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Recommended mic for opera recording
  • I will be recording some live opera (soprano), and wanted suggestions for renting a superb microphone that can capture the dynamic range. I have a Rode NTG-2 and Sennheiser lavs, but suspect they won't do the singing justice. I was thinking of a Schoeps. Can someone recommend a good strategy for capturing the best live sound of the voice and the accompanying piano? I'm assuming a cardioid would be a better choice than a hyper-cardioid or shotgun to capture the dynamics and overtones of the space.

  • 3 Replies sorted by
  • For an opera recording, capturing the dynamic range is simply not important. The voice track will have some compression added to it because of the way an opera voice functions, which is that the high notes are much louder than the low notes. If you capture the full dynamic range, the low notes will simply disappear in the mix. Your challenge, quite simply, will be to track to voice in the mix, and track the voice on the stage. Those are two completely different challenges, and depend on whether you will have a full orchestra and staging. If you do, the standard approach is to use a virtual pair of microphones suspended over the stage, and boundary mics to equalize the effects of movement on the stage. Your virtual mics will depend on the acoustic. You can use for example an omni and a cardioid tied together, then you can alter the mix for each scene in post to even it out. You can also use MS pairs and decode the fields depending on the location of the singers. You can rent a pair of MKH 800s, which are virtual mics, for your main pair, but I usually use two mics tied together. If the stage is deep, you may wish to consider the Schoeps MK41s for half of your virtual mic, which will have the reach and the good vocal sound. For upstage (which is the back of the stage) I simply hang more mics, but you may have a limit on how many mics you can rent. For large houses, I simply hang mics over the entire stage, so all of it is covered, but that can run 30-40 mics. Sometimes, if there is a lot of motion in the staging, a lav is the only way to go.

  • @DrDave Thanks, very helpful! This is a soloist who wants an audition tape -- but I still want to get the best sound possible.

  • If it is a solo voice with piano, no movement, no staging. no orchestra, the simplest setup is triangle with two mics for the main pair and a ribbon mic in the middle for the soloist.