Feedback on classical quintet recording requested

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by tunefoolery, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. tunefoolery

    tunefoolery Active Member

    Hi everyone,
    I recently recorded a classical concert which included a string quintet. Here is an excerpt:

    String quintet edit by tunefoolery on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

    I'd welcome any feedback / critique you might care to provide about the recording. I compared my recording to a commercial recording of this same quintet (by Franck), and well, it doesn't sound as good as the commercial one. :frown: The commercial one had a much warmer sound and more reverb.

    Here are the specs on my recording:

    Mics: two AKG C1000 mics. Not ideal, but it's what I got.

    Recorder: Tascam CD-RW 750. Edited in Digital Performer.

    Venue: recital hall. Medium size, I guess. Meant for soloists and small ensembles.

    Mic placement: I attempted ORTF, but didn't really succeed. My mic bar is not wide enough to get the mics at 110 degrees (I guess I'd also need a riser for one of the mics), so they ended up at probably 70 to 80 degrees. I also could not get the height I wanted: the performers decided to hug the edge of the stage (even the piano, although it sounds far away), so I had to place the mic stand (an On-Stage SB9600) at audience level -- a few feet below the stage. Consequently, the mics were somewhere around 5 feet 8 inches above the stage floor. I estimate that the mics were about 6 feet in front of the musicians. Oh, and the concert grand piano, sitting within a foot or two behind the string players, had its lid all the way open.

    EQ: since the AKGs are so bright, I dialed down the mids and highs in my mixer (Yamaha MG12/4) to 11 o'clock. I also ended up dialing down the mids again using the DP EQ plugin (about 956 Hz, down by 4.5 dB, with a fairly gentle / broad curve). This seemed to get rid of the nasal quality of the sound, but also introduced a little bit of harshness.

    Reverb: no reverb was added.

    So, it seems my stereo width is fairly narrow, and the track still sounds pretty bright -- brighter than I would like. To my mind, I'm getting a little too much of the strings and not enough the piano. Suggestions? Thanks!:smile:
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I think you did a mighty fine job with this. The piano has nice ambience to it while the string musicians do sound a little close. I also think the string musicians could have been supplemented with a little additional reverb. Of course this could have a deleterious effect upon the piano since it is already ambient. But this is where multi-microphones as opposed to a single stereo pair come into play. That way you get to tailor your soundscape just the way you want it. But hey, that's not what you have, not what you did and as a result, it is what it is which is quite nice. And you know all AKG condenser microphones are all bright sounding which has been their long-term character of sound. So you did a fine job of it.

    Operatic specialist
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. tunefoolery

    tunefoolery Active Member

    Thanks, RemyRad! That's encouraging... Well, I'm learning; my recordings seem to be getting better as I learn more about recording techniques.

    I'll just add that I'm frustrated with the fact that my mic stand won't go any higher than about 8 ft. 8 inches -- not enough if the stand is below stage level. I thought the long boom on this stand could go vertical or at least be angled upward, but it must sit horizontally, so I can't add any more height to the 8'8" level... Guess I'll have to figure out another way to get that height...

    Anyway, thanks again!
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Bogen, Shure and others make collapsible aluminum lighting stands, available with microphone threading. Many of these are both lightweight and can extend to 12-14 feet. This is what many of us use to make these recordings when the entertainers are on stage and the microphone stand is down in the pit. I have 4 of these that have withstood heavy service since the early 1980s. About the only thing you can't do with one of these stands is to mount a pair of Neumann U87's on a stereo mic bar. That weight is too great for these lightweight stands. So they do have their limitations and so will you.

    Operas R US
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. tunefoolery

    tunefoolery Active Member

    Thanks for the info, Remy! The Shure S 15A looks great!
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    There are also options by On-Stage Stands and K&M 20811 with 21231 boom arm and some options by Matthews.
  7. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to say, the performance was fantastic as well. You are very fortunate to be able to work with such practiced musicians. I have to agree that the piano is a bit distant but still a fine job for what you had. Congratulations!

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