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Recording Symphonic Band on Proscenium Stage
Old 11th January 2022
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Recording Symphonic Band on Proscenium Stage

I am struggling with ensemble and mic placement for recording on a proscenium stage with a fairly large apron. The stage does NOT have a shell so everything behind the proscenium is open or full of curtains. The apron has an angled ceiling above it so everything in front of the proscenium is naturally amplified by the space and everything behind the proscenium is deadened by the curtains and high fly space. There are no risers so everyone is playing on a flat stage.

I have experimented with two different setups of the ensemble and mics and I’m curious to get some thoughts from others with more experience. My problem is that it is hard to get a good balance between the front directional brass (i.e., trumpets and trombones) and the other winds. With the front directional brass in front of the proscenium, their sound is very loud and quickly overpowers the woodwinds, but when they are behind the proscenium they sound too distant (or some of them do).
Setup #1 - As many of the winds as possible in front of the proscenium. While the apron it quite large, it is impossible to fit all of the winds on the apron. At best, all but about 2 trumpets and 2 trombones are on the apron (the 2 trumpets and 2 trombones are about 4-5’ behind the proscenium walls). The percussion is completely behind the proscenium.

Setup #2 - The woodwinds, horns, tubas, and euphoniums in front of the proscenium and the forward-directional brass and percussion behind the proscenium (similar to the Marine Band set up β€” in fact, I saw photos of how the Marine Band set up on similar proscenium stages).
Note that these recordings are only the two mains and do not include spots or omni flanks. No EQ or effects have been added. Also note that the hanging choir mics were NOT hung by a recording engineer, but there is no option to re-hang them.
Sample Recording 1: Band in Set Up 1, Hanging Choir Mics (Audix M1255B Cardioid) 15’ behind conductor and 18-20’ above stage floor. (This recording is from a different performance than the other recordings)

Sample Recording 2: Band in Set Up 2, ORTF 7’ behind Conductor podium 13’ above stage floor aimed at trumpets and trombones (I set up two ORTFs for this rehearsal so Recording 2 and 3 are of the exact moment, just at different distances)

Sample Recording 3: Band in Set Up 2, ORTF 10’ behind Conductor podium 13’ above stage floor aimed at trumpets and trombones (I set up two ORTFs for this rehearsal so Recording 2 and 3 are of the exact moment, just at different distances)

Sample Recording 4: Band in Set Up 2, Hanging Choir Mics (Audix M1255B Cardioid) 18’ behind conductor and 18-20’ above stage floor. These are the same choir mics, the difference is that the ensemble is set up a little further back so the directional brass can be behind the proscenium and the woodwinds can be in front of the proscenium without too much distance between the two. (Note this is the same place in the music as Sample Recordings #2 and 3, just during a different rehearsal.
Here are my specific questions:
  1. What are your thoughts on the best placement of the band for recording in relation to the Proscenium?
  2. If I do go with a Setup 2 approach (put the directional brass and percussion behind proscenium), should I add spots to the trumpets and trombones (or even a second ORTF for both sections because they are both in the same row, which is the last arc of the ensemble)?
  3. Is there something else I should consider? Is there anything I'm overlooking or information I'm not providing?

Thank you!
Old 11th January 2022
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Send us a Pic !
I work in a modern Performing Arts venue of similar construction
Excellent for speech and drama , no airco ,natural ventilation, deep stage, no shell , lots of drapes.
It works well for modern music
I go high on my Arri C stand with boom and a MKH 800/30 MS rig.
I have worked at floor level for Satie biog with music that worked well, I hardly ever spot ,the acoustic is so dead, but I do if there is a narrator.
Their radio mics are dire, thats what troubles me most, they do not mix just select, it sounds dreadful on cans.
I ignore their feed.
Old 12th January 2022 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 ➑️
Send us a Pic !
I work in a modern Performing Arts venue of similar construction
Excellent for speech and drama , no airco ,natural ventilation, deep stage, no shell , lots of drapes.
It works well for modern music
I go high on my Arri C stand with boom and a MKH 800/30 MS rig.
I have worked at floor level for Satie biog with music that worked well, I hardly ever spot ,the acoustic is so dead, but I do if there is a narrator.
Their radio mics are dire, thats what troubles me most, they do not mix just select, it sounds dreadful on cans.
I ignore their feed.
Here you go! Here are photos from the stage, from the back of the house and then at the point of the proscenium. The hall has a nice resonance for unamplified music (bands, orchestras, choirs, chamber music).
Attached Thumbnails
Recording Symphonic Band on Proscenium Stage-2022-01-11-17.08.41.jpg   Recording Symphonic Band on Proscenium Stage-2022-01-11-17.13.04.jpg   Recording Symphonic Band on Proscenium Stage-2022-01-11-17.07.49.jpg  
Old 12th January 2022
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Blimey. looks like a bunker.
Nice big stage though, the bands a bit rough.
Ditch the overheads, go for a main pair high above the MD., the best you can
Try for more sparkle and edge, and a bit of bottom.
First reflection may help the inert acoustic...
Old 12th January 2022 | Show parent
  #5
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 ➑️
Blimey. looks like a bunker.
Nice big stage though, the bands a bit rough.
Ditch the overheads, go for a main pair high above the MD., the best you can
Try for more sparkle and edge, and a bit of bottom.
First reflection may help the inert acoustic...
Definitely a bunker! A few quick follow up questions:

(1) In terms of the "Main Pair" do you suggest two omnis or the ORTF that I had been using?

(2) By "high above" do you have a good height I should start my testing? In the past, with my ORTF configuration, I've been using ~13' (~4 meters). Should I go higher?

(3) If you are thinking the main pair would be omnis, any suggestion on the distance between the two? (1-1.5 meters?)

(4) Finally, in terms of the "bands a bit rough" are you referring to bands in general on a stage like this or this particular group. (I'm just trying to generalize my knowledge about bands and a space like this).
Old 13th January 2022
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Stick with ORTF but with the best cardioids you can find
Go high if the band is deep down stage so it can see the rear line, otherwise just over MDs head
Don't space to widely keep it to head width
School bands can be terrific ,but they must rehearse rehearse, bands that can read can be the best imho
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