EDU Case Study: University of Indianapolis

by Miles Fulwider on June 07, 2024

Students and faculty first employed a variety of ADK microphones in a performance of the chamber setting of Dan Forest’s Requiem for the Living, featuring strings, harp, organ, abbreviated winds, percussion, and choir. ADK’s T FET line was used as section spot mics on strings, with the Berlin 47 and Munich-7 on violin 1 & 2 respectively, the Cremona 251 on viola, Vienna 12 on cello, and the Hamburg 67 rounding the setup on bass (all in cardioid in this instance). A pair of C-LOL-251s took on harp duties, and a single C-LOL-67 was placed behind the bell of the French horn. Finally, a Frankfurt 49 served as a mono vocal solo spot, as singers moved to the front of the choir for extended solo lines.

There were no shortage of excellent results, but a few uses were noted as standouts. The Berlin 47 on violin 1 provided a bright, clear sound while never getting thin or harsh; not a trait typically found in many large diaphragm condensers, especially in that price range! The harp’s LOL-251s were another strong showing, with the clarity you would expect from a small diaphragm but substantial warmth and body, as well as flattering off-axis response. Likewise, the LOL-67 was fantastic on the horn! (That might have been my personal favorite). The strongest showing, however, was the Frankfurt 49 on the vocal soloists! Soloists with different voice types/parts all sounded brilliant on the Frankfurt 49, with a smooth top end and just the right amount of presence to sit in the mix without sounding overly bright or harsh, or too far in front of the rest of the ensemble. As a bonus, the rounded sound when soloists were not directly on-mic provided a surprisingly welcome center to the choir, and remained in the mix throughout. In addition to the ensemble directors’ praise for the sound, a number of ensemble members and staff alike commented on how great the T-FET line looked!

The second employment of the ADK kit came about a week later when our student technical crew was tasked with preparing a setup for live-streaming a primarily speaking event, but which had piano and piano & soprano musical moments. Following the positive experience with the C-LOL-251s on harp, the pair was pressed into service on a 9’ Steinway Model D, played by professor Dr. Gregory Martin. The mics were positioned just inside the lid opened to full-stick, spread along the bridge of the instrument. The depth and body of sound were again fantastic, especially considering the lack of typical “main pair” used for this type of music, but omitted due to visual constraints of the event.

Our biggest regret was that we couldn’t get them into the studio for a proper piano-driven rock or pop track! Imaging was clear, and the top end was very flattering, given the close proximity required for visual and video reasons. The Munich-7 provided vocal duties for soprano Dr. Mitzi Westra, which kept up with her wide dynamic range and powerful voice admirably. The smooth top end was again on display, with strong body and a sense of air without any hint of harshness. Aside from the engineering team's enjoyment of the day's ADK selections, a number of music and non-music faculty and alumni commented on how well that portion of the broadcast turned out!

Our final impromptu use of the mics was employing C-LOL-251’s as surround mics for an Atmos recording of composer Elainie Lillios’ electroacoustic music, including numerous uses of a 10-channel surround system. Following rehearsals, it was determined that an additional set of ground-level surround mics was needed which would reject the front channels and acoustic sound from the stage, while offering some presence to be brought in to complement the direct electronic sound. While not a conventional role for large diaphragm condensers, the 251s complemented the array of SDC Omnis and direct signals nicely.

-Dr. Brett Leonard

Dr. Brett Leonard is an audio educator, researcher, and freelance engineer, and currently serves as associate professor and director of the music technology program at the University of Indianapolis.  He works on recording projects ranging from classical and jazz to pop-rock, including projects with artist such as Matt Haimovitz, The Brass Band of Battle Creek, Cecile McLorrin Salvant, and Bob Belden under the auspices of his company BLPaudio, and also serves as chief audio engineer for the Chelsea Music Festival in New York.  Dr. Leonard’s research focuses on spatial audio and acoustics, including collaborations with Sennheiser, NHK, and Skywalker Sound.  He is active in the Audio Engineering Society, both as an author and as a committee member in the Central Indiana Section.  Dr. Leonard is an alumnus of California Lutheran University and New York University, and holds a PhD in Sound Recording from McGill University.



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