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Author Topic: Ambient micing  (Read 3420 times)

freshvictims

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Ambient micing
« on: August 09, 2006, 07:36:35 pm »

Hello

I'm a relative newcomer to the forum and to recording in general, so forgive the vagueness of the question, but: I'm wanting to try out some ambient mic techniques in the context of folky singer-songwriter recordings, as an alternative to using post-recording reverbs which lack character and in my price range (low), generally sound fairly artificial! What sort of setups would people advise for a smallish space (~16'x18')? Do people generally use (single) omnis, mutiple mics, etc and do I need to worry about comb filtering? Is stereo recording worthwhile in a space this size? Apologies is this is too general, I did UTFSF but it wasn't terribly helful Smile  

Thanks very much everyone.
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jetbase

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Re: Ambient micing
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2006, 07:47:33 pm »

even in a smaller space room mics can sound good. if you add some subtle reverb to room mics it can give a greater sense of space & is more convincing than adding reverb to close mics. in similar situations to yours, in addition to close mics i have used, on different occasions, two spaced cardiods, a single cardiod, fig.8 or omni, & for some folk recordings i have positioned all the musos around 2 fig.8 mics in blumlien. providing the mics are far enough away from each other (over a few feet) you shouldn't have comb filtering problems... depending on what the reflections in your room are like.
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Red Tape

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Re: Ambient micing
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2006, 07:04:18 am »

You could try pointing mics into the corners of the room, perhaps have them on the floor. Move 'em around until you start liking the sound.
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craig boychuk

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Re: Ambient micing
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2006, 11:27:09 am »

Yeah, aiming the mics away from the source is often very nice. Try putting them right near a wall, aimed at the wall. That can be fun sometimes!

If you're doing a stereo setup, aiming away from the source will give you a less precise stereo image - it'll be a little softer sounding and more diffuse than if pointed right at the instrument.  A wide, non-coincident stereo mic technique will help with the imaging if you want to keep things aimed away from the action, but also want to keep the image as defined as possible.

You can also try the delay-the-room mic trick, that can give the impression of a larger space.

I like to start with the ambient mics and get them sounding as good as I can, then do any close miking I need. I find this helps me to get better sounds, 'cause you have to get everything working with the ambient mics instead of vice versa. Prioritize! heh.

-craig
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freshvictims

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Re: Ambient micing
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2006, 02:09:55 pm »

Thanks for the advice, all good stuff and very much appreciated. For the "facing the wall" techniques, any polar pattern would be suitable, right? Do the mics need to be a matched pair for this technique?  And would LDCs be better or might SDCs be ok?

I like the idea of adding delay to make the room sound bigger; I'm sure I read about the Arcade Fire's first album using that technique (and of course Mr Albini talks about this too but for specific drum micing reasons... his room is plenty big enough Smile ). Using verb on room mics is a new one and I'm excited to try that too!

Many thanks again!
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cenafria

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Re: Ambient micing
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2006, 10:34:31 am »

I found this interesting.

craig boychuk

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Re: Ambient micing
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2006, 11:38:48 am »

freshvictims wrote on Thu, 10 August 2006 13:09

Thanks for the advice, all good stuff and very much appreciated. For the "facing the wall" techniques, any polar pattern would be suitable, right? Do the mics need to be a matched pair for this technique?  And would LDCs be better or might SDCs be ok?

I like the idea of adding delay to make the room sound bigger; I'm sure I read about the Arcade Fire's first album using that technique (and of course Mr Albini talks about this too but for specific drum micing reasons... his room is plenty big enough Smile ). Using verb on room mics is a new one and I'm excited to try that too!

Many thanks again!


For the facing wall thing I like to use a cardioid pattern (or anything that's directional). That way you're getting more of what's coming off the wall, which is the idea.

You can use whatever you want, though. Different polar patterns will give you different results.

As for LDC or SDC - heck, it's up to you. Depends on your preference & what you're recording, I guess.

For stereo techniques I almost always use a matched pair, but that's mostly because I'm militant (maybe paranoid?) about symmetry... but again, you can use whatever you want - if it sounds good to you, then go for it! Even using a matched pair won't necessarily result in symmetry. The mic placement, signal chain, and room itself play a role in this as well.


-craig




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George_

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Re: Ambient micing
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2006, 02:38:25 am »

Quote:

even in a smaller space room mics can sound good. if you add some subtle reverb to room mics it can give a greater sense of space & is more convincing than adding reverb to close mics.


if you slam the roommics while recording (manley slam, UREI whatever) you got very nice aretefacts.. its like a blow..

but can be bullshit in a badsoudning room.
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