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Mixing an opera


New Member

I recently filmed a live opera performance. Some professional singers wanted to use their voices somehow during this pandemic and self-produced an opera. I filmed the performance and, since there was no budget, I did my best with the sound.

Now I'm trying to get the recording sounding as good as possible with my limited abilities. I could use some guidance!

The recording was done with a Zoom H6, using its L/R mics. I had a couple other mics attached and placed elsewhere, but in the end the H6 produced the most usable recording. It was placed about 15 ft in front of the stage.

I am using the latest Ableton Live. I've used it to make some music and for my instrumental recordings, but I don't know much about mixing. But I'm not asking about mixing, I would just like to know what the workflow would look like in this case.

The vocal ranges span from bass to soprano, and the only accompaniment is a baby grand on the left of the stage (stage right). With some EQing it sounds decent enough, but I'd like to do a better job.

To EQ the different vocal ranges I tried automation, which is a little hard to keep track of but works well enough. I also tried cutting the track and separating by singer, which is more convoluted and harder to keep coherent. For sections where more than one person is singing, I'm trying to find a good middle.

Since I'm inexperienced with this, I just wanted to ask if my methods make sense or if there are better ways to go about it. Obviously, this is not ideal and the best way would be to get a better recording to start with, and hire a professional to handle the sound. But, this is where I'm at so I'm just going to try my best.

I would appreciate any help! Thanks!

Beat Kaufmann

Active Member
To be able to help, two things would be needed:

A) A plan of how the microphones were set up (which stereo method).
B) Preferably about one minute of music of all tracks.
(You can send them to me if you want)

Of course, the quality of a live recording starts with the positioning of the microphones. The positions depend on what you want to achieve later in the mix....
You see, there are many things connected.
The saying "we fix it in the mix" is really just a saying, unfortunately.
So what is once threaded wrong, you can hardly save with the mix. But maybe you did a lot of things well.
Some happy Recordings... ;)

All the best

colony nofi

Senior Member
Less. Is. More.

if you are using just two mics, please don’t eq with automation or do too much fader riding. It will mess up the piano / voice relationship.
Very gentle slow fader rides and perhaps a tiny bit of compression but only if needed. Eq as best you can. Denoise very gently first if needed.
Listen every step of the way.

and again - less is more. :)
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