Main pair + supporting mics, how to set up gain for them?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Stradivariusz, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. Stradivariusz

    Stradivariusz Active Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    I have two cardio mics and two omnis and if I have a possibility I'd like to set up the cardioid pair as a main middle pair and use two omnis for side support. I have no idea though how should I gain them. Is the main pair really main, so it will be also the first source for the recording and will use flancs for adding some detail or should I use the flancs as the main sound and add sound from cardio's to kill the hole in the middle?
    Thanks in advance
  2. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    WY / CA
    Home Page:
    Here is one approach: Use the center cardioid pair as your mains. Start by setting that pair's gain as if it were the only mics to be used. Now start raising the outrigger omni mic gain until you achieve the desired ensemble balance and stereo fill. I usually find that the outriggers end up with less gain then the mains. Once you are satisfied with that balance, you may need to re-adjust the mix's overall gain for appropriate levels feeding your recorder.
  3. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    Well Zilla beat me to the punch... What he described is exactly what I do as well.

  4. Stradivariusz

    Stradivariusz Active Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    Thanks for a quick reply.

    I was wondering if there was a usual place you put support mics?
    Is there a difference also when you are recording a small or bigger ensemble?

  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Yeah Zilla's approach is kind of THE way to do it.

    As for the distances, I usually factor in a distance about or slightly beyond the 2/3rds point from the center of the orchestra to the outer edge (last row, basses, etc...)

    That usually puts the right outrigger by the last row of cellos and the left one by the next to last row of violins.

    Depending upon the shape of the hall, stage and what acoustic treatments the stage has will determine how I aim the mics. Much of the spatial information in the hall is derived from the higher frequency stuff and since omnis are more directional at higher frequencies, it definitely matters which way you aim them.

    For horizontal movements, I rarely if ever aim them outwards (pointing away from the podium/conductor). I can't recall a time that I've ever done this. Usually, I will aim them fairly straight forward. If the hall has no shell and the players are stuck "in the wings", I'll bring the mics in a tad. The HF from the wings can get rather nasty sounding and makes the recording sound boxed in.

    As for vertical positioning, I try to get the stand high enough that I can easily position the mic slightly down from level and aim it at the back row ( brass/percussion). Sometimes I'll bring them just a tad lower than that. It depends on many factors. If there's a sizzling trumpet with a lazer tone, I try to keep the mics off-axis of him/her. If they're playing Mahler 1, I try to aim at the trumptes. The difference is VERY subtle, but it's there.

    BTW - If you're doing this same setup with 2 sets of omnis, (the main pair is now omnis instead of cardioids), I've actually had success doing reversing the process for finding levels. I will bring up the outriggers first to the point where they sound balanced but with the "hole in the middle." Then I raise the main pair to fill in the hole and get a broad spectrum balance.

    Essentially I'm listening for the same thing as in Zilla's answer, just in reverse. Again though, I would only do this with all omnis in the front arrays. With your scenario, you're likely to find that the sound gets too loud if you raise the XY above the outriggers that you used for initial levels and balancing. (Of course, all you would have to do would be to lower the overall level, but why when the other solution works much better.)

  6. Stradivariusz

    Stradivariusz Active Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    Thank you for this complete answer Jeremy :cool:
    I'm sorry to make you wait for mine a while, but as every of us playing musicians I'm sometimes on the track. I brought from there 4 recordings from every concert we did with some Vespers music of Monteverdi and Haendel for singers and a small instrumental ensemble. I was hoping to try there this technique with supporting mics but musicians were differently placed that I was told, so I end with just a single omni couple of MG M270 above the enseble.
    I will put it in another post, will have a couple questions there too.
    Thanks again
    Your thankful companion

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