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Thread: Opera singer (tenor) recording at home, questions

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    Question Opera singer (tenor) recording at home, questions

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    Hi everybody,

    I知 new to this forum, even though I have followed and read many posts. I thought it was about time to ask a question.
    I知 an opera singer, tenor, on the more dramatic side(louder),
    I have started recording some things at home.
    I began with a small Shure mic that attached to iPhone, now I have an H6 which was a huge upgrade.
    I知 thinking of investing in a mic. Not sure whether ribbon, large or small diaphragm condenser. My budget would be under $1k.
    I was going for something like the Rode K2 or Neumann Tlm 102, then I read that ribbon mics may be best at capturing voices especially opera singing.
    Any advice would be more than welcome, I知 sorry if the information provided is incomplete in any way.

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    What is an H6?

    Either the Rode or the Neumann would work.

    I like Rode because of (a) value for money, (b) quality of the equipment, and (c) ten year warranty and level of service.

    If you are interested i ribbon mikes, then you might consider the Rode NTR.

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    Hi and thank you for your reply. By H6 I mean the Zoom H6 field recorder. It has phantom power, up to 4 mics at once. It also has an xy and Omni mic.

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    Singing pop or opera? The problem is that if you are singing opera at opera volume, you need to move away from the mic a little more than for pop, and this allows the sound of the room to intrude - if it is a nice sounding room, all is good, but most are too small, and you hear this. The omni mic may may things considerably worse. The truth is that while all these mics are subtly different, the acoustic space makes so much contribution you need to experiment. Vet famous tenors have sang into small and large diaphragm mics and EQ sorts them out. A concert hall or small church helps, a 2m x 2m box room doesn't. What is your space like?

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    As others have said, you will need some distance from the mic for a powerful (operatic/trained) voice and that means the mic will pick up a lot of the room, which is rarely to your benefit in home recording environments, unless you've got a space that quite large and sounds very good. I'd suggest spending a lot on treating the recording space (repeat after me, "do not use foam") so that the room echoes do not get recorded. After you've done that, any good mic will probably work - @gecko zzed 's recommendations are always worth listening to, @rob aylestone might add the AKG 414. (You might additionally use the MS capsule from the Zoom, and see what the "S" component is after decoding, to get some idea of what the room is adding, e.g., to evaluate room/treatment.)
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Good evening gents,

    Thanks once again for all the responses.
    To answer some of the questions, I will be recording opera, or opera style songs, in my apartment living room. It痴 not small, it痴 about 500sqft, but not a really high ceiling, and I知 pretty sure it does not help the recording in any way, as you mentioned. Soundproofing the living room probably will not be an option currently. I dunno If using those sound proof booths that I have seen around the mic would work?
    So I知 your experience would there be a reason to chose a ribbon over a large condenser? Should I just go for eg the Rode K2? Or would I be fine with the NT1 as well? The K2 is a tube mic from what I read, would that be better for opera? Or does it simply come down to post.

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    No mike is necessarily better than any other for opera. Some mikes may suit particular types of voice better than others, but you won't know which suits yours until you try them.

    Over the years I have tried out a variety, progressively improving my mike locker. However, not too long ago I bought the re-invented Rode NT1, and it now sits permanently on the stand. It can be used for just about anything, and I prefer it to the AKGC 414 that cost me five times more.

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    Thanks man. So would be it be worth it to invest the extra $$$ for the K2 for let痴 say if I record in a great sounding space (due to its flexibility, cardioid, Omni) or should I just go for the Nt1 and use the xy or ms that the H6 has to capture that? Sorry for all the questions but I知 trying to put my mind around this and save a buck if possible.

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    The best thing about advice is that you can ignore it. That's just as well, because most advice is wrong.

    Given all that, were I to be in your shoes, I would go for a combination of economical and quality at this stage, and for me that would be the new NT1.

    The way operas (and therefore their arias) were written reflects the architecture of opera houses at the time, and, from a listener's perspective, the performance consists of the singing and the space in which the the singer performs: they reinforce each other.

    To recreate that you need a sympathetic space, or you need to recreate it within the computer. The latter is, these days, probably easier than the former.

    However, should you find a church or similar with lively acoustics, it is not hard to experiment with mike placement to get the right amount of direct and ambient sound. You don't necessarily need a different polar pattern. YOu can also use a combination of the Zoom mikes plus other mikes to do this.

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    The 'science' if you like of getting close to the mic in a poor acoustic is to increase the ratio of direct sound to 'room' sound. But, you will be louder than the common crooner! Thus even with the mic a bit further away you should get a decent sound, IMHO.

    I would also go for an XY CO-Incident pair. My limited experiments with son on guitar and clarinet showed us that stereo gave a more natural result of the space? What I mean is, I think, yes, we get the less than ideal room but at least is SOUNDS like a room and not a horrible boxy space?

    Dave.

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