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Best way to record soprano/pianist combo with these mics?
Old 18th September 2012
  #1
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Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
[Results] Best way to record soprano/pianist combo with these mics?

I'm looking for advice from fellow remote classical gurus. I've been tasked to record a soprano/pianist duo in 2 days, and I'm not sure what's the best to approach this.

This is a recording session in a good sized hall, not a live performance, so I have the freedom to use any mic technique of my choosing. Unfortunately we only have 1 hour in the hall so I can't spend time trying out different mic placements.

These are the mics I own:

Condensers:
2x Studio Projects C4 SDC with card, hypercard and omni capsules
1x Studio Projects B3 LDC (multi pattern)
1x Kel Audio HM2D LDC

Ribbons
2x Cascade Fathead II

Dynamics
2x Audio i5
1x Audio D4

Plus 2 stereo bars and numerous mic stands, and a jecklin disk.

I haven't had the chance to use the Cascade ribbons since I've gotten them, so if possible I would really like to use them on this project. I have a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 interface so I can handle up to 8 mics at the same time.

I have recorded live vocal performances before and they all involved a pair of SDCs in front of the vocalist/pianist. But since this isn't a live performance, I would like to get the best sound possible with the equipment I have.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Old 18th September 2012
  #2
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boojum's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
OK, here is my stab at this. I'd use the omnis on the piano. Just below the curve aimed down into the insides with the lid at full stick. About 6 - 8' up and about the same distance back. Their plane/directrion should be that of the lid, just under it. There are a bunch of piano mic'ing threads here. One was just asked about recently so you can find that up close to the top of recent posts.

I would put a ribbon in front of the vocalist. I do not think you want your vocalist too close to that piano or the ribbon will have too much of the piano leakage in it.

Post the results, OK??

OK - here is the thread I mentioned which has a link to the motherload.
Old 18th September 2012
  #3
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Keep it simple: Set up the c4 pair with card caps in an NOS setup (1ft apart, angled 90 out and angled down to center on their target) and place it 8-9' in the air, about 8-10' in front of the duo, singer standing in the crook as in a recital setting.

Cannot go wrong with this, and it maintains the correct balance of piano/singer, as they have intended and performed it. Adjust up or back to add more room, or forward for less.
Old 18th September 2012
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
+1 on the C4s. You could go ORTF instead of NOS; either will give a good result. Those measurements sound about right and once you've run a quick soundcheck you can decide to have the sound more present or more roomy. If you close in on the singer you'll lose some piano, so you have control over balance. The performers will balance themselves, all you have to do is find the spot where the mikes pick up the right amount of each.

With two mikes in a stereo format all you have to do is edit the result. It's been done this way for decades before there was the luxury of having spare tracks for spots, and why make something more complicated than you have to?

Spare yourself the embarrassment of using new mikes in a pressured environment. If you think they'll work well for this sort of thing, you can (relatively) easily find some performers who'll let you record them for practice. Or you can out the pair up in the same general way as the C4s and see what you get. But don't rely on using something straight out of the box.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #5
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacitus ➑️
+1 on the C4s. You could go ORTF instead of NOS; either will give a good result. Those measurements sound about right and once you've run a quick soundcheck you can decide to have the sound more present or more roomy. If you close in on the singer you'll lose some piano, so you have control over balance. The performers will balance themselves, all you have to do is find the spot where the mikes pick up the right amount of each.

With two mikes in a stereo format all you have to do is edit the result. It's been done this way for decades before there was the luxury of having spare tracks for spots, and why make something more complicated than you have to?

Spare yourself the embarrassment of using new mikes in a pressured environment. If you think they'll work well for this sort of thing, you can (relatively) easily find some performers who'll let you record them for practice. Or you can out the pair up in the same general way as the C4s and see what you get. But don't rely on using something straight out of the box.
+1 on ORTF or NOS. Very difficult to go wrong with this.
Old 18th September 2012
  #6
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Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks guys, I think I will just set up my ribbons in a Blumlein array beside the main stereo pair. Even if I don't end up using the tracks from the ribbon at least I will get to hear the results.

What about a jecklin disk setup? I have used it before on a string quartet and got stunning results.
Old 18th September 2012
  #7
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Tommy-boy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have a pair of fathead 2s. They're great for many things, but they are definitely dark sounding. If you decide to use them to as the primary mics for the piano or vocalist, consider supplementing with condensers to capture the highs.

Tom
Old 18th September 2012
  #8
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Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Now I'm thinking about micing the piano with the Fatheads (close micing) then a jecklin disk in front of the singer/pianist. What do you guys think?
Old 18th September 2012
  #9
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boojum's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Egad! I aid I had found the piano thread and then failed to included it. Here it is: https://gearspace.com/board/remote-p...s-far-end.html

FWIW - Mexican salsas = population x 2 because every man woman and child there has at least two recipes. For piano mic'ing it is probably REΒ². There are a multitude of techniques. I would follow the KISS principle. You can get fancier later.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum ➑️
Egad! I aid I had found the piano thread and then failed to included it. Here it is: https://gearspace.com/board/remote-p...s-far-end.html

FWIW - Mexican salsas = population x 2 because every man woman and child there has at least two recipes. For piano mic'ing it is probably REΒ². There are a multitude of techniques. I would follow the KISS principle. You can get fancier later.
And one can add spots for the singer.

One can even set up for a 5.1 recording. The sky is the limit.

But a stereo pair is just about what I can handle. Any set up with more than 4 mics will start to give me headache.
Old 18th September 2012
  #11
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jnorman's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
i have tried doing vocalist with piano accompaniment using a single stereo pair, and found it wanting both in sound and in the inability to finesse anything in post. i now normally will set the vocalist up facing the piano about 10 feet away so she can see the pianist. i put an AB pair of omnis on the piano, spaced about 30-36" and perhaps 3-4 feet out from the lip. i put a LDC (i use a c414, but your kel should be fine) on the singer about 3 feet out and above her looking downward.

the omni pair will pick up a fair amount of the vocal part, so when you mix, you just pull the close vocal mic up until you reach the correct balance between piano and vocal part. even with a c414 i tend to add a little bit of top end eq, depending on the singer.

a ribbon will perhaps be a bit dull sounding on vocals from my experience, but they do tend to take eq well if you want to try it.
Old 18th September 2012
  #12
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jnorman's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
btw, if you have done any pop-type studio recording, you will likely automatically want to add some compression on the vocal to smooth it out. dont do it. gain ride, or apply a volume envelope, but do not compress the vocal - it never works on classical material, IMHO.
Old 19th September 2012
  #13
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Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hey jnorman, thanks for the advice, that sounds really interesting, I think I might try your method. For the piano mics you point them toward the inside of the piano right?

I shouldn't worry about the vocal mic picking up some of the piano sound I guess?

Lastly, I mainly record classical, and as a pianist myself, I almost never compress classical music, just some peak taming at most. Thanks for the advice though!
Old 19th September 2012
  #14
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
For the OP---keep it real simple, baby. ORTF on a stereo bar.

Only concentrate on your recording and not on any mic tests. Use your very limited time to fine tune your mic position. Setting up an additional ribbon mic set-up to "test it for the first time?"

Don't do it. Pay attention to your task at hand and then hail the hopefully good sound.

Use the Georg Solti method.

Record everything 3 times without stopping and then leave. With that method you've automatically made your singer sing the pieces the best that she can on that day.

Edit among the 3 versions and call it a day.
Old 21st September 2012
  #15
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Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Results!

Hey guys thanks for all the advice! I went with jnorman's method and I've attached the result here including a clip (the vocal line comes in around 0:40)

The Kel HM2D worked surprisingly well since it has excellent off-axis rejection, so the vocal track was very clean, with very little bleed from the piano. I used omni capsules on the piano, and it picked up a little more of the soprano than cardioid would, but I dig the omnis on piano.

I barely did anything to the finished product, just a little panning and reverb.

Let me know what you guys think!
Attached Thumbnails
Best way to record soprano/pianist combo with these mics?-imag0099.jpg   Best way to record soprano/pianist combo with these mics?-imag0100.jpg   Best way to record soprano/pianist combo with these mics?-imag0101.jpg   Best way to record soprano/pianist combo with these mics?-imag0102.jpg  
Attached Files

Recording Sample.mp3 (6.68 MB, 1248 views)

Old 21st September 2012
  #16
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boojum's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
And didn't you do well.
Old 21st September 2012
  #17
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Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks! Any feedback?
Old 21st September 2012
  #18
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
It sounds great man, good work.

FWIW, I usually like to have a stereo pickup on the voice as well as the piano. I think you will enjoy this sound better if you tried this recording with a pair of the HM-2, or any other netural- to dark- condenser or ribbon for voice mics.

I like to have the singer and pianist in performance arrangement (singer in the crook of the piano facing into the hall), but many also do it with the singer facing the piano, as you have done. Maybe I will try this next time!

Here's my take on this sort of ensemble:

https://gearspace.com/board/8198569-post404.html
Old 21st September 2012
  #19
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Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks king2070lplaya! I gotta give stereo a shot next time.
Old 21st September 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
If you had recorded stereo in the performance position, the self balance would have been natural and the voice in the same space, not needing pan ,verb and worry about bleed.
It works well, many techniques work,but from first principles,I always advise,keep it simple.
First principle don't seem to be taught any more.
Old 21st September 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
That poor old Steinway looks like its spent most of its life as a bumper car. It's a disgrace I tell you.
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