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Recording an Orchestra using Royer ribbon microphones, with engineer Robert Friedrich

Grammy-winning Classical Engineer Robert Friedrich gives us an in-depth look at the recording techniques used when recording "The Carnival Of The Animals" with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Friedrich relied heavily on ribbon microphones to achieve the desired sound quality.

The comparison of microphone arrangements [for] orchestral instruments

This is an interesting set of interactive demonstrations showing the effect of microphone positioning relative to a performer. All the extracts are recorded using DPA4006A omni microphones in A-B configuration in a good acoustic.

Here is the PSW article that drew my attention to the site. Because I'm a PSW registered member, I can't tell whether this PSW site is accessible to non-members, so let me know if it's not.

Orchestra recording-which hanging mics here

Some of the orchestras I've seen have engineers using various types of mics hanging from the ceiling and I've been wondering which ones the tiny ones are in this video from Symphony Hall,Boston. From what I've seen they generally use maybe a half dozen hanging across at the front of the stage, what appear to be "full size" small-diaphragm, omnis maybe. But over different sections of the orchestra they use small-diaphragm mics that look like they're no more than 2" or so.
In this video you can see a good array of them at :20 and closer detail of the tiny ones at :35

What types of mics are these and are there any places online I can read more about models, specs, pricing, experiences with them, further sound samples,etc?


mic placement for recording an orchestra

I am planning on recording a school orchestra recital and need some help deciding on a microphone setup. I've done live sound for decades, but have done practically nothing relating to orchestral recordings. I also have a limited selection of microphones to choose from. The end result will be a stereo audio track to mix with video from multiple cameras for a concert/recital video.

My first thought would be to do a simple XY setup in the middle as high as I can get the mics. However, the last orchestra concert I filmed, the audio was being recorded by a modified decca tree configuration (not by me). That performance was also in a concert hall/theater, whereas this performance will be in a school cafeteria (lots of hard surfaces and poor acoustics as well as crowd noise, I'm sure.)

Before I get to the what would you recommend question, let me list out the microphones that I have available.
Two Audix CX111 LDC's (Cardioid)
One Audix TM1 (Omni)
Two Audio-Technica AT853 SDC's (choir/group vocal mics)(Cardioid)
Audio-Technica AE5400 Handheld LDC (Same basic capsule as the AT4050 LDC)(Cardioid)
Audio-Technica AT2020 "medium" diaphragm condenser. (Cardioid)
Various other mics that would not be useful for Orchestral stuff.

Also, everything will be tracked separately and mixed down later when I do the video editing.

So... what would you use and how would you set them up? (and why?)

1. Audix CX111's in a basic XY config?
2. Audix TM1 in the center and the CX111's spaced out in a modified Decca tree config?
3. Audix CX111's in an XY config in the center and the AT853's as outriggers spaced a ways out?
4. Some other config?


Orchestra with Choir/soloists @ church...mic help please!

Hey all-
My first post to the forum!

This weekend I will be recording an orchestra with a choir at a church.
I will be using a Sound Devices 8 track and I have a good selection of microphones to use (through the university), and up to this point, I was thinking:
2 U87s for the main stereo pair (ORTF or blumlein)
2 omnis for the outriggers (not sure what mics yet)

the choir will be behind the orchestra, so I was thinking 2 spaced shoeps cardiods (to help isolate from intruments)?
and then there will be solo vocalists in between the orchestra and choir...was thinking a pair of 87's in ORTF would work?

Any thoughts on this? Thanks for the help/input!

mic placement for orchestral band/chorus

Hi all-newbie here with a question. My daughter's HS marching band also performs orchestral music (upper college and sometimes professional level pieces) at a local church sanctuary which is huge-seats about 3000. Next month the chorus will be doing the show along with the band. So I'm looking for advice on mic placement,how many mics I would need,and which mics would work best. For a reference just read my equipment list on my profile page.
Thanks to all for the help.

Choir behind orchestra: best way to mic?

In my professional life, about 90% of the time, when there is a choir with instruments- from small ensemble to full orchestra- the choir is behind the instruments on risers. To my main pair, the choir is less 'close' and detailed than the instruments because it is quite a bit further from the mains. Besides this, the choir is often partially or completely drowned out by the orch (Beethoven's 9th, anyone?)

I find this is often a problem. My current solution: have a pair of mics on the choir to add diction when necessary, and to add volume when the orch gets way too loud. Unfortunately, some conductors dislike this solution because when one turns up the choir mics, the mics 'select' the choir members closest to the mics. Placing more choir mics is usually impractical unless there is time to hang them all- and many halls have no way to hang the choir mics anyway. That many floor stands is almost always impossible due to space restrictions.

I have a particular conductor who so dislikes the 'selected voices' effect he hears that he disallows choir mics at all, leaving the mains to pick up choir as best they can. He does not mind the more distant sound (indeed, it is not always a problem). But our next show is a Bach Mass in B minor, and there are places that I fear the choir will be buried deeply.

BTW: I love the sound of the choir on one side of the stage and the orch on the other. I was skeptical at first, imagining the weird wide stereo effect, but I did it on a Bach St John Mass and it was actually pretty subtle! Another solution is splitting the choir hard L/R and having them stand on either side of the orch.

But I digress. The issue is the typical staging: choir behind orch. Thoughts?

Micing an orchestra

Hi all.

I will be recording a symphony orchestra on saturday: its not the first time I have mic'ed this particular orchestra, but on previous occasions my goal was to amplify them for an outdoor concert... this will be my first time recording a full orchestra in a hall.

The venue is a large church, and I checked it out today: it sounded great just talking and clapping my hands, but there is quite a long reverb and I want to avoid recording too much of it!

So, what would you suggest as a main pair?

I've borrowed a pair of Royer R-121s and a pair of KM184s, as well as my usual selection which includes a Beyer M160/130 combo, a pair of NT5s, an SE Z5600A, and a pair of Beyer M201s (along with a bunch of other dynamics which will probably stay in the studio).

I'm thinking of using my Beyer ribbons as a main pair, mostly because I know them well... hopefully there will be time during the afternoon rehearsal to try my other options, but would anyone here be tempted to use the Neumanns or the Royers instead? If so why, and in what configuration?

Thanks in advance...