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Friday, May 31, 2024

Can You Record an Orchestra With Four Mics?

Freelance music producer and Audient interface owner, Tomi Fröberg also works as the production assistant for Joensuu City Orchestra in eastern Finland. He counts producing podcasts, doing live streams, creating and recording concert hall announcements as well as recording the full orchestra amongst his responsibilities.

Most recently he was tasked with capturing the orchestra playing parts of three classical ‘floor-fillers’, one of which was Symphony No 5 by Beethoven. The recordings are to be used in a video illustrating how music can be used to change the mood and atmosphere in movies. This is part of Art-Tester – the largest culture education program in Finland, offering young people direct experiences with art – and shown in schools all across the country.

Tomi decided to use his iD44 for the job, so Audient wanted to find out how it all went.

“We had already done live streams, so we had experience using just four mics to record the whole orchestra. Also, there weren’t any soloists to mic separately, so I knew I could do the recording with my Audient iD44 without the need for external preamps.

“The optimum position of mics in the concert hall had been established with the help of a professional acoustician a long time ago. Mics were positioned in the grandstand about 5-6 metres behind the conductor.

“We used a stereo bar for four mics with the stand extended to its maximum length. I used two AKG C414 XLS and two Sennheiser e914 microphones. The Sennheisers were positioned in the middle, using the ORTF stereo technique, whilst the AKGs were positioned either side in a more AB-ish  setup – turned slightly toward the edges of the orchestra.

“Before recording I just did a little bit of position adjustment for mics to get the phase just right. I hard-panned the AKGs and the Sennheisers were left in the between for better mono compatibility.

“The mono button of the iD44 is a massive help in stereo recording situations like this. It makes it faster to check phase when recording with multiple mics. For example, if sound becomes thinner when summed to mono, I know there might be some phase issues and I probably need to check the mic-ing. It saves time because I can just press the button and I don’t need to use any plugins for mono-listening.

“The iD Mixer app also has a nice polarity reverse button that helps with the phasing of multiple mics.”

…and the results?

“The recording process went smoothly and it was easy! I just kept recording. I can confirm that you can absolutely record an orchestra with an iD44 and just four mics!”

Tomi already knew he would be able to rely on his iD44, as an iD4 has been his main studio interface for the last two years. What is it that he appreciates about Audient audio interfaces?

“In iD44 there are basically three headphone outputs. Even the iD4 has two. It is super handy! For example, when recording a singer in the same space, you don’t have to swap headphones with the artist to listen – or bring monitors.

“The iD44 also has sends and returns so I can utilise outboard gear. I play with virtual guitar amps a lot. I can connect an outboard guitar tuner to send, then quickly tune between takes and I don’t need to use any plugin tuners.

“I like the function buttons too. All in all, with iD44 I work faster and I get the results faster. Connectivity and sound-wise, iD44 covers a lot.”

When he’s not working with Joensuu City Orchestra, Tomi is busy with music production, mixing and recording. He’s got lots in the pipeline, including a number of podcasts and a children’s music album. His Audient interfaces will certainly be involved in these upcoming projects.

“In my opinion Audient preamps sound good in all situations, from speech to huge orchestras. I even take my Audient iD4 with me when travelling. The iD44 is quite portable too. They both sound similar and I feel that with Audient, if the source is well recorded, I don’t have to do that much in post to get that ‘radio-ready’ sound.”

Audient is very pleased to hear it. Find out more about what Tomi is up to, by following him online on Instagram and Facebook or visiting his company website.

Visit https://audient.com and http://popverstas.com

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