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Author Topic: Ambiance mics  (Read 1931 times)

Bob L. Wilson

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Ambiance mics
« on: November 10, 2012, 02:09:13 pm »

We are considering pulling our ambiance mic inputs off console. This week again we had an issue at an evening wedding when an operator mistakenly routed the groups the ambiance mics sit on to the SIS buss. He was trying to source them for a videographer and didn't think the signal chain through. We had some clear plexiglass covers machined some time ago to prevent this from accidentally happening but it has continued to be an intentional problem. I envision using something like a Lectrosonics DM to mix the ambiance mic inputs to the recording and remote feeds before sending them on their way. This will also open up the possibility of delaying the feeds before adding the ambiance mics something which our on console matrix system does not readily support. I am interested to hear some thoughts on the time alignment of ambiance mics.
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Doug Hammel

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Re: Ambiance mics
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2012, 03:58:15 pm »

Hello Bob,
 I had the same situation. I did not route those mics to the main buss though (luckily). What I ended up doing was finding a small mixer, in my case a Yamaha MW12, to mix the recording. It has the main stereo mix and two ambiance mics and then it feeds the various recording decks. It frees up two inputs on the console obviously and prevents that accidental routing to the mains. It took me a couple of weeks to get the balance right since I don't have a dedicated mix room, the yamaha sits under the main console. Later I hope to acquire a small digital console, ie 01v or similar, so I can do delay and limiting etc. Of course I could get a DAW front end mixer and do it that way. We wil see what the church wants to do and how much money they will let me spend. ;D

Doug Hammel   

We are considering pulling our ambiance mic inputs off console. This week again we had an issue at an evening wedding when an operator mistakenly routed the groups the ambiance mics sit on to the SIS buss. He was trying to source them for a videographer and didn't think the signal chain through. We had some clear plexiglass covers machined some time ago to prevent this from accidentally happening but it has continued to be an intentional problem. I envision using something like a Lectrosonics DM to mix the ambiance mic inputs to the recording and remote feeds before sending them on their way. This will also open up the possibility of delaying the feeds before adding the ambiance mics something which our on console matrix system does not readily support. I am interested to hear some thoughts on the time alignment of ambiance mics.
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Kent Thompson

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Re: Ambiance mics
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2012, 02:02:01 pm »

We are considering pulling our ambiance mic inputs off console. This week again we had an issue at an evening wedding when an operator mistakenly routed the groups the ambiance mics sit on to the SIS buss. He was trying to source them for a videographer and didn't think the signal chain through. We had some clear plexiglass covers machined some time ago to prevent this from accidentally happening but it has continued to be an intentional problem. I envision using something like a Lectrosonics DM to mix the ambiance mic inputs to the recording and remote feeds before sending them on their way. This will also open up the possibility of delaying the feeds before adding the ambiance mics something which our on console matrix system does not readily support. I am interested to hear some thoughts on the time alignment of ambiance mics.

 We do have that capability since we have a separate digital console for our production room but, we have not really found it necessary. We do not ride the gain high enough on the ambient to cause issues.  When I listen to the recording the ambient microphone just sounds like room reverb.  If you’re running the ambient level louder than we do or have a more lively room then it might be worth working on delays to clean up the intelligibility.

It may also depend on where your ambient Microphone is.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 02:04:46 pm by Kent Thompson »
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brian maddox

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Re: Ambiance mics
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2012, 06:45:04 pm »

We do have that capability since we have a separate digital console for our production room but, we have not really found it necessary. We do not ride the gain high enough on the ambient to cause issues.  When I listen to the recording the ambient microphone just sounds like room reverb.  If you’re running the ambient level louder than we do or have a more lively room then it might be worth working on delays to clean up the intelligibility.

It may also depend on where your ambient Microphone is.

i would agree with this.  we multi-track and i've never felt the need to time align the ambient mics in any way, even though i could do it easily enough since i'm mixing on a digital console.  i do, however, use a ducker to clean up the music portions while still keeping the applause [we're an applausey kind of church] and the natural ambient sounding right during the other portions of the service.

i do share a bit of your issue however.  Because of the vagaries of our splitter routing, the ambient mics must go to FOH to receive phantom power, even though they never get used out there.  they're currently buried on an unused layer on the console, but i just Know now that we've gone digital someone is gonna end up putting those into the PA at some point by accident.
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brian maddox
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Brad Weber

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Re: Ambiance mics
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 11:13:12 am »

I envision using something like a Lectrosonics DM to mix the ambiance mic inputs to the recording and remote feeds before sending them on their way. This will also open up the possibility of delaying the feeds before adding the ambiance mics something which our on console matrix system does not readily support. I am interested to hear some thoughts on the time alignment of ambiance mics.
I guess it all depends on how you use the ambiance mics.  For example, running them only into a separate mixer would seem to make it difficult to include the ambiance mics in any monitor/IEM mixes.  And unless the operator(s) have access to the DM via software, there seems to be no way to adjust the absolute or relative levels of the ambiance mics if desired.
 
I understand what you are trying to do with delaying the 'direct' feeds but it seems that one potential issue might be the inverse path, for example applause or audience responses picked up by any live stage microphones.  In that case you have the natural delay back to the stage plus whatever delay you add, essentially doubling the delay in those signals.  Having no delay on the 'direct' inputs seems to result in the same situation whether looking at stage to audience or audience to stage while delaying wither the direct or ambiance signals might hel in one direction but make the other more problematic.
 
Brian, I don't recall what mixer you have but if all you are doing with the FOH mixer is providing phantom power then on many digital mixers you could have the ambient microphones going to physical inputs but not assigned to channels, much les to mix buses, thus it would take someone actually making the channel and mix bus routing assignments to accidentally route them to a mix.
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Robert Sims

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Re: Ambiance mics
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2012, 05:31:27 pm »

Bob,
I used a Presonus FireStudio Project to handle the routing. Route the main record outs from your board to the Presonus, wire the ambient mics directly to the Presonus and the route to your recording devices. In my case I used it to record the ambient mics on a second stereo track for video post production so they could determine the mix balance. We set up the video guys so they could record the audio on to the same computer they edit the video on. I also used that same box to route audio from the video production playback to the mix desk and the video production room uses it as there audio monitor mix from the house. Nice inexpensive box that provides a good solution. I think you would need to use the recording software to handle any delay balancing issues.
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brian maddox

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Re: Ambiance mics
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 12:55:11 am »

Brian, I don't recall what mixer you have but if all you are doing with the FOH mixer is providing phantom power then on many digital mixers you could have the ambient microphones going to physical inputs but not assigned to channels, much les to mix buses, thus it would take someone actually making the channel and mix bus routing assignments to accidentally route them to a mix.

We're actually using a pair of X32s right now.  Unfortunately, i don't think there is a way to turn phantom on an input without routing the physical input to a channel.  that being said, i'm now also multi-track recording using the FireWire cards in the desks and so i actually DO need the ambient mics in there.  for now i just have them buried on the second layer that we don't use on that console and then routed nowhere.  if i can think of any other way to idiot proof them, i will.  maybe turn on an insert point that goes nowhere, or a gate with a super high threshold or....  i'll think of something...  :)
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brian maddox
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Bob L. Wilson

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Re: Ambiance mics
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 01:52:17 pm »

I guess it all depends on how you use the ambiance mics.  For example, running them only into a separate mixer would seem to make it difficult to include the ambiance mics in any monitor/IEM mixes.  And unless the operator(s) have access to the DM via software, there seems to be no way to adjust the absolute or relative levels of the ambiance mics if desired.
 
I understand what you are trying to do with delaying the 'direct' feeds but it seems that one potential issue might be the inverse path, for example applause or audience responses picked up by any live stage microphones.  In that case you have the natural delay back to the stage plus whatever delay you add, essentially doubling the delay in those signals.  Having no delay on the 'direct' inputs seems to result in the same situation whether looking at stage to audience or audience to stage while delaying wither the direct or ambiance signals might hel in one direction but make the other more problematic.
 
Brian, I don't recall what mixer you have but if all you are doing with the FOH mixer is providing phantom power then on many digital mixers you could have the ambient microphones going to physical inputs but not assigned to channels, much les to mix buses, thus it would take someone actually making the channel and mix bus routing assignments to accidentally route them to a mix.

The pair of Crown CM30s in question hang out over the congregation to capture singing, responses, etc for our remote feed, and recording needs. When we use monitors we are still all wedges so no IEM problem. The computer that controls our Shure processors would be able to see and control the DM as well. I was considering the same problems with delaying the feeds. I was especially thinking about the times when a pastor walks out into the congregation during a baptism or whatever and the ambiance mics pick them up directly. Maybe I will just grab one of the Shure SCM262s we have in our closet of spares to get the ambiance off the console and be done with it.
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Bob L. Wilson

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Re: Ambiance mics
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 02:26:35 pm »

We're actually using a pair of X32s right now. 

We have a youth ministry that travels around to Childrens units at hospitals, Nursing homes, Group homes, Shelters, etc during the holidays. In the past we have always sent a Midas Venice and two racks of outboard. I was asked to strip down the gear this year so it would all fit in the back of the youth directors Jetta wagon as the group doesn't want to always have to use the church van and trailer. We need to buy a digital console to have any hope of making that size goal. I was thinking about an SI Compact but the X32 seems to really be the buzz. I am no friend of gear built by B,P, or M but I was surprised to see Uli himself taking questions about the console and his companies' many past sins on other forums. What do you think so far? Our operators will be youth group members who are probably more comfortable with digital than they are with analog.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Ambiance mics
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2012, 02:49:43 pm »

We have a youth ministry that travels around to Childrens units at hospitals, Nursing homes, Group homes, Shelters, etc during the holidays. In the past we have always sent a Midas Venice and two racks of outboard. I was asked to strip down the gear this year so it would all fit in the back of the youth directors Jetta wagon as the group doesn't want to always have to use the church van and trailer. We need to buy a digital console to have any hope of making that size goal.
It unfortunately will not be available until January, but the new Roland M-200i might otherwise be a good fit as long as you could work with 16 mic inputs and 8 line inputs.  It's looks to be comeptitive in price to the X32 but is a rack mount size, so physically smaller.  The one positive or negative depending on how you look at it is that while you can mix with just the console, the M-200i really seems intended to function optimally with an iPad.
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