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Recording Organ Music

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Wes View Post
    Indy, to be pedantic, the SM58 has a cardioid response with its best noise rejection at 180 degrees (directly in front of the singer). The Beta 58 has a supercardioid pattern, with its best noise rejection at the 120 degree marks.
    Roger, I read that Shure brochure myorgan linked to and learned a few things like the SM58 is a cardioid mike. Most pop band vocalists sing into something like a SM58 with it touching their teeth, this goes back to videos from the seventies, so those were probably the cardioid version. Billy Joel has one mounted over his piano on a boom, but if I ever sing "They Call Me Da Breeze" to my Hammond, I'll try to buy one of those headset mikes shure or Peavey sells. Nasa JSC was using Plantronics headset mikes in the 70's when I was testing stuff in the control room, and I was really impressed by the sound compared to what my high school had. I always wondered why musicians didn't use those. Now they do.
    Interesting about the muddled reverb signal in cathedrals and putting the two mikes in the same location, just pointed differently. I'm never going to go multitrak (unless I stumble on a drummer that works free) so a good two channel signal is a must. I'm having a ball recording myself, I've wanted to for 40 years since I bought the Sony TC255, but the cheap dynamic mikes were so bad. I got the Shure KSM27 for $80, I got on the bus an hour after the ad hit craigslist. Mates seem to be about $600 a pair, no singles. There was a single AT4033 in Nashville for $230, but the recommendation from the guy on pianostreet was for a pair of AT4050's to record piano, taped to the soundboard, so no Greyhound to nashville that time.
    I got the Peavey unity mixer as part of a $1000 band close out, probably paid ~$80 for it, and haven't found anything wrong with it yet. Everything else but the speakers had bad e-caps or burnt compenents from plugging the guitar amp in the wrong socket in the dark on stage. All my problems in my current recording setup have been in my home-made cables mixer-PC and Mixer-mike , now working at revision 4. The mixer-PC cable hangs from the chandilear these days, to keep me from tripping over it. My organ and PC are 30' apart, with the mixer 1/2 way in between on top of the 4500 organ.
    BTW when buying used condensor mikes, take a mixer and a set of closed over ear headphones to test before letting out the cash. I took a tambourine to test the high frequency response, (most cheap mikes distort badly on HF) but a tinkly bell would work too and be smaller.
    I think ubuntu studio op system comes free with video/audio sync software, but read the website yourself.
    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112


    • #17
      I do this at least a few times a year. Nothing special, just for friends who want a recording when we get access to one of the better organs.

      - get the best microphones you can get your hands on. Condensors will always give you better and lower noise sound than dynamic microphones. Something like the Rode NT-1 mentioned earlier is a good choice with excellent price/quality. I use a matched pair of Oktava MC-012 (older, with a bit more noise). The polar pattern isn't that important but you have to be aware of it and use the mics in a configuration that will work. You can use a pair of omnidirectional ones in a spaced pair setup. This will give you more low frequency (omnis go normally lower than cardios) but it will pick up more ambient and more room sound (reverb). Cardios are more used in an X-Y setup and you can change the angle a bit to exclude the room and get a more direct sound. With cardios you can also use a "spaced X-Y" like ORTF (I use this mostly) or NOS wich is easier to set upIf you can get your hands on figure-of-8 mics then a Blumlein setup is ideal and will likely give good results. But those mics aren't common/cheap. The PZM can give good results. A good introduction is http://www.shure.co.uk/support_downl...ophones-basics

      - get decent mic preamps, not your pc mic input. I use an older Edirol FA-66, my teacher uses now a Focusrite Scarlett and is also very happy with the results.

      - get a decent stand with a stereo bar. This is perhaps the most important. The last couple recordings I made with my (selfmade) 6 meter stand are audible better than those with the old 2 meter and a bit stand. Ideally you should be able to get at the height of the mouth of the pipes of the grand organ. Not halfway the floor and ceiling and close to the organ either. Much closer than where you would sit for best sound. I try to go not further than 10 meters. If the organ is much higher than the stand then I go further. Otherwise you get too much reverb from the room and it gets muddy. If using a X-Y setup try to get the organ "included" in the angle so that the axis of the mics points somewhere of the organ, not the walls. That 6 meter stand is not bad but I'd like to add another section or 2 and be able to go to 10 meters high. Recording next to the console is liable to record noise from the keys, pedals, registration changes, page turns etc.


      • #18
        Originally posted by myorgan View Post
        I'm not sure I follow the logic. I understand the sound blends better in the auditorium or sanctuary where the organ is installed. I also understand that what the organist hears is not always what the congregation/audience hear. Why would that preclude placing the microphone near the console?
        From the experiments I've done when recording in church, I've found that if I place my Zoom H1 by the organ, then it only picks up what I hear (which, as you said, is usually not very good!) When I placed it in on a pew, then it records as if the congregation were listening to it. I don't like to add or remove any reverb, but just leave it as it is, as it then provides the true experience of listening to that particular organ. Picking up the room acoustics is vital to me, as the acoustics of a particular church are a major part of a particular organ's sound IMO. For instance, when recording at Redenhall, the recordings are too bass-heavy at the console as the recorder is placed right between the exposed 16' pipes at the front. Similarly, when I play, I hear a very bass-heavy sound too. When placed in the congregtion, you'd hardly believe it was the same organ. The bass blends into the room acoustics perfectly and even the 2' and 1'-ish stops cut through beautifully, loud and clear. These same higher-pitched stops are almost inaduible when I play, and likewise, are nearly entirely missed when recorded at the console.

        Of course, if the console is detached and placed elsewhere in the church (such as the one I play at Southwold), then this is irrelevant. But I'd rather place the recorder in the pews and take a long walk back to the console, then record right at the pipe fascade! At least that's my experience with the Zoom H1, which I presume would be very similar to an internal camcorder mic. Using a decent condenser mic, the situation may be different.


        • #19
          Originally posted by Havoc View Post
          Why does Shure UK provide much better/more complete educational materials than Shure US? Hmmmm.X-(
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos


          • #20
            Maybe there are still stores with salesmen in the UK.
            In the US the only stores cater to absolute amateur musicians, there the story is Yamaha, Yamaha, Yamaha. I got a dose of Yamaha two weeks ago at Mom's music, looking a pair of used JBL speakers (which are pro quality IMHO).
            The pros tend to buy from internet warehouse places, rock bottom prices, no help at all. I've learned what I know of miking full frequency sources for $$ by watching HDTV; KET-TV actually cares about the sound they put out. I didn't know that mike they were using for bands was a Shure KSM27, but I thought I recognized the logo. Then one showed up on craigslist, with a picture, bingo, that's what I need. Before that I was always watching for Neumann or Telefunken mikes like listed on stellar record albums. Those only show up in Nashville, TN, about a kilobuck for a hulk missing the capsule and connector.
            city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112