Recording an orchestra

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Tommy-boy
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:45 am

Early21 wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:51 am
...Then I selected all of the audio segments with the orchestra in it on both channels and normalized to zero. I'm now thinking I should have normalized left and right separately. Maybe somebody has a thought on this. After all, the gain was set manually by me looking at the input levels I was getting in dress, so they weren't necessarily equal in any way.
The best approach here would be to set both channels to the same gain (on mic pres) when capturing the event. Then when you normalize - do it as a stereo file (as you did).

If you normalize channels independently, you mess with the stereo image. ORTF is designed so that both channels have the same gain in capture and replay. Most portable recorders (including the zooms and SDs mentioned earlier in this thread) have the capability of linking channels so their gains move together.
Early21 wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:51 am
And last, for reverb, since the hall was largely full, and my mics were not so far from the stage (and cardioid), I added some reverb. I tried all the versions in Cubase, but it sounded best with the reverb supplied by Ozone. As someone said in another forum, you don't really need to put Hall convolution on something that was already recorded in a hall; you just need a light simple reverb.
I almost always add reverb when recording with ORTF as you capture some, but not enough of, the hall. I thought your reverb was tasteful.

Tom

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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:58 am

Stephen57 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:38 pm
Tommy-boy wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:11 pm
Recorders -
Just my 2 cents.

-Tom
Tom, thanks for all your comments on this thread. I'm glad you took the time to post such long, detailed and useful comments here. Great job.
I've been helped many times by generous and knowledgeable people on audio forums. I'm glad I could return the favor and provide some useful feedback. I'm also glad Early took the time to post files and explanations of what he did. This was a worthwhile thread.

-Tom

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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:38 am

Hi Tom, thanks for good advice, as usual. Back to the subject of channel levels. My left and right were not linked when I recorded them. Maybe there's something in Cubase that does that; I'll have to investigate. What I did was adjust left and right inputs to be approximately the same based on the dials on the MR816. But I did surmise that the tracks were not at equal levels; maybe I wasn't really at center, or maybe these cheap mics are not so equal as they should be. I do suspect that this is the case with my mics. One of them has fallen to the floor at least once in a band recording with wobbly stands (I use them as drum overheads). Anyway, based on that, I felt free to adjust the left and right tracks to my taste. When I mixed, I went to sections where the whole orchestra was playing and adjusted left and right to get a good center stereo sound to my ears. Possibly I violated an ORTF principle?

Also, you didn't hear it, but I did increase the left channel ever so slightly in the cello concerto, because the cellist was on the left, and he was not coming through as much as I thought he should. So I definitely took liberty with left and right mic volumes. I'm wondering if I broke rules!

Appreciate any thoughts on this.

Thanks for the good discussion!
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:41 pm

You did violate ORTF principles. But this is probably OK.

When recording ORTF, the best approach is to have the gain on the interface or recorder the same for both channels. Then have the gain for each level the same in Cubase when playing back. This was how ORTF was designed to work. Other settings can distort the stereo imaging. When I wrote that I link channels, I meant that I link the inputs on my 788T. This recorder has stereo linking functionality. Then one gain knob controls gain for both the left and right channels of the stereo pair. This is a good convenient feature. When in cubase, I set up a group channel and route the left and right ortf channels to the group. I do all processing on the group - to keep the stereo linked image intact.

Mic positioning changes would be my first choice to adjust relative volume concerns. This could include adjusting players' positions (relative to the stereo array) to the extent possible.

But, sometimes its not until post that you realize adjustments are needed.........if you're being careful with what you're doing when you make adjustments, and you're layering on 'verb after the fact, it's probably not a big deal to adjust relative channel gain. Listening to the end result is the ultimate determination if it works.

I've adjusted relative channel gain when the image seemed lopsided. The lopsidedness was often caused by the group playing louder on one side than the other. Not adjusting makes it feel like you're carrying a bucket of water with one arm. Better to carry two buckets (one in each arm) and be balanced. :D When I do this - I typically use a similar gain offset for all songs so that players don't wander around in the stereo image.

Tom

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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:31 pm

Hi Tom, I'm still thinking about that... but only because I think my two mics were not providing the same level of signal, possibly because one of them fell to the ground during a recording of a drum set. Enough to break the mic mount. I never replaced that mic, because it still works. I ordered a new mic mount from Audio Technica. I mean, I've really been going low budget! LDC's can sometimes pull the mike stand down if you're not careful!

Before the concert, I positioned myself in front of the array and snapped my finger to see where it would register in Cubase. One of the mics was lower than the other, so I increased the input on the lower one until the two registered about the same. (I routinely do the same for drum overheads, and always place the mics equal distance from the center of the snare. Previously I had recorded the overheads on one stereo track, but I found that it was better if I balanced them by ear). But, as I said, given the timpani situation, and the relative volume of the cello soloist, I made some minor volume changes per performance. And I suppose the timing differences still produce good stereo for ORTF, but I might have compromised the volume differences that are also supposed to help create the image.

So still learning, and thanks for teaching!
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:56 am

Hi all, just getting ready for the next recording session. Now I have two SDC's (AT-4041) going into a field recorder (Zoom F4). I'm intending to use my laptop as the backup, since the Zoom pre's seem to be rather good, and probably quieter than the pre's on the MR816, and I can run the Zoom on battery power (using Eneloop batteries, I've tested well over 3 hours continuously, with phantom power to the two mics). A friend is loaning me the ART-S8 to split the mic signal to feed the two recording devices.

So I didn't realize that SDC's in the ORTF configuration bump into each other in the back! If you want to get the two mics 17CM apart and at an angle of 110 degrees, one has to be on top of the other! At this point, I've rigged it so that one of the mics is higher than the other (using an SM57 mic clamp stuffed with cardboard). I would have had the same issue with an X-Y configuration.

What do you guys do in the ORTF situation (or X-Y situation)?
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:31 pm

I'm interested to hear how you make out with the 4041s. I've not used them, but are interested in how they sound. Hopefully you can post a clip and some pics.

Some other thoughts:

Redundancy - strong move. One day something will happen and you will thank your lucky stars you created a redundant recording path.

ORTF - yup, SDC mics often bump into each other when mounted in ORTF. The normal solution to this problem is to do exactly as you're doing - raise one. I use the space bar from Grace, which has different height mounts which are designed to solve this problem.

Here's a link to for the spacebar:
http://www.gracedesign.com/products/spa ... tereo.html

Notice that the SB-MHS is standard height, while the SB-MHT is the "tall" version.

So.....stacking mics on top of one another for ORTF is common and works well. No need to worry about this.

If doing XY (which I'm not a fan of for orchestral recording), can stack too with no problems.

Good luck on your next gig!

-Tom

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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:32 am

Yeah, I did a little test with my jury-rigged rig today, also to learn how the F4's filing system works. Seems I can automatically route left and right channels 1 and 2 to 3 and 4 respectively, with a lower trim level, in case the first pair clip. It also goes to the second SD card at the same time, in case there's any problem with the first SD card. So two mono inputs record 8 tracks. Backups of backups of backups!

There is also a digital limiter that can be applied, and my understanding is that it works by adjusting the analog trim, so if set up right, could prevent clipping in the ADC. So if a transient is detected in the limiter at the level I set (-6dB), it will start limiting at a 20:1 ratio, and the manual says it has 10dB of additional headroom, which I don't really understand, since it's in the digital realm. But considering that in recording classical, the transients that are likely to clip are all in the percussion section, and very short, maybe it will help. I mean, I could just cut the tops off those transients with the edit tool in Cubase, and it would be fine, so maybe this is a good safety net. Experience will tell.

I compared my AT-2020's to the AT-4041's with some acoustic guitar recording, and it did seem that the AT-4041's were, how shall I describe it, a smoother sound. Something is harsher about the 2020's, although I do realize that if my position in front of the mics is different by a couple of inches, any mics will sound different.

Anyway, I don't want to put up four mics this weekend right in front of the audience, so I'm only using the 4021's. Not to mention I don't have any solution for getting four mics onto the stand in ORTF configuration so I could do a true compare.

I found a suggestion on Gearslutz for raising one of the mics - buy a couple of European to NA mic adapters (5/8" to 3/8"), for a couple of bucks, and then combining them with 3/8 to 5/8 that I already have, I hope I can raise one of the mics about 3/4 of an inch. I have to get my hands on the parts to figure it out!

One question; in ORTF, the two mic bodies probably shouldn't touch each other, right? Physical vibrations between the two?
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:54 am

Gig is over; both F4 and MR816CSX into laptop seem to have worked flawlessly. I've got to get all the files over onto my desktop to see how they came out, and how they compare. Cool thing about F4 is I had it up and running in minutes via battery power. Cool thing about recording in Cubase is I can see the peaks on each track in case I need to adjust and other things that a full screen allow. Venue was not very good. Lots of curtains on the stage to dampen the sound, and a giant constantly running fan to keep the stage lights cool enough so that they would not overheat the system. You can hear it in all of the quiet parts (I'm talking about my ears, not about the recording, although I do assume you can hear it in the recording too). Pictures and samples to come.

It did occur to me that redundancy is good to have, but if the mainline recording system craps out for some reason, you could lose your phantom power to the backup system (using a passive mic splitter). I suppose that this sort of catastrophe is highly unlikely, and that what we're really using two recording systems for is something like, did you remember to hit the "record" button or did you remember to put an SD card in the recorder. Interested in what others do about phantom power.
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:24 pm

ORTF - probably better to not have mic bodies touching. Might not be that bad if they are touching, as long as they stay touching.

Redundancy - I often use more than one main pair. I have the first recorder providing phantom for the first pair, while the second recorder takes the passive split. I have a second recorder providing phantom for the second mic pair, while the first recorder takes the passive split. All bases covered in that any single element of the recording chain can fail and I'll still have something recorded. I typically do this type of redundancy if I'm not entirely sure which mic config I want (and hence put up more than one pair), or if I'm going for an inner/outer setup. The inner/outer setup is typically 1 pair of near coincident on inside with 1 pair of spaced omnis on outside (blended to taste in post). I usually run ORTF or wide ORTF as the inner. Would like to experiment with NOS here at some point. But I digress.

-Tom

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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:01 am

Hi Tom, I missed that post! Thanks for explaining how you do redundancy, now it makes sense to me. Interesting you mention NOS. I was looking at mic configurations and there was a Dutch version (NOS), a German version, an Italian version, and of course the French version (ORTF). I think they were not wildly different, but it does seem that some Europeans have wider heads than others (that's a joke; please nobody take offense!).

I have some photos, but I haven't figured out how I should reduce the size of the photos so that the forum will let me attach them. One of my photo editors, I guess. Anyway, first photo was showing the computer and Zoom F4 set up to record, and the second showed the mics on top of the stand. Using the Shure mic holder stuffed with cardboard, I was able to give one of the mics a bit more elevation to achieve an ORTF configuration (mic heads 17CM apart and positioned at a 110 degree angle). Since this session, I have procured two adapters for about $7 that will raise one of the mics about an inch.

Here's the extract:
https://soundcloud.com/incontinentals/s ... ide-extrac
Remember, this is a youth orchestra (high school age in the US).

The hall had some serious background noise problems. You can hear it in the first split second: a fan above the stage to keep the stage lights cool enough so that they won't trip the circuit breaker. It's very loud. So while I was keen to hear if there was a major difference in the base noise level of the F4 preamps vs. the MR816 preamps, the fan prevented that. With respect to the audio files recorded in each device, I would not be able to distinguish them reliably. I don't think the preamps on either device are anything but transparent. For this extract, I used the F4 recorded files.

I'm still puzzling how to handle overall loudness. I have started to educate myself on LUFs. The concerns I have are 1) three different ensembles with very different base volume levels 2) within one ensemble, a wide variation in loud to soft. On the second, it seems I should try to preserve one ensemble's overall relative volume from number to number, at least. So I'm still fumbling with that, because if I did each number separately, some of them would be a lot louder.

Another issue was within one piece, where one section was so soft, and another so loud, that it's difficult to find a balance. In particular, the conductor was a little frustrated that there were so many curtains on this stage, that he told the percussion section to hit as hard as they could, which gave me outrageous spikes that are hard to control.

Anyway, appreciate any comments.
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:17 am

Here's a new sample.
https://soundcloud.com/incontinentals/ ... y-no-5-ext

I recorded the local professional orchestra last night with the dual recording rig (AT-4041 pair in ORTF configuration into mic splitter into Zoom F4 and into Steinberg MR816CSX into old laptop running Cubase). This extract is from the Zoom F4 recording, with my post-processing (normalization, equalization, loudness, reverb). It's a much better sample to get an idea of what the AT-4041 mics sound like, given the much higher quality orchestra, and a much better hall, with sound reflectors behind the orchestra and above the orchestra, and no such issue as the fan sounds at the last venue. Mics were maybe 2 feet above the conductor's head, and about 12 feet back.

So far, I think I would not be able to accurately pick which recording came through the Steinberg versus the Zoom F4. The preamps on both are basically just transparent. However, I think I could easily distinguish the AT-4041 pair from the AT-2020 pair that I had used on my previous recording of this orchestra. Hard to describe, but the AT-4041's just sound so much more real; that is to say, they sound more like what I heard myself.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

There are some chamber concerts coming up, and I'll start a new thread on that.
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:04 am

In case anyone is still following this, I've been reconsidering my backup. At this point, main line is AT4040 mics into the Zoom F4. Backup is through a mic splitter into Steinberg MR816-csx into my very old Thinkpad laptop running Cubase 4.5 on Windows XP (never connected to the internet).

I had borrowed the mic splitter (ART-S8-3) and was getting ready to buy one of those. But, now I'm thinking, for that money, maybe I should consider another digital recorder with its own mics. I am thinking that the AT4040 mics into the Zoom F4 is a good enough primary path for my orchestral recording. So instead of splitting the mic signal and feeding the laptop, maybe I should instead buy another digital recorder with its own mics as a fallback.

I've seen positive reviews of the Zoom H4n-pro which comes with an x-y mic configuration, and it costs less than the transformer mic splitter I've been looking at. The preamps have been greatly improved over the H4n. So the idea is, two independent recording systems, no splitter, no external power, and, lord willing (not an actual call out to the lord if you're wondering), the F4 is the recording solution that is used for the mix delivered to the client. It has the advantage that I am no longer at risk of losing phantom power to the mics if the F4 fails, but the disadvantage that my ORTF configuration falls back to an x-y configuration (on the H4n-pro). But I'm no longer running extension cords taped to the floor to power the backup. That's a big advantage in setup time, and risk of failure.

The other thing I can't figure out is how to position the H4n-pro to record. It has a tripod mount. Is there any way to get it higher? Ideally, it would also be 2 feet above the conductor's head.

Thanks for any thoughts and experience.
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:39 pm

If you use any recorder with built in mics, you will have "something" in the case the primary signal chain goes down. However, that "something" will not be on par with the quality of the main pair (4040s in your case). Mics built into the recorder are not of the quality of stand alone mics. If you are OK with that, then get the H4n. Perhaps consider starting with the H4n, then add external mics (to hook into the H4n) down the road when your budget allows.

For me, my back up recorder is the R44. I will use built in mics if it is acceptable to have a less than stellar back up copy. For a money gig, I deploy another set of mics.

Other thoughts - it's liberating not having to worry about power cords. Makes life a heck of a lot easier!

-Tom

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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:26 am

Tom, thanks for your thoughts on this. I am assuming the mics on the H4NPro are not so good, and I hope I never have to rely on them. And I am fairly convinced that x-y is just not right for a wide orchestra; maybe not for anything. But I am thinking that when money allows, maybe another set of mics would be worth it, and having two recorders would provide more security right now than continuing to use the old laptop, especially with freedom from power outlets. But I am considering whether the next pair should be omnis. I think you hinted at this earlier in this thread, so I hope you don't mind elaborating.

I've been reading Richard King's book "Recording Orchestra and Other Classical Music Ensembles", and this guy is strongly advocating a spaced pair of omnis rather than the ORTF configuration I've been using. If I understand it correctly, the A-B omnis have to be right behind the conductor rather than 10 feet back where I am now. When considering a main recording system and a backup, it would make sense for both systems to use the same mic configuration so that multiple stands are not required, blocking the audience's view.

So these are the points I'm considering, as well as the upcoming chamber concerts I have been asked to record this spring. But before that, I do the youth orchestra again on a composer's read-through session. I'll be using ORTF on that, and maybe I'll have the H4Npro as a backup system, or maybe it'll be the laptop and I will have bought the ART splitter by then.
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by TEEF » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:51 pm

You can get really small omnidirectional microphones. I used to have ones that hung from the ceiling and fit in the palm of my hand. They come in pencil condenser format too like the AT4049, which i have. Good sounding mic.

When I do live recording, which is rare these days, I have A 4 track field recorder by Tascam dr70, i think it is, that has 2 omnidirectional microphones built into it. I record using them and I also plug in my two main microphones into that and record all 4 simultaneously. They sound surprisingly good for what the thing cost me. I use it all the time at video shoots for the dialogue microphones.
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by TEEF » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:59 pm

If you do go for these miniature omnidirectional microphones that fit in the palm of your hand, buy yourself a crossbow and bolts for it that have eyelets. You can thread a string to the crossbow arrow and shoot it into the ceiling and hoist up your microphones. Just do it before the audience arrives.
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:31 pm

I like the idea of miniature omnis. And your bow and arrow system must be better than the rope and suction cup system I was developing to climb up the walls!
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:02 pm

Early21 wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:26 am
... But I am considering whether the next pair should be omnis. I think you hinted at this earlier in this thread, so I hope you don't mind elaborating.

I've been reading Richard King's book "Recording Orchestra and Other Classical Music Ensembles", and this guy is strongly advocating a spaced pair of omnis rather than the ORTF configuration I've been using.
He's right. A spaced pair of omnis is the best........SOMETIMES. There are plenty of qualifiers to that statement. They are only best in certain situations. And the word "best" is subjective, not objective.

They will pick up EVERYTHING in the room. In a room with less than stellar acoustics, this is a liability (and then omnis would not be the best choice). Also, being non-directional, they don't have the reach that cardiods do. So they need to be placed closer. I use an AB pair of omnis if I can put my mics where I want (up close and high), the acoustics are great, there isn't a ton of hvac noise (which omnis will generally pick up more than cards), and I can get far enough away from the audience to not pick up too much audience noise.

Omnis are harder to work with. Hence, my recommendation to start with ORTF. Also, although spaced omnis sound spacious and can capture more low end, they do not have the same excellent stereo imaging that ORTF does (little worse). Also, spaced omnis don't always collapse to mono as elegantly.

So....are spaced omnis better? Yes, sometimes, depending on conditions.

The Office de Radiodiffusion Television Francaise came up with the ORTF standard after much mic position testing. It is a very forgiving array and just works. Bad room? No problem. Need to be farther back? No problem. Need to collapse to mono for a certain distribution? No problem.

There is no one "best" array for all situations. We need to pick and choose, and make further field adjustments when needed. However, when you're uncertain (or new at recording) - ORTF is generally the way to go because it generally won't sound bad.
Early21 wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:26 am
If I understand it correctly, the A-B omnis have to be right behind the conductor rather than 10 feet back where I am now. When considering a main recording system and a backup, it would make sense for both systems to use the same mic configuration so that multiple stands are not required, blocking the audience's view.
Mic placement, spacing, angling, etc... all depend on the situation.

You certainly can use the same mic arrays for both recorders, but you don't have to. I often use different configs and pick which I like best. I have done several with AB omnis on the main recorder and ORTF on the backup recorder. I know that the backup will work. Maybe it will not be as good as the omni pair, but it will never suck.
Early21 wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:26 am
So these are the points I'm considering, as well as the upcoming chamber concerts I have been asked to record this spring. But before that, I do the youth orchestra again on a composer's read-through session. I'll be using ORTF on that, and maybe I'll have the H4Npro as a backup system, or maybe it'll be the laptop and I will have bought the ART splitter by then.
As you go further down this path, I suggest you gradually acquire more tools to help you solve problems at different situations. A multichannel splitter is often very handy. The Art is not expensive.

-Tom

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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:06 pm

Here's a pic of a mic setup I had for a concert a few yrs ago. Two mic arrays on one bar as follows:
Inner array - Wide ORTF. Two Schoeps MK21 capsules in wide ORTF array. Same 110 degree angle, but mics spaced further apart to get to same SRA.
Outter array - AB64. Two Schoeps MK5 capsules (set to omni pattern) approx 64 cm apart.

As this was a live concert, my setup was as follows:
AB64 pair went to an 8 channel Switchcraft splitter. Direct went to 788T. ISO went to R44. Phantom provided by 788T
WORTF pair went to 8 channel Switchcraft Splitter - Direct went to R44. ISO went to 788T. Phantom provided by R44

The stand is an old Quicklock A-50 that takes a beating and keeps on working. The big stereo bar that everything is mounted upon is a Grace Spacebar. The Wide ORTF bar in the middle is a Schoeps bar that isn't made anymore. Pity - as it is super convenient. For this WORTF bar, and the ORTF bar that is still being produced, the mic capsule heads snap into this bar and the mic bodies (amplifiers) attach to the other end of a cord.

Gives me choices and backup. Mics are nextel grey and are small. Cabling is neat. Not a visual impairment.

BTW - Room acoustics were quite good.

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Tommy-boy
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:22 pm

Usually, my recorder setup looks something like this pic. Everything feeds into the Switchcraft 8 channel splitter. Direct and ISO outs come out of the back of the unit on DB25 connectors. I use Mogami breakout cables to run to each recorder.

Note that for channels 1/2 and 5/6 - the mic bodies are attached to the splitter. The cabling at the end of the mic bodies connects them to the mic capsules. So only the small mic capsules are up on the stand. Minimizes what can be seen. Sometimes, less is more.

You've probably noticed that I have six channels, and the R44 is only 4 channels. Main two pairs of mics were backed up. Other pair was experimental / backup.

I'm saving my pennies for another used 788T so I can get all 8 backed-up. The upside is I could sync two unites to create a giant 16 channel recorder. I could use 16 channels when recording big bands.

-Tom
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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:42 pm

How to I get a pic to be part of the post and not an attachment that needs to be clicked to be open?

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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:52 pm

Very helpful, Tommy; thanks a lot. You have a great setup, and thanks for the photos. Was just wondering which recording you favored as your main stereo pair - the Wide ORTF or the AB64? Or did you mix them both in?

I don't own any omnis and I've never recorded with them. In this book I'm reading, it seems the author prefers to have his main omni pair on stage. He talks about ORTF but when he gets into the details about how he records an orchestra, he only details the A-B approach, mentions the Decca tree as a way to plug any hole in the stereo image, and goes onto secondary mics starting with omni "outriggers" and then how he sets up spot mics for every section. I was surprised how close he put the main pair and I guessed this could be done because they were omnis, and picking up hall signal behind them (which cardioids would not do). So that's why I was wondering if that's a general rule that A-B is going to be closer than ORTF.

I'm thinking too that I'm getting a stereo image that I'm quite happy with using ORTF, and these are really recordings just for archive for local (semi) professional and amateur orchestras. The orchestra managers are not going to want me to start putting up extra stands on the stage; they're hoping I am reliable, stay out of the way, get a good enough recording, and that the audience barely notices me. Not the same thing as coming in to record a CD for a major orchestra!

For the foreseeable future, I should focus on gaining experience with the setup I have now, I think.
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My album Incontinental Breakfast at http://lborden.bandcamp.com. Works in process: https://soundcloud.com/incontinentals.

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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Tommy-boy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:45 am

Early21 wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:52 pm
Very helpful, Tommy; thanks a lot. You have a great setup, and thanks for the photos. Was just wondering which recording you favored as your main stereo pair - the Wide ORTF or the AB64? Or did you mix them both in?
For that one, I believe I went AB.

I'll see if there's anything I can post that compares different mic setups.

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Re: Recording an orchestra

Post by Early21 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:15 am

Hope you find something to post, Tommy-boy. Thanks again! I'll be going into the orchestra recording next weekend with the F4 as primary recording path and H4N Pro as backup system using its internal mics, on the same stand as the AT-4021's. First time I'll be without A/C power, so I hope everything works.

My plan is to save up for a better pair of cardioids (Schoeps, Gefell, something in that range, maybe used), hopefully sometime next year. The preamps on the H4N Pro (per specs) are much better than the H4N, so I intend to keep that as the backup to the F4, so I'm fully battery powered. After that, a passive splitter like the ART S8 so that both pairs of mics are feeding both digital recorders. So sticking with ORTF for next couple of years.

And then see where it goes. I want to try A-B, but that means another set of (omni) mics, and the people utilizing me right now are not clamoring for it, or for anything other than what I'm already doing.

And in the meantime, two chamber concerts are coming up this spring. To my understanding, ORTF was developed for a full wide orchestra, and it may not be the optimal solution for a 5-piece wind+piano concert, but I am thinking I'll set up my AT-4021's in ORTF, while I've got the H4N Pro in its x-y configuration, and see what I get. The stand should be much closer to the front of the group, if I'm understanding what I'm reading. Fortunately, there's going to be a dress rehearsal I can record.
Cubase 8.0 Pro, Wavelab 6 Essential, Lenovo Legion Y520 Laptop/Win10, Steinberg UR212, Izotope Ozone, Izotope RX6, NI Komplete
My album Incontinental Breakfast at http://lborden.bandcamp.com. Works in process: https://soundcloud.com/incontinentals.

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