Wide but Shallow Performance Layout

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by mdemeyer, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member

    This Sunday I will record a handbell concert. Have not been to the church yet, but it seems that their normal performance layout is a single row about 20 people wide.

    My concern is that I might have to be close enough to them (for acoustic or practical reasons, it's a live concert) that the distance from a central mic (or pair) to the center performers will be much closer than the distance from the mic(s) to the performers far right and left.

    Seems like no matter what, a pair of (probably) omnis somewhere out on the flanks to balance the far right/left performers. But I'm curious for ideas for the center mic or pair.

    Options I can imagine are:

    1. Single omni center. Classical 3-across.
    2. Some kind of XY or ORTF-like center pair.

    or... this hairbrained(?) idea...

    What about using an MS center with a wide cardiod as the M mic? A Schoeps MK21/MK8 rig.

    Here's the thinking.

    Usually in an MS setup the M mic (cardiod, most often for me) rolls off to the sides where the Fig 8 is coming in. So there is a fairly uniform response directionally. But in this case, I probably have a significant level difference between the center and far left/right players because of the widely different distances. (Of course, this assumes I have to get close enough to the center to be getting into the direct field.)

    By using a wide card for the M, I will end up with a higher overall gain on the L/R lobes of the pattern, which might help to conterbalance this.

    Of course, if the idea turns out to be nuts, I can still use the MK21 as a respectable center mic alone (using MK2S onmis as the L/R flanks).

    Anyone ever tried this? I have a little rehearsal time, but not really too much for experimenting.

    I'll track all the mics, so I can mix it later.

  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I would encourage you to go with a coincident pair for the main mics as handbells are one of the easiest sources to identify comb filtering of a spaced pair. They are so pure and just at the right frequency that ORTF or any other close of near spaced pairs will be horrible.

    A Blumlein or MS pair would be best, get the capsules aligned as close as possible. Omni outriggers are OK but they should be far out and way down in the mix.

    Can you move the bellringers to be inside a 90deg window of a Blumlein pair?
  3. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member


    I can't control the performance setup, since it is a concert first, and a recording second. I suspect that, to get them within 90 degrees, I would have to be too far back with the main pair.

  4. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Then your main pair should certainly be MS with small diaphrams. Setup the outriggers, but make sure they are a couple of metres on each side away from the main pair.

    Listen acutely for comb filtering of phase interference, it sounds unfocussed and shimmering. But this is not to be confused with the "shimmmering" of the bells themselves. :) Listen frequently to the natural sound in the hall with headphones off and compare.
  5. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member

    Thanks for the tips David. Anyone have any comments on my thinking about using a wide-card for the M in the MS? Again, the goal would be to have an effective pattern that was a little stronger to the sides than the front to compensate for the larger distance to the players on the left/right flanks.


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