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Christmas Keyboards
Old 3 weeks ago
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🎧 10 years
Christmas Keyboards

Christmas was a rush this year. I had two Sunday evening opportunities at my wife's church, the annual Keyboards at Christmas event and, the week following, the Carol and Candlelight service. The first went fine... the second was a bit of a handful (a rushed setup with a different stage set and no soundcheck/rehearsal possibility) and got the job done, but unsatisfactorily, by my evaluation. My main responsibility was a stereo feed to be mixed for the video recording/podcast.

So... the result below, from the Keyboards event, is offered for comment and suggestion toward next year.

There were six grand pianos (a 9'/2.7m and 7'/2.1m Steinway, and four Seiler, a 7'/2.1m and three 6'/1.8m), all with lids off. The Steinways were both stage right, nestled, and the Seilers were basically stage left, also nestled. There was a bit of imbalance as the Steinways spoke a bit louder. They appear in the left side of the "house view" setup, the Seilers mainly in the right. The organ was also used several times. It is a 59-rank Schantz, and you can see the bottom of some of the wind chests at the top L/R of the photos. The room is 1200 seats, 3/4 balcony, and approx. 70' from the floor to the center of the ceiling. Brick, concrete, stained glass, hardwood, and a smattering of carpet. RT60 approaches 3.5 seconds.

The photos do not show the main pair, Shure KSM141 in omni A/B, in the room at the first row at each side of the center aisle. Stands were 11'/3.3m Manfrotto (stage height is about 4.5'/1.4m) and the mics were located at approximately 1/3-2/3 the width of the stage about 7'/2.1m apart. As you can see in the second photo, there was a pair of MKH8040 in a 24"/.6m A/B, centered and boomed out on a lovely new K&M Tall stand with a long boom arm, about 9'/2.7m over the stage, aimed at the front of the piano pack (they're hidden, up by the lamps in the first photo... blow it up big and you might make them out); and a pair of TLM193 at about 6'/1.8m to cover the "back half" of the pack. The second photo shows the four mics... the stand was moved as far forward in the piano pack as it could be placed.

The folks ran the entire show twice the day before, so I had a nice bit of setup time before, and gain setting/mixing during the rehearsal passes. The event was tracked the next evening directly from a Midas M32R (onboard DL16 mic amps) to a Mac Book Pro into Logic Pro X. I monitored on UltraSone 650 headphones and Equator D5 speakers, in a back hallway that was reasonably free from traffic. The sample was created on the MBP, with the UltraSones.

This piece is six players plus the organ (14 hands, 2 feet, if you're counting). There were also several pieces with 12 hands. Files are .AIF and .MP3.

Comments, criticisms and suggestions are welcome. Happy New Year, all!
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Christmas Keyboards-hb2_0257-copy.jpg   Christmas Keyboards-img_1687.jpg  
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Last edited by hbphotoav; 3 weeks ago at 11:31 PM..
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