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Pit orchestra recording
Old 24th January 2013
Gear Nut
🎧 5 years
Pit orchestra recording

I am handling the recording of a musical (thoroughly modern Mille) for my high school. The recording will be going on top a nice video recording. and maybe we can use the audio alone too for something.

First, the things that need to be recorded:

Stereo bus from recording mixer (30 wireless mic channels mixed in stereo)
2 stage mics (for tap dancing)

Pit orchestra

Second, gear we have (Mics and stuff)
16 channel tracking rig. Focusrite pres.

2 AKG 214
2 shure 81
2 shure 181
1 EV re27
1 shure sm27
1 Beyer-dynamic brass clip on
Keyboard with stereo out
Stereo out of mixer
2 Mics for stage pick up (tbd, rental)

Actually the school has more gear, but I don't think it would be useful here but if you insist it is an assortment of dynamic Mics I can disclose.

Third, the problem: I don't know exactly what mic to use on what and how to arrange them, and the orchestra will only be in the room to rehearse while the sound system is in once (we need to use some of those Mics for other things that week) I have an idea on what to do but I would like to know what you guys would do faced with the same situation. Try to think of something, write it down, then see what I had thought, so I don't bias you.

My idea 2 stereo from mixer, 2 stage Mics, 2 stereo from keyboard. (That stuffs not changing. Then EV re27 on kick (some compression) sm 27 overhead kit 2 AKG 214 on brass section, beyerdynamic clip on bass trombone, shure 181 on flute and shure 181 on clarinet. Shure 81s situated near woodwinds besides clarinet. But I would like to see what you guys thought of or general suggestions.
Old 25th January 2013
Lives for gear
pkautzsch's Avatar
🎧 15 years
We don't really know what instruments the orchestra uses. Are these listed in your setup plan all? I don't see any strings there, is that correct?

Depending on how loud the woodwinds are, and how many, and how they are seated, and how much brass and drums bleed into their mics, you might need more than 2 mics on them. You would probably add the 214s. The brass section would then use some of the "assorted dynamics" you mentioned, maybe even one mic per player.
What are the stage mics? Do you have any room mics planned?

Generally, a few more "budget" pencil condensers couldn't hurt that mic locker if it's intended for recording use more often. Might be cheaper in the long run to buy them than to rent a few middle-class mics each time. This isn't for "proper" publishing via a big name label, is ist.
Old 25th January 2013
Gear Nut
🎧 5 years
Oh, yes the strings, I forgot about those. I was going to use our AKG 451s for those.

I already am not doing well on the channel count, we only can track 16 tracks so I don't want to mic each instrument. And this is a one-off high school production, not some major label thing! I'm graduating this year and its just a little project I wanted to do.

Instrumentation would be:
Small strings section
Electric guitar
Woodwinds couple pieces
Brass horns bones trumpets
And maybe a few more
Old 25th January 2013
Gear Nut
🎧 5 years
Here is a drawing as I remember the pit orchestra last year.

I hope the 2 AKG will be enough for the strings, since they are isolated somewhat from the brass players and the Mics are cardioid. But I feel like a close mic on the clarinet and flute and a pair on the rest of the reeds and a pair on the brass will provide the necessary micing power. Also I will put one senheiser e906 on the percussion and one on the guitar cab and the rest are direct out.

But again what mic placement would you suggest? Should I not be as focused on stereo pairs and distribute the Mics evenly? Just looking for suggestions.

Pit orchestra recording-imageuploadedbygearslutz1359130359.464466.jpg
Old 25th January 2013
Lives for gear
Richard Crowley's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Are you getting a feed from the house system that includes the wireless channels ONLY? The house system is NOT reinforcing the orchestra? Else separately micing and mixing the orchestra could prove problematic.
Old 25th January 2013
Gear Nut
🎧 5 years
Originally Posted by rcrowley ➑️
Are you getting a feed from the house system that includes the wireless channels ONLY? The house system is NOT reinforcing the orchestra? Else separately micing and mixing the orchestra could prove problematic.
Correct. Not reinforcing the orchestra, we have a small venue and great players and it fills the room well. Just recording
Old 25th January 2013
Lives for gear
pkautzsch's Avatar
🎧 15 years
With multiple stereo pairs pointing in different directions, you can easily run into double-panning issues if other sections bleed into the mics too much.
I guess a stereo pair for the strings is fine. Make sure you keep the guitar amp out as good as possible.
Probably one stereo pair will get both winds and brass, and maybe even the perc section. Brass normally tends to overpower others rather than to be too weak. Percussion can easily sound too roomy and muddy up everything. Be prepared to set up another mic or two for them just in case.
Flute and clarinet spots if these are soloing.
Kit with two mics as originally planned. It will bleed into all other mics enough to get room sound and glue. Probably it will bleed more than wanted. Is this a real pit with a wall between orchestra and audience?

Another option would be using a main pair (ORTF-ish, I guess) and a few mono spots. One each for strings, winds&brass, guitar, perc, kit. Use a kit position that gets you bass drum, snare, and toms well. This might be "drummer's right knee" (omni) or "drummer's right ear" (cardioid).
Not sure how well a main pair right in the middle , and in front of the stage, will fare with the actors and audience, though. They're there to *watch* the performance, not to *listen to* the orchestra. If you could fly that pair...
Old 25th January 2013
Gear Nut
🎧 5 years
Fantastic points. I will take some of those ideas into consideration.

Some more answers.
Not a real pit
I would be able to fly the Mics (I believe, it might end up being a time and complexity issue though, since we are planning on flying a projector and using that to overlay some video effects and I might get bogged down.

I just feel like the flute and clarinet would need some more help because when they are soloing they might not balance well with the brass and saxes since the Mics will be pretty close in. Plus it would let me place the AKG pair farther away from the kit and bass amp
Old 27th January 2013
Lives for gear
sonare's Avatar
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I had to do something very similar (minus strings) several years ago for a live Wycliff Gordon recording and relied VERY heavily on DPA4060s plus the usual suspects in the rhythm section. It turned out VERY well and thanks to being able tape the mics to normal stands and arc them over to the instruments on pieces of bent steel wire many in the audience were unaware that it was recorded.

The only mistake was putting a DPA 4041 on Wycliffe-- that mic is BRIGHT.

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