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Thread: Recording an orchestra

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    Recording an orchestra

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    Hi,

    I've just been commissioned to record my first orchestra!

    Does anyone know of any sites or have any suggestions of their own techniques?

    The main one I've found is a spaced pair at a distance, but what about closer mics for certain sections or instruments? (The percussion is sticking in my mind)

    Cheers,
    Andrew

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    Good luck mate!

    An orchestra is so big that in order to be able to "lift" sertain sections/instruments out of the mix when needed, you will need a LOT of mics. Mind you, I have not experience in micing an orchestra, but I've heard/read a bit about it.

    I don't think it'll be too hard getting a decent overall sound with a spaced pair, but something in the back mind need to jump out and if the spaced pair is all you got, your screwed. Same goes for solo instruments.

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    are you recording in a hall designed for these performances??What mics do you have at your disposal? What is the instrumentation?I record orchestras for a living. I am a big fan of having 1 main array, and then adding supporting mics as needed. I normally do one main array(Jecklin Disc, ORTF, Blumlein, or Spaced A-B) and then add "outriggers" to the sides of the main array to fill out the soundstage. I also do Decca Tree quite a bit, with supporting mics, and another technique I have found to work really well is the 3 omnis across the front of the orchestra method..Telarc uses this technique a lot. A big thing with classical recording is ambience. Close micing is a no-no, and remember when listening to a classical cd, the percussion is SUPPOSED to sound farther away, not up front...so use your one main array, a couple of spot mics for filling it all in, and VERY important that you have another array in the back of the hall , facing the opposite direction from the main pairs, to pick up ambience. This "ambience" pair should be mixed in to taste, normally about 10-20 db down from the rest..

    If you need further help, feel free to PM me.

    Teddy

    Quote Originally Posted by amsterblues
    Hi,

    I've just been commissioned to record my first orchestra!

    Does anyone know of any sites or have any suggestions of their own techniques?

    The main one I've found is a spaced pair at a distance, but what about closer mics for certain sections or instruments? (The percussion is sticking in my mind)

    Cheers,
    Andrew

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    Um..no..this is a HUGE problem with classical recordings today..EVERYTHING is micd, and the ensemble sound is fucked! A symphony is supposed to sound like an ensemble, NOT a group of solo instruments! If he uses a main array and adds a FEW spot mics as needed, he will be fine. doing LOTS of mics is crazy, imho...it isnt film scoring. YMMV, but I have a very strong feeling about this. Less is more with classical music.

    teddy




    Quote Originally Posted by Halion
    Good luck mate!

    An orchestra is so big that in order to be able to "lift" sertain sections/instruments out of the mix when needed, you will need a LOT of mics. Mind you, I have not experience in micing an orchestra, but I've heard/read a bit about it.

    I don't think it'll be too hard getting a decent overall sound with a spaced pair, but something in the back mind need to jump out and if the spaced pair is all you got, your screwed. Same goes for solo instruments.

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    Hi,
    Thanks for your comments, they seem to follow what I've read so far.

    I'm only a hobbyist so have somewhat limited quality mics, and as I've generally done live bands there's more dynamic than condensor.
    SM57/58, PG58s, 2 small diaphragm condensors, 2 large condensors (with fig 8), various other dynamics (i can never remember the types) including some drum mics.

    Apart from the main stereo pair (either A-B or ORTF) I was thinking of putting another stereo (S-M) a bit closer at a lower level, near conductor.
    Then based on the what music a few placed dynamics near the soloists just in case they are weak on the stereo pairs.
    This will be a live concert so no retakes or overdubs. There will be about 10 string (violin, cello), rest would be mostly woodwind with a couple of horns, trumpet, harp and 2 percussionists.

    Cheers.

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    check it out...what COndensors do you have, what patterns available??what are the acoustics of the venue? tell me this and I will help further. Please see my thread below (in this forum) about "philharmonie der nationen"


    Quote Originally Posted by amsterblues
    Hi,
    Thanks for your comments, they seem to follow what I've read so far.

    I'm only a hobbyist so have somewhat limited quality mics, and as I've generally done live bands there's more dynamic than condensor.
    SM57/58, PG58s, 2 small diaphragm condensors, 2 large condensors (with fig 8), various other dynamics (i can never remember the types) including some drum mics.

    Apart from the main stereo pair (either A-B or ORTF) I was thinking of putting another stereo (S-M) a bit closer at a lower level, near conductor.
    Then based on the what music a few placed dynamics near the soloists just in case they are weak on the stereo pairs.
    This will be a live concert so no retakes or overdubs. There will be about 10 string (violin, cello), rest would be mostly woodwind with a couple of horns, trumpet, harp and 2 percussionists.

    Cheers.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRay
    doing LOTS of mics is crazy, imho...it isnt film scoring. YMMV, but I have a very strong feeling about this. Less is more with classical music.

    teddy
    Big Ray is probably very right. I am only familiar with film music. I probably should have refrained for advicing you since I really don't have any hands-on experience with this

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    ...

    I also like Decca tree for orks. Rent mics if neccesary. Just my 2 cents.

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