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Author Topic: Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?  (Read 724 times)

aadanniels

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Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?
« on: August 28, 2017, 02:26:31 am »

Hello everyone,

I am the "hobbyist" Audio tech at our small country church in Tennessee. We have been recording our services for almost 3 years now to great success when it comes to the preaching service. Some of the members are interested in improving the recording of the special songs. For the most part they are okay. Typically someone sings from behind the pulpit located center stage, but there is one group in the church (very prominent group in the church mind you), that sings while standing behind the piano located stage left. The piano is about 3 feet from the side wall of the church, and has a half wall built around the back and sides. The piano is rather loud by nature and I am currently looking into to sound proofing that half wall to see if it will improve the sound and I'm also looking into padding the piano to soften it up a bit in the mix, because it is rather overbearing live, and bleeds into most of the microphones in the church.

My main question is what are your opinions on the microphone(s) I should use and what placement?

I am rather new to the audio tech field, and am learning as I go. Currently we are using two Pevey dynamic mics to pick up the group and the singing piano player straight into our Yahama Power Mixer. I know this is not an ample setup but unfortunately its all we had at the time. I know I am needing some sort of condensers to pick up such a wide angle behind the piano, I am concerned at how much bleed through there is going to be from the piano? Would it benefit to sound proof the part of the side wall in some way behind the piano?

If I failed to mention I am looking for budget friendly options, I am currently looking at a stereo paired set of Cardnoid Condensor mics like the Rode M5 or Behringer C4's.

Any help would be much appreciated.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2017, 09:33:11 am »

The best way to avoid bleed is going to be close micing the group.  On a budget, I'd go for a 58 myself- others on here prefer other mics-might be a little more work to mix but anything that pics up the "group" is going to pick up the piano.  Its not electronics, its physics.
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Steve Swaffer

aadanniels

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Re: Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2017, 11:55:14 am »

The best way to avoid bleed is going to be close micing the group.  On a budget, I'd go for a 58 myself- others on here prefer other mics-might be a little more work to mix but anything that pics up the "group" is going to pick up the piano.  Its not electronics, its physics.

I understand that it will be inevitable to not get the piano bleed in there, I just want as little as possible because right now the dynamic mic isn't working because none of them will pick up the microphone so I was thinking a cardnoid condensor pointed toward the quartet and piano player if there was sound proofing on the back wall it would reduce a lot of the mic bleed and it would still sound pretty good. thoughts?
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dick rees

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Re: Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 12:12:48 pm »

I understand that it will be inevitable to not get the piano bleed in there, I just want as little as possible because right now the dynamic mic isn't working because none of them will pick up the microphone so I was thinking a cardnoid condensor pointed toward the quartet and piano player if there was sound proofing on the back wall it would reduce a lot of the mic bleed and it would still sound pretty good. thoughts?

Generally speaking, a mic is a mic is a mic.  There are no magic mics and the difference you are imagining between dynamic and condenser does not exist per se.  The key factors are polar pattern and distance of performers from the mic(s).  You'd be best off with 4 mics, better off with 2 and will have the same problems with any single mic replacement that you now experience.

This is a people problem, not a tech problem.
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2017, 06:34:21 pm »

When you say "behind the piano", do you mean behind the pianist or behind the (upright) soundboard?  Approaches could differ, depending.

At any rate, it sounds like some attenuation of the piano is your first concern.  Make sure the upright has all its panels installed and the top closed.  If it's still too loud, acoustic treatment can be added to the back frame - or to the surrounding half-walls.

Second, as others have already suggested, you really don't want a "wider" pickup pattern for your quartet.  Four super or hyper cardioid mics (dynamic or condenser) could yield better results.  Just be mindful of the rear lobe (everything in life is a trade-off).




Dave

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Bill Meeks

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Re: Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2017, 09:25:39 pm »

I, like you, am a volunteer non-pro sound guy for our church.  During the summer our chancel choir usually gathers around the Yamaha grand piano for the choir anthem during the Sunday morning service instead of using the traditional choir loft.  I face similar issues as you do with the quartet behind an upright piano.  It is a challenge to minimize the piano spill and also get the voices.  I am limited in my mic placement by both the physical layout of the church down front and by the fact the choir prefers to position themselves in a particular way around the piano.  I've had pretty good luck with a pair of Audix Micro Boom choir mics.  They are a little pricey, but are really great mics.  I'm not a salesman for Audix ...  ;).  I just purchased them based on Internet reviews and comments from other users.

Here are a couple of YouTube videos I clipped from the livestream broadcast we do.  I still am not totally happy with the piano level (it's a bit loud), but it is surprising what those two mics can do given the limited placement options.

Patriotic Medley from July 2 -- https://youtu.be/6YaHaAou6I0

In this other video, there is a brief solo by a female singer.  This was all just from the two Audix mics used as a stereo pair.  The choir director just made sure to position her close to one of the two Audix mics.

Song with solo from July 9 -- https://youtu.be/wobRjL7oB2Q

I have also had good luck with a quartet of young female singers (our Youth Ensemble) using two dynamic mics with two girls up close and sharing a mic.  They sang in a position similar to where you see the choir in the above videos.  Since they were fewer in number, a pair of dynamic mics up close minimized piano bleed and maximized their vocals.  You just have to coach them to get really close and each singer is just off center-line.  Have them sort of lean their heads in to sing.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 09:35:03 pm by bmeeks8 »
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2017, 09:33:09 pm »

And it's great to have your participation! However, per the Rules of Participation here on the ProSoundWeb Forums, your Display Name does need to reflect your Real, Full Name. Would you mind popping into your profile and updating your Display Name to reflect your Real, Full Name?

... if this isn't done... posts you contribute to, or ones you start, will start being locked by a moderator...

Thanks! And again, welcome!

-Ray
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Bill Meeks

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Re: Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2017, 09:37:18 pm »

And it's great to have your participation! However, per the Rules of Participation here on the ProSoundWeb Forums, your Display Name does need to reflect your Real, Full Name. Would you mind popping into your profile and updating your Display Name to reflect your Real, Full Name?

... if this isn't done... posts you contribute to, or ones you start, will start being locked by a moderator...

Thanks! And again, welcome!

-Ray

Sorry about that.  Fixed now.
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2017, 10:55:20 pm »

No worries! It gets overlooked often, but as you'll note from the stickies on this subject, as a professional community, the Powers That Be expect that we stick to our real names, and not a pseudonym. You'll see (as you spend more time here) that this really helps shape our discussions, keeping them on track and civil (as opposed to some of the mud slinging you'll find on other forums!).

I like it. =) The mods are just quick to lock posts when someone's not in compliance.

-Ray
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Mic Selection for a Quartet behind an Upright Piano?
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2017, 11:01:55 pm »

I understand that it will be inevitable to not get the piano bleed in there, I just want as little as possible because right now the dynamic mic isn't working because none of them will pick up the microphone......

My pet peeve when working with groups in church- people that want to be up front and sing, but are afraid someone will hear them :-\
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Steve Swaffer
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