recording flute/piano in a church

Discussion in 'Woodwinds' started by strikingtwice, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. Hey all. I'm recording a flute/piano concert in a church next sunday. was looking for some mic placing suggestions. the mics i have available to use are two mxl overheads, 2 c3000b's and a C414B.

    I was thinking about just using the c414 as an omni and putting it in front and over head, it's gonna be a pretty quick setup, so anything simple but effective would be cool.

  2. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Just use a single stereo pair out in front of the ensemble. I'd probably be inclined to use the MXL's instead of the C3000 mics. If you only have one 414, you're out of luck there, too...

    Try ORTF probably about 6-8 feet high and 5-10 feet out depending on how live the room is.

  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Avoid trying to close mic the instruments. Flute is a VERY difficult instrument to capture close-mic'ed for classical style music. The sound comes out of so much of the instrument, it's just not worth it. For jazz, it's quite common folks to mic directly next to the lip plate, but so much of the sound comes from the body itself. The articulations are very pronounced from the headjoint, but not much tone.

    Of course, there are TONS of problems with close mic'ing the piano for classical (though it CAN be done, it's VERY difficult to do it convincingly.)

    The only caveat to Ben's guidance is that, if the floutist or pianist are not strong players, there may be a serious balance issue. In which case, the 414 as a spot on the flute only enough to bring it out a tad might be appropriate. For this approach, you might want to try a fig-8 pattern to try to place the body of the piano in the null. (You'll still pick up plenty o' piano, but the initial attacks should be lessened and therefore give the impression that the flute is the dominant instrument.)

  4. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I agree that mic'ing a flute up close can be dangerous, but the converse is true if the room isn't good. Good flute recording requires some distance AND a great room. Ditto for the piano.

    I hope you have both, as well as good musicianship.

    Funny to read this question right now; my significant other's daughter is taking up flute lessons. (She's ten and in grade school) Several times a week, I get to hear her playing new notes, trying to create a solid tone, avoiding overblowing the notes and too much air in the sound, etc. etc. Hearing it so up close and dry, I remember now what a nasty thing the flute can be to record properly! Keep a good distance, if you can.
  5. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Excellent advice, its just a nasty thing the flute, not just to record. It and the harp are the most uninteresting sounding instruments known to man IMHO, they simply have no colour at all. I would try to persuade the young lady to take up another instrument. :wink:
  6. chriscavell

    chriscavell Guest

    I've got to agree with ben also...stereo pair picking up the entire performance is really the way to go. I'd also probably prefer the MXL's to your C3000's.

    However...if you absolutely have to close mic the flute (which is rare...flutes were war-time instruments...meant to be heard for miles without amplification), DO NOT USE OMNI when close micing. Flute's one of the few instruments where I say that. Try a tight card over the flute player's right shoulder, aimed at the area b/w the keys and the mouthpiece. This will minimize key and breath noise....which are a real pain to get around when close micing flute. If you close mic the flute, you'll probably have to spot the piano...the 414 in omni ain't a bad choice there IF you're just barely blending the close mics in with the stereo pair. But everyone's got their own favorite way to mic a have at it.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    I used to think the same about the piano. I have since seen the light.

  8. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Another thought...

    Before you are so quick to grab the spot mics, look at the positioning of your performers. If you hear a good pickup on your piano and need more presence on your flute, have your flutist take a step forward closer to the mic. I find that very often, the "soloist" needs a bit of help. Just having them position closer to the mics fixes that.


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