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Thread: Big live recording project, assistance requested

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    Big live recording project, assistance requested

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    Hi all,
    I wanted to post what my upcoming project is and see if anyone had some advice they could share with me in regards to setup etc.

    I am being hired by a local High school to record and edit 20 songs by their various ensembles. These include choir, concert band, jazz band, and a rock/worship band. They have a beautiful auditorium in which to record (seats 1000 plus, balcony and all) and I was thinking of recording the ensembles in this room (maybe not the jazz bands). They also have an acoustically treated practice room where I'll probably do the jazz/rock bands.

    What I'm looking for is advice on what mics and how many to use for recording the choir and concert bands. I'm thinking 8 mics for those ensembles to keep it simple. Can anyone who has done this type of thing share some wisdom, recommendations, mic choices etc.? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm planning on doing this all straight to my 867 G4 TiBook through two MOTU 896s. Thanks again.
    Jef

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    Well the choir is straightforward, an XY or M-S pair, plus an ambient mic if you like. If there are soloists, maybe set up a LD condenser in front for them if they are standing apart from the choir.

    The concert band is similar plus spots on certain instruments like some of the percussion and soloists.

    The jazz and rock/worship bands, yeah I'd do those in the practice room with the usual band mic techniques. The jazz band I'd say 3 or 4 mics on drums, 2 mics for soloists, an XY pair for the horn section and spots on the bass, guitar, and piano. If the soloists can walk up to the solo mics it makes life easier.

    How big is the rock/worship group? Generally I'd say 3-4 mics on drums, one for guitar, bass, keys (or direct), one each for singers although the backing singers can share a mic.

    What mics do you have?

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    I am a high school band director, and each year we do a similar project (record all our major ensembles). For our large concert band I use an X/Y set-up (tried a side/mid and did not like the results as much) about 12 to 15 feet in the air and about three feet behind the conductor (me).
    Sometimes this is all I use. I never close mic any instruments or sections; in our business we are expected to have perfect balance and blend without any electronic reinforcement. I have tried placing one or two mics out in the hall, near the back wall to get a room sound, and then mix this with the close mics; sometimes I just use a reverb plug in.
    We are a school so our equipment is not the best; I use Pro Tool 6.0LE (m-box) for two channel work, and we also have a MOTU 828 when I need more than two channels at the same time. I use two Nady SCM-1000 (LD condenser) for the close mics, and two AKG C1000s for the room spots. I have tried the reverse, but I was not real impressed with the AKGs in the close role. Again, I work in a school where money does not grow on trees so I have to get what I can afford when it comes to mics.
    For the Jazz band I close mic the saxes (SM 57), use two overheads for the drum kit (AKGs again), record the brass with X/Y (nadys) and do the piano, bass, and guitar, and any solos as overdubs--the MOTU only gives me 8 channels.
    The jazz stuff is okay--it's not as good as I would like--the concert band stuff turns out real nice though, verly much like what it sounds like if you sit in the middle of our hall and listen.
    have you heard of a decca tree set-up? Someone correct me if I have this wrong, but I believe you take three or four mics and set them up high in a close semi-circle around the ensemble, angled into the center. I guess it can be used to record an orchestra. I probably have this wrong, I'm sure someone knows more about this than me--I figured it was not worth trying without at least three of the same mics (again the whole $ thing). Hope this helps.

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    Thumbs up Thanks for the help

    Thanks for the tips guys. When you say you close mic the saxes, how close do you mean? I'm thinking of having 16 inputs for the rock bands and jazz bands, but keep the concert bands and choir simple. here is a list of the mics I have at my disposal. (we might rent some if we need to)
    8 - Shure beta 58A
    4 - EV N/D 408B
    8 - AKG C535EB
    4 - Sennheiser ME66 or ME64 shotgun
    2 - Shure 57
    4 - AT871R boundary
    2 - Shure MX412 D/C lectern
    4 - AKG C3000 condenser
    1- AKG D-122
    2 - ARX active direct box

    and for fx
    1 - Yamaha SPX 990 effects unit
    1- dbx 166A stereo compressor/gate
    1 - Presonus ACP88 - 8 channel compressor/gate

    they also have a snake so I'll set up in an adjacent room.
    any tips now that you see the mic list?
    thanks again

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    When I say close, I mean close--like the SM 57 is an inch or two from the bell of the sax--it's probably not the best spot for just one Sax in a quiet room, but when you have to mic five saxes and they all need to be close together so they can all hear each other, it seems to work.

    I guess I would use the SM 58s for the the saxes (I am assuming the group has five saxes as that is the traditional big band set-up) since you would want to use all of the same type.

    Maybe try the AKG C3000s for the brass in an XY? I have the trombones sit, and the trumpets stand just like they do in live performance.

    I would mic the drums however you normally do--same for guitar and Bass--we used electric in both cases and tracked them after the horns and drums had played ( remember I only have 8 channels). Be prepared they may have an upright bass-no idea how to mic that.

    For piano we use a real upright for gigs, but I used our Kawai MP9000 keyboard for the recording--it has stereo XLR outs, and that was much simpler that micing our little out-of- tune upright. I have never mic'd a piano but hear it is not easy.

    Hope this helps

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    Question PZM mics?

    Thanks again for the tips, what about the PZM mics, should I bother setting them up somewhere? (I've never used them before) Thanks,
    jef

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    Not really too tough

    For the Orchestral/band setups, I like an ORTF stereo pair using small cardiod condensors. Place them 9 or 10 feet up and about 3 feet behind the conductor.

    For the choral stuff, keep the stereo pair, add in a solo mic/mics (duets/trios etc).

    Another option for the choral is distributed mics evenly placed to cover the groups. Add some solo mics and mix the heck out of it.

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