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Classical guitar with Decca AB miking
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Classical guitar with Decca AB miking

Here's a short sample of recent classical guitar recording with the Decca AB method, using an MKH8020 pair one metre from the instrument, as per the illustrations below.

Even at a metre, it still sounds close...maybe a bit further back might have pulled a little more room into the gestalt ?

I think the mics were better suited to this close miking than a diffuse field omni mic pair (with typical 8-10k bump of 6-8dB)...which perhaps might have accentuated finger and fret noise and breathing a little more ?
Attached Thumbnails
Classical guitar with Decca AB miking-guitar-1.jpg   Classical guitar with Decca AB miking-guitar-2.jpg  
Attached Files

Decca Guitar sample 2.mp3 (15.46 MB, 44 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #2
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
Here's a short sample of recent classical guitar recording with the Decca AB method, using an MKH8020 pair one metre from the instrument, as per the illustrations below.

Even at a metre, it still sounds close...maybe a bit further back might have pulled a little more room into the gestalt ?

I think the mics were better suited to this close miking than a diffuse field omni mic pair (with typical 8-10k bump of 6-8dB)...which perhaps might have accentuated finger and fret noise and breathing a little more ?
I don't feel it to be too close, listening rooms will vary, and add a certain amount of room sound by the time it reaches the listeners' ears, particularly at a distance greater than the metre distance at which I was listening. There is not the presence that I'd have expected from miking a metre from the instrument though, but perhaps on a more dynamic piece this would have become more evident.

I was listening on a pair of Tannoy dual concentric monitors approx. a metre away.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I say you chose quite well when you set up the Sennheiser MKH20 mics. They are less peaky than others and have always an appealing presentation.

Nice work here!

Would like to hear them placed farther away from the guitar. This could offer more room and give a sense of place to the recording.

Classic guitar recordings done by the Gods did always use a ribbon mic.
Could experiment with that too. I choose the Coles 4038 pair through a Thermionic Culture Snow Petrel tube preamp.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think it sounds wonderful - lovely work!

Seems to me that selecting the 'right' distance – and thus how much room you want present in the sound – is so much a function of what purpose you/the artist/the producer want the recording to serve, so it's questionable if any particular choice is more 'right' than the other.

Anyway - nice job!
Old 6 days ago
  #5
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jnorman's Avatar
Nice work, Ray. I agree with Hudson, a bit more distance would give it a little more room to breathe.
Old 6 days ago
  #6
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🎧 10 years
Yes, a fraction further away (10-20 cm) would probably bring a bit more of the room in...although in the current case I'm inclined to sneak a little artificial reverb in to achieve the same result.

My pair of sE VR2 active ribbons in the same AB array could perhaps have substituted for the omni MKH's, and perhaps even further back from the guitar....room to experiment with next time !

I don't know if there's much tangible difference between the MKH8020 and MKH20.... the latter are probably among 'the discontinued range' now anyway ?
Old 6 days ago
  #7
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🎧 10 years
This is a lovely thing to listen to, and the guitarist's sensitivity brings the music to life.
Old 6 days ago
  #8
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
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Beauteous!
Old 6 days ago
  #9
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🎧 5 years
I was wondering if you considered using a Straus Paket A-B array, with distance to the guitar a bit further away. If the results with Omni only ended up being a bit too distant then a bit of cardioid could be added.
Old 6 days ago
  #10
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Instead of moving the mains back, if you paired the AB with one of the books ambient capture techniques, the vertical or rear firing NOS or the slightly more distant AB, you could easily add in some room without losing the intended presence of the book’s close AB technique. But a very nice sound regardless!
Old 6 days ago
  #11
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🎧 10 years
That's a great set of additional possibilities...both the Straus Paket and an additional pair of ambience mics would likely work well in this case, but neither can be considered a substitute for getting sufficient (but not excessive) detail at the source.

The alternatives...of trying to somehow shed detail from an overly close mic placement, or of trying to add lost detail to an overly distant/ambient placement...are both undesirable (and probably impossible) fixes.

So it's best to at least nail the 'sufficient but not excessive detail' factor at source, making that the prime focus of the placement exercise, and then supplement this with additional mics (recorded to separate tracks) to add ambience later, if needed.

Is this the right sort of 'priority thinking' to employ here ?
Old 6 days ago
  #12
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🎧 5 years
The other advantage of mixing in a wider and further AB pair is the overall sound gets 'bigger', without the image of the instrument getting wider. Additional 'bloom'.

The effectiveness of this would, of course, depend on the nature of the the room.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #13
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
That's a great set of additional possibilities...both the Straus Paket and an additional pair of ambience mics would likely work well in this case, but neither can be considered a substitute for getting sufficient (but not excessive) detail at the source.

The alternatives...of trying to somehow shed detail from an overly close mic placement, or of trying to add lost detail to an overly distant/ambient placement...are both undesirable (and probably impossible) fixes.

So it's best to at least nail the 'sufficient but not excessive detail' factor at source, making that the prime focus of the placement exercise, and then supplement this with additional mics (recorded to separate tracks) to add ambience later, if needed.

Is this the right sort of 'priority thinking' to employ here ?
I think it’s good practice to have some flexibility when possible. And setting up an ambience pair is easy enough, just some additional tall stands, mics, and channels.

Whether that’s the best way to get the sound you want, I’m not sure, only you can decide that. I’ve heard some incredible classical guitar recordings using wider and more distant mics. The possibilities are seemingly endless! That’s what makes our job so fun!
Old 5 days ago
  #14
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Tommy-boy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
This is a nice recording. Agree with others that it is a tiny bit close sounding. Overall a very clean good sounding recording

Tom
Old 5 days ago
  #15
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🎧 10 years
Supposing this is a solo instrument only, in this case a classical guitar, Decca also suggests that you have an "ortf " for the ambience and blend to taste. That should take care of the "dryness"of the instrument, usually.
Just "follow " the book.

Very nice recording and playing. Good job.
Old 5 days ago
  #16
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I'm anticipating that the main problem with any 'ambience pair' (whether AB, ORTF, pointing up at the ceiling or backwards) in a concert setting is that it's necessarily going to be located closer to the audience, with more chance of extraneous human noise... mixed in with the 'good stuff' it's intended to capture ?
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #17
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
... extraneous human noise...
In an ideal world... which I think we all stumble into at times... the sound of the audience holding its breath, utterly silent and enraptured with the performance at hand... and then when it's done, letting out a sigh and bursting into ravenous applause... that's a nice effect too!
Old 5 days ago
  #18
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Plush's Avatar
 
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The main reason I suggest moving back some is to lessen playing noises and finger noises. An added benefit of moving back is to hear a laudable placement of the guitar sound more in the room.

A Neumann microphone (which has a slight presence and sparkle boost) such as a KM140 (184) cardioid will work better farther back than a Schoeps mic will. Neumann has more reach over a farther back placement.

Using a ribbon mic also gets rid of most noises because of the way it is designed. Figure-of-eight pattern also picks up more from behind (the hall).

Listen to Julian Bream gtr recordings to hear what I'm talking about.

Last edited by Plush; 5 days ago at 03:17 PM..
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I'm anticipating that the main problem with any 'ambience pair' (whether AB, ORTF, pointing up at the ceiling or backwards) in a concert setting is that it's necessarily going to be located closer to the audience, with more chance of extraneous human noise... mixed in with the 'good stuff' it's intended to capture ?
For a couple of large choir recordings, with an audience of 200+, I used a rear-facing near-coincident cardioid pair for the hall ambience. This pair was mounted high (on the same bar as the choir main mic pair ), and angled upward so the back of mics were facing the choir (avoiding their direct sound even though the mics were fairly close to the choir) and being angled upwards the audience noise was lessened by being quite off axis.
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #20
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I'm anticipating that the main problem with any 'ambience pair' (whether AB, ORTF, pointing up at the ceiling or backwards) in a concert setting is that it's necessarily going to be located closer to the audience, with more chance of extraneous human noise... mixed in with the 'good stuff' it's intended to capture ?
Well, you have options of recording ambience , without too much spillage of audience getting in and in the first post you have not mentioned audience was involved. That is why my "answer"was an ambience pair. Anyway, IF it is a concert situation, audience noise would be a problem for the main pair too, in this case the "tail pair" technique you chose to use.
I think it is a case by case situation, where you already know whether it is a concert, recording etc, and choose your mics and techniques , accordingly. And of course, knowing as much detail as possible about the acoustics et al, could be helpful further with the result you would be getting.
Old 5 days ago
  #21
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Keeping things simple has its advantages.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S ➡️
For a couple of large choir recordings, with an audience of 200+, I used a rear-facing near-coincident cardioid pair for the hall ambience. This pair was mounted high (on the same bar as the choir main mic pair ), and angled upward so the back of mics were facing the choir (avoiding their direct sound even though the mics were fairly close to the choir) and being angled upwards the audience noise was lessened by being quite off axis.
I can see how this would work well with a large choir, which would be generating a sizeable amount of hall ambience...albeit with the audience perhaps soaking up a little of this also. However a lone guitar in a large hall is not going to be outputting much in the way of 'acoustic wattage' ...so a rear-facing cardioid pair really wouldn't be getting very much (if anything) to work with...the guitar is unlikely to be generating much rear or side-wall action. So I think an additional wider omni AB pair, a metre or 3 further back, is probably more favoured for generating the necessary ambience ?
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #23
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I can see how this would work well with a large choir, which would be generating a sizeable amount of hall ambience...albeit with the audience perhaps soaking up a little of this also. However a lone guitar in a large hall is not going to be outputting much in the way of 'acoustic wattage' ...so a rear-facing cardioid pair really wouldn't be getting very much (if anything) to work with...the guitar is unlikely to be generating much rear or side-wall action. So I think an additional wider omni AB pair, a metre or 3 further back, is probably more favoured for generating the necessary ambience ?
i'm a huge fan of using (at least) one additional pair of ambis for recording of any acoustic music, even though i may not using the ambient tracks 'directly' but will just use them to feed an artificial efx.

to prevent the stereo image of the ambi pair(s) from collapsing to mono over distance, i suggest to position them all the wider the further you put them from the source...

...although this may be a contradicting criterion when feeding artificial efx: not all efx devices fare equally well when fed with highly decorrelated signals.

if the audience is too noisy but the room/hall/church etc. high enough, you may fly the ambis from the roof, gallery or use very large stands - after all, what you'll want from ambis is less direct sound, less early reflection but more diffuse sound and typical hf attenuation over distance: the latter you can mimic with a simple shelving filter (or a blanket etc.)

i do not recommend using capsules that are 'optimized' for use in the diffuse field, on the contrary (unless the distance to the source is very large, say more than 35m...)
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S ➡️
For a couple of large choir recordings, with an audience of 200+, I used a rear-facing near-coincident cardioid pair for the hall ambience. This pair was mounted high (on the same bar as the choir main mic pair ), and angled upward so the back of mics were facing the choir (avoiding their direct sound even though the mics were fairly close to the choir) and being angled upwards the audience noise was lessened by being quite off axis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I can see how this would work well with a large choir, which would be generating a sizeable amount of hall ambience...albeit with the audience perhaps soaking up a little of this also. However a lone guitar in a large hall is not going to be outputting much in the way of 'acoustic wattage' ...so a rear-facing cardioid pair really wouldn't be getting very much (if anything) to work with...the guitar is unlikely to be generating much rear or side-wall action. So I think an additional wider omni AB pair, a metre or 3 further back, is probably more favoured for generating the necessary ambience ?
Just to clarify, I believe my description of the hall/ambience mics (what I stated as rear-facing) was incorrect / misleading. These mics were facing away from the choir, but in the direction of the audience (mounted on same bar as the main pair but pointing in the reverse direction). In any case, as you mentioned, the method I used may not be good for a solo guitar in a large hall.

The recording you captured was very nice. I play solo arrangements on steel string guitars as a hobby and do some home recording of that. I usually record using a A-B spaced pair as you did. At home I can't get much further out than about 2' before the room is a problem. I usually space my mics a bit further apart than what the Decca book suggests, typically around 14-18" to get a little bit wider image.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
The main reason I suggest moving back some is to lessen playing noises and finger noises. An added benefit of moving back is to hear a laudable placement of the guitar sound more in the room.

A Neumann microphone (which has a slight presence and sparkle boost) such as a KM140 (184) cardioid will work better farther back than a Schoeps mic will. Neumann has more reach over a farther back placement.

Using a ribbon mic also gets rid of most noises because of the way it is designed. Figure-of-eight pattern also picks up more from behind (the hall).

Listen to Julian Bream gtr recordings to hear what I'm talking about.
Please tell me which album and how you know this?
Old 3 days ago
  #26
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Hello GS'er,

Refer to almost any of his more famous records.

All the Julian Bream records on RCA were pretty much recorded in a local church called Wardour Chapel near his English estate.

Mr. Bream gave many interviews and some video tours where he explains where he did his records and his philosophy.

https://ebrary.net/138546/education/...ording_process
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Listen to Julian Bream gtr recordings to hear what I'm talking about.
No shots of the mics in these short video segments, but some insight into his Wardour Chapel recording methods:

https://youtu.be/HDWMbyeBKWs

https://youtu.be/To9jtSGwWHg

If anyone can find a link to his BBC documentary ‘A Life In the Country’ made in the mid 70’s ….please post it here !

Last edited by studer58; 3 days ago at 12:43 PM..
Old 3 days ago
  #28
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Thank you for these great glimpses into Julian Bream.
In particular the second video showing his lute over dubbing tells us just how much room beautiful and attractive room sound is included in the recording. This makes the sound more gentle and without mechanical playing noises being included in the recording.

A Studer A-62 is pictured.

Last edited by Plush; 3 days ago at 05:48 PM..
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Thank you for these great glimpses into Julian Bream.
In particular the second video showing his lute over dubbing tells us just how much room beautiful and attractive room sound is included in the recording. This makes the sound more gentle and without mechanical playing noises being included in the recording.

A Studer A-67 is pictured.
Indeed…and not forgetting that the overdub process automatically buys one unexpected ‘value’…in the potential for doubling both the room sound and detailed playing noises into the blend…which thus leans even more heavily onto both mic choice and placement.

More is the pity we’re shown neither in these short excerpts….hence my quest to find video confirmation, if it exists…

I note the re-publication of Tony Palmer’s book on Julian Bream, documenting his life on the road in 1981….perhaps that might reveal such detail ?
Old 3 days ago
  #30
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🎧 10 years
Re. Palmer’s “ A Life on the Road”:

‘Julian Bream is recognised as one of the world’s leading guitarists, some would say the greatest. He was certainly for many years Britain’s senior ambassador as a guitarist and lutenist, touring more widely and more frequently than almost any other artist in the international arena.

Bream also did incomparable work in the recording studio to establish both the guitar and the lute as concert instruments. Not content with his unique status as a performer, however, Julian Bream has always been actively concerned with new music – commissioning works from a stream of leading contemporary composers.

Surprisingly for a man of his international reputation, Julian Bream was his own secretary. He planned his own concerts, made his own travel arrangements, drove himself around, checked his own lighting and carried his own baggage. At the same time, he was an avid amateur cricketer and country gardener – growing his own fruit and vegetables all year round.

In 1981 this intriguingly self-contained man agreed to share some of the load. Tony Palmer travelled with him in Europe and America over several months, drawing out from the essentially private Julian Bream his views on his art and on his position in the world of music. The result is Julian Bream: a Life on the Road, where the Maestro discusses the history of his beloved guitar and its role as a solo instrument, as well as his relationships with giants of contemporary music. With self-deprecating wit, he gives a unique insight into all that he then felt about his life on the road: where he was going, what good he believed he did, why he carried on, how he ‘did it’ – the guitar, the lute, touring, recording, commissioning, ‘the old musicke racket’, his home. Daniel Meadows accompanied them, and his beautiful photographs add to this unusual and exhilarating picture of a self-made man – who built, out of nothing, his own unrivalled status as a man of music.

The re-publishing of Palmer’s acclaimed book – for so long out-of-print and thus a much sought-after collector’s item – will be welcomed by music lovers and guitar aficionados around the world’
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