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Will TRP help?

I wonder if anyone could comment... I've recently purchased the Royer SF12 at a decent second-hand price. I've only had the chance to try it out once on the application for which I bought it - for small ensenble choral recording. I really liked the tone and the imaging, even though the mic placement was not ideal (too close). However, the noise generated between mic and pre at 60db was to my ears an annoyance - not terribly loud, but still a nuisance. I was using Metric Halo ULN2 pres, which are very quiet and have plenty of gain, so I'm thinking that the SF12, while excellent for some applications, may not be ideal for this type of recording. For the life of me, I can't find anywhere on the net the specs on the SF12's self noise.

My questions are two: has anyone here had success using the AEA TRP with the SF12 on quiet applications like choral recording? I guess I'm wondering if the TRP will be a magic fix. I'm pretty sure it won't be curing a mic's own self-noise though - so it's probably a silly question.

Secondly - and this question is only asked because I don't know the noise specs of the SF12: would a pair of Coles 4040s be a quieter alternative?

Any comments would be welcome.

Dave

Comments

aracu Sun, 10/15/2006 - 11:53

By making it wider or narrower, you can adjust the angle
relative to the distance in front of the source, being determined
by the acoustics of the room and other factors. The 90 degrees
may be correct according to a rigid theory...but not ideal for every
situation. A slight adjustment is not going to automatically
produce a black hole.

anonymous Sun, 10/15/2006 - 12:07

I am not talking about a "black hole"-- but you cannot escape the laws of physics. What good is picking up 20 degrees on the sides when it messes with the center balance? There is more to the equation than ideal accpetance angle-- look carefully at the polar plot.

I have never had a problem with acceptance angle with my SF12. Have you had such problems? IMO it would be better (and much easier) to pull the SF12 back a few feet.

Rich

DavidSpearritt Sun, 10/15/2006 - 13:42

Rich is spot on. The 90 degrees of Blumlein is essential to keep the linear distribution of phantom source location across the stereo image between the loudspeakers. If its less or more than 90 degrees then there will be compression or stretching distortion of source position, which is quite undesirable.

The correct localisation of sound sources with Blumlein is its number one characteristic, if you don't want that, then a pair of omnis or cardioids is a better bet.

Duckman Sun, 10/15/2006 - 17:38

Just a slightly tangendental question... when using MS technique on a choir, is it important to have the sound source confined within the range of the Mid microphone, or can some elements of the choir be singing directly into the Side microphone, off axis to the Mid. I'm thinking in terms of a micing a choir in a fairly confined space, kind of, but not quite, in a semi-circle around an MS setup. Would that work in theory?

Duckman Sun, 10/15/2006 - 17:48

PS Dave and Rich, have you found that the TRP has added anything to your ribbon sound not already present with the top-notch preamps you already use?

Also, how do you plan on using the TRP on location conveniently... is it rack-mountable... or is there any special casing you use to carry around portable equipment like the TRP?

anonymous Sun, 10/15/2006 - 17:57

So far I think the TRP gives the SF12 a little more body and focus. It is subtle but definitely there. I did not think my pres were lacking until the TRP.

As for travel-- I am sure it will stand alone because of ribbon inductance tendencies. Get the TRP too near significant AC and it picks it up. Ergo the separate PS.

Rich

FifthCircle Sun, 10/15/2006 - 21:32

Sonarerec wrote: By definition a ribbon mic is fig-8, so I really can't imagine any benefit to adjusting the bodies (in the case of two SF1s) to be wider than 90 degrees. Then you'd have a hole in the middle of the front image.

Rich

I've been doing this for years with my 426. There have been situations where I like a given position and either pattern manipulation or angle manipulation makes the recording work perfectly. I will never go wider than 90 degrees, but I have gone as narrow as 75 degrees- usually for closer mic'd chamber music.

I'm of the opinion that I don't care if it is "correct" acording to the book. If it sounds good, it is good, and I break the "rules" to make my recordings work.

That being said, there is a mic with an angle adjustment. I'm blanking on the exact one, but it is either the B&O stereo ribbon or the Speiden stereo ribbon. I'm pretty sure it is the B&O, but I'm not 100% sure.

--Ben

DavidSpearritt Mon, 10/16/2006 - 04:35

Duckman wrote: Just a slightly tangendental question... when using MS technique on a choir, is it important to have the sound source confined within the range of the Mid microphone, or can some elements of the choir be singing directly into the Side microphone, off axis to the Mid. I'm thinking in terms of a micing a choir in a fairly confined space, kind of, but not quite, in a semi-circle around an MS setup. Would that work in theory?

MS can take a very wide distributed source without the limitations of view angle, as there is no out of phase quadrants or regions to avoid, as there is in Blumlein. There is a spreadsheet somewhere or a Java beanlet or something that shows the patterns after matrixing, you can satisfy yourself of the coverage. It works in practice as well. :)

DavidSpearritt Mon, 10/16/2006 - 04:39

Duckman wrote: PS Dave and Rich, have you found that the TRP has added anything to your ribbon sound not already present with the top-notch preamps you already use?

Also, how do you plan on using the TRP on location conveniently... is it rack-mountable... or is there any special casing you use to carry around portable equipment like the TRP?

I still haven't yet used the Coles or TRP in a decent space with a decent source yet. In a couple of days, I have a wonderful baritone to record in our best theatre, am going to use the Coles and the AEATRP. Will post something if possible.

I have a Pelican case setup with the Coles and the AEATRP in it, along with the Coles Blumlein mount. It is self contained and will largely not be mixed up with other gear, ie phantom powered stuff.

anonymous Mon, 10/16/2006 - 11:54

DavidSpearritt wrote: [quote=Duckman]when using MS technique on a choir, is it important to have the sound source confined within the range of the Mid microphone, or can some elements of the choir be singing directly into the Side microphone, off axis to the Mid.

MS can take a very wide distributed source without the limitations of view angle, as there is no out of phase quadrants or regions to avoid, as there is in Blumlein.

Well, it depends on what you consider is a MS pickup. We can certainly agree that the S is always a fig-8 mic. As for the M, certain people will limit it to being a cardioid. I say it can be anything you want from omni to fig-8, and even to shotgun mic as promoted by Sennheiser when they introduced MKH series.

If you use a fig-8 as M, the resulting LR will be equivalent to Blumlein (as long as the MS ratio is 1:1). If you want a MS pickup without any reversed polarity (or out of phase) quadrants, the M should be omni.

- Kewl

DavidSpearritt Mon, 10/16/2006 - 13:54

Yes, Kewl, you are correct of course, I should have been clearer.

The question arose about wide sound stages in choral recording, where you would assume that all the singers are "in front" of the array. I tend to define MS as a cardioid M, and with "normal" relative gains of M and S, there are negligable out of phase sections in front of the mic, where the singers are, even out wide the coverage is in phase.

I think this was the answer to the question.

mdemeyer Mon, 10/16/2006 - 20:31

I find the very natural pickup to the sides from the Fig 8 in MS is excellent in a wide choral setup. It also does very well on room ambiance, applause (for concert recordings - I hate bad sounding applause) and in situations where you have to deal with processionals, etc. in a concert.

Last month I recorded Chanticleer in a quite nice church using MS with a Schoeps MK21 (wide card) for M and the MK8 as the S mic. (Mic visible in upper-left corner of photo.)

(Dead Link Removed)

It is quite lovely... the slightly warm MK21 really shines (IMHO) as a choral mic and this configuration handled the fairly wide setup very well. I'll see if I can post a sample.

Michael

Simmosonic Mon, 10/16/2006 - 23:43

Duckman wrote: Does that mean that an SF12/24 or an R88 might not work so well in such a situation?

The SF12, SF24 and R88 are all Blumlein pairs...

If you use a Blumlein pair in MS (i.e. one bidirectional facing forward, one facing to the side), you'll still have the same out-of-phase quadrants to the left and right sides (90 degrees and 270 degrees off-axis) when it is decoded from MS to LR. No difference there between MS Blumlein and normal Blumlein.

So, if you're wanting to use MS Blumlein on a choir you will have no problems so long as you treat it like ordinary Blumlein and keep all the voices within the front quadrant (i.e. +/-45 degrees off-axis). You could also divide the voices up, of course, and have some coming into the rear quadrant with no problems. Just keep out of the side quadrants; leave them for room sound.

The main advantage of MS Blumlein, in my opinion, is for smaller ensembles where you want a good strong centre image. With normal Blumlein, a sound in the centre is captured by two capsules, and the quality depends very much on the matching of those capsules. With MS Blumlein, a sound in the centre is captured by one capsule only and is, therefore, potentially better.

With a large choir, I see no benefit in using MS Blumlein over normal Blumlein, especially with mics like the SF12 and SF24 where the two ribbons are very closely matched. I assume the R88 is the same, but I've only had limited time with that one.

For a small choir, where you can comfortably fit the entire ensemble inside the front 90 degree 'window', there may be a sonic benefit in going MS. But if in doubt, with the mics in questions, stick with standard Blumlein...

mdemeyer Sun, 10/22/2006 - 16:42

Sorry, haven't managed to get permission to post a sample from the Chanticleer performance, but here is a sample using an MK4/MK8 MS setup of the Taipei Philharmonic Chamber Choir recorded while they were touring in the US in July.

(Dead Link Removed)

Comments and suggestions always welcome.

I'll try to post the MK21/MK8 sample when I can...

Michael

Duckman Wed, 11/01/2006 - 03:20

Mic placement in tight situations

I'm taking my spanking new R88 and TRP out to church tomorrow night to record the Victoria Requiem at the liturgy for All Souls. We are recording in a smallish choir loft. 6 singers, one voice per part.

I'm wondering about mic placement in a tight space... I could simply use my NT5s in ORTF, but I want to experiment with the R88 in blumlein. It's our own little choir, and I'm just recording in order to experiment and practice... so there is nothing make-or-break here. Even with my inexperience, I think the R88 wouldn't be ideal in this situation: the mic could be no more than 6 or 7 feet away, perhaps less, so it would be a tight squeeze to get all 6 of us into the 90 degree arc. If we were to fit, do you think this could work at such a distance?

I'm wondering about the alternative of splitting the choir up - antiphonal style with three singers on each side of the microphone, for a more easy fit. Would I be wrong in assuming that in this situation the R88 would be best positioned around head height? Also, is it likely with this setup that we will sound more like 6 soloists than an ensemble?

Advice welcome.

DavidSpearritt Wed, 11/01/2006 - 03:26

Re: Mic placement in tight situations

Duckman wrote: I'm wondering about the alternative of splitting the choir up - antiphonal style with three singers on each side of the microphone, for a more easy fit.

Works superbly. I do this often.

Would I be wrong in assuming that in this situation the R88 would be best positioned around head height?

Mouth height or slightly higher is best.

Also, is it likely with this setup that we will sound more like 6 soloists than an ensemble?

No, the ensemble and blend is magnificent. Have a listen to the 10 tenors second CD (Colours) which we recorded, 5 tenors each side of a KM120 pair, that's all. Ensemble is amazing.

FifthCircle Wed, 11/01/2006 - 09:59

Re: Mic placement in tight situations

DavidSpearritt wrote:
No, the ensemble and blend is magnificent. Have a listen to the 10 tenors second CD (Colours) which we recorded, 5 tenors each side of a KM120 pair, that's all. Ensemble is amazing.

You did one of their CDs? Interesting- saw their show here in LA this weekend. It was sort of one of those guilty-pleasure shows. Pretty enjoyable overall....

--Ben

Duckman Wed, 11/01/2006 - 13:03

rfreez wrote: what is "antiphonal style" please?

Being a bit free with language here... probably not the most accurate term.

I kind of meant like the choir arrangement of monks... they typically divide the choir into two. Both choirs face each other from either side of the sanctuary - so that there is a space in the middle (where I would theoretically place a mic :-)

Simmosonic Sat, 11/04/2006 - 13:49

rfreez wrote: what is "antiphonal style" please?

Here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiphon

I don't know about the rest of the world, but here in Australia we pronounce it "an-tiff-on-al" (with the emphasis on the 'tiff'), rather than 'anti-phonal'.

I sometimes have to record choirs that have an antiphonal part, which means that some of the choristers will be singing from another point in the church, usually as a call/response to what the main body of the choir is singing. Sometimes the 'antiphonal choir' (as they rightly or wrongly refer to the part that splits from the main choir) will sing to the left or right side of the church, other times they will sing from the rear of the church (up in the organ loft, for example).

It can be very evocative, and was used by Bach and many others. Those guys were thinking about surround sound long before the microphone or loudspeaker were invented!

Simmosonic Sat, 11/04/2006 - 15:31

DavidSpearritt wrote: Groan. Is that himalayan monkey juice getting to you again Simmo?

Crikeys, I hope not. I've been away from the Himalayas for two months now, surely the monkey juice has all worn off?

I do get occassional translucent flashbacks, rather like the jaggies that momentarily appear in one's field of vision for years after dropping acid. But they're not from monkey juice or acid, they're from a sticky sweet alcohol I drank from a skull bowl during a puja ceremony to invoke the spirit of Guru Rinpoche in a Tibetan monastery.

I will make my truimphant return to the Himalayas in 25 days from now; my first stop is to see the Lama and seek the truth in the form of an antidote. (Er, that one is pronounced 'anti-dote'...)

I never went to see the Three Tenors, for obvious reasons. They wanted over $200 per seat, and that's a blatant rip-off. $30 is the RRP, right?

T-minus 25 days and counting...

anonymous Sat, 11/04/2006 - 22:49

Duckman wrote: [quote=rfreez]what is "antiphonal style" please?

Being a bit free with language here... probably not the most accurate term.

I kind of meant like the choir arrangement of monks... they typically divide the choir into two. Both choirs face each other from either side of the sanctuary - so that there is a space in the middle (where I would theoretically place a mic :-)

A divided chancel is typically found in Anglican or Episcopal "cruciform" floorplans. One side of the choir is the "decani" side (with "firsts" of all voice parts) and "cantoris" (with seconds) on the other side. Often the Psalm will be sung antiphonally, but that is not the main reason for dividing. Rather, it is so the altar and all that occurs there may be seen from the nave. In more modern "altar in the round" situations the choir is often all together behind a carved "screen" that is mostly open, and in many British cathedrals the organ case will be on top of the screen.

Often in divided chancels the choir is simply divided so basses and altos on are one side and tenors and sopranos are on the other.

The mic technique for live things is compromised at best and will depend on the acoustic, and with sessions the goal is to have the singers face out towards the nave for better projection into the main acoustic. In a true Brit cathedral acoustic the sound won't change much, but the hole in the middle should be avoided.

Rich

FifthCircle Sun, 11/05/2006 - 01:17

Simmosonic wrote: [quote=FifthCircle]It was a fun show, though...

How much did you pay for a seat? By my calculations, a ticket ought to cost $100.

That's ten tenners, innit?

Ugh... Gotta give you a figurative flogging for that. Tickets were pretty cheap- more like $25 (would that be two and a half tenners?). Actually they were even cheaper for me- the better half (er... boss?) bought them. (y)

--Ben

anonymous Sun, 11/05/2006 - 09:44

To return a moment to those days of yesteryear when the thread was about the TRP--

I have now tried the TRP and SF12 combo in several situations: choral (30 voices), small choral (6 voices), solo voice (male and female) and piano, solo trumpet accent mic, and can say that I am truly hearing the SF12 for the first time.

The overall sound and image is more focussed, transients seem faster (on consonants) but not as much as with any condenser. It is quiter than my Millennias, and would be a bargain at twice the price.

The next experiment will be to try it with my tube Schoeps.....

Rich

DavidSpearritt Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:42

Great to hear this Rich. I can also confirm than mine sounds wonderful amplifying the Coles 4040's, but I have still only made two recordings with it, a solo baritone in blumlein and as spot mics for some instrumental support for gospel singers. It is very quiet, and the lower midrange seems very solid, in comparison to my other preamps with the Coles. I agree it is a bargain price for this little pre.

Duckman Mon, 11/13/2006 - 03:46

The opinion of the less experienced is of course of less value but, for what it's worth, I was really happy with the R88/TRP's first outing. The realism/naturalness of the sound was immediately immpressive and there was a lovely smoothness and tons of bottom-end. The top end needed just a touch of lift to bring things more into focus. I am loth to post a sample for reasons of pride... my choir simply cannot appear on the same page as Chanticleer :-) To be honest, apart from our poor singing, I think we were standing too close to the mic... there is a bit of proximity on the lowest notes, and the stereo-image comes accross as too wide. Anyhow... live and learn.

Cheers.

Duckman Mon, 11/13/2006 - 16:07

Rich,

It was with the SF12/TRP combo... or at least the particular SF12 that I had at the time that I found a bit noisy. Again, perhaps it was my own fault somehow... I wouldn't be surprised.

I threw my lot in (fairly blindly - on the strength of user reviews ie) with AEA, and so far noise hasn't been a big issue... but again, I've only used the R88/TRP on vocal ensemble once, and we were fairly close to the mic, requiring about 54.5db or so gain - perhaps less (to be honest, it was so rushed a recording, that I do not remember the exact gain settings). What noise there was, was smoothed out almost completely by Altiverb. I haven't yet tested it on settings at 60 or over.

On another note... and looking to the distant future, financially, has anyone tried the T.H.E. Audio TT-3M flat response omni on choir? I know there is debate over the value of flat mics for diffuse sources (mk2 et al)... but some of the condensers recommended earlier in this thread for choral (mk21 and TLM193), seem relatively unhyped... just wondering. Probably should have its own post, but as you can see I'm shooting for an all time record with this one ;-)

Cheers.

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