Micing a stage band

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Micing a stage band

Postby Lucas » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:47 am

I had a student stage band thrown at me last night....

All I had was a pile of 57s to throw back. I ended up with 2 mics on the rear of the two rows. Each at bell height and centered around the Troms and Trumps respectively. Far enough forward to get a reasonable spread of each section This worked reasonably well. The front row of saxes had to deal with 4 x 57s spread out along the row. This did not work so well.....

Does anyone have any suggestions for quick and dirty approaches for saxes that would yield a better result? Sometimes these things appear without any prior warning..... Or the warning is markedly different from the eventuality.

I'm thinking a couple of NT4s? One for the Altos and one for the Tenors and Bari? Spot 57s for solos...


Happy new year!
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby stosostu » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:09 pm

It is always going to be difficult with a limited selection of mics. I usually mic each horn individually, but you obviously didn't have this option. Trying to mic several horns with a close mic is fraught with difficulties as the distance from the mic varies and there will be phasing issues. I would probably have opted for a more distant micing solution, something like a Decca Tree, or a Blumlein, but you probably couldn't do that effectively with 57s.
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Chris H » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:07 pm

First thing I do with a stage band with limited time to set up is I place a stereo mic out front positioned to capture the stage sound. If you can't get far enough out front with the mic then place the mic as high as reasonable. Over time i have worked out what mics in my collection best capture an overall stage sound.For first option I use a shure VP 88, but if I haven't got that with me then the old Superscope Marantz EC-9P ECM seems to capture a nice balance of the stage sound.

Superscope Marantz EC-9P ECM .jpg


My other favourite for this job is the Carillion, ......better that the Marantz. I have two that I set up on a stereo bar:
http://www.carillonaudio.com/products/t ... e-100-kit/
I always bring these mics with me even if there is a good collection of mics with the hire or venue.

A simple kick and overhead on the drums, DI for keys and Bass.Then a few spot mics on each row for the soloists to play into.......they always stand up for a solo so while I'm setting up i ask the band where the best spot for these mics is. I also have two mics ready for vox and MC.
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Lucas » Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:13 pm

Cheers,

I think a good stereo solution will be the way to go in future. I like the look of the VP88, clever stuff...
Problem is, I'm always working for someone else and am beholden to their kit.....

Looks like another gig kit investment....

In an ideal world, with unlimited time and resources, what approach would be taken then?
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Chris H » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:19 pm

Lucas wrote:Cheers,

I think a good stereo solution will be the way to go in future. I like the look of the VP88, clever stuff...
Problem is, I'm always working for someone else and am beholden to their kit.....

Looks like another gig kit investment....

In an ideal world, with unlimited time and resources, what approach would be taken then?


First thing is If I'm on the desk, I think its ok to pull a bit of rank even when working for someone else........have the bits of gear you know get the job done in various applications, the way you work, especially mics. The way i work .... there are mics I simply leave in their cases because I hate the way they sound unless it's the vocalists choice; eg many mics with neodymium magnets are just too ringy for my ears and it's just plain hard work trying to make them sound decent.

The way I look at it, there are two approaches to the job. One is the less is better regarding the number of mics used, and the other is a full on multy mic setup.

One thing I find a bit of a mystery is how people on the job often seem to forget to take into account the fact that with more mics open on stage the gain before feedback gets lower, so the ideal is to use as few mics as possible to get the job done. So I start with the few is better approach and balance it with my idea of common sense when the plethora of other factors are taken into account. If I think I need to go a few steps to the multy mic setup then I would need to have planned well ahead and have enough Mics in the kit to do the job. Ideal would be a dozen Neuman KM 85's or 84's with the desk HPF engaged and these would be spaced between every two players or if shared by three players then positioned higher. If the players are near the drum kit for example this is where i would definitely try to get the mics closer to the players. If the neumans arn't available then a SDC that is on the darker side sound wise is preferable to say a dozen NT 5's as they are more on the bright side. With the more mic option I still start with the stereo mic out in front and as the band is playing add the close mics and blend to taste......sounds like I'm cooking up a recipie....... I have just finished making a "very nice if i say so myself" pasta salad and polished it off with a few other goodies and a Margaret River Leeuin Estate Sauvignon Blanc, so food is on my mind.....what was I saying.....oh yes the other thing with this approach regarding gain before feedback:
The success of this approach is also dependent on the correct tuning of the PA. The more well designed and accurately flat the speaker system, the higher the gain before feedback.While I'm thinking of it....... If anyone ever has time to talk to the man, Mike at Lorantz will give you an education on the subject with a minimum of prompting......most speaker systems with digital processing suffer from a diminished gain before feedback level yada, yada, maybe a minimal factor to many people when playing with thousands of watts but I think it counts significantly especially wher you are aiming for stellar results with amplified acoustic music something i hear many do a less than stellar job with.........it has always puzzled me why i have not ever read an interview with this local genius in the audio kingdom......
.....anyway once the PA is tuned then bring up each mic starting with the stereo and, with the eq flat, gain it up till it starts to ring, with the sweepable mids on the desk, cut the area that is feeding back just a few db. Do this with each condenser onstage before the band arrives. as you do each mic, mute the others. Once you have done em all, unmute and bring them to unity gain, raise the master to find out where the limit is before it takes off. Now in practice you wont be getting the individual mics near this level but you will be running the stereo mic close to max gain before feedback.
Ok, I know I have posted my little to do list and approach on this subject before, but lucas asked the question...... and I'm sure there are people here that could leave me for dust on the job but I hope this gets the discussion going so i can learn a few things.
photo(1).JPG
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Last edited by Chris H on Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Chris H » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:42 pm

not to be consumed before the mix is finished.............. :)
Wine to dine.JPG


..........now we return to our regular program.
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby AlCraig » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:08 am

Lucas wrote:I had a student stage band thrown at me last night....

!


Unless you were mixing at the Ent Cent, why oh why would you even try to mic up a stage band. They are meant to be heard acoustically. Maybe one mic down front for solos.
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Lucas » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:56 am

AlCraig wrote:
Lucas wrote:I had a student stage band thrown at me last night....

!


Unless you were mixing at the Ent Cent, why oh why would you even try to mic up a stage band. They are meant to be heard acoustically. Maybe one mic down front for solos.


Outside Gig. 6000 punters.

Sure the stage wasn't intended to cover the whole event, but I can assure you that the band required reinforcement.
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Drumstruck » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:14 am

Poor old SM57s - the whipping boy of the mic world.....
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Chris H » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:06 pm

Drumstruck wrote:Poor old SM57s - the whipping boy of the mic world.....


"whipping boy" - great song by Ben Harper, ......but I'd rather call the poor old SM57 the hammer of the mic world :D
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Lucas » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:41 pm

Chris H wrote:
Drumstruck wrote:Poor old SM57s - the whipping boy of the mic world.....


"whipping boy" - great song by Ben Harper, ......but I'd rather call the poor old SM57 the hammer of the mic world :D



As long as you don't mean "MC" Hammer...
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Lucas » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:01 pm

Chris H wrote:
Lucas wrote:Cheers,

I think a good stereo solution will be the way to go in future. I like the look of the VP88, clever stuff...
Problem is, I'm always working for someone else and am beholden to their kit.....

Looks like another gig kit investment....

In an ideal world, with unlimited time and resources, what approach would be taken then?


First thing is If I'm on the desk, I think its ok to pull a bit of rank even when working for someone else........have the bits of gear you know get the job done in various applications, the way you work, especially mics. The way i work .... there are mics I simply leave in their cases because I hate the way they sound unless it's the vocalists choice; eg many mics with neodymium magnets are just too ringy for my ears and it's just plain hard work trying to make them sound decent.

With this particular company I am hired as a monitor engineer but am given the task of making all mic/placement decisions. I don't always get an awful lot of feedback (for want of a better word) on how the decisions I make impact on the FOH mix. I find myself scooting out the front when I can and listening to how those decisions have been interpreted.

The way I look at it, there are two approaches to the job. One is the less is better regarding the number of mics used, and the other is a full on multy mic setup.

One thing I find a bit of a mystery is how people on the job often seem to forget to take into account the fact that with more mics open on stage the gain before feedback gets lower, so the ideal is to use as few mics as possible to get the job done.

Not to mention the more distant mics the more phase interaction

So I start with the few is better approach and balance it with my idea of common sense when the plethora of other factors are taken into account. If I think I need to go a few steps to the multy mic setup then I would need to have planned well ahead and have enough Mics in the kit to do the job. Ideal would be a dozen Neuman KM 85's or 84's with the desk HPF engaged and these would be spaced between every two players or if shared by three players then positioned higher. If the players are near the drum kit for example this is where i would definitely try to get the mics closer to the players. If the neumans arn't available then a SDC that is on the darker side sound wise is preferable to say a dozen NT 5's as they are more on the bright side. With the more mic option I still start with the stereo mic out in front and as the band is playing add the close mics and blend to taste......sounds like I'm cooking up a recipie....... I have just finished making a "very nice if i say so myself" pasta salad and polished it off with a few other goodies and a Margaret River Leeuin Estate Sauvignon Blanc, so food is on my mind.....what was I saying.....oh yes the other thing with this approach regarding gain before feedback:
The success of this approach is also dependent on the correct tuning of the PA. The more well designed and accurately flat the speaker system, the higher the gain before feedback.While I'm thinking of it....... If anyone ever has time to talk to the man, Mike at Lorantz will give you an education on the subject with a minimum of prompting......most speaker systems with digital processing suffer from a diminished gain before feedback level yada, yada, maybe a minimal factor to many people when playing with thousands of watts but I think it counts significantly especially wher you are aiming for stellar results with amplified acoustic music something i hear many do a less than stellar job with.........it has always puzzled me why i have not ever read an interview with this local genius in the audio kingdom......
.....anyway once the PA is tuned then bring up each mic starting with the stereo and, with the eq flat, gain it up till it starts to ring, with the sweepable mids on the desk, cut the area that is feeding back just a few db. Do this with each condenser onstage before the band arrives. as you do each mic, mute the others. Once you have done em all, unmute and bring them to unity gain, raise the master to find out where the limit is before it takes off. Now in practice you wont be getting the individual mics near this level but you will be running the stereo mic close to max gain before feedback.

Unfortunately a sound check can sometimes be a luxury....

Ok, I know I have posted my little to do list and approach on this subject before, but lucas asked the question...... and I'm sure there are people here that could leave me for dust on the job but I hope this gets the discussion going so i can learn a few things.
photo(1).JPG


I vote for a bigger desk/core and a kit full of clip ons. Ain't gonna happen though as not enough of these occur to justify the expense. I have a feeling that a phase coherent stereo solution for the woodwinds combined with some 57s for the brass would do the trick. Fast to setup and hopefully provides better balance and control than a raft of 57s, Beta or otherwise.. I just need another stage band gig to give it a try...
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Lucas » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:54 pm

Any other words of wisdom?
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Chris H » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:12 pm

Lucas wrote:
Chris H wrote:
Lucas wrote:Cheers,

I think a good stereo solution will be the way to go in future. I like the look of the VP88, clever stuff...
Problem is, I'm always working for someone else and am beholden to their kit.....

Looks like another gig kit investment....

In an ideal world, with unlimited time and resources, what approach would be taken then?


First thing is If I'm on the desk, I think its ok to pull a bit of rank even when working for someone else........have the bits of gear you know get the job done in various applications, the way you work, especially mics. The way i work .... there are mics I simply leave in their cases because I hate the way they sound unless it's the vocalists choice; eg many mics with neodymium magnets are just too ringy for my ears and it's just plain hard work trying to make them sound decent.

With this particular company I am hired as a monitor engineer but am given the task of making all mic/placement decisions. I don't always get an awful lot of feedback (for want of a better word) on how the decisions I make impact on the FOH mix. I find myself scooting out the front when I can and listening to how those decisions have been interpreted.

The way I look at it, there are two approaches to the job. One is the less is better regarding the number of mics used, and the other is a full on multy mic setup.

One thing I find a bit of a mystery is how people on the job often seem to forget to take into account the fact that with more mics open on stage the gain before feedback gets lower, so the ideal is to use as few mics as possible to get the job done.

Not to mention the more distant mics the more phase interaction

So I start with the few is better approach and balance it with my idea of common sense when the plethora of other factors are taken into account. If I think I need to go a few steps to the multy mic setup then I would need to have planned well ahead and have enough Mics in the kit to do the job. Ideal would be a dozen Neuman KM 85's or 84's with the desk HPF engaged and these would be spaced between every two players or if shared by three players then positioned higher. If the players are near the drum kit for example this is where i would definitely try to get the mics closer to the players. If the neumans arn't available then a SDC that is on the darker side sound wise is preferable to say a dozen NT 5's as they are more on the bright side. With the more mic option I still start with the stereo mic out in front and as the band is playing add the close mics and blend to taste......sounds like I'm cooking up a recipie....... I have just finished making a "very nice if i say so myself" pasta salad and polished it off with a few other goodies and a Margaret River Leeuin Estate Sauvignon Blanc, so food is on my mind.....what was I saying.....oh yes the other thing with this approach regarding gain before feedback:
The success of this approach is also dependent on the correct tuning of the PA. The more well designed and accurately flat the speaker system, the higher the gain before feedback.While I'm thinking of it....... If anyone ever has time to talk to the man, Mike at Lorantz will give you an education on the subject with a minimum of prompting......most speaker systems with digital processing suffer from a diminished gain before feedback level yada, yada, maybe a minimal factor to many people when playing with thousands of watts but I think it counts significantly especially wher you are aiming for stellar results with amplified acoustic music something i hear many do a less than stellar job with.........it has always puzzled me why i have not ever read an interview with this local genius in the audio kingdom......
.....anyway once the PA is tuned then bring up each mic starting with the stereo and, with the eq flat, gain it up till it starts to ring, with the sweepable mids on the desk, cut the area that is feeding back just a few db. Do this with each condenser onstage before the band arrives. as you do each mic, mute the others. Once you have done em all, unmute and bring them to unity gain, raise the master to find out where the limit is before it takes off. Now in practice you wont be getting the individual mics near this level but you will be running the stereo mic close to max gain before feedback.

Unfortunately a sound check can sometimes be a luxury....

Ok, I know I have posted my little to do list and approach on this subject before, but lucas asked the question...... and I'm sure there are people here that could leave me for dust on the job but I hope this gets the discussion going so i can learn a few things.
photo(1).JPG


I vote for a bigger desk/core and a kit full of clip ons. Ain't gonna happen though as not enough of these occur to justify the expense. I have a feeling that a phase coherent stereo solution for the woodwinds combined with some 57s for the brass would do the trick. Fast to setup and hopefully provides better balance and control than a raft of 57s, Beta or otherwise.. I just need another stage band gig to give it a try...



Lucas, my reply was a response to your question : "In an ideal world, with unlimited time and resources, what approach would be taken then?"
I find the way you replied a bit of a mystery.
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Lucas » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:02 pm

Sorry Chris - my reply does sound dismissive. Completely unintentional. What I wrote was an incomplete part of my own internal dialogue, thinking about how to do a better quick and dirty job than I had been doing in the past. This is what happens when you type, serve customers, reflect & project all at the same time!

I really appreciated your post - thank you. I will, at the first opportunity, explore the process you have outlined.

My request for further information was really a probe for anyone experienced with using clip ons all round - purely for curiosities sake. Once again, I really need to give my posts more attention.
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Chris H » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:31 pm

No probs. My experience with clip ons is limited to using them on a 6 piece string section with a rock band onstage. The onstage sound was relatively quiet as amps where out the back, off stage, and monitors where in ear, except for 3 wedges across front stage. Because of the rather big bottom end in the room from FOH all mics needed a fair whack of HPF.............I was doing monitors for this gig and If I was FOH i would have done things differently, so, I too would be interested on the ins and outs of doing a full big band with clip ons. It would probably need an extra console linked to the main one to get enough inputs. It would be a big job. One of the reasons I go with the fewer mics apart from the reasons of simplicity and less workload is a comment my mentor said which was "Air is the best mixer". So it is more about micing the space than the individual instruments.
I did do a rather unique sound artist in the mid 90's who used clipons on just about all his instruments. Collin Offord was the performer and he was great to work with. He really knew what he wanted so I just had to shut up and do what I was told:)
Here's a link if you're interested:
http://www.colinofford.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLZ7krRoiY0
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Lucas » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:19 pm

Thanks for the links.

Chris H wrote: my mentor said which was "Air is the best mixer".


I need me one of those. A mentor that is...
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby stosostu » Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:13 pm

"Air Mixing" maybe we could have contests like they do for Air Guitar...................... :)
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Re: Micing a stage band

Postby Lucas » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:29 pm

stosostu wrote:"Air Mixing" maybe we could have contests like they do for Air Guitar...................... :)


I almost always use the "DFA" pot when mixing monitors... Does that count?
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