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Author Topic: Orchestra sound folks.  (Read 2337 times)

Al Rettich

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Orchestra sound folks.
« on: March 25, 2019, 03:45:33 pm »

I know on this chat form has to be some great professioanals that run sound for orchestras or symphonies.  I have questions like where is proper mic’ing technique for instruments like Violins, Cello’s, Tuba, or percussion. I have a tour coming up, and need some refreshers. 
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Orchestra sound folks.
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2019, 04:30:46 pm »

Is this a pit orchestra? Pops orchestra with a rhythm section and soloists? Or a side orchestra for a rock band?

Is this just for recording? Or are you reinforcing the orchestra for the live performance?
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Justice C. Bigler
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Head Audio/A1 Blue Man Group North American Tour

Eric Snodgrass

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Re: Orchestra sound folks.
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2019, 04:32:00 pm »

I know on this chat form has to be some great professioanals that run sound for orchestras or symphonies.  I have questions like where is proper mic’ing technique for instruments like Violins, Cello’s, Tuba, or percussion. I have a tour coming up, and need some refreshers.

Okay.  What kind of tour?  What kind of music?  Any front band with the orchestra or is it just orchestra?  What kind of venues?  How long do you think you will have for setup in each venue?  How many inputs will you have on your FOH desk?  Any monitors?

I guess what I'm really asking is -
Can you tell us about your tour?
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Ray Soly

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Re: Orchestra sound folks.
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 06:04:31 pm »

I know on this chat form has to be some great professioanals that run sound for orchestras or symphonies.  I have questions like where is proper mic’ing technique for instruments like Violins, Cello’s, Tuba, or percussion. I have a tour coming up, and need some refreshers.

Depending on the circumstances/venues style etc.. this is a good article  https://www.mixonline.com/live-sound/sound-reinforcement-boston-pops-miking-orchestra-368908 although you might need to update the mic list a bit.. ;)

If it's a more classical oriented concert then, I like to have mics on pairs.:Violins, viola, 2nds, celli,   same on woodwinds (xy or ortf) .  an ortf on brass when possible, on harp i often use 2mics one below the stand and one higher up it really depends on the space and what's behind the harp...I do the same on celli,  between the first 2 chairs ,one mic low below the stand and one higher up to get more of large violin as opposed to a small bass  (or is it the other way around  :() remember the 3-1 rule     Tymps "usually" get covered with the one mic just to get some copper and percs also depending on how many players and the space alotted on stage or in the pit do beware of cymbalists if it,s crowded!!!....Basses depending how many there are, solo bass gets the mic otherwise the section gets one higher up to pick up the group.... .weak soloists might need their own mic, so you have to get closer in and "mix" knowing the music really helps .....

If its more pit sound or just to bring the orchestra out in the house a bit I use fewer mics but further out/up.. 

FWIW I found that what usually works for recording multitracks movie scores also works within certain limits for amplifying in general...you will need to get closer but how close will depend on your variables I have used omnis "live" also it all depends on specific situations....
There are extremes of course..and you might need to mike closer with individual mics like dpa 4099 instrument mics on every violin cello etc...



there,s also his post https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=74393.0

Ray
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Al Rettich

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Re: Orchestra sound folks.
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 06:59:49 pm »

This tour is playing a mixtures of sheds, and large theaters. Will have a five piece band in front of it. What I'm looking for is what position mics should be in. Where to place microphones, for instruments like; Bassoon's, Violins, Cello's, Percussion.


Okay.  What kind of tour?  What kind of music?  Any front band with the orchestra or is it just orchestra?  What kind of venues?  How long do you think you will have for setup in each venue?  How many inputs will you have on your FOH desk?  Any monitors?

I guess what I'm really asking is -
Can you tell us about your tour?
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gordonmcgregor

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Re: Orchestra sound folks.
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2019, 08:07:46 pm »

This tour is playing a mixtures of sheds, and large theaters. Will have a five piece band in front of it. What I'm looking for is what position mics should be in. Where to place microphones, for instruments like; Bassoon's, Violins, Cello's, Percussion.

Hi Al here's a link to a channel plot of a regular gig I do https://www.dropbox.com/s/4k3copg5audw0q6/Res%2018%20ch%20plot%20v1%20%282%29.xls?dl=0,. There's a pretty loud band playing along with the orchestra and in this particular event we had a large vocal group with 2 people per mic spread all over the stage in small groups rather than a trad choir setting, some of the mic choices were made due to availability rather than best choices but on the whole it worked. Anything that has a short TTB stan noted beside it is basically a mic placed beside a pair of whatever instrument, tall stands were used largely as overheads.
The strings were miced using a DPA summation sysem which cuts the amount of actual desk channels down to 7 in this case, weve've used 4099s as well as 4061s attached to the various instruments, the Usher Hall in Edinburgh has a pretty small and very live stage so close micing has become our way of dealing with spill and it helps minimise feedback issues. Is this the ideal way to mic an orchestra and choir? probably not but it's worked for us for several years now.

Here's a link to the summation rig
https://www.resolutionmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/DPA-MSS6000.pdf
« Last Edit: March 25, 2019, 08:11:39 pm by gordonmcgregor »
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Orchestra sound folks.
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2019, 08:26:24 pm »

For reinforcement of a live orchestra with a rock band, ona loud stage; your best option is to mic as close as possible to the players. If you can get the string players to use clip on mic such as the DPA 4099, that will give you the best gain before feedback. Otherwise, a small condenser for every pair of players, as close as you can get them without interfering with their bowing. The same for woodwinds, clip ons if you can afford the channel space and have them available, or small condensers for every pair of players.

For brass players you can probably get away with a pair of quality dynamics, MD421s or Heil PR30s are my go to, for the section with a third for the tuba such as an RE20, above and pointed towards the bell. Percussion will require a mic or two for every pod of percussion players depending on the set up.
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Orchestra sound folks.
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2019, 10:57:07 pm »

Rock band, eh?  We do seem to rent a lot of DPA 4099's to such shows nowadays - good news is that most players are now used to using them.
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John Sulek

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Re: Orchestra sound folks.
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2019, 11:23:21 pm »

This tour is playing a mixtures of sheds, and large theaters. Will have a five piece band in front of it. What I'm looking for is what position mics should be in. Where to place microphones, for instruments like; Bassoon's, Violins, Cello's, Percussion.

I have done this kind of tour a few times, including 80 piece plus band and grand piano outdoors. Here's my 2 cents...
 DPA clip mics are your friend on the strings.
Especially the basses who will be the furthest downstage and closet to the PA in a traditional layout. Wind will make overhead mics very hard to use effectively.
The rubber string mounts come in sizes for different instruments from violin up to double bass.
Laminate a few copies of the DPA one sheet for attaching/detaching and sprinkle these around the music stands. A lot of the musicians who do "pops" dates will already be very familiar.

For bassoon, a condenser pointed at the body of the instrument works well. It doesn't work like a flute or sax. The player will tell you where the sweet spot is on their instrument.
I would follow Justice's advice for the brass and winds.
 If the harpist will allow it, an omni lav rolled up in some soft foam and placed in a sound hole provides a lot of gbf and makes a sound still recognizable as a harp. Like the foam "mouse" that Schoeps and others have made for sliding mics under piano strings.

I would also suggest having an iem for the onstage patch person. Route a cue buss on one input and a dry line of the comm on the other. This person then has a comm listen and you can solo up any offending mics so they can hear the problem. A lav or headset mic lets them talk back. Or if you have rf comm, give them a pack and use the program in on the base for the cue mix.
 Very handy as you are trying to get the last few mics positioned during the orchestra warm-up/tuning.

Good luck! Nothing sounds better than a great orchestra warming up before you have to turn the pa on.
Watch out for the French horn players using your mics as coat racks!

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Roland Clarke

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Re: Orchestra sound folks.
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2019, 06:38:34 am »

I would endorse much of the above.  Number of players, musical style, and volume are all issues.  For an out and out classical performance, microphones on stands, fine.  As mentioned above, with a rock band, everything from plexiglass screens to on instrument mounted microphones (dpa4099), will be necessary.  If you can give more detail as to orchestra numbers, instruments and the music being played, you are going to get a lot more relevant advice.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Orchestra sound folks.
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2019, 06:38:34 am »


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