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Just HOW Important are Extra Microphones?

jbuhler

Senior Member
With libraries such as the berlin series - you can worth with even more.

2 different close mics, ortf - ambient - tree - surround... you can push it back bring it forward/back/widen/center/tighter/looser/even kind of shinier/more dull.

Spitfire series was never my favorite - but even in the berlin series - where everything is recorded at standard levels, in the same setups - in the same room, I drastically mix the microphones differently between sections. It's also painfully obvious how "flat" the demos on OT's website are that only use the tree mic.

I figured It's only fair that I use mics from libraries I don't even like to still sculpt a sound I am okay with, rather than being the raging teldex fanboy that I am
The problem with the Berlin instruments—I only have the main strings, so caveats there—is that the instruments are already unwieldy RAM hogs even with only one mic loaded. They become even more so with multi mics. I agree with you about the depth and color of sound you can get though.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
The problem with the Berlin instruments—I only have the main strings, so caveats there—is that the instruments are already unwieldy RAM hogs even with only one mic loaded. They become even more so with multi mics. I agree with you about the depth and color of sound you can get though.
My strings ONLY take up about 60 gb /s

Worst part is - I don't even have all of the articulations loaded >.> I had to narrow it down to 16 midi channels and crossfade
 

leogardini

Senior Member
I felt this might be a super helpful thread for composers because way back I hesitated buying the full Hollywood Strings Diamond for lack of understanding.

Would really appreciated feedback from folks here and I hope everyone is having a very happy Springtime!
Sounds like a open mind. I personally use only one mic and stick with it but having options in the beginning was important to decide which one to use in all future projects.
 

angeruroth

Member
Very, very, very important.

My only bread-and-butter orchestra is EWQLSO, the gold version, and every time I use it I feel like an alchemist, mixing reverbs, comps, etc. like crazy, so nowadays I only use the solo patches most times.
That limitation taught me a lot back in the day, but it also made spend twice the time doing that kind of wizardry than improving the composition or the performance.
It may also be one of the main reasons I began exploring other musical realms (still orchestral, sort of, but not tied to the idea of what a real orchestra would do) so, in some ways, it opened my eyes to awesome posibilities. But really, it was painful to get the result I was looking for.

On the other hand, every time I open a Tundra patch (I know this is a peculiar lib, but still) I play with the mics, and maybe the panning, sometimes too much, and then I just focus in the composition and the feelings. I can't picture myself doing the same things with only one mic and not destroying the sound quality.
I'm sure the same could be said for most libs from most developers, EW included, but I don't understand the EWQLSO upgrade price...
 

re-peat

Senior Member
A good and wise choice of mic perspectives is all very well, and I certainly see and hear tremendous musical and productional value in being offered these options, but there is a point, I firmly believe, beyond which things get seriously ridiculous. And annoying. And disc-space-wasting.

If you’re sampling in a big place, it makes total sense to have Far, Stage, and Close recordings (the way ProjectSAM does it), no discussion there, but if the sampling occurs in a smaller venue — a chamber or a room (where the spatial difference between far and close is much less pronounced than it is in a church or a hall) — I really don’t understand why we need TWO close perspectives, TWO tree perspectives, an outrigger and an ambient perspective. Yes, I’m talking about the Spitfire Studio Series.

Why not simply set up your mics for the best, most natural sounding Close recording and for the best most, natural sounding Room recording, and leave it at that? (Maybe include an extra print of a good mix of the two as well, for convenience sake.) The library’s size would be reduced immensely and the space saved could be used for FAR more useful things than some subtle snobby-geeky sonic difference between one set of mics and another: more dynamic variation (more velocity layers), some more essential articulations, and instruments sampled chromatically instead of every other note, … All of which is painfully lacking in said libraries: the wealth of mic perspectives may give these libraries a semblance of being serious products. The glaring shortage of even the most basic and essential samples however exposes that semblance to be a rather offensive deception.

_
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
I'm torn on the topic.

Rule #1 is that a virtual orchestra is not a real orchestra, and thus one can not do all the things one might do with real players in a real space. You just can't break the rule. At least not today. Probably never.

HOWEVER - one of the things that makes a library a little more useful - to me - is multiple microphone positions. This is no substitute for the infinite number of positions, and the finite, but hopefully large number of microphone choices one would have in the real world. But is is something. And I think it has great value.

Disclaimer - 40 years ago the "old" guys beat it into my thick skull that microphone selection and placement was the most important skill a recording engineer could develop. I suppose there is a little room for debate, but by and large I agree. One can accomplish much in the way of equalization and dynamics control just by placing an appropriate microphone in the appropriate place. Appropriate being a variable based on the application<G>!

Piet asked:
"Why not simply set up your mics for the best, most natural sounding Close recording and for the best most, natural sounding Room recording, and leave it at that?"

Because what sounds natural, or appropriate to me may not be suitable to you. So multiple (within reason of course) microphone choices and positions is a tool that I enjoy. And wish I could afford more of them - then again I still wish I could afford more microphones too!
 

fish_hoof

Active Member
I think for me, the idea of tons of mic positions allow me to dial in "my own" sound. Makes me feel like I am getting something unique and creating my own sound... even if I am not, I feel more involved with my music and the process than just say, dialing up Project Sams 3 mic positions that everyone else will use. (I'm NOT bashing on this. I love Project Sam and use their libraries all the time). For example, I am a huge Hans Zimmer String fan and there are TONS of mic positions. It's one of the main, if not, THE main reason I love this library. The mic choices may feel overwhelming and silly to some, but there is indeed a HUGE difference when I first start writing with the close and tree mic, and then towards the end, I dial in the other 10+ mic positions I desire and BAM, its huge, chest pounding, whole different feeling. For me, I feel like I had something to do with it, because I spent time dialing in the mix I wanted. I feel more invested in my song. And that mix might not be used again for the next project.

For me its about options and having a chance to be more individual in this sample world. We all have access to the same tools, so whatever we can do to help separate us a bit and for us to find our own voice and sound, I'm all for.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
I think nowadays all the excess mic positions only unneccessarily bloat up the memory footprint. Three basic mic positions - close, decca and "wide" would be all I ever needed. For some more straight-forward libraries actually even just three different stereo mixes.

There's also a certain tendency of "over-spacing" sampled orchestral productions IMO.
 
My 2 cents:

Most of times I like using just one mic position (like the Tree from OT or the Outriggers from SF)to get a realistic sound, I find that too much mic positions tend to result in a non-realistic stereo effect.
If I were into composing for trailers then I would of course combine them to get an as big as possible sound, it all surely depends on what you're focusing on.
 

Apostate

Active Member
Hollywood Strings was quite the beast when I upgraded from Gold to Diamond. Including the negative (ridiculously hard on computer resources) and positive (so many dimensions opened up...of course one runs the risk of falling into a rabbit hole with so many options).
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
I think nowadays all the excess mic positions only unneccessarily bloat up the memory footprint.
Yep. I've never bought into the whole multiple mic thing, but that's just me. I occasionally mess around with mic positions if they're available, but rarely. But then again, I never bought into the whole "what's the best FX plugin" debate.....when everything you need is already there inside your DAW.

But who knows, one of these days I'll inevitably crumble and dive into the world of Spitfire. Their Wishlist promo might just be enough to convert me ;)
 

Meetyhtan

Noise Maker
So when do you decide which mic position is the best?
Right after loading your instrument into Kontakt, or after the arrangement is done during the mixing process?
 
OP
Parsifal666

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
So when do you decide which mic position is the best?
Right after loading your instrument into Kontakt, or after the arrangement is done during the mixing process?
You can fiddle around whenever you like (but look out for that rabbit hole). One of the things that might be good to keep in mind is whether you're dealing with a solo instrument or section; depending on context, one tends to require less of the abovementioned fiddling than the other.
 

DSmolken

Senior Member
Probably very useful for sounding like an orchestra in a hall, but for pop stuff where orchestral samples get used with studio-recorded and often massively processed stuff, I just end up using close mics for the most part.
 

Meetyhtan

Noise Maker
I'm honest. I'm still a newbie and used Tree mics and additional reverb from a plug-in 99% of the times. All my better libraries have multiple mics. But I'm not yet into it. Saw my priorities everywhere but here so far. I'm convinced there are worse mistakes :P
 

Olivier1024

Member
Castratto col legno portamento sul pont.
I usually blend Castratto col legno "close mic" with portamento sul pont "Outriggers" and it's more than perfect.
Blend all them, catch all 'Em !

But at the end of the the day, with just 1 mic (Hein for exemple) it's so easy.
 

ism

Senior Member
I haven't a fraction of the engineering experience of a lot of people here, but I have come to recognize how immensely at least a close-far mic mix important it can be (though often isn't)

Spitfire symphonic woodwinds is my extreme case - I love them with a mix of close and tree. There's something about the tone, the presence, the sense of space that I really love, and that absolutely needs close+tree mics, and that goes way beyond anything I can imagine doing with reverb and eq.

Only slightly less extreme on this spectrum, Spitfire solo strings also benefits immensely from a mix of tree and close. Again, it's not just the quality of the room sound, but something it adds to both the tone and 'presence' (whatever that means).

When I'm running out of memory and I have to disable a mic on my winds or solo strings, I really feel it.

Curiously, I don't, however feel the same way about, for instance, the Claire woodwinds - here I'm perfectly happy with a single mic + my own reverb. Not sure what the difference its. Maybe its that the Claire are virtuoso soloist, so its ok for them to be up front, whereas the orchestral positioning of SSW is engineered to really give even the solo instruments a kind of ensemble presence. Or something - not quite sure how to express this.

For almost any other instrument, I'm generally perfectly happy with just the tree mic and added reverb. The extra mics in the pro version of Spitfire studio strings sound nice to have, but not remotely as essential as in SSW or SSoS.

One big except is the ensemble winds in Tundra. When I discovered how much difference it made to turn off the tree and use the close instead, it was like discovering a whole other set of instruments. I think it's the nature of Tundra that while the string tree mics are basically perfect on their own, the winds really benefit form the extra clarity of the close mics, and the nature of Tundra means that the close mics have huge ambience themselves.
 
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