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Matthaus-Passion coming up, its a beast! Suggestions?

I am traveling with the Heidelberg Symphony and Chorale of the Holy Ghost Church (also Heidelberg) on a Cathedral tour, which I have the extreme pleasure of recording. All the venues are enormous cathedrals with soaking wet reverb.
Each night there will be two choirs and two orchestras.

choirs will be 50 deep(per choir). Choir_______Choir
two orchestras also (40 per) Orchestra_____Orchestra

orchestras are in front of the choirs, about 20 ft away.

all soloists will be seated on the side and will walk to the front of the group for their pieces.
Anyone done this one with two choirs and orchestras?
Any suggestions?


OH!
Equipment
Mics
AKG 426b
Schoeps CMC62S Pair
Gefell M930 Pair
Gefell M300 Pair
U87s

Preamps
DAVs all the way baby! (10 channels)
mytek stereo 192 X 8 channels
two SD 744ts


Thanks!

:lol:

Comments

Exsultavit Mon, 04/17/2006 - 18:59
Re: St Matthew passion:

One thing to keeep in mind is that, while the piece uses 2 orchestras, 2 choirs, soloists, etc, a huge part of the piece is just the evangelist and a small continuo group. While the 'large screen' pieces are important, you must have a 'close in' set of mics for the small stuff.

The times I have done this piece, the evangelist has NOT been down in front where other aria singers have been, but upstage near the continuo group. While other engineers may disagree, I feel it necessary to be able to get this group 'in focus' at will. I have heard 'respected' recordings of this piece where the evangelist and continuo are a distant, blurry sound- impossible to discern the text. So I suggest a pair of mics for the continuo group and a spot, of course, for each singer- but especially for the evangelist.

I suggest you think in terms of mid (arias), close,(evangelist and Jesus parts) and wide-screen (full tutti) mic setups.

So the St Matthew Passion is, to me, music that runs the gamut from a scream to a whisper. That is it's beauty, and, to the engineer, also it's great challenge.

Ex

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 04/03/2006 - 21:31
BigRay wrote: I hope someone can chime in. Im flying solo, and scared out of my wits. :-?
I guess thats how we learn though, right? Choir/Orchestra I can handle, but the two of each thing has me perplexed!

Hello again ....

I'm not sure I understand the setup .... is this "tag-team" orch+chorus, or are they combined into one larger force?

Mike

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 04/03/2006 - 23:04
BigRay wrote: I hope someone can chime in. Im flying solo, and scared out of my wits. :-?
I guess thats how we learn though, right? Choir/Orchestra I can handle, but the two of each thing has me perplexed!

Ray
When I recorded this work I considered the total ensemble only - as if it was a very wide orch and choir and used a A-B configuration behind and above the conductor. Soloists had accent mics to aid clarity. If I was to do this again my only change would be to use ORFT as main pickup - especially in very reverberant space.

Best of luck

Larry Elliott

larsfarm Tue, 04/04/2006 - 03:04
"hughesmr wrote: I'm not sure I understand the setup .... is this "tag-team" orch+chorus, or are they combined into one larger force?

Both. Sometimes the one setup. Sometimes the other. Sometimes both. They're usually set up as two teams and I suppose that's the image a listener will expect to hear as well.

L

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 04/14/2006 - 12:10
Hey Sir! Thanks for the comments!Honored to have you comment. The Deva is remarkably easy to use, the preamps sound great, and it can be powered via battery(sony NP-1) or via 110-240 AC. Native bit depth is 24 bit(not selectable), selectable sample rate up to 192 khz. I had the version with the internal DVD Ram drive. After the recording to get the data off the Deva you mirror to the internal DVD Ram drive in 4G chunks. You have the option before mirroring to format the DVD-Ram discs in UDF or Fat 32. My pc has a DVD-Ram reading drive, so after I mirrored the data it was just a matter of putting the discs in my pc drive and Drag and Drop.


8 input channels, analog or digi-in. Digi in is used via a breakout cable which is basically a serial connector with 8 cables.(XLR F) The cables are marked input 1, 2, etc. Digi out uses the same principle, on seperate serial port. 10 total channels available to record, (though only 8 inputs and 8 meters). I used tracks 9+10 for a stereo mixdown of the 426>>DAV>>>mytek source. Each input has selectable HPF, mic or line, and limiter. Also trim. Headphone routing is sexy. You can route the inputs to any number of headphone configurations. I had a setup for each stereo pair and one with all the inputs combined.


All controls are done via a touch screen. There are also buttons that serve the same purpose. Faders- 4 hardware, 4 software. Hardware faders on front of the Deva, software faders are in the menu.Both are very easy to use. I left my software fader menu up the entire time so that I could ride the faders. touching any of the channels while recording solos that channel in the headphones. The Deva(with the 3.XX firmware) records in 4G chunks. 80G HD Included.

I am in love with the machine. I really want one. I have no complaints about it. Very easy to use, sounds great, highly mobile and safe!

They hit a home run with this one.



Plush wrote: I used Foobar to audition your material on my cheapo PC speakers.
It sounds good with a nice halo of ambience around the soloist.

Please send comments about your experience with the Deva.
It is made for film recording, but I would like your comments on how it works.

thank you,
PlushSonic

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 04/04/2006 - 08:32
BigRay wrote: One large force.

thanks for the help so far!

Agreed. Unless one orchestra is antiphonal, I would suggest a common ensemble presentation. If its a reverberant space, ORTF will still do nicely and can be sweetened up later, perhaps with ambience mics.

I suppose you could do a weak and left/right presentation, orchestra 1-left and 2-right... and such. It probably wouldn't play back well on simple stereo setup (end-user.)

Chris

JoeH Tue, 04/04/2006 - 11:01
If their largest moment has them coming together as one large force (as oppposed to antiphonal groups at either end of the church, etc.) then your choices are pretty simple based on the 10 channels you say you have available.

One main omni pair spaced wide for the whole thing, a pair of solo/spot mics (assuming there are two locations for the soloists, or even in duets, trios, etc., and the remaining six would be ORTF pairs for the choir(s) & orchestra(s). You may be able to do the orch with just the ORTF pair, and use up to four Cardioids on the choirs when they're at full strength - an ORTF pair (high, looking down) in the center, and a very wide L&R pair if they expand out on each side. (Not seeing a stage plot, I have no real idea what you're facing; this is just a guess.)

Don't want to scare you, but you may need another input or two for accent or spot mics in the orch, etc. (Maybe you only need one solo spot mic - that would give you back an input?) Again, don't know your stage plot or the score from memory.

Good luck and enjoy the ride; the first one may be scary, but once you settle in and get a feel for the thing, you'll do fine as long as the music is good! At least you have several chances to do it. Practice makes perfect.

Cucco Tue, 04/04/2006 - 11:21
Wow!!

If I understand your setup, you don't actually have 10 tracks to record on, you only have 8 with the addition of 2 extra channels of pre.

Also, based on the line art diagram, I believe you're saying they will be set up completely opposing eachother - or choir 1 and orchestra 1 together with choir 2 and orchestra 2 together but there is some kind of physical seperation in the middle...this could be trouble with only 8 channels...

If this is the case, I would do A/B over both orchestras, spots on the choruses, vocal soloist mics, wind spots and hall mics.

All told, I would have a hard time keeping it less than 16 tracks. (I just did Mozart's Requiem with only 1 chorus and 1 orchestra and I ate up 12 tracks!)

Given your list of gear, I would go -

Orch/Chorus A - Gefell M930 in ORTF
Orch/Chorus B - Gefell M300 in ORTF
Soloist mic(s) - AKG C426b in X/Y or Blumlein (depending upon the setup of the soloist spot - you'll need at least 2 mics though for soloists - hence the stereo mic)
Hall mics - Schoeps CMC62s
Judiciously spaced spot mic - U87s

In any case - good luck. This will be a hell of a gig.

One piece of advice with the orchestra mics - you're going to want to get close enough to the group as to not get a wash of reverb, yet high enough above the group that you have good line of sight to the back row of vocalists. This will be a VERY deep sounding recording - perhaps even a tad un-natural, but given the max track count, you might have to accept a small compromise.

J

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 04/18/2006 - 11:23
Hello BigRay,

Thanks for the run down on the Deva. I appreciate your enthusiasm for the box.

However, I am put off by the price of the unit when so many
alternatives are available. Perhaps the alternatives do not offer as
many slick features, but they are offering the same sound and multi-track
possibilities.

I mix to two track anyway, so the Nagra V will continue to be our
main machine.

ghellquist Fri, 04/07/2006 - 11:23
Sure I cannot really add anything to the recording part. Just a few associations though. Probably nothing new, but might just add something.

- if you run several recorders, they should be synched. Preferrably using word clock. Select the most stable of you units and set that as master. Connect from word-clock out to T-connectors on Word-clock in on the other units. Finally, add a termination resistor on the last unit. You might synch using other sources, AES is possible, but WC is the preferred solution.

- consider what will happen if you loose external power for a short while (maybe someone tripping over the cable). The Sound Devices units (and the Deva) can run quite a while on their batteries, but the preamp will stop passing signal. And as the SD preamps are decent (I run a 722 myself), not up with the DAV though (I have a BG2 as well), but just maybe one stereo pair could be run straight in as a "safety" in case of lost power.

- stands, the higher the merrier is my experience in churches with choirs. Guess you already have them, but they are nice to have.

Last, but not least, good luck. I´m sort of envious of the music you will hear and the experience you will gain.

Gunnar

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 04/19/2006 - 01:38
Plush wrote: Hello BigRay,

Thanks for the run down on the Deva. I appreciate your enthusiasm for the box.

However, I am put off by the price of the unit when so many
alternatives are available. Perhaps the alternatives do not offer as
many slick features, but they are offering the same sound and multi-track
possibilities.

I mix to two track anyway, so the Nagra V will continue to be our
main machine.


Oh, absolutely. It is really expensive. I actually own a Lynx aes16 and Sequoia, but all the components for that system are not complete. I am building it myself so it is taking a while to get everything that I ordered.
Using the Deva was a great experience though I will probably never own one.

Exsultavit wrote: One thing to keeep in mind is that, while the piece uses 2 orchestras, 2 choirs, soloists, etc, a huge part of the piece is just the evangelist and a small continuo group. While the 'large screen' pieces are important, you must have a 'close in' set of mics for the small stuff.

I agree. This one was particularly challenging because the Evangelist was embedded deep in the choir and sang from its ranks. Jesus/Pilate /Maryetc were actually down front and center for their Arias.


Edit: I can see where JC Superstar and Godspell came from.....the flow and even the music/chord structure in both of those pieces borrows a lot from Passion.

Pro Audio Guest Sat, 04/08/2006 - 17:12
Yeah, Im going with the Deva and for safety, outputting the 426/schoeps/DAV and mytek source to the 744t. I really like the Deva a lot....havent gotten a gear woody from one piece of equipment like this since I heard the DAV. Time to reallocate some funds. (namely, ask my wife:P ) I thought there would be a massive learning curve with the Machine, but not at all!Thanks for the help, Gunnar et al


Teddy


ghellquist wrote: Sure I cannot really add anything to the recording part. Just a few associations though. Probably nothing new, but might just add something.

- if you run several recorders, they should be synched. Preferrably using word clock. Select the most stable of you units and set that as master. Connect from word-clock out to T-connectors on Word-clock in on the other units. Finally, add a termination resistor on the last unit. You might synch using other sources, AES is possible, but WC is the preferred solution.

- consider what will happen if you loose external power for a short while (maybe someone tripping over the cable). The Sound Devices units (and the Deva) can run quite a while on their batteries, but the preamp will stop passing signal. And as the SD preamps are decent (I run a 722 myself), not up with the DAV though (I have a BG2 as well), but just maybe one stereo pair could be run straight in as a "safety" in case of lost power.

- stands, the higher the merrier is my experience in churches with choirs. Guess you already have them, but they are nice to have.

Last, but not least, good luck. I´m sort of envious of the music you will hear and the experience you will gain.

Gunnar
:P
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