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MidSide recording for a small chamber ensemble
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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MidSide recording for a small chamber ensemble

I'm going to be reading the Brahms clarinet quintet with some friends on Saturday and if we don't hash it up too much, I'll probably try recording the first movement. "clarinet quintet" in this case means clarinet plus string quartet.

My last go at this was a blumlein pair of ribbons about 5 feet back from the center of the group. This time I'm thinking about trying midside, just as an experiment. The fig 8 microphone will be a cascade ribbon, the cardiod mid microphone will be an sE7.

BTW, we're going to be outside (COVID..ugh) under a roof, but no walls...think a carport. There may be street noise.

Thoughts, suggestions?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan H ➡️
I'm going to be reading the Brahms clarinet quintet with some friends on Saturday and if we don't hash it up too much, I'll probably try recording the first movement. "clarinet quintet" in this case means clarinet plus string quartet.

My last go at this was a blumlein pair of ribbons about 5 feet back from the center of the group. This time I'm thinking about trying midside, just as an experiment. The fig 8 microphone will be a cascade ribbon, the cardiod mid microphone will be an sE7.

BTW, we're going to be outside (COVID..ugh) under a roof, but no walls...think a carport. There may be street noise.

Thoughts, suggestions?
outside? i'd use a spot on every instrument plus mains - no ribbons though...

...but then, i wouldn't wanna record in place with street noise (unless that's part of the 'experience') and i'm not sure musicians will like playing outside either, albeit for other reasons.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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have same situations lately. recording performances outdoors more often. interested in how to not interfere with putting obvious gear blocking view of musicians, or maybe could go big with fancy microphones. need something stealthy, or blatantly pronounced.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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This is just an experiment. I have very little experience recording anything. However, sure...if this was something I wanted to keep, something I wanted to show the world and hand down to my nephews to remember me by, I wouldn't record it outside at all. However, a couple of the players are very covid-concerned, so "semi-outside" it is, this time. Remember, this isn't a performance, it's a "friends get together reading session".

I understand the concern about ribbons outside, but in this case we're in a rather protected back yard with overhanging oak trees. There's a fence right behind the carport, and the carport has a roof over it, about 7 1/2 feet tall. One side of the carport is the garage wall, so it's only open on three sides. I don't think I'll endanger my ribbon with wind.

One good thing about midside is that I can put both microphones on the same stand, which in this case will be short-ish (5 feet). That should make it all a bit less intrusive. Now, these aren't "pro" microphones, but I will be interested to see how the whole phase-reversal thing goes.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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Whatever mics you end up using, you will almost 100% likely need some sophisticated wind protection. Don't think you will be able to "get away." Chances are, without, your recording will be ruined.

D.
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MidSide recording for a small chamber ensemble-bbg.jpeg MidSide recording for a small chamber ensemble-stereo.jpeg 
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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We were going to start at 9:00. I got there at 8:45 and set up microphones and so on. The cellist got there at 9:30. **sigh**

Exactly at 10:00 the neighbor two doors down fired up a gas powered compressor. ugh.

No recording.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan H ➡️
We were going to start at 9:00. I got there at 8:45 and set up microphones and so on. The cellist got there at 9:30. **sigh**

Exactly at 10:00 the neighbor two doors down fired up a gas powered compressor. ugh.

No recording.
Welcome to the usually frustrating, sometimes magical, world of location recording! More often than not there is some awful extraneous noise (often from an internal combustion engine) but very occasionally the stars align and you capture something special...
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan H ➡️
We were going to start at 9:00. I got there at 8:45 and set up microphones and so on. The cellist got there at 9:30. **sigh**

Exactly at 10:00 the neighbor two doors down fired up a gas powered compressor. ugh.

No recording.
If you have a battery powered recorder, and it absolutely has to be outdoors ( ? ....covid, if everyone is vaccinated and wears masks..then can be indoors ?) ...try a forest with closely spaced trees (good for church-like reflections) or maybe a disused quarry, for similarly reflective acoustics. An underground cave perhaps, or an empty indoor basketball court ?

In general, this indoors vs outdoors factor is a big thing, as you're now discovering....maybe you haven't thrown sufficient creative problem-solving thought at it yet ? The rental of a suitable (or an alternative/unlikely) space can end up costing you far less than buying the sort of necessary wind screening that Doug has shown above..

Rapid antigen tests are very low cost and give immediate accurate results. If everyone involved self-tests and shows negative on the morning of the recording....you can all share the same space ?

Or maybe it's more sensible to shelve the whole recording idea until the pandemic is over...since, of all the 'recording experience' you might gain from operating outside, almost none of it will be transfer-able to recording indoors (yes...the 2 contexts really are that different !)

Last edited by studer58; 2 weeks ago at 03:26 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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My vote is certainly for indoors with testing. It's no fun for string players to play outside: it makes their instruments sound thin and awful. Aside from that, my experience is that the balance in a piece for clarinet and strings doesn't really work correctly until you're certain distance into the reverberant field. Up close, the clarinet dominates due to higher directivity, but out in the audience, it's fine because the hall integrates the total power.

David
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Trust me, if I was to record the group seriously, I wouldn't be picking a carport to do it in!

In fact I've pitched a proposal to the group to try the Alan Shulman "Rendezvous for Clarinet and Strings" and record it. it's an interesting piece written for Artie Shaw in 1946. If the answer is "yes" then I will find a more resonant hall for the recording, though we might rehearse in the carport!
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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I guess what I'm looking for in this thread is reasons why you would or would not use MS recording for a small chamber ensemble.

This has sort of devolved into..."Why are you recording in a carport?".... which...well, yeah sure. I get how that's kind of curious but maybe I could get you ladies and gentlemen to talk about good things/bad things about recording strings/woodwinds MS in a relatively smallish space. Oh, and while we do it, please use small words and understand that I'm impervious to being "talked down to" because I barely know anything to start with.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #12
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan H ➡️
I guess what I'm looking for in this thread is reasons why you would or would not use MS recording for a small chamber ensemble.

This has sort of devolved into..."Why are you recording in a carport?".... which...well, yeah sure. I get how that's kind of curious but maybe I could get you ladies and gentlemen to talk about good things/bad things about recording strings/woodwinds MS in a relatively smallish space. Oh, and while we do it, please use small words and understand that I'm impervious to being "talked down to" because I barely know anything to start with.
I have recorded string quartets with M/S and been happy with the results. Sometimes I have also included a pair of omnis at 50-60 cm and blended them with the M/S at 6-8 dB down. M/S with two figure 8s sounds best if you are recording in a decent space; if not a great space, use a card or hyper card in the middle. I like the precise imaging of M/S. Those who prefer the 'warm wash' of AB omnis may not. Adding a pair of omnis to the mix is the compromise. Regardless, positioning the players and the mics is as critical to the final result as the room.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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In an enclosed space like a hall or church the ambience is typically generated by the reflections from boundaries like walls and ceilings, and it's this component which your S mic will latch onto to create the 'sense of stereo ambience'.

Your mid mic will largely capture the on-axis direct sound of the group. Listening to the live feed (via headphones) will inform you where the right distance back from the group will be, but if your carport lacks side walls, what reflected sound is going to comprise the S component of your MS sound ?

Atmos sound effects for TV and film are typically captured in MS, which indicates that capture of open air sounds are not doomed by the absence of enclosure walls. But you're recording musicians, not bird sounds or background traffic noise for TV....so who can predict for you ? Just go ahead and record in MS under the carport and post a sample here, that we might all learn something from the exercise.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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surflounge's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
since there is no more Sennheiser MKH 40, then only available would be MKH 50 to use with Senn MKH 30 in a midside config. Is the MKH 50 too supercardiod to capture the group with the Senn MKH 30 in M/S
I work in similar situations and am considering midside instead of A/B
thanks

Last edited by surflounge; 1 week ago at 05:43 PM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surflounge ➡️
since there is no more Sennheiser MKH 40, then only available would be MKH 50 to use with Senn MKH 30 in a midside config. Is the MKH 50 too supercardiod to capture the group with the Senn MKH 30 in M/S
I work in similar situations and am considering midside instead of A/B
thanks
In your situation (not the original poster’s) you might have to pull the mic pair back a fair distance to avoid the 50 sounding too close and ‘hyper-detailed’….which could simultaneously put the 30 into an ambience zone which isn’t helpful for the overall stereo picture ?

Is your situation similar, in that it’s outside…battling wind…traffic…absence of supportive reflective boundaries etc ?
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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No, it doesn't have to be recorded outside and with noise. Why would it be?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
In your situation (not the original poster’s) you might have to pull the mic pair back a fair distance to avoid the 50 sounding too close and ‘hyper-detailed’….which could simultaneously put the 30 into an ambience zone which isn’t helpful for the overall stereo picture ?

Is your situation similar, in that it’s outside…battling wind…traffic…absence of supportive reflective boundaries etc ?
yes, not stealing the thread, you answered my question about using a supercardiod as center mic for recording small groups, whether inside or outside. Thanks for your input, because seems the MKH50 would be too tight directional and miss the whole group if placed in front of them

Last edited by surflounge; 1 week ago at 06:20 PM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #18
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by surflounge ➡️
since there is no more Sennheiser MKH 40, then only available would be MKH 50 to use with Senn MKH 30 in a midside config. Is the MKH 50 too supercardiod to capture the group with the Senn MKH 30 in M/S
I work in similar situations and am considering midside instead of A/B
thanks
No love for the MKH 8040? Or even a KM184 or a Mk4? Mixing and matching is one of the advantages of MS (IMO).
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad ➡️
No love for the MKH 8040? Or even a KM184 or a Mk4? Mixing and matching is one of the advantages of MS (IMO).
yeah, you are right about other options for M/S
but I was stuck on this for inside/outside setup
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
In an enclosed space like a hall or church the ambience is typically generated by the reflections from boundaries like walls and ceilings, and it's this component which your S mic will latch onto to create the 'sense of stereo ambience'.

Your mid mic will largely capture the on-axis direct sound of the group. Listening to the live feed (via headphones) will inform you where the right distance back from the group will be, but if your carport lacks side walls, what reflected sound is going to comprise the S component of your MS sound ?

Atmos sound effects for TV and film are typically captured in MS, which indicates that capture of open air sounds are not doomed by the absence of enclosure walls. But you're recording musicians, not bird sounds or background traffic noise for TV....so who can predict for you ? Just go ahead and record in MS under the carport and post a sample here, that we might all learn something from the exercise.
I wish I'd been able to grab some of the 20 minutes or so that we were playing after the neighbor shut off his compresser! I'm sure we'll play there again in August.
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