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Record male choir
Old 29th October 2021
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Record male choir

Hi!

Nest week I will be recording a male choir of about 30 singers in a wonderful sounding space (see attached photo). I have done a lotto recordings with 2 Neumann 143 in nos with different choirs, but never recorded male choir.
Do you see any benefit experimenting with other set ups in this room? I could also try m/s (Neumann 120 and 184/183/143) or spaced omnis. Looking for main pair and reinforce voice groups as needed.

Thanks for any advice.

Best wishes,
Knut
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Record male choir-aula_web.jpg  
Old 29th October 2021
  #2
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
sex or gender doesn't matter at all in terms of gear being suitable for recording or amplification...
Old 29th October 2021
  #3
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🎧 10 years
Those pillars will bounce back some high frequency content and should give the recording a little more detail than if they were not present. I think you could make a really nice job of recording in that hall.

I might tend to record using either the Faulkner four mic array, or with a central pair of cardiods in NOS, DIN or ORTF, in the absence of wide cardiods. Distancing the flanking omnis around 27" on either side of the cardiod pair. If you have chance during rehearsal you will be able to hear the acoustic and see if the omnis give you the best result with just a little emphasis from the cardiods, or vice versa.

I think it can help to have some diffusion on choir recordings at times, this set up would give you chance to change your mind without changing the set up. NOS & DIN would give you a little more diffusion than ORTF, but remember you're already getting diffusion from the omnis if they are in use.

But you already know all of this!
Old 29th October 2021
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Hi Geoff. I am a bit confused by your post. "in the absence of wide cardioids" He says he has a pair of KM143 if I didn't mis-read. Why not just a pair of them in A-B? Simple and would most likely sound great. The room is a bit narrow and there might well be some reflection issues but maybe side to side and not front to rear. I'd be worried about weird phasing using any directional pair.

Or how about a Faulkner with the 143s on the ends and, shrug, some ORTF pair in the middle? Geoff, I saw that you suggested the Faulker idea but the ORTF pair, at least for me would be an experiment, and I might not use them in the final mix. But it would be cool to hear them. A 30 person chorus is pretty narrow if the director doesn't just put them in one line (probably not).

OP. Put up a sample of your mix and tell us about it after the recording. Sounds like a nice job.

D.
Old 29th October 2021
  #5
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by knuttta ➡️
Hi!

Nest week I will be recording a male choir of about 30 singers in a wonderful sounding space (see attached photo). I have done a lotto recordings with 2 Neumann 143 in nos with different choirs, but never recorded male choir.
Do you see any benefit experimenting with other set ups in this room? I could also try m/s (Neumann 120 and 184/183/143) or spaced omnis. Looking for main pair and reinforce voice groups as needed.

Thanks for any advice.

Best wishes,
Knut
I’d probably go with the setup I was most comfortable with. Like DD says the voice type shouldn’t really require a new approach or mic type. If you like the way the 143’s convey the men in your satb choir recordings, then it should work here. And using NOS, you’ll know the general placement tricks and rules that have worked when you’ve used that setup in the past.

Are you asking though, because you’re unsatisfied with your usual results? Or does the room seem problematic compared to places you’re more comfortable working in?
Old 29th October 2021
  #6
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🎧 5 years
Two questions still to be answered:

1. Concert or session?

2. Piano or a cappella?

If concert, section spots would be pretty unsightly, and 30 is right on the borderline of spots not being necessary; any good director should be able to balance sections on a group this size.

If piano, I would tend towards omnis (for LF extension), since the room doesn't appear to be problematic.
Old 29th October 2021 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
Hi Geoff. I am a bit confused by your post. "in the absence of wide cardioids" He says he has a pair of KM143 if I didn't mis-read. Why not just a pair of them in A-B? Simple and would most likely sound great. The room is a bit narrow and there might well be some reflection issues but maybe side to side and not front to rear. I'd be worried about weird phasing using any directional pair.

Or how about a Faulkner with the 143s on the ends and, shrug, some ORTF pair in the middle? Geoff, I saw that you suggested the Faulker idea but the ORTF pair, at least for me would be an experiment, and I might not use them in the final mix. But it would be cool to hear them. A 30 person chorus is pretty narrow if the director doesn't just put them in one line (probably not).

OP. Put up a sample of your mix and tell us about it after the recording. Sounds like a nice job.

D.
Ah! I hadn't spotted the KM143, (I always need to look up the polar patterns for Neumann numbering for that range) something I should have done!
You're right, an AB pair might be nice, but I thought the idea of having a central pair with omnis at 27" would give him the flexibitlity.
He could use the KM143s along with omnis in the Faulkner array set up. I love having the two pairs already set up with the availability of using only one pair, or blending the two until a satisfactory balance is reached.
I do use the set up of ORTF with 27" spaced omnis quite often, with the ORTF being the principal pair for imaging and detail and the omnis added to taste. So primarily an ORTF set, but with omnis, for what they have to offer...........so to speak.
Old 30th October 2021 | Show parent
  #8
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton ➡️
I do use the set up of ORTF with 27" spaced omnis quite often, with the ORTF being the principal pair for imaging and detail and the omnis added to taste. So primarily an ORTF set, but with omnis, for what they have to offer...........so to speak.
Yes, me too! It's an awesome set up. Lots of flexibility. covers a WIDE ensemble well and, well, it sounds great.

DPA 4006-TLs with APE on the ends and 4011s ORTF in the center. Better be a great group. The DPAs "see" all the mistakes.

I just did a local symphony in a nice theater. First performance back after 20 months. Wow! It was great to be back but they will be better next time. I would call the orchestra "mushy". Great place for a Schoeps A-B pair.

D.
Old 30th October 2021
  #9
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🎧 5 years
Curious why you both prefer ORTF in the Faulkner array, to the wider spacing TF uses, since the wider spacing reduces localization shift between the two pairs.
Old 30th October 2021
  #10
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by knuttta ➡️
Do you see any benefit experimenting with other set ups in this room? I could also try m/s (Neumann 120 and 184/183/143) or spaced omnis. Looking for main pair and reinforce voice groups as needed.
By all means you should! I am also a fan of NOS and ORTF and I would tend to go that route, but if you have plenty of extra channels and plenty of microphones, set up a spaced triad up close and a spaced pair farther back just so you can give the customer a choice. I don't like the spaced triad at all but some people are big fans.

Experimenting with other setups is always of benefit, even if you don't expect to ever use them!
--scott
Old 30th October 2021 | Show parent
  #11
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wildplum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
Yes, me too! It's an awesome set up. Lots of flexibility. covers a WIDE ensemble well and, well, it sounds great.

DPA 4006-TLs with APE on the ends and 4011s ORTF in the center. Better be a great group. The DPAs "see" all the mistakes.
D.
What size APE are you using? Thanks.
Old 30th October 2021
  #12
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
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40mm.

D.
Old 30th October 2021 | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by M50k ➡️
Faulkner prefers subcards in the 4-mic, but has also used NT55 and NT6; which you can see in the photo are not set to ORTF:
It's probably better to think of this primarily as an ORTF recording with a little help from its friends. Which is the way I view it.
Old 30th October 2021
  #14
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🎧 10 years
I haven't seen anything from John Willett for some time. He usually pops into various threads now and then.
Old 30th October 2021
  #15
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
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I think of it rather like an "either/or" as well. What ever pair I choose for the main pair might be (and frequently is) helped by the other, either to gain stereo width or to gain detail.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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🎧 10 years
I've MS' d many recordings of choirs in similar halls.
Mine were MKH 800/30 AND 30/30.
Always sounded very real and the rear field reveals good acoustics and audience in a well balanced whole.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks a lot for interesting replies and sorry for a somewhat unstructured post.
I have been happy with many of the recordings I have made with Neumann 143 in Nos, but thought about experimenting with a new set up this time, but would like to have some safety mics to fall back on,
Some questions I have:
- If I choose m/s: Omni, 143 og 184 for mid?
- Omni pair (67cm) on same bar as m/s in case m/s doesn't work?
- M/S with outriggers. Does it work?
- How high do you normally go with your choir mics. (I realize that this depends on what you choose for main pair)

Limited time to try out different solutions at the day of recording, so trying to think through as much as possible in advance. It is a concert recording, so limiting noise from audience will also be a consideration.
Recorder is Tascam hs-p82.

Best wishes,
Knut

Last edited by knuttta; 4 weeks ago at 07:19 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
Gear Guru
 
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by knuttta ➡️
M/S with outriggers. Does it work?
my favourite setup on many occasions - mostly just on very large/wide ensembles/orchestras though and more often for surround than for stereo.

mk4v/mk8 plus mk21's as outriggers btw.


still, i mostly prefer using section mics on each register and use the 'mains' (if any...) more as ambis if not deploying ambis anyway.

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 4 weeks ago at 07:45 PM.. Reason: info added
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Never needed outriggers on my MS set ups
Kinda defeats coincidence theory.
You can always add some early reflections to enhance spaciousness.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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🎧 5 years
Here's to the defeat of coincident theory !

(couldn't resist)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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🎧 10 years
Have you tried MidSide ?
Many have not .
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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🎧 5 years
Yes.

Once de-matrixed, the resulting stereo is no different from a coincident pair of directional mics. What Marc Aubort called 'fat mono'.

Can sound 'OK' on loudspeakers, but on 'phones all coincident methods sound aggressively artificial to me. Just no 'you are there' quality, without any ITDs.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #23
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by M50k ➡️
Yes.

Once de-matrixed, the resulting stereo is no different from a coincident pair of directional mics. What Marc Aubort called 'fat mono'.
Yes. The advantage that M-S has though is that the center of the stereo image is on-axis in the mid mike, where it sounds best, and in the null of the side mike. Compare this with coincident cardioids where the center of the stereo image is off-axis on both mikes. Since presumably the most important stuff is in the center, this means that you need microphones with very good off-axis response for X-Y, and you can get away with a little more ugliness with M-S mikes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by M50k ➡️
Can sound 'OK' on loudspeakers, but on 'phones all coincident methods sound aggressively artificial to me. Just no 'you are there' quality, without any ITDs.
I never really like it on loudspeakers either, compared with ORTF. There is no phase imaging at all, only intensity imaging. I think one of the reasons why people like the omni outriggers is that it adds a little bit of phase imaging to the room sound.

To my ears, ORTF with the right mikes does everything that coincident cardioids and MS does, but better. But there are people who like coincident cardioids and one of them is a customer of mine who is obsessed with mono compatibility to a fault. Oh well.
--scott
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #24
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by M50k ➡️
...Just no 'you are there' quality, without any ITDs.
Clearly we all have different perception and I guess that's a good thing. Vive la difference! I have never felt more like "I was there" than when using Blumlein coincident techniques. Near-coincident is OK but spaced omnis alone are just mushy to me. It must come down to how each of us have (slightly) unique hearing apparatus.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
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🎧 5 years
I agree that Blumlein can be stunningly real on loudspeakers, but on 'phones the obvious lack of ITD is distractingly obvious (for me, anywho).
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
Yes. The advantage that M-S has though is that the center of the stereo image is on-axis in the mid mike, where it sounds best, and in the null of the side mike. Compare this with coincident cardioids where the center of the stereo image is off-axis on both mikes. Since presumably the most important stuff is in the center, this means that you need microphones with very good off-axis response for X-Y, and you can get away with a little more ugliness with M-S mikes.
I was only referring the stereo imaging, not the overall quality.

A lot of spaced-omni recordings are mushy but it isn't necessarily inherent in the technique; few would describe the Bob Fine Mercury recordings as 'mushy'. I especially find the Onno 'double AB' to be least mushy spaced omni array I've ever tried, can have great focus.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
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Spaced is double mono to my ears
MS, especially with 2 fig 8s sounds very real on cans and on excellent speakers convincing.
I think our individual spatial processing must differ, a bit like our abilities to render colour, Im colour blind R/G but my spacial abilities are good.
In the early days of midside without decoders on mixers or recorders I could train my self to stereo image the raw mid and side.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
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🎧 5 years
I must say that many of the spaced omni recordings I've heard in recent years do sound 'double mono', but that's because they are done with waaay too distant spacing. The ~27" spacing preferred by Wilkinson late in his career, and so often used by Faulkner, is just close enough to avoid 'double mono', but wide enough to avoid mono-ish LF 'lumping' in the center.

The middle pair of Onno double AB are only 12" apart, and there is Zero hole in the middle. Not a trace of 'double mono' on loudspeakers and an almost binaural 3D realism with headphones. It quite astonished me, first time I tried it.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #29
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by M50k ➡️
I was only referring the stereo imaging, not the overall quality.

A lot of spaced-omni recordings are mushy but it isn't necessarily inherent in the technique; few would describe the Bob Fine Mercury recordings as 'mushy'. I especially find the Onno 'double AB' to be least mushy spaced omni array I've ever tried, can have great focus.
I think the Fine-style spaced triad should be considered a completely different technique than a more distant omni spaced pair. With the Mercury Triad the phase differences between channels are so great that the brain basically can't use them for imaging at all any more and you rely entirely on intensity stereo.

The Onno method is still pretty wide, though... three meters between mikes.... sort of halfway between a one-meter A-B pair and the ten meter width of a larger triad.

All of these methods have a sense of depth to them that I never heard in a real hall, and I never much liked that. But lots of people do and some of them are customers!
--scott
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #30
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
The Onno method is still pretty wide, though... three meters between mikes.... sort of halfway between a one-meter A-B pair and the ten meter width of a larger triad.
Ahh, but that 12" center pair makes all the difference !! It really sounds quite different from M3 or a single widely spaced pair. It 'gels' the whole system together on loudspaekers much better than a single center mic, and on 'phones, the ear/brain mechanism 'latches on' to the center pair for accurate localization, while the outer, completely de-correlated pair are basically ignored as far imaging and simply supply bloom, LF width and immersion.
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