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Author Topic: Classical Trio reinforcement  (Read 1835 times)

Wes Garland

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Classical Trio reinforcement
« on: June 23, 2018, 10:07:45 am »

Hey, folks!

I'm doing a local summer concert series and bumped into an act that I'm not sure how to reinforce. I usually do big band, rock, country, singer-songwriter, etc acts.

This is a trio, consisting of flute, bassoon, and clarinet.  They sit close together, facing inward at each other.  Bassoon in the middle/back, facing the audience.  The "room" is an outdoor gazebo built about a hundred years ago with an interesting roof shape...it sounds VERY good and projects quite well for what it is.

My instinct is to throw up a pair of mics in front of the group and 4' off the ground  (above the level of the flute tone hole -- maybe above the bassoon bell as well?). I suspect that close-mic'ing would be a mistake for this group, since they should be able to balance their mix on their own.

Next is the other issue - I own the usual dynamics, but my only condensers are pencils for drum overheads.  Should I be looking at picking up a pair of LDCs?   I could potentially budget, maybe 400 US for this..but I don't know if I'd ever use them again.

Maybe something like a pair of PGA27As?  (I stay away from the PG series for dynamics...same rule for condensers?) .... Rhode NT1s seem to be out of my budget... maybe AT2035s?

Or maybe I should use a pair of MD421s or e902s?  Is there are a reason folks are using LDCs in this application?

And where do I get dead cats for big mics like these?
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Classical Trio reinforcement
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2018, 11:42:06 am »

Hey, folks!

I'm doing a local summer concert series and bumped into an act that I'm not sure how to reinforce. I usually do big band, rock, country, singer-songwriter, etc acts.

This is a trio, consisting of flute, bassoon, and clarinet.  They sit close together, facing inward at each other.  Bassoon in the middle/back, facing the audience.  The "room" is an outdoor gazebo built about a hundred years ago with an interesting roof shape...it sounds VERY good and projects quite well for what it is.

My instinct is to throw up a pair of mics in front of the group and 4' off the ground  (above the level of the flute tone hole -- maybe above the bassoon bell as well?). I suspect that close-mic'ing would be a mistake for this group, since they should be able to balance their mix on their own.

Next is the other issue - I own the usual dynamics, but my only condensers are pencils for drum overheads.  Should I be looking at picking up a pair of LDCs?   I could potentially budget, maybe 400 US for this..but I don't know if I'd ever use them again.

Maybe something like a pair of PGA27As?  (I stay away from the PG series for dynamics...same rule for condensers?) .... Rhode NT1s seem to be out of my budget... maybe AT2035s?

Or maybe I should use a pair of MD421s or e902s?  Is there are a reason folks are using LDCs in this application?

And where do I get dead cats for big mics like these?
I think you will do fine with the pencil mics on a T-bar, although you might want to experiment with positioning.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Classical Trio reinforcement
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2018, 11:57:24 am »

A pair of SDC will probably do as well as anything else under the circumstances.  I'd avoid any mic marketed as "overhead" as I'd expect it to have a hyped HF response or rolled off LF.

PG-anything I have rebranded as "Prettymuch Garbage" and I have no reason to think the LDC are any better.

If you're wanting to spend some money on mics I suggest the AT4041 (B stock or similar for best pricing).  If that's still over your budget I'd suggest the AT PRO37 and dip the HF @ 8kHz, -5dB, Q of 2.

Use the windscreens.

You're going for neutral reinforcement, not the hyped sound we associate with popular music.  Resist the temptation to add LF or HF and if you have concerns about the tonality ask one of the players to come out front (or another classical player who might be with them, like a spouse).  You may discover your system in far from neutral as well...

Properly reinforced classical music doesn't have to be difficult, it just takes a different mind-set.  Consider using a very light, short (<1.5sec) hall reverb and keep it understated in the mix.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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Jay Barracato

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Re: Classical Trio reinforcement
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2018, 01:08:00 pm »

A pair of SDC will probably do as well as anything else under the circumstances.  I'd avoid any mic marketed as "overhead" as I'd expect it to have a hyped HF response or rolled off LF.

PG-anything I have rebranded as "Prettymuch Garbage" and I have no reason to think the LDC are any better.

If you're wanting to spend some money on mics I suggest the AT4041 (B stock or similar for best pricing).  If that's still over your budget I'd suggest the AT PRO37 and dip the HF @ 8kHz, -5dB, Q of 2.

Use the windscreens.

You're going for neutral reinforcement, not the hyped sound we associate with popular music.  Resist the temptation to add LF or HF and if you have concerns about the tonality ask one of the players to come out front (or another classical player who might be with them, like a spouse).  You may discover your system in far from neutral as well...

Properly reinforced classical music doesn't have to be difficult, it just takes a different mind-set.  Consider using a very light, short (<1.5sec) hall reverb and keep it understated in the mix.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
As the owner of 8-10 pro37's that would be my first grab.

Tim knows what I am going to say next but if you want to expand your mic locker with something really useful, get a pair of ATM 450's

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

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Tim Barber

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Re: Classical Trio reinforcement
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2018, 02:02:56 pm »

If you want to go with a super-inexpensive LDC, I have had good results in similar circumstances with the AT2035.
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Mike Monte

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Re: Classical Trio reinforcement
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2018, 02:32:01 pm »

Hey, folks!

I'm doing a local summer concert series and bumped into an act that I'm not sure how to reinforce. I usually do big band, rock, country, singer-songwriter, etc acts.

This is a trio, consisting of flute, bassoon, and clarinet.  They sit close together, facing inward at each other.  Bassoon in the middle/back, facing the audience.  The "room" is an outdoor gazebo built about a hundred years ago with an interesting roof shape...it sounds VERY good and projects quite well for what it is.

My instinct is to throw up a pair of mics in front of the group and 4' off the ground  (above the level of the flute tone hole -- maybe above the bassoon bell as well?). I suspect that close-mic'ing would be a mistake for this group, since they should be able to balance their mix on their own.

Next is the other issue - I own the usual dynamics, but my only condensers are pencils for drum overheads.  Should I be looking at picking up a pair of LDCs?   I could potentially budget, maybe 400 US for this..but I don't know if I'd ever use them again.

Maybe something like a pair of PGA27As?  (I stay away from the PG series for dynamics...same rule for condensers?) .... Rhode NT1s seem to be out of my budget... maybe AT2035s?

Or maybe I should use a pair of MD421s or e902s?  Is there are a reason folks are using LDCs in this application?

And where do I get dead cats for big mics like these?

I play a flute/violin/cello trio that on occasion, perform in a "concert in the park"  scenario.
Since we do our own sound, I do not make it too complicated;
three Senn e835 mics for the instruments
wind screens (if mics are facing into the wind)
Bose 802 system (this works well for us)
one Bose 402 monitor
very little effects

I mic the cello from below the music stand, the flute from above the music stand
If you are bored, you can check us out at one of our past performances:

I have condenser mics and more bells'n whistles but I think "minimalist" when we perform outside.
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Classical Trio reinforcement
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2018, 05:15:34 pm »

I would use a LDC on the bassoon and clarinet if I had another one available, otherwise a small condenser would work fine. And a small condenser on the flute. I would close mic them rather than using a pair or areas mics, especially is outdoor.

If you were just recording, then sure the pair of overhead area mics would be fine, but for reinforcement I would go closer than farther away.

If outdoors, use foam windscreens to help reduce wind noise.

If you can find them used, the Audio-Technica AT 3035 would be golden for this job and the pair should fit well into your budget. An AT 3031 or 4041 on the flute would be great also.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 05:19:49 pm by Justice C. Bigler »
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Classical Trio reinforcement
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2018, 08:24:10 pm »

Cheap condensors = Audio Technica in my book. The Pro37's are the defacto standard recommendation around here. The 3xxx or 4xxx large diaphragm jobbies are really excellent for what they cost too. I'd stay away from the 2xxx series. They are just too cheap and they sound like it.

Other than that you may be able to find some used SM81's or KSMwhatever's in the used market. Also Rode makes a decent little condensor.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Classical Trio reinforcement
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2018, 06:44:53 am »

We mic a string quartet for a convocation is a large, converted, tennis court and use 1 condenser overhead.
GBF is no problem and the sound is quite natural and balanced.
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Mal Brown

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Re: Classical Trio reinforcement
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2018, 12:25:12 pm »

I use a pair of older AKG C3000B, equivalent to the newer C4000B.  Either of those have cardioid and hyper cardioid settings as well as LPF.  The newer C3000B do not.

I use them in ensemble or choral or taiko settings.  In taiko, due to the movement I supplement with a pair of Omni reference mics in XY center stage and actively mix.  I have done some trad bluegrass with 1 centered too.  (in my case I take the bass separaty, unless the artist objects - almost never.)  Mostly I see David Gage Realist pickups installed or the ear trumpet condenser wedged in at the bridge anyway.

I bought a stereo pair of the older c3000B AKGs used around $300.  They have proven quite useful

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AKG-C4000B-condenser-microphone/123182366495?hash=item1cae3dbf1f:g:IZ4AAOSwVxtbHVQj

Here is an eBay link to a used C4000B.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 11:13:16 pm by Mal Brown »
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Re: Classical Trio reinforcement
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2018, 12:25:12 pm »


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