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#2466643 - 01/29/13 10:13 AM Need help on recording an orchestra
BTDhero Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/13
Posts: 6
Loc: BTD, Romania
Hi, everyone!
I'm new to this forum, I came here from other communities and chat rooms and found out a lot of musicians. I hope this is the right place to post this.

I want to record a few songs:
#I got an orchestra with acoustic instruments:
2 x violins, 1 x viola , 1 x acordion , 1 x contrabass , 1 x saxophone
#I got several rooms available (from 8 x 15 meters to 1.5 x 4 meters)
#I got, let's say, a budget of a few hundred , but I need the equipment for 1 day of recordings only
#I got a freeware OS specially designed for recording and post processing
#I got a laptop with the default audio soundcard, 2 mics and an equaliser

Last, but not least, I got a few months to accomplish this recording. Faster, the better.

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#2466653 - 01/29/13 10:32 AM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: Griffinator]
Griffinator Moderator Offline
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Regarding the recording, it would probably help to have more information, including:

1) What specific microphones do you already have?
2) Do you have access to an equipment (specifically mic) rental outfit?
3) Laptop specs.
4) Descriptions of the rooms (floor/ceiling materials, complete dimensions including height, etc)

There are a lot of ways to go about recording a small acoustic ensemble like what you describe. Finding the best one for your situation requires knowing the intimate details of your situation. smile

Oh, and welcome to the forum! grin

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#2466668 - 01/29/13 11:04 AM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: Griffinator]
BTDhero Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/13
Posts: 6
Loc: BTD, Romania
1) Not sure yet, but they look pretty much like this . Let's say I'll go for buying or renting some mics, because one of those two is already malfunctioning.
2) I am currently also asking local shops and recording studios for renting equipment, but I won't accept any offer yet.
3)Compaq Presario CQ60
Processor: AMD Athlon X2 QL-62, AMD Athlon X2 QL-64, AMD Mobile Sempron SI-40, Intel Celeron Dual-Core T1600, Intel Celeron M 900, Intel Pentium Dual Core T3200, Intel Pentium Dual Core T3400, Intel Pentium Dual Core T4200
Graphics Adapter: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500M, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD, NVIDIA GeForce 8200M G, NVIDIA GeForce 9200M GS
Display: 15.6 inch
Weight: 2.75kg, 2.8kg, 3kg, 3.1kg
4) Rooms are simply painted concrete, mostly, same is the ceiling. The floor varies from wood to ceramic tiles or concrete.
- the room where the representations are held: 15 x 20 meters
- small room: 2 x 8 meters
Both have 6 meters height

Or I could use rooms in other buildings, of a standard height. Which would be better? :-/

I would also like to mention that I need the recordings after for a dance ensemble, so the music will be played loud and using lot of audio power.

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#2466683 - 01/29/13 11:34 AM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: BTDhero]
Griffinator Moderator Offline
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Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
6 meters high? AWESOME! smile

I'd go for the 15x20x6 room - plenty of open ambient space. Set them up on the wood floor if at all possible.

You can do this with two overhead mics if you use good quality condensers, but you'll also need a two-channel interface of some sort that includes preamps. Even something like this would get you there and still leave plenty of money to rent mics, cables (you'll want at least 15m between you and the orchestra so you can check a headphone mix of what the mics are picking up and adjust as necessary) and tall boom stands.

The other alternative to renting mics, by the way, is if you are a regular customer of one of your local music stores, you can ask them to "test drive" a couple of the best mics they have in stock. I've done this before when I had to mic a drum kit on location on short notice.

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#2466704 - 01/29/13 12:09 PM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: Griffinator]
BTDhero Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/13
Posts: 6
Loc: BTD, Romania
I will have some pictures in ~24 hours in order to 'see' what are we talking about. I will also write down the full specs of the already owned equipment.

This recording system you mentioned seems great, but it needs a couple of mics. I should mention that the big room has awfull acoustics... don't know why. Maybe I could fix the problem using some sort of panels.

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#2466707 - 01/29/13 12:12 PM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: BTDhero]
Griffinator Moderator Offline
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Registered: 03/28/02
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Define "awful" acoustics...

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#2467027 - 01/30/13 10:49 AM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: Griffinator]
Russkull Offline
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Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 647
Loc: So Cal
I'll second having large capsule condenser mics, instead of dynamics.

I just read Bruce Swedien's book and he talks a lot about recording orchestras, stringed instruments, and ensembles. The mics he loves are out of our price range by a long shot, but he talks about technique and that might be useful to you. Here's a search I pulled up on Google books - pages 186-187 specifically.
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"Of all the world's bassists, I'm one of them!" - Lug

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#2467075 - 01/30/13 12:47 PM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: Russkull]
BTDhero Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/13
Posts: 6
Loc: BTD, Romania
awful acoustics = bad sound whatever speakers or instruments I am playing.
@Russkull Can I read that book online?

So, I forgot to check what equipment I have, silly me. Consider I would have no equpment what do you suggest? using condenser mics, preamps, and ofcourse a recording system could do it ?

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#2467203 - 01/30/13 08:24 PM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: BTDhero]
Griffinator Moderator Offline
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Registered: 03/28/02
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Originally Posted By: BTDhero
awful acoustics = bad sound whatever speakers or instruments I am playing.
@Russkull Can I read that book online?

So, I forgot to check what equipment I have, silly me. Consider I would have no equpment what do you suggest? using condenser mics, preamps, and ofcourse a recording system could do it ?


1) Yes, the important passages are available at the link he posted.

2) Your computer will do fine as a recording system by the sounds of it - the suggestion I offered was a pair of large-diaphragm condensers in an X-Y pattern.

3) "Bad sound" still doesn't tell me what's wrong. For example, a warehouse with massive reflections would be a terrible place to record a rock band, because the drums would clutter up everything with all the slapback. However, that same ambiance would work brilliantly for an ensemble such as you've described, as there are no percussion instruments involved, and the reverberations of the room would serve to make your small group sound much, much bigger without having to apply effects in post-production.

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#2467301 - 01/31/13 07:43 AM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: Griffinator]
BTDhero Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/13
Posts: 6
Loc: BTD, Romania
1)About the book: No eBook available. I am not familiar with google Books, or it is not available in my country.
2)So you're saying that a pair of good condensers will be enough for me to record using my PC's default sound card? and of course, a two deck equipment which I might already have. I'll just have a quick search into nearby music equipment shops and check their stuffs.
3)Not sure how to explain... I believe the main problem is with the medium and higher frequencies, or the reverb time as the room has irregularities. I'll post one link with a live recording in the room, maybe you'll figure it out :-?
#Video 2010, oldest record
It is the only recording I got right now where no post processing work was applied to the audio. You can hear the echo of the human voice when shouting. Nowadays we are using a pair of GATT speakers, looking something like theese.



I was suggested to use a ZOOM H2 or similar recording system with incorporated mics. Unfortunately, there aren't any available in my area.

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#2467335 - 01/31/13 09:23 AM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: Griffinator]
Russkull Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 647
Loc: So Cal
Originally Posted By: Griffinator
For example, a warehouse with massive reflections would be a terrible place to record a rock band, because the drums would clutter up everything with all the slapback. However, that same ambiance would work brilliantly for an ensemble such as you've described, as there are no percussion instruments involved, and the reverberations of the room would serve to make your small group sound much, much bigger without having to apply effects in post-production.

BTD: To my very non-professional ears, I don't hear any problems with the room except that it sounds much like a gym. Our church met in a gym for a while, and yes the long reverb times in the room made it impossible to mix the live sound, drums and bass especially.

However, this project you're doing is entirely different, and I agree with Griff that this room might work for your purposes (if you get your ensemble sitting relatively still on non-squeaky chairs!). All that echo you hear from the voices makes it hard to understand someone speaking, but it could really benefit your recording.

That said, you are the one who is actually there and can hear the room. Can you run some tests? Maybe get at least one musician to play and see how it sounds in each room?
_________________________
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#2467356 - 01/31/13 09:49 AM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: BTDhero]
Russkull Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 647
Loc: So Cal
Originally Posted By: BTDhero
1)About the book: No eBook available. I am not familiar with google Books, or it is not available in my country.

Sorry, I didn't know Google books wouldn't work for you. Here's a brief summary:

1) Bruce uses large capsule condenser microphones (particularly expensive, discontinued mics like the Neumann M49 and M50, but obviously you work with what you can get)

2) He sets them up in different patterns, depending on the size of the group being recorded:

a) For large orchestras, he uses a Decca Tree (three mics - "a triangle of microphones placed...roughly 10' to 12' above stage level, above and just behind the conductor.")

b) For string sections (and I gather, smaller ensembles), he uses two mics in an XY pattern (do a Google Image search for "XY mic technique") or an A-B pattern with the mics 4' or less apart. He also adds a stereo microphone (something like the Rode NT-4 he mentions elsewhere in the book), positioned "about 15' or more above the floor, over the head of the conductor".

This is probably too much information for the project you're doing, but at least the type of mics and the way to set them up might be helpful.
_________________________
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#2467359 - 01/31/13 09:50 AM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: BTDhero]
Griffinator Moderator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
20k Club

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Originally Posted By: BTDhero
1)About the book: No eBook available. I am not familiar with google Books, or it is not available in my country.
2)So you're saying that a pair of good condensers will be enough for me to record using my PC's default sound card? and of course, a two deck equipment which I might already have. I'll just have a quick search into nearby music equipment shops and check their stuffs.
3)Not sure how to explain... I believe the main problem is with the medium and higher frequencies, or the reverb time as the room has irregularities. I'll post one link with a live recording in the room, maybe you'll figure it out :-?
#Video 2010, oldest record
It is the only recording I got right now where no post processing work was applied to the audio. You can hear the echo of the human voice when shouting. Nowadays we are using a pair of GATT speakers, looking something like theese.



I was suggested to use a ZOOM H2 or similar recording system with incorporated mics. Unfortunately, there aren't any available in my area.


An H2 could work, but not particularly well.

I'm talking about picking up an inexpensive ($150 or so) 2-channel USB audio interface (making sure it has two mic preamps - some don't) and renting the best pair of LD condensers (with a very tall boom stand - at least 4m) you can get your hands on with the remaining money.

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#2467975 - 02/02/13 05:24 PM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: Griffinator]
BTDhero Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/13
Posts: 6
Loc: BTD, Romania
So far I found some mics: Behringer B1 sau B2, Audio Technica 2031 and shure SM27. I'm still lookin' for any other recording equipment I could find at a nice price.

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#2468038 - 02/03/13 03:46 AM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: BTDhero]
Griffinator Moderator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
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Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Behringer mics are crap. Don't even bother with them.

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#2472903 - 02/20/13 11:15 AM Re: Need help on recording an orchestra [Re: BTDhero]
Russkull Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 647
Loc: So Cal
Originally Posted By: BTDhero
So far I found some mics: Behringer B1 sau B2, Audio Technica 2031 and shure SM27. I'm still lookin' for any other recording equipment I could find at a nice price.

Either the Audio Technica or the Shure might work. I'd lean toward the Shure because it's large-diaphragm and looks like it has a flatter response.
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"Of all the world's bassists, I'm one of them!" - Lug

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