Group of 27 Orchestra with Eric Paetkau
In this recording of the g27 Orchestra, the Haydn Symphony 19 features horn predominantly throughout. To achieve greater clarity for the horn and woodwinds I positioned two Royer R101’s between the players and the rear wall of the stage. The microphones were placed high enough that it didn’t exaggerate the directional aspect of the rear facing bell. Rather, I was looking for a blended tone of directionality and first reflections off the wood panelled rear wall.
This worked well for the horn but less so with the woodwinds. I could have placed the other in front of the oboes and bassoon but opted to keep the symmetry of the reverse facing stereo image. It provided a different acoustical aspect that I then eq’ed separately, time aligned and blended into the main image of the recording.
The ribbon microphones are optimal for this because of their figure of 8 polar pattern. It allowed for energies to be picked up from the front (horn) and rear (wall) sides of the microphone while attenuating side information. This helped with bleed from the Tympani that was being recorded with a separate spot mic.
Much of the time, reflections tend to muddy a mix if used improperly. Depending on the hall, and the proximity of the players to the reflecting surface, an engineer can use this acoustical aspect to their advantage. By creating an optimal blend of direct and reflected sound, it can give a dual purpose to an otherwise predictable spot microphone.