done their jobs and created music that will be coherent played as an ensemble in a room together.

Same goes for capturing in stereo and upmixing later. There's the ensemble, the room and the microphones, and not utilizing those for capture natively in 5.1 would be a missed opportunity.

With your stated dimensions, I'd bring the conductor and tree forward on the stage and place the piano behind them, projecting into the hall with the lid as a baffle to the main array. That keeps the piano spill centred but cuts down on the amount of direct sound in the tree.

Space the strings in a generous semicircle around the conductor - I'd space them a bit wider than they'd naturally sit, just to spread the sound picture a little wider and a little more diffuse.

Film music recording tends to straddle a compromise line between classical and pop techniques, and I think that's what you should go for here. Decca tree works in this context a) because it translates well to the LCR front channels b) because the imaging isn't necessarily pin-point accurate - that's not always desirable when competing against dialogue and FX.

Spot mic everything, and as the piano is the most important singular element I'd give yourself two colour/width options on it. Knowing nothing else about the music or recording environment, I'd go with the Royers as a closer AB pair and the OM1s as a wider, slightly more distant option.

I'd have the MK2 as your surround mics feeding the rear channels. They can be facing straight forward at the main ensemble. The key thing is to get some height and some width on them. In a cinema setting, the rear channels are reproduced by huge arrays of speakers that line the side and rear walls. ITU-type rearward-facing carefully spaced and angled techniques become rather academic in such circumstances. Instead, I'd opt for something deliberately smushy and ambient, especially given the small ensemble size.

I've attached a plan below that would give you a starting point. Heights and spacings are just suggested starting points but should get you in the ballpark. Good luck!
Do you think i should try using the KA40 sphere attachements on the 3 tree microphones?
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #44
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HangArt ➡️
Do you think i should try using the KA40 sphere attachements on the 3 tree microphones?
Absolutely. And you might also want to consider this ensemble arrangement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_CTaX8Bpag

Tom
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #45
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson ➡️
So, after all that, how do I get the sharpness of the 2.0 mix with the envelopment of the 5.1 mix? How do I record that? What kind of an array does that?
You and I have discussed this before, Bruce. I feel that I can achieve very good LCR imagine using OCT techniques, though the tree placement must sometimes be closer than would be idea for hall impression. The later can be augmented with additional ambience mics, just as we do when deconstructing a room in stereo sessions. I am equipped to employ a Hamasaki square or other techniques as appropriate.

The main defect of OCT is a bit more image vagueness in the center than on the sides. This is predicted by the theory and I hear it in practice as well. An alternative is the SONC array. It produces less cross-side conflict, but it is not as easy to modify the pickup angle on a moments notice the way one can do with OCT.

Quote:
Morten Lindberg of 2L in Norway does a respectable job, but for me his releases have this same basic problem -- the tradeoff of sharpness / accuracy for envelopment. And he does just what I would probably do given the opportunity -- five different mics pointed toward the five different "speakers", mostly spaced omnis. But it's hard to argue with a guy who's won 62 (!) Grammy awards.
I could make the same remark about the work of several others, such as David Bowles: It's excellent, but it has much the same characteristic in terms of prioritizing immersion at the expense of localization. I don't want to be seen as criticizing these folks in any way but, speaking as a chamber music specialist, I think an alternative approach to surround is appropriate for smaller ensembles, and I like what I've been able to do when I've gotten the opportunity.

The related idea of overlaying speaker-steered ambience mics on close spots has been used successfully for folk music recordings in DSD surround by Cookie Marenco and the late Jean Claude Reynaud.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #46
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Yannick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson ➡️
So, after all that, how do I get the sharpness of the 2.0 mix with the envelopment of the 5.1 mix? How do I record that? What kind of an array does that?

I'm confused. Same as always. Sigh...
A double MS main system, augmented by a hamasaki square does exactly that.
But we live in a recording world where the omni is considered so far superior that it isn't used often.

My proposition is basically five (or six if you need height, or even more) fig8 + two variable pattern mics, as the ideal for double MS with good front-back imaging is NOT cardioids.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #47
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➡️
I think one has to be cognizent of the ultimate playback situation. A consumer system may have an under- or over-screen center speaker which is different from L/R or, worse, none at all. A colleague used to do audio sweetening for Starz Video releases and she had a lot of special tricks to give theatrical mixes more impact in a home setting. I've heard the imaging on major label releases sometimes completely fall apart at AES conventions when played in a conference room. Those were really good speakers, but a 30 foot stereo baseline in a room wider than it was deep just didn't work in the majority of seats.

Another factor is that you don't really know what will happen in the following production stages. You may deliver a hard center channel, but the stem mixer or mastering engineer has a divergence knob and you don't know where they'll set it.

Now that earbuds are ubiquitous, I think there's a case to be made for putting up a separate baffled pair (Jecklin, Scheider, or Fritz) just for that.

Dolby Atmos authoring is an attempt to address this for film and video, but I don't really see how it helps a traditional classical capture. If you're delivering conventional 5.0 or 2.0 audio, it's an interesting question what kind of microphone techniques are most robust against subsequent matrixing and steering algorithms. Should you go fully coincident and use only amplitude cues, or should you use time-only technique and roll with spaced omni's? How robust are near-coincident practices like ORTF? For mics other than the main pair, dare you pan anything at all?

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
The permutations and combinations of horrors that could befall a recording once out of your control are too numerous to contemplate or really control for. I'd rather optimise for a realistic best-case scenario.

I recently completed my first couple of Atmos album mixes. All lovely on the speakers, all carefully selected per-object settings on the Dolby Binaural render (mostly set to Off) as per Umusic delivery specs. It only emerged, after final sign-off, that Apple's implementation of Spatial Audio completely ignores the Dolby binaural settings in favour of its own black-box proprietary renderer. Anything off-center or elevated from the horizontal plane gets messed with, and there's basically nothing you can do about it. The effect will also change every time they update their algorithm. No coincident technique will help you there!
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #48
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HangArt ➡️
Do you think i should try using the KA40 sphere attachements on the 3 tree microphones?
The spheres will get you more 'reach' into the room. As it's quite a small ensemble and not a huge depth front-to-back it might not be my first choice, but if the Hall is very reflective the spheres will focus the pickup to the front a little more and could help with that.

If you have the mic stands and the inputs there's no reason not to try ORTF with the CM3s. You might find the pickup slightly more string heavy than with the tree, which may or may not suit the circumstances! As a note, the pickup in the video you posted looks wider spaced than by-the-book ORTF. If you do try it, I'd advise you do something similar - more of a NOS-style thing, with the mic capsules 30-40cm spaced, and angled around 90 degrees or towards the outer edges of your ensemble.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #49
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam miller ➡️
I've attached a plan below that would give you a starting point. Heights and spacings are just suggested starting points but should get you in the ballpark. Good luck!
Why are the directions marked on the piano microphones in your plan? I thought the AB Royer pair is looking down and if the other microphone has omni characteristic then why doesn it matter where it looks? I have the same question with Ls Rs microphones. Why does it matter where they look when they are omnis? Or does omni also have some orientation? Same with the decca. Doesn't it matter where you look?
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #50
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HangArt ➡️
Why does it matter where they look when they are omnis?
Omni pattern mics, especially those with a rising high frequency response, are only omnidirectional at low to lower mid range frequencies. Their polar response becomes more directional with rising frequency.

Tom
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #51
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HangArt ➡️
Why are the directions marked on the piano microphones in your plan? I thought the AB Royer pair is looking down and if the other microphone has omni characteristic then why doesn it matter where it looks? I have the same question with Ls Rs microphones. Why does it matter where they look when they are omnis? Or does omni also have some orientation? Same with the decca. Doesn't it matter where you look?
The directions are very much just a suggestion.

http://kazuyanagae.com/20120806orch/

For a good omni SDC like the Schoeps, the angle makes a subtle but noticeable difference. For an omni LDC, it will make more difference. For a capsule in a sphere (like MK2S + balls, or the traditional Neumann M50) it will make a significant difference.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #52
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam miller ➡️
The directions are very much just a suggestion.

http://kazuyanagae.com/20120806orch/

For a good omni SDC like the Schoeps, the angle makes a subtle but noticeable difference. For an omni LDC, it will make more difference. For a capsule in a sphere (like MK2S + balls, or the traditional Neumann M50) it will make a significant difference.
Thanks!
The comparisons are great.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #53
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
We did the recording yesterday, based on what Adam Miller suggested.
Just little adjustments.
I think it sounded great.
If the composer agrees, I will upload a sample.

Thanks for the great advice!
There are a couple of knowledgeable people here from whom you can learn.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #54
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HangArt ➡️
We did the recording yesterday, based on what Adam Miller suggested.
Just little adjustments.
I think it sounded great.
If the composer agrees, I will upload a sample.

Thanks for the great advice!
There are a couple of knowledgeable people here from whom you can learn.
Glad to hear that Hangart. Where did you put the piano in the end?
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #55
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam miller ➡️
Glad to hear that Hangart. Where did you put the piano in the end?
I was finally able to resolve to put the piano behind the conductor as you suggested. It worked great.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #56
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Could you show us a diagram of the final setup?

D.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #57
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
Could you show us a diagram of the final setup?

D.
Exactly the same as Adam Miller suggested, only the woodwinds with the ortf are a little further back.
I think it worked great.
If the composer agrees, I will upload a sample later.
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