Large Ensemble Recording Problem

Discussion in 'Ensembles' started by Henrique Fantato, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    Hello all,

    I need some tips for recording an Large ensemble( something about 60-70 musicians) in an large auditorium (300 people capacity).

    It's a charity job for a project of my church, so the equipment is, unfortunately, low budget.

    I actually have a Roland R26 recorder, a Audio Technica AT2020 and two 5 meters height tripods.

    If it's really needed, i have a $200 budget that can be used to improve the equipment.

    It isn't needed to record the auditorium's ambiance(it is an lecture auditorium, so the ambience isn't good) , and i'll use some Reverb plugins in the mixing.

    We (me and the ensemble) already made some recordings, I used the roland recorder positioned at 5 meters away from the center-front of the ensemble(45 degrees down, in relation to the tripod), and the at2020 you can see at the picture( the idea was to try to reinforce the winds group, srry for the noob try xD).

    Although, i will send a sample of this attempt...

    Obs: i used Altiverb 7 (reverb), with the Berlin Philharmonic hall, using the 8m(on at2020 track), 12m(X/y recorder mics track) and 20m(Omni recorder mics track) mics simulations.

    Any thoughts?

     

    Attached Files:

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty good given the constraints you were working under. The excerpt you chose to post did not illustrate much in the way of dynamic variation, but we can certainly get an idea of (a) the quality of the players and (b) the acoustics (natural and otherwise).

    You haven't said how you mixed in the AT2020. The AT2020 is a microphone that is not very well suited to this type of recording, and since you only have one of them, there is going to be a lot of off-axis sound from it.

    What I would like to hear is the Roland X-Y unidirectional mics on their own, panned hard L and R, and with no additional reverb. That would give us more an idea of what you are dealing with by way of hall acoustics and the balance of sound from the performers.
     
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  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Hi Henrique, Welcome to RO !

    I'm no expert in big ensembles but here is a bit of food for your thoughts
    With your 200$ you could buy another AT2020 and record with the 2 in stereo X/Y.
    Or you can rent better mics. Many one shot shooters forget about renting gear. If you could rent a Royer SP24 stereo mic or a match pair of condensers (AKG, earthworks...)
    That way you could offer better quality within your budget.

    I'll let my more experienced friends suggest what mics you could rent...
     
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  4. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    Ok, I'll post a sample with only the X/Y without reverb.

    And what do you mean with at2020 mixing? The positioning? (Sorry, I'm really excited about the recording universe, but I'm still very newbie, and here on Brazil this is a very hard bobby to learn :/)
     
  5. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    The musicians are recording monthly, so I guess that buying something is a better choice. But I'll try to estimate how much it would cost to rent those mics.
     
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    It all depends on what you expect regarding quality and what you are going to do with the recordings.
    When you said it was for a charity, I though it was a one time event. That's why renting seems appropriate.
    Boswell asked about the AT2020 because it's a mono mic. Mixing a stereo mic with mono mic is a bit tricky because of the possible phase cancellation.
    As I said, I'm not an expert but if you really like to buy, I'd go for a second AT2020 and use only those two to record the ensemble.
    with either of those config :

    upload_2018-1-16_8-1-3.png upload_2018-1-16_8-1-11.png

    Of course 200$ is a very thin budget for ensemble recordings.
    If you were to sell CDs or broadcast on radio, most engineer would invest in better preamps and mics.
    It could go 4k fast in this kind of job.. ;)
     
  7. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    Yeah,$200 isn't nothing for this hahaha, actually, the charity is recording for free, because the equipment used in those recordings are from my uncle, and the "budget" is from myself....

    In reality, I did a poor job on mixing(didn't know what to do), because I just got together the three audio files generated by the recorder(2 stereo files, one for X/Y mics, and another for the Omni mics; and 1 mono file from the at2020), normalized the tracks and applied some reverb. So any tip will be tremendous helpful :)
     
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  8. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    Boswell, here is the X/Y track without reverb:

     

    Attached Files:

  9. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    Posted the X/Y track
     
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    Yes, thanks. I'm away from my studio at the moment, so although I can hear your track, I won't make any judgements based on computer speakers. I should be back in the studio by tomorrow, so will listen to it there.
     
  11. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    Ok
     
  12. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I haven't been able to get back to the studio to listen to this until now - we've had more snow here than we are used to, and things ground to a halt for a day or two.

    Yes, the X-Y only track is interesting, partly because it is very dry. This surprised me, as from the photo you posted I thought that unwanted reflections would be a problem. I'll try adding some hall acoustic and see how that compares with your Berlin Phil hall. I have a Focusrite VRM box, and it's a good way of moving quickly between different acoustics for trial.
     
  13. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    I think it sounds pretty good. I do hear the space altering the tone some, but I don't think it's necessarily inappropriate. With the right hall or whatever reverb on top of it, it might be just right.
     
  14. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    Yeah, the acoustic treatment of the auditorium is very good(the hole wall besides the musicians is treated with acoustic foam, and the rest of it is of wood), but so much dry...

    Another question: The auditorium have a gallery and 3 floor that i can access, would it be a good place to set the at2020?(I only have some bad pics of it, sorry)
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    So what can I do? Do I use only the X/Y track with reverb, or all the tracks, or perhaps only the omni track?
     
  16. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    is it like an "portable soundcard"?
     
  17. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    BTW if you use a portable recorder like your Roland R26, deactivate any auto volume or compression functions (if it's not already done)
    the recordings will be cleaner and more natural.
     
  18. Henrique Fantato

    Henrique Fantato Active Member

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    Ok, but I guess that I'm not using anything like that. I'll check it, thx!
     
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  19. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    I thought it would be good to say for anyone coming here from a google search ;)
     
  20. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    It's more than that, as the original purpose of the VRM box was for checking mixes by emulating different loudspeakers in different acoustics. However, I also use it from time to time with a laptop as a straight headphone output without the VRM processing, as it's so much better than the internal soundcards in most laptops. I'm travelling quite a bit at the moment, so it's convenient to have a USB-powered small box and a pair of headphones to take with me along with my laptop.

    It's a pity that Focusrite discontinued the VRM box as a product; I guess its sales volumes were not sufficiently great to warrant future investment, such as moving to USB3. The VRM software is, of course, still available to run with their main audio interfaces.
     
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