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Twin Close Vocal Mics
Old 24th September 2012
  #1
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🎧 15 years
Twin Close Vocal Mics

In a lot of the top classical recordings of vocal and studio opera recordings the soloists are miked by two spaced cardioids, shoulder width or closer, mostly parallel pointing but sometimes angled in towards the mouth.

What is the thinking behind this. Are they panned full left and right for a close stereo spread, are they for redundancy and only one is used, are they used parallel spaced without screen to avoid being spat on?

I have tried this arrangement with mixed success.

Examples:
Anne Sofie von Otter talks about recording "Love Songs" with Brad Mehldau - YouTube
Anne Sofie von Otter - Erbarme Dich - YouTube
Ian Bostridge, Antonio Pappano - Schubert "Schwanengesang" - YouTube (at 1:26)
Rolando Villazon "La fleur que tu m'avais jetΓ©e" from Carmen Studio Recording 2005 - YouTube
Old 24th September 2012
  #2
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🎧 10 years
Oh God,Wilkie is grave turning,Kingsway Hall is morphing into a Salvation Army Hostel again.
What are they thinking!
Every day classical recording steps closer to pop
ASvO singing with cans....so close to the pair.
So many mics.

As for the mic pairs, who knows,they are video promos,anything happens in promos, at least they seem to be singing into them.
Most times directors don't like side address mics and they sing down the ends....

Seriously though, this is slightly disturbing, have modern day Blumliens discovered a radical new technique ??
Old 24th September 2012
  #3
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Bibster's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Rolo, I **love** your grumpiness !
Old 24th September 2012
  #4
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 ➑️
Oh God,Wilkie is grave turning,Kingsway Hall is morphing into a Salvation Army Hostel again.
What are they thinking!
Every day classical recording steps closer to pop
ASvO singing with cans....so close to the pair.
So many mics.

As for the mic pairs, who knows,they are video promos,anything happens in promos, at least they seem to be singing into them.
Most times directors don't like side address mics and they sing down the ends....

Seriously though, this is slightly disturbing, have modern day Blumliens discovered a radical new technique ??
Hey now, Wilkie used this setup, too! Something similar anyways. Check out some old sofiensaal photos and you can clearly see pairs of what I presume are km84 in front of the vocalists, one about a foot above the other. So vertically placed tater than horizontal.

I prefer the 2 mic setup to a 1 mic setup, but then I'd rather find a way to avoid using much vocal spot at all. Classical singers are meant to be heard at a distance.
Old 24th September 2012
  #5
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🎧 10 years
I can understand vertical placement for head tilts
Horizontal for turns
But so close ?
Old 24th September 2012
  #6
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
It the spaced alternative to say, an MS spot. You can pan them out hard and it maintains a strong center image but blends better with other pairs than a mono spot.

It's useful I'm sure for the DG and EMI engineers nowadays, as the vocal sound on these new almost "pop classical" releases (Anna Netrebko, Violetta, Duets, and Russian Albums; anything recent by Angela Georghieu; Bach Cantatas by Natalie Dessay, etc; the big name singers these days) is unnaturally close; whereas the old Decca and EMI opera recordings featured a more realistic and "distant" perspective on the voice, there has been a movement progressively over the last 2-3 decades towards the more pop-like close mic'd sound. This spaced spot, as with MS, gives you a more natural perspective than a single spot mic when you mix it hotter in the overall orchestral blend.

I get to do a concert with "Knoxville: Summer 1915" next month, time to start thinking about that vocal spot.... MS? Spaced? Oh the options..... :-)
Old 24th September 2012
  #7
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🎧 15 years
I find that in making studio recordings of violin, for some applications I can improve the sound by using two different sounding microphones (sf-1 and ccm21) placed as close as possible horizontally, both facing straight ahead, one panned hard right the other panned hard left and adjusted to have similar volume levels. The end result sounds similar to a mono recording.
Old 24th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 ➑️
Every day classical recording steps closer to pop
ASvO singing with cans....so close to the pair.
Well that was a pop record she was making.

But why the two mics?
Old 24th September 2012
  #9
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Recording with stereo spots enables the record mang to then fit the sounds in to the stereo picture without it sounding "pasted on."

When you have two mics on the soloist (or three--I'll give an example later,) is done when you are multi-tracking the session. Then when you have two singers for example you can put one on the left with one mic panned hard left and the other mic panned at 10 o'clock. Then pan the right hand singer one mic hard rt. and other at 2 o'clock. The singers "float in space in the stereo picture instead of being in your face.

How about 3 mics on one vocal soloist? It's a fantastic method. Here's how to do it:

Use one very very expensive tube microphone in the center as the main mic. The more expensive the better. Set it in cardioid pattern. Then place two small diaphragm cardioids (preferably tube) on an AKG stereo bar. Put the bar with the mics towards the rear of the big tube mic. Play with the distance of the two mics on the stereo bar---try moving it 1 foot back then two feet back from the center mic.

Pan the big tube mic center and then the two smaller mics hard lft. and rt. Now you can vary the width of the solo singer--again without having her sound pasted on or in your face.

It is not easy to use this last method and it takes a lot of practice. But it is a valuable technique lesser known in the USA.
Old 24th September 2012
  #10
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rumleymusic's Avatar
 
1 Review written
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Quote:
Use one very very expensive tube microphone in the center as the main mic. The more expensive the better



I just finished an art song CD using two spot mics on the soloist. Played with the panning width a little bit until it sounded right. One mic just sounded to isolated, pop-like.

One problem is solists move like crazy, with one mic you may get a strong voice one second and a weak on another. Two mics will give you better coverage, but if you pan them hard left and right, your soloist may move from left to right in the stereo field. For me, 60-80% each way was the magic number to keep them still and still have an open sound.

I like the three mic idea, it seems like that would solve quite a few problems.
Old 25th September 2012
  #11
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🎧 10 years
Prefer an MS spot,for turns, tilts and reality.
Really prefer stereo performance array, in real time
Sadly, a diminishing response, it seems.
Old 25th September 2012
  #12
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
One problem is solists move like crazy,
My advice to such soloists was that they should imagine that they are performing for an audience of blind persons at a music publishing convention. Forget the dramatics of the recital room - the audience can't see - put the performance into the sound, minimise the physical gestures. Perform as if you are trying to sell the song itself to the audience, not to sell yourself as a performer.

Perhaps with such an approach, there might be less need for mics placed purely to capture a moving source.
Old 28th April 2013 | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➑️
I get to do a concert with "Knoxville: Summer 1915" next month, time to start thinking about that vocal spot.... MS? Spaced? Oh the options..... :-)
Such wonderful music.
Barber: Knoxville, Summer 1915 - YouTube
Leontyne Price "Knoxville: Summer of 1915" 1/2 - YouTube

I would go as lush and atmospheric as possible, so you need to stereo spot, Plush's recommendations would be the best start. Bring out the tube mics.
Old 28th April 2013
  #14
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➑️
Such wonderful music.
Barber: Knoxville, Summer 1915 - YouTube
Leontyne Price "Knoxville: Summer of 1915" 1/2 - YouTube

I would go as lush and atmospheric as possible, so you need to stereo spot, Plush's recommendations would be the best start. Bring out the tube mics.
I ended up using an MS spot of a Beyerdynamic m130 side and a line audio cm3 mid. It did a very good job for me
Old 29th April 2013
  #15
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Yannick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've heard very good orchestral recordings (DG), but with the double or triple mic thing on the solo voice, which is a pity, because the voice sounds not OK at all compared to the orechestra pickup.

Such a pity.

It is not only DG that gets this a bit wrong sometimes.

I really prefer MS (ribbon) on solo voice, preferably with the voice placed inside the orchestra.

Imo the voice can sound quite close or too loud, that is a viable option, but it can never ever sound boxy, or poppy. Or harsh.

I am beginning to suspect a lack of decent monitoring, as it is hard to believe those top engineers cannot hear the problems otherwise.
Old 29th April 2013
  #16
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The two or three mic technique is for chamber music recording with vocal.

So vocal / piano, vocal / strings.

I say that this is where the technique shines. Any stereo micing of voice is a flexible and good technique. A mono spot on voice sounds good until you compare it to a stereo pick up (specifically set up for the singer).
Old 10th October 2013
  #17
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fred2bern's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
How do you aim the two mics? 90Β° from the bar and then the singer sings in the middle or do you aim the mics to the head direction?
In a cardio figure?
Old 10th October 2013
  #18
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Mics parallel, at head height, and pointed at the singer is the common usage.
Old 10th October 2013 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bibster ➑️
Rolo, I **love** your grumpiness !
It's not grumpiness. It is a serious reaction to a serious loss of craft.

D.
Old 10th October 2013 | Show parent
  #20
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fred2bern's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➑️
Mics parallel, at head height, and pointed at the singer is the common usage.
Thanks!
Old 10th October 2013 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➑️
Mics parallel, at head height, and pointed at the singer is the common usage.
A lot of photos seem to be shoulder height, shoulder spacing. Pointing straight ahead and set to cardioid. How panned?
Old 10th October 2013
  #22
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Shoulder height, head height, adjust to taste. I suppose I do usually go for more shoulder height than head height when using this sort of setup.

I almost always leave them panned hard L and hard R for a soloist.
Old 11th October 2013
  #23
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🎧 15 years
@Plush, I use a similar technique but slightly different. I use one mic close to singer And a stereo pair a few feet back. But from the first mic i don't use the signal. Just to keep the singer a bit more steady ;-) But the stereo pair i always point the mic a bit away from the singer. Rather have some brightness in the room sound than a bright singer in a dull space.

edit: Maybe i should buy this
http://www.wesdooley.com/aea/AEA_Rep...and_Parts.html

I record the feed anyway but most of the time it remains unused

@Yannick, Most of the time i have them coincident XY. But use MS in post to adjust the width. I can imagine you get good results also with fig 8 MS. But i hesitate to put up a blumlein mount or stereo ribbon in front of a singer in concert. XY is smaller.
Old 12th October 2013
  #24
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🎧 15 years
More than one mic per singer is a complete waste of resources IMHO.
WeΒ΄re talking about musicians who know how to sing without moving
and not politicians who donΒ΄t.
Politicians need more than one mic since since they are more important.
Old 13th October 2013
  #25
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🎧 15 years
What i find a neat trick for stereo micing singers that move to much is to aim the pair up and down. The chance that they are going to jump up and down is less likely so you can aim the singer center but make a wide stereo image. for less correlated reverberation on that pair. And if the singer goes left or right the singer stays center on the mics.
Old 14th October 2013
  #26
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Roland's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
I've seen it done a lot on live classical events where they are re-enforcing the sound and I've always suspected that it was more to do with coverage and redundancy. The problem can easily be that you end up with a "drifting" stereo image (depending on how things are panned). When Decca produced many of their fine operatic recordings of the 60's and 70's, they invariably only had one spot mic per singer and it always sounded fine to me. It does occur that some may be using this technique to have singers "on-axis" all the time particularly if they "sway" about as some classical performers do.
Old 14th October 2013
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Is there any reason you couldn't use a pair of spaced SD omni mics (say 12 to 18") either side of the singer's music stand ? Apart from capturing page turns in dramatic ping-pong stereo, you'd have a fair show of capturing an even voice despite head/torso sway ? I've done so myself with a pair of MKH8020's and it worked well. The trick is avoid spacing them so wide that a 'centred' voice falls into a "hole in the middle"...but they'd have to be spaced pretty wide for that to happen. You get the bonus of no proximity bass tilt, and if placed close enough to the singer their body screens a fair amount of string or piano activity from getting into the spots. I actually prefer waist to chest height, or somewhere close to the edges (side or top) of the music stand, rather than the chest to mouth height for the mic capsules.

With an ORTF vocal spot pair you'd get accurate (Dramatic !) tracking of head/torso movement...which I guess you could always minimize in post by folding the left and right components together somewhat, to make it a 10 degree arc rather than a 180 degree one ? I just like the even tonality of a close miked omni or two..... A pair of wide cardioids such as CM3's could be a fair compromise too ?
Old 15th October 2013
  #28
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🎧 10 years
There's an audio sample of omni SD vocal spots, just above waist height, either side of music stand......although quite a few feet further back from the music stand, so apologies for my failed memory of the placement until reminded by the earlier thread details ! Voice mics are Line Audio OM1's. Singer is Greta Bradman, recorded in July 2013...from another previous thread in this forum, first posting:https://gearspace.com/board/remote-p...-om1-pair.html

Last edited by studer58; 15th October 2013 at 01:57 PM.. Reason: inaccuracy correction
Old 16th October 2013
  #29
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3 Reviews written
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I am a bit late to this thread, but this caught my eye (from kingplaya's post):

"vertically placed tater..."

:-)
Old 16th October 2013
  #30
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Regarding the 12 - 18 inch spacing suggested above, vs. the closer spacing (say, 6 inches) mentioned earlier....

Which would be less sensitive to horizontal movement of the singer? I'm not sure how to think about it. I could imagine very widely spaced mics, and then think that movement that a singer might do would be a small percentage of the wide horizontal spacing, so may not be so distracting. On the other hand, I could think that, if mics were very close together, the signal captured by each one would be very similar, hence any movement may not be so distracting.

I'm thinking that at least one of those lines of thinking must be wrong.

Thank you.

Regards,

DG
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