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Old 08-24-2019, 04:25 PM
Chipotle Chipotle is offline
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Default Audition demo mic advice

A friend has asked me to help record an audition video for his kid. Mellow singer/songwriter stuff with female vocals and guitar or uke. It has to be a "live" performance, the specs say "No sound enhancements are allowed (i.e. reverb)".

I don't have control over the acoustics of the space we will be using, unfortunately (lots of brick and glass) but it is what it is. Barring getting a bunch of portable traps or gobos, I'm wondering what the best general micing technique would be.

I'm leaning towards a single LDC, fairly close up, and tweaking the position for vocal/instrument balance and avoiding room resonance as much as possible. Not sure if judicious EQ is considered an "enhancement" but I'm sure a bit of high-pass filter won't hurt.

Am I on the right track? I have access to SDCs and a few dynamic mics as well.
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Old 08-24-2019, 04:52 PM
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KevWind KevWind is offline
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There is no easy answer.
All things being otherwise equal a single LDC will likely give a bit better overall dynamics and more presence, BUT it will be more prone to room reflections
Which may or may not be all that bad because a live room can have its own "reverb"
An LDC I would start with it's diaphragm just above 1/2 way between the guitar sound hole and the singers mouth about 8 to 12 inches out

Also Experiment with positioning the singer Depending on shape of room try to position the mic/singer somewhere not against a wall and also not in the exact dead center of the room,, but for example lengthways more like a spot @ 1/3rd and 2/3rds position but in the center width ways

A two mic setup will allow closer mic'ing and less room Say with an SDC placed in close 4 to 6 inches on guitar and either SDC or dynamic close mic'ed for vocal
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Old 08-24-2019, 08:51 PM
keith.rogers keith.rogers is offline
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Does it have to be a single mic?

If you can use 2, and assuming you don't have a pair of nice ribbons, I'd put a plain cardioid dynamic on the top and probably a LDC (since it's a female voice) on the guitar and/or uke fairly close but on the fretboard side with a bit of tilt to the body and aimed down to reduce vocal bleed, and expect a lot of bleed, so mix to mono and use EQ on both tracks to even out the spectrum.

I prefer dynamics on vocals in any kind of untreated space and a cardioid (not super/hyper-cardioid) pattern for most singer-songwriter types.

A single mic is hard and if they're not good with the mic, it will be difficult to pick up an even vocal performance while they keep looking down at the fingerboard if you've got a mic far enough away that it pics up both the instrument and vocal. There will be a lot of room in that track.

Anything you can put behind the performer, either just open space or a folding screen with a nice quilt, a nice heavy velvet drape tacked into the brick, whatever, can help control reflections from behind the performer, which will be the most prominent in the mics (after what they're supposed to capture), assuming they are aimed straight back. Just keep the mic(s) pattern in mind when you aim them, and think about what sound is coming from where.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:49 AM
Chipotle Chipotle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
A single mic is hard and if they're not good with the mic, it will be difficult to pick up an even vocal performance while they keep looking down at the fingerboard
Wouldn't that make things difficult with a cardioid dynamic mic too? Although the kid is a pretty experienced performer so I don't think mic technique will be an issue.

No reason is has to be a single mic, and we can even try a couple of different approaches. Thanks for the ideas.
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Old 08-25-2019, 03:11 PM
keith.rogers keith.rogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipotle View Post
Wouldn't that make things difficult with a cardioid dynamic mic too? Although the kid is a pretty experienced performer so I don't think mic technique will be an issue.

No reason is has to be a single mic, and we can even try a couple of different approaches. Thanks for the ideas.
It's just that with a 2nd mic that's positioned for vocals you'll have a better chance of being able to pick an "average" spot that's good for vocals without worrying about whether it's also going to work for the guitar/uke/whatever.

The extent of the cardioid pattern can be pretty big, depending on the gain, as well. You can do that with a single LDC, of course, but then you really start to pick up a lot of room (IME). Often those single mic performances are done on large stages, sometimes live without even any back wall, so the big pattern and high sensitivity aren't as much of an issue. A lower sensitivity dynamic can be set so you have a good vocal track, which will be the main focus of the listener in most cases.

Just something to try. Good luck.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:53 PM
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I wonder then if using an SM57 for vocals(Close/Std. distance) and an LDC for the room... Positioned 2-3 feet or more from the vocalist and guitar?

With a single LDC I had the bleed problem before when I used a Mic Mechanic.. it didn't like the guitar bleeding into the mic and garbled everything( I guess the guitar was out of tune LOL)
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:23 AM
keith.rogers keith.rogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CASD57 View Post
I wonder then if using an SM57 for vocals(Close/Std. distance) and an LDC for the room... Positioned 2-3 feet or more from the vocalist and guitar?...
I would not put the LDC that far away. It will capture a lot more of the room, as well as other noises like foot shuffling, et al, and you do increase the risk of having some phase issues when the vocal mic and LDC are separated by a couple of feet (IME).

Any mic will be capturing all of the vocal at that distance, so you could certainly start a single mic test out there and adjust. But, if you try two mics, I'd start both about a foot or so away, as the performer is comfortable, aimed so the front/center of each mic's pattern is focused on what you want the mic to primarily capture. The bleed will be there (though still quite noticeable in the single tracks), but less likely to introduce problematic phase/comb-filter problems.
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Old 08-28-2019, 07:03 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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Since this is an audition video, I think everyone may be overthinking this!
The 'no sound enhancements' doesn't mean reverb specifically, most likely they mean pitch correction or doubling..

As a video, they want to see how 'visually appealing' the performer(s) is/are.
For the audio, they want to hear how the person sounds - as long as they can hear both the vocals and instruments, that's all that is needed. They will be listening to overall tone and pitch.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBmusic View Post
Since this is an audition video, I think everyone may be overthinking this!
The application said they are looking at various aspects of the performance as well as the songwriting... and specifically stated "no reverb". I'm sure the requirements are mostly to get consistent videos from person to person--they don't want highly produced music videos, overdubbed/effected studio recordings or other "weird" stuff.

And, yes, it is overthinking. We had another friend who is a professional videographer doing that portion of it. Given that most submissions will probably be done on an iPhone in a bedroom, our production was serious overkill.

And as an update, we ended up having to use a different space in the end anyway. It was a coffee shop, after hours. Brick and glass we might have been able to work around, but a dozen refrigerators and cooling cases and restaurant equipment all running, humming and buzzing? No way. After the videographer and me vetoed that location, they found a friend with a quiet backyard workshop we could use. It was perfect, and a single LDC about 12" away, even with the guitar's 12th fret or so and height adjusted to balance guitar with vocals, worked very well.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:09 AM
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Hi Chipotle

David Wilcox videoed an entire DVD instructional series of lessons using a single AKG-414 in figure 8 mode, plus plugging in his guitar which sounds and works great. Here's an excerpt…



Just sowing ideas…



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