Well, maybe not final, but regardless, it's time for me to learn. I've recently been appointed recording engineer of the orchestra at my university. All of my past orchestra recording experience has been quite limited; in other words, I would only have time to stick up some mics with very minimal soundcheck time and hit record... and this I have only done a few times. My new job is to attend every rehearsal and work on things to get them ready for the final rehearsal when they will do a full run-through. While I am familiar with all the traditional orchestra methods used by the different record labels (e.g. Decca Tree), I have chosen to start with a pair of omnis and build from there in the hopes of learning more than if I had jumped straight to the Tree. Maybe I'm wrong on this; I don't know. I have a few excerpts I'd like to share with the orchestra vets for critique. These were recorded with a single pair of CMC62, spaced 40cm, 11' high, a foot or so behind the conductor's head. Here's a few excerpts from Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe Suite #2 wind solos, violas full strings and brass sections, percussion And here's an excerpt from the string orchestra part to Scott McAllister's X - Concerto for Clarinet string orchestra Here's a link to an excerpt of the McAllister work from the composer's website, if you're curious X clip Here's what I've learned, or what I think I've learned so far: I'm pretty committed to omni mains. Only the omnis capture what I'd call a 'real' frequency response. I've tried MS with MKH-80s and R-122s before. Coincident techniques don't seem to be able to handle the breadth of the ensemble and sound somehow restricted to me. The direct to reverberant ratio seems about correct here for most of the instruments. I've tried farther back and it gives a good blend, probably better than the posted recordings, but it's just too washed out. This is only a 600 seat hall, and it gets pretty wet pretty fast. I probably need some form of outriggers. I've tried the old RCA/Mercury method of three omnis across the front and it was like a percussion vacuum, amplifying the already too loud percussion section. I don't know if they're playing too loud or it it's just a consequence of being backed right up against a solid wall, but even in the posted samples above, it's excessive to my ears. The strings are weak, no doubt because there are too few of them and they don't tune to each other very well. I had this bright idea to try R-122s as 'string overheads' with the nulls aiming toward the percussion, but it didn't really work... there was still too much bleed from the percussion (bounce off the ceiling?), and the drums sounded like cardboard... and, the tone wasn't even that good... it lacked that 'sweet cutting edge' that the violins need to have.