Bumlein position

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Boneafide, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. Boneafide

    Boneafide Active Member

    I'm recording an orchestra and a chorus (100+) with orchestra tomorrow and thought it would be fun to try a Blumlein setup in addition to my regular mics.

    If it works well I might use it as the primary pair but if it doesn't I still have my usual m-s setup.

    The questions I have for the orchestra and the chorus/orchestra is what is a good starting point for the height and angle of the blumein array? Should I place the mics 8' above the conductors head and angle them down towards the rear of the orchestra or leave them level or another approach. I'm happy to try anything. The recording will be in a high school auditorium.

    I'm not looking for a definative answer just your experience in placing the mics as a starting point during a sound check. The orchestra is small (35 piece) and the chorus will be on risers behind them. I'll have a pair of mics between the chorus and orchestra to fill as needed.


    another bone
  2. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I'd probably start with the mic 8-10 feet high and a couple feet behind the conductor. It will be pretty evident how far out it needs to be when you see it in position. You have a 90 degree angle and you want to cover the majority of the orchestra. If you are too close in, the instruments at the extreme left and right won't be covered. I usually pair my blumlein pair with a pair of omni flanking microphones. I also use 2-3 mics up high but aiming down to help the choir sound. (this is exactly what I did last night on my concert)

  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey Joel --

    I'm sure you're aware - the issue many times with chorus and orchestra together are the various imbalances. The blum pair should work fine - angling down might be a decent idea. If you get the chance, play with the angle and see what happens. You will likely have to spot though as Ben suggests. Perhaps some flanks at the stage edges and maybe a spot or two over the choir. This is where your MS could come in handy as the side nodes of the fig8 would reject the back of the orchestra pretty well.

    Good luck!

  4. Boneafide

    Boneafide Active Member

    Ben and Jeremy

    Thanks for your help.

    One folllow-up question. On the choir mics, not the flanking ones, do you use omnis or cardioids? Since the orchestra and choir are close together there might not be sufficient isolation to use omnis.

  5. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Omnis- almost always on choirs... If you position them right, isolation or lack of can be used to your advantage... When recording large ensembles like that, i don't necessarily like the sound of all directional mics. I'll even use omnis as spots on woodwinds sometimes.

  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Agreed - omnis on choir - it's a must. For isolation, place the mic closer to the source.

    For spots on winds, I almost always use omnis. Due to placement, you rarely pick up enough brass to be a problem.
  7. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Guess I made a mistake tonight-- used 2 Neumann TLM193 cardioids on medium chorus with chamber orchestra. Mains were Schoeps CMC621.

    Personally the only thing MORE unpleasant than micing close to a chorus is putting mics behind the horns. Which is often the same thing with big orchestra/chorus things (which this wasn't).

  8. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Ahh but Rich....

    If the mics are in the right place, you can put them very close indeed. Heck, that Berlioz recording I did in Sydney... One set of mics was about 3 feet (if that) in front of the bottom of the choir and the other set was directly over part of the choir. In that case, I had DPA 4003's on the bottom and 4015's on the top. Seemed to work just fine (and if I remember, you liked the sound of that recording. :wink: )

    I find the problem with close mics on a choir is when they are placed directly on axis of the choir mouths. If you go from overhead and then aim down into the choir, you can get a very unified sound. Using directional mics makes this more difficult, but it is possible. The other mics I love on choirs are the Royer SF-24 and the MK21 schoeps capsule.

  9. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I've used both: directional vs. omnis, but I agree with the positioning. Going overhead helps tremendously towards a more unified sound.

    I'm not sure who mentioned it in the past, but there's another bit of a trick (for cardioids, anyway) where the capsule is tilted up and away from the source a bit; it doesn't really LOOK right, but it helps with the overall blend, at least if there's a shell or proscenium effect going on. (Probably what's happening is you're making the cardioids work more like omnis or at least getting things a bit more blended - combining the reflected sound with the direct sound.)

    I'm STILL saving up for my very own SF-12 or 24....sigh....someday!
  10. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

  11. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Well, I didn't do that right!

    What I intended to write was that the Berlioz does not fall into the normal category of choral/orchestral works due to the usual (huge) size of the chorus, the scoring (trp and trb noisemakers often placed antiphonally away from the orchestra), and the choral writing, which is superb and more inclined to good balance than many. When most of the chorus is not near the horn section there is much more freedom of mic choice. They also serve as spots for all the timps!

    And yes, it was a fabulous sound.


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