Didn't mean to imply that percussion is the only instrument to benefit from ambient mics , and certainly not the only mic (I said use "more" of the ambient mics, not to imply they were the only ones)...it was an example to use as an approach...a starting point for various outcomes.Jake. You're saying that it's unrealistic for a single blend of microphones to be applied to the entire orchestra, but applying ambient mics to only percussion, as in your example, is not unrealistic? You can't use the ambient mics only on the percussion in a real session unless it's striped, which is inarguably "less realistic" than recording everyone together at once.
I'm not saying there isn't plenty of reason to occasionally have different blends on different instruments/sections (usually just involving bits of spot mic detail as you said, since those can be adjusted independently in "reality"), but it seems silly to suggest that there is no orchestral music recorded with a simple and unchanging mic mix. That's just not true.
My point was to get a blend of a few mics first as the overall...but I only mentioned two...I didn't mean for it to be taken literally...but again, as a starting point for a general sound. THEN...add in the additional mics and automate the close or ambient mics as needed to get the results.
Bottom line, there is no one way of doing things and if leaving a static mic mix works, then it works, but I can see many people being overwhelmed with this many mics and have no idea where to start.