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Author Topic: voice recital  (Read 1682 times)

wildplum

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voice recital
« on: April 15, 2005, 01:08:09 pm »

I will be recording a voice recital. The recital will be of three configurations: solo voice, voice with piano accompaniment, voice with harpsichord and violins (two) accompaniment. The room is a “ballroom” in a 150 year old mansion, 66x30 feet with a ceiling of 25 to 30 feet. The program is classical (no pop or jazz).
The artistic director is very strict about sight lines, so I have chosen to use a single stereo microphone hung from the ceiling. I will be using a Neumann SM2 in an M/S configuration.

My question concerns placement. I will not have a lot of time for experimentation and very little for repositioning the mic. My plan is to hang the mic so that it is 18-24 inches above the singer and 24 to 26 inches in front of her. (centered on the singer with the accompanists behind her). Any comments on  my plan?
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Paul Tumolo

<a href="http://www.wildplum.org" target="_blank">Wildplum Recordings</a>

a micro label, studio and remote recording service

ted nightshade

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Re: voice recital
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2005, 06:48:48 pm »

Sounds like it could be a nice room! My kinda mansion!

Is there a piano there now? Any way to get a singer in there and mess around before the event?
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Ted Nightshade aka Cowan

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wildplum

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Re: voice recital
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2005, 07:07:59 pm »

The piano "lives" in an adjoining room and is moved into the ballroom when events require it.

The room is rented by the hour, so we can not get in before the day of the event. On the day of the event, I will have 60 to 90 minutes for set up and sound check.

-paul
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Paul Tumolo

<a href="http://www.wildplum.org" target="_blank">Wildplum Recordings</a>

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ted nightshade

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Re: voice recital
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2005, 07:59:51 pm »

I'm curious to see how the classical pros deal with this kind of thing! Left to my own devices I would get on a ladder and try to find a spot in the vicinity you suggest, or back another couple feet, where the whole room sounded good, if you know what I mean, and hang the mic there. Good luck!
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Ted Nightshade aka Cowan

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Mike Mermagen

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Re: voice recital
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2005, 10:29:59 pm »

If you're concerned about sight lines, then the Schoeps and Neumann active capsule system is about as discrete as it gets. You're mic placement sounds really close to me. I would be thinking in feet, not inches. Perhaps 6-8 feet away and 3-4 feet above the head. I'm not sure if you would get an acceptable balance miking so close to the singer. Don't forget, when the audience shows up, there will be little reverb left in the room.

Mike
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bobkatz

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Re: voice recital
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2005, 09:39:01 am »

wildplum wrote on Fri, 15 April 2005 13:08

I will be recording a voice recital. The recital will be of three configurations: solo voice, voice with piano accompaniment, voice with harpsichord and violins (two) accompaniment. The room is a ?ballroom? in a 150 year old mansion, 66x30 feet with a ceiling of 25 to 30 feet. The program is classical (no pop or jazz).
The artistic director is very strict about sight lines, so I have chosen to use a single stereo microphone hung from the ceiling. I will be using a Neumann SM2 in an M/S configuration.

My question concerns placement. I will not have a lot of time for experimentation and very little for repositioning the mic. My plan is to hang the mic so that it is 18-24 inches above the singer and 24 to 26 inches in front of her. (centered on the singer with the accompanists behind her). Any comments on  my plan?




Option 1: This is a recipe for either disaster or very non-optimum results. You have no opportunity for experimentation? If you really can't experiment, then why not conduct some balance tests in the hall beforehand with similar musicians before the concert. And mark the floor, making sure the real musicians stand where you tell them, having consulted with them first that they are comfortable with those positions, of course.

Option 2: If you can't pre-experiment, then I think you need to cover your ass, literally, with a few other "spot" microphones because harpsichord and piano have entirely different levels/dynamics and the musicians are unlikely to position the instruments optimally for a single point balance.

You can hang all your mikes quite invisibly, cover your options, and mix later. It is certainly conceivable that a single M/S microphone in the right spot with the musicians placed in the right spot can produce a wonderful recording, with great balance, depth, ambience, and focus----provided that the musicians are located in the right place. The chances of this without a rehearsal are slim and none. That's why you need to experiment.

Option 3: If none of the above is an option...  If I knew the room and the acoustics, I might suggest some rough distances and positions to place the musicians. But you are looking for a rough guidance to place an M/S mike in an unknown room. Your proposal seems a bit close, as a guess I think it will favor the soloist much too much. So, as for the distance from the singer, it seems too close to me.

If I had absolutely no idea, then I would place the microphone at a distance that creates an angle with the entire width of the group at approximately 90 degrees, mark a floor with that triangle, make sure the musicians perform within that triangle, and you'll get a pretty nice recording. The M/S is an excellent idea as you can at least spread or narrow the result in post production.
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David Schober

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Re: voice recital
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2005, 02:23:07 pm »

I think Bob is right.  Try to get someone to do a similar thing beforehand to check it out.  60-90 minutes is enough time to set up if you know what you want, but no time to move around a hanging mic.

I also thing you're right going M-S. but also agree that you'll get mostly the vocalist.  How about running two mics from the back on stright stands.  One for the piano/harpsichord.  It can sit a couple of feent in front of the instrument and stay fairly unnoticed as long as it's only high enough to point at the open lid.  The other mic could be waist high, pointing up at the violinists.  These would give you fill mics and should do you fine when mixed with the SM2.  A good choice by the way!  As for the spot mics, try the small Schoeps.  Using a small, black mic will help blend in to the stage setup easier.

As long as you an run the mic lines stright back and use these kinds of stands you shouldn't have any trouble with sight line compliaints.  If you do, ever so politely remind then the vocalist will want a proper recording and you're trying your best to statisfy her as well and keep the stage appearance clean.

Let us know how it went.
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Roland Clarke

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Re: voice recital
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2005, 07:09:30 pm »

Echoing what Bob says, quick calculation shows that you are talking of a maxmum distance of about 36" from the singer, almost certainly not a good starting point.  If you have to do it blind further will usually be safer providing the artists are good enough to balance properly.  The rehersal is a good time to run a couple of checks.

Regards



Roland
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