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Author Topic: Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.  (Read 1760 times)

Kevin Maxwell

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Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.
« on: May 12, 2018, 11:25:07 am »

Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.

I am asking this question of people that have outdoor orchestral experience.

I have show coming up in a little less than a month. I did this show last year, it will have an orchestra, a band (as in the Brass type) a Jazz band and a choir. The orchestra and choir will do a number or 2 together but the band and jazz band will be by themselves. I am pretty sure I used a little touch of reverb on the choir last year. When doing rock bands outdoors with horn sections (like Chicago type bands) I always put reverb on the horns and I think it really helps, especially outdoors.   

Since there is no natural reverb in this outdoor stage and space like there would be indoors, I am thinking of adding a little bit of reverb to the orchestra this year. Last year was crazy due to issues with the venue (but that is another story) so I didnít have time to deal with the little subtleties. The system consists of d&b audiotechnik speakers and a Yamaha CL5.

I can find my way around the CL5 ok but I am not as proficient as I am with a bunch of other Digital consoles. One of the problems I had was the screen was washed out by the sunlight diffusing thru the white tent like structure. It isnít a tent it is more like a speedboat roof and FOH mix is built into the hill a little bit. This year I am going to bring my own dark blue tarp to tie inside the ceiling of this roof.

Do you recommend any particular reverb and settings for a subtle pure reverb? By pure I mean one that sounds natural. I am a bit of a reverb snob. 

BTW the audience loved the show and said it was much better than the year before. I wasnít there the year before. I am just trying to make it even better for this year.
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2018, 03:10:54 pm »

Well obviously use a "concert hall" reverb preset if you're looking to make it sound more like indoors. :)

What I generally do is make sure I've got some reverb on the French horns, which face backwards and in proper hall are heard almost entirely by reflection off the back wall of the orchestra shell.
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Milt Hathaway

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Re: Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2018, 03:56:54 pm »

Yamaha's REV-X reverbs are very good. The default library settings are not bad as starting points.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2018, 04:20:54 pm »

Well obviously use a "concert hall" reverb preset if you're looking to make it sound more like indoors. :)

What I generally do is make sure I've got some reverb on the French horns, which face backwards and in proper hall are heard almost entirely by reflection off the back wall of the orchestra shell.

Outdoors I like a thinner hall and less level of early reflections.

A buddy of mine is a trumpet player - he pisses off the French horn players by playing their instrument without using the valves or a mouthpiece.   :o

Your advice about those horns brought back a memory of a symphony gig we did years ago (when the SPX-90 was fairly new):  2 SPX-90, one for the whole orchestra and another for the French horns.  IIRC the horn 'verb had a later initial delay and a little more early reflection level but was otherwise the same basic reverb.  Now I wish I'd asked the mixerperson about it... he just asked me to edit the parameters for him and I did it.

Next time I mix an orchestra I'll experiment with this.  Thanks for enabling the memory jog, Scott!
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2018, 09:57:01 pm »

I would add a bit of a medium hall reverb, using the Rev-X hall verb. Don't go overboard trying to recreate the sound of a concert hall. It's outdoors, everyone knows that. Just a little sweetening up of the  high strings, woodwinds, high brass. I would keep the low strings and low brass and percussion out of the reverb.

Tim, your trumpet player friend wouldn't happen to be named Gray, would he?
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Doug Moran

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Re: Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2018, 08:31:11 pm »

I usually listen to the strings a bit to see how much reverb they need.  It all depends on the sound the section gets. 

A few years ago we were doing a gig with an orchestra outdoors, and the conductor came out to hear what we were getting.  He saw that there were a couple of effects units in the FOH rack, and asked if we were using reverb on the upper strings.  We told him no, we were not.  He asked us to add some as his strings were in need of some help, and could we put it through his monitor with the reverb.  :-)

Woodwinds usually get a some, as do the horns.  Trumpets might or might not, depending on their tone.

Doug
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Don T. Williams

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Re: Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2018, 08:59:03 pm »

Yes, go for it.  Be careful not to over do it.

A short horror story about an outdoor gig with a sympony.  One of my employees with a side recording business had purchased the first Lexicon digital reverb (a 200 I think).  It was the first digital reverb I had ever used and was pretty amazing compared to anything analog, including big plate units.  My sound co was hired to provide sound for a symphony orchestra at a new housing development opening in the middle of a field.  We very carefull explained in our cover letter and in our contract that we needed 100 amps per leg 3 phase power to make this work.  We arrived to find a 30 amp 240V outlet.  We were told use it or go home without pay.  With careful riding of the faders we actually made it through the event - almost!  The orchestra's last number ended with a huge crescendo.  Low voltage caused the digital reverb to output white noise - very loudly.  Of course explaining that the problem was that adequate power had not been provided meant nothing.  "We" had ruined their event.  It was our last event ever for that orchestra.  My Orban spring reverb would have worked in that "almost" per-digital age, but a $10,000.00 digital reverb lost a long time client. 
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Mike Monte

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Re: Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2018, 12:07:47 am »

Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.

I am asking this question of people that have outdoor orchestral experience.

I have show coming up in a little less than a month. I did this show last year, it will have an orchestra, a band (as in the Brass type) a Jazz band and a choir. The orchestra and choir will do a number or 2 together but the band and jazz band will be by themselves. I am pretty sure I used a little touch of reverb on the choir last year. When doing rock bands outdoors with horn sections (like Chicago type bands) I always put reverb on the horns and I think it really helps, especially outdoors.   

Since there is no natural reverb in this outdoor stage and space like there would be indoors, I am thinking of adding a little bit of reverb to the orchestra this year. Last year was crazy due to issues with the venue (but that is another story) so I didnít have time to deal with the little subtleties. The system consists of d&b audiotechnik speakers and a Yamaha CL5.

I can find my way around the CL5 ok but I am not as proficient as I am with a bunch of other Digital consoles. One of the problems I had was the screen was washed out by the sunlight diffusing thru the white tent like structure. It isnít a tent it is more like a speedboat roof and FOH mix is built into the hill a little bit. This year I am going to bring my own dark blue tarp to tie inside the ceiling of this roof.

Do you recommend any particular reverb and settings for a subtle pure reverb? By pure I mean one that sounds natural. I am a bit of a reverb snob. 

BTW the audience loved the show and said it was much better than the year before. I wasnít there the year before. I am just trying to make it even better for this year.

I am a performing musician in a professional orchestra who also provides sound systems for local performances.  I have found that rolling off the highs (to 10 o'clock or so) overall will warm up the sound (mic'd instruments) at outdoor events.  Adding effects is "personal taste" dependent...too wet and it will sound processed....
Use your ears...
plus
Invite the conductor to your FOH (during rehearsal/sound check) and ask: "Does this (orch's mix) fit your "vision"?  If not, what can I do to make it work for you....."
You will have a friend forever ....
 
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Craig Hauber

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Re: Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 05:37:42 pm »

We arrived to find a 30 amp 240V outlet.  We were told use it or go home without pay. 

 a $10,000.00 digital reverb lost a long time client.

In retrospect, you should probably have said "Thank You", loaded the trucks and went home!  (The end-result would have been the same.)
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Craig Hauber
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Orchestra outdoors, add reverb? And CL5 question.
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 06:28:06 pm »

Invite the conductor to your FOH (during rehearsal/sound check) and ask: "Does this (orch's mix) fit your "vision"?  If not, what can I do to make it work for you....."
You will have a friend forever ....
lOL...Really? Do you actually think that the conductor is going to spend any of his precious time running out to FOH to listen to the orchestra, while who conducts the rehearsal? Not going to happen, especially if they are a union orchestra and they are under tight rehearsal/break time limits.


Better to talk to the artistic director or executive/managing director who are the ones who probably write the checks and book the crew for next year's show anyway.
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Justice C. Bigler
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