Miking an acoustical ensemble and soloist for radio

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Thomas W. Bethel, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I want to know what others would suggest. I am doing a radio show. It is being done live and recorded on a multitrack DAW. One problem I am running into on the show is the miking of the chorus (all 17 of them) and the soloist. Currently I am using an AKG D 3800M for the soloist and a crossed coincident pair of AT 4051s for the backing chorus of 17 people. These microphones are both mounted on the same microphone stand stage center. The chorus can vary from 3 people to 17 and I can have one or two soloist on the soloist microphone. The problem that I am running into is that I am violating the first law of microphones "the 1 to 3 rule" and I am getting some phasing and flanging as the consequence. Any suggestions would be most welcome. Thanks in advance.
  2. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I doubt that it is a 3:1 rule violation (there was a great thread on recording.org a few months back where I've written my opinions about that rule)... If you are getting a flange sound, it sounds like you have an issue of delay between the spot mic an your mains. If you get a spot mic close to your mains, the sound will arrive at both at slightly differing times- hence same signal, different times equals flanging. To remedy, put a simple track delay on your spot to time align the two mics and you should be fine.

  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I am assuming you're doing a live performance, yes?

    Otherwise, if it's just a radio production in a studio, i'd move the soloists & mic stand further away from the main pair, perhaps even turn the solo mic around, and have the soloist face the chorus. The solo mic would tend to reject the sound from the rear (the chorus itself) and the chorus mics would pick up less of the soloist off axis, etc. But unfortunately, I'm also assuming you're stuck with the mics & position of the stand, so you'll have to try a few other things instead.

    I'd try Ben's approach with the time delay, and add a bit of Roomsim/reverb, maybe smooth out some of those reflections and phase shifted signal.

    No chance of moving the solo mic elsewhere, and getting the soloist out of the main mix area? Can you raise the height of the 4051's a bit, as well, have them looking down a bit towards the chorus, while keeping the solo mic at chest level? You may get some help there, as well.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Try a figure of 8 microphone and turn your backup singers so that they are at a 90° angle to your soloist so that the soloist sings into their microphones dead spot.

    Remy Ann David
  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    This is a LIVE broadcast done in a museum with a pipe organ as the "orchestra" for most of the musical numbers and central theme of the show. The stage setting is pretty much set in stone by the physical layout of the facility. The stage area is shallow and is in large part taken up by the console for the pipe organ and the Steinway piano that also is connected to the organ. This leaves very little space for the announcers (3 of them) the soloist and the chorus. There is also a smaller stage (4 feet by 4 feet) in front of the main stage but that is used for a tap dancer once in a great while. I have spent quite a bit of money to be able to do this show to the specifications of the producer. The main problem is the chorus is variable from three to 17 people and there is only so much space for the chorus to be around the soloist. I was doing it originally with three microphones (similar to the three tenors arrangement on PBS) but we were picking up individual voices which the show's arranger and conductor did not like. So we switched to the one solo microphone and the crossed coincident pair. I really cannot afford to be buying additional microphones at this time. My main concern is the problem with the vocal "sound" for the broadcast and the console I have is a Mackie Onyx which does not have any way to vary the delay time for the microphone(s)

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far.
  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Yikes, you sure do get the "interesting" gigs, Tom! ;-)

    I've got something just as weird/complicated coming up. We'll be splitting all the mics on this for the house sound as well as tracking it on DAW for a radio mix the following week. Check out this one, and note the final act on the bill at an upcoming event we're doing, entitled: "Mozart Reloaded"


    In the interview "When asked if she had concerns about putting on such an adventurous program, Andrea replied "The musicians are so great that, NO!.....The challenge will be in setting up sound checks for the performers the day of the program".

    Sheeeesh, yeah, she got THAT right! :roll: (I think of it more as "Mozart thrown into a Blender", but that of course wouldn't sell as many tickets! :twisted: )

    Ah, the things we do for love and/or money.....
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I guess to be a viable source of audio professionalism in the local community you have to be versatile and take on some jobs that no one else wants or can do. We have a pretty good reputation of being able to pull off some pretty amazing recordings in less than ideal circumstances. We also take on some jobs that we probably should not tackle.

    This current gig is fun but also when the live broadcast is on the air it reminds me of being on a runaway bob sled careening down the side of a mountain without being able to get off or catch your breath. And when it is all over it feels GREAT but going into it is another matter all together.

    Anyway it is FUN being an audio engineer and I would not trade my job for any other (of course if Bill Gates or Bob Ludwig wants to appoint me as his successor I would probably take it)

    Have a great weekend everone.... I have to get ready for a mastering session with an unknown band and a GREAT producer I have worked with before....

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