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recording a small classical ensemble in a small hall
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 
recording a small classical ensemble in a small hall

Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum and and new to the world of audio recording.
This forum was recommended to me over in the gears forum.
I need to mic two different classical ensembles on the same day, and have done some research, but the info is very overwhelming. Your opinion would be much appreciated!

The first ensemble will be a piano trio (piano, violin, cello). The second ensemble will be a harpsichord, violin, cello and basson). The music will be classical.

The location will be a small hall as shown below.

https://tinyurl.com/378cecaz

My idea is to buy and use 2 identical small-diaphragm condenser mics such as the Oktava MK012 or Warm WA84 or AT4022 on a stereo mic mount bar in ORTF on a single stand as my primary stereo mics. The placement would be relatively high (about 1.8m) and about 2m away from the ensemble to the front (or would the center be better?). My budget for these mics is about $1000 USD.

In addition, I will have access to two AKG C391B mics (plus recorder) for free, so I am planning on using them to spot-mic the piano and harpsichord.

I have bought a Behringer UMC404HD for the audio interface, so I would be able to use 2 more mics. From what I have read, spot-micing the violin, cello and bassoon would not be absolutely necessary if the room and the mic placement are ideal, but I am considering adding a large diaphragm condenser such as the AT4050 in order to record the cello or bassoon separetely, just to be safe.

I would also potentially be able to rent additional equipment on the day.

Is my approach a good one? Please let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement. Thank you so much
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
What you're planning and suggesting is broadly correct...and if the session is not a public concert performance but primarily dedicated to recording you'll have more freedom to place the main ORTF pair in the optimal place, for best rendition of detail, instrumental balance and room ambience.

Your picture link didn't work.

If you have the input channels to spare, by all means add spot mics for possible additional detail....but don't rely upon them as 'rescue devices'...spend as much time as possible placing that main pair correctly (as well as getting your monitoring headphones or speakers on location to inform you about the balance)

You're also not tied to having the players in 'concert formation' (unless it is in fact a concert !).... you can have players facing inward towards the piano, and place your main and spot mics inside the circle created by the players.

A very good purchase from your allocated budget (for recording gear) would be to buy the recent book on Decca classical recording methods by John Dunkerley et al...it will give you guidance, rationale and specific practical advice on mic placement, room treatment, editing, session procedures, etc...very much worthwhile

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 03:18 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Nut
 
the Lob's Avatar
Your ideas sound great to me.
If you have the chance to make a soundcheck and listen to the soundcheck recordings in a quiet moment on headphones you trust, you might want to play with the position of the ORTF, making sure it's not to roomy, as you can add room later but never get rid of it. Also I would make the choice then on where to but the other mics, as the piano might not be the instrument that needs support.
Have fun with your recording
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Addict
 
norfolksoundman9's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akagi ➡️
My idea is to buy and use 2 identical small-diaphragm condenser mics such as the Oktava MK012 or Warm WA84 or AT4022 on a stereo mic mount bar in ORTF on a single stand as my primary stereo mics.

In addition, I will have access to two AKG C391B mics (plus recorder) for free, so I am planning on using them to spot-mic the piano and harpsichord.

I have bought a Behringer UMC404HD for the audio interface, so I would be able to use 2 more mics.
You mention 4 mics and up to 6, with the 4-channel UMC404HD, so evidently including the unspecified loaned recorder. Whatever this is (what is it?), you are likely to get some drift between it and the interface. Evidently, it would be simpler to have one recorder/interface for all the mics.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Nut
 
In my experience the bassoon might be your biggest balance problem as it will be louder than the rest, especially with relatively close mics. If possible you might want to place it furthest from the main mics, and use spots on the others.

Ortf is a good setup if you have few mics, I have done CDs with only that, but you might need some reverb to add later. Altiverb is my preference, but that may be out of the budget.

Personally I don’t care for Behringer‘s Pres…
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Addict
 
If you go with the Okatavas, try to get the hyper caps; not only are they the smoothest of the caps (especially off-axis, which will be important in a small space), but their extra directionality can be a big help in reducing too-strong side wall reflections in a smaller space. In such a room, I like them 14-18" apart and parallel; this picks up the minimum from the side walls, and maximizes later reflections from the back; sort of a modification of the Faulkner Fig 8s, 8" apart.

I can't imagine needing spot mics on a simple classical trio or quartet (?).
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Small ensembles self balance
Keep it simple , just use a main pair and if neccesarry reposition weak performers
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Here for the gear
 
For small ensembles I often only throw up a single Royer SF12 stereo microphone or This reminds me a recording session I got to attend at Carnegie Hall.

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Old 4 days ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
None of us can see the photo of the hall you provided as the link doesn't work, so it's hard to gauge what you mean when you say "small hall".

Hall can mean so many different things in the English language!

Assuming it is a nice hall designed for music just on the small side, as opposed to a rustic village hall with line-dancing going on down the other end...

If I were in your shoes starting from scratch I would spend my $1,000 on a pair of Line Audio CM4s with a Shapeways NOS bar and a used MixPre. That already gives you an extremely good-sounding main stereo pair with no measurement/setup headaches, few sonic compromises, excellent preamps, stand alone recording, easy to learn with, and packs down into a small backpack. You're obviously also going to need at least one good-quality tall mic stand, decent long XLR cables, a good pair of closed-back headphones and a book on classical recording. Probably $1,500 then. Yes, one can always graduate to a multi-mic set-up later but as a stereo starter pack to learn with I think that would be hard to beat and allow you to already make some superb recordings.
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