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Wind Protection for Lavs

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Recently I was tasked to do a live PA mix for Netflix of a 12-piece string ensemble. In the past, they'd had other engineers use 6 SM-57 on tall booms to mic this orchestra. I decided close-miking for an outdoor venue (a soccer stadium) would be better.


I used various mics in my inventory for the task - Audio Technica AT35 and ATM350, DPA4099 and Countryman. All except the DPAs could be considered lavs, with a diameter of 10mm for ATs and 8mm for the Countryman.


Because this was an outdoor venue and the performance was getting on sunset, the breeze was significant, and my issue was the uselessness of the foam windscreens for all those mics, including the DPAs, in a windy environment. The foam windscreens are OK in varying degrees for plosives but not for actual wind.


In some threads here there is mention of the Bubblebee Windbubbles. These are the only windscreens I can find that are designed for lavs or lav-sized mics. Can anyone comment on the effectiveness of the Windbubbles for this type of application, i.e., close-miking violins, violas, etc with clamp-on or strap-on clips?

Thanks very much,

Ira Seigel in the Pacific Northwest


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"Cardioid mics are inherently sensitive to wind (and handling) noise"

I did not know this. Thanks for the tip, Rick. I hadn't noticed the Rycotes you mentioned on their website. I'll take a look. Also the Microcats - thanks Syncsound (a fellow Pacific Northwester).


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I've worked with the products mentioned, and they all work great.


But my question is your reasoning to ISO each instrument to capture the live performance. 6 (or more, or less) strategically placed mics works perfectly fine, even in windy scenes. The 57 (cardioid) wouldn't be my first choice, nor 10th. Something more suited and of higher quality would work fantastic. Sure, ISO each will capture instrument nicely but it introduces its own unique set of challenges. You will primarily be faced with mixing 12 inputs, each with its own characteristics and gain, in order to make it sound natural. This isn't easy if you're not used to mixing instruments (don't assume it's similar to vox) and the moment something goes wrong, troubleshooting is now a bigger challenge.



A duodecet is a pretty loud ensemble. And if positioned properly, setting up 4-6 mics within the formation will make it sound fantastic and a lot more natural than all 12 ISO, IMO.


My past experience is in this exact application...




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Hello OB1,

Thanks for your thoughts here.

Yes, for miking orchestras indoors - I usually work for the Seattle Symphony as my day gig - sectional miking is my preferred, with maybe a DPA4099 clip-on on the principals. But when I heard this performance was to be outdoors and the production was carrying SM-57s, I knew that wind and gain-before-feedback would be issues, so my intuition was to get mics as close to the instruments as possible. The very structured time schedule only allowed for 30 mins of soundcheck. With only 6 57s, that would have been more than enough, and I could have sussed out wind and feedback issues without the players on stage. But choosing clip-on mics for everyone necessitated everyone being on stage. My allotted 30 mins was barely enough, with the musicians also being pulled in several different directions in order to soundcheck playing the National Anthem on the soccer field (Lumen Field in Seattle) and hair/makeup/costuming necessities, all of which I usually don't have to deal with when working for the various touring musicians I've worked with over the years.


Next time (?) I'll consider bringing 6 MKH 8040s or KSM137s and my little 6 channel Sonosax mixer, instead of the 58 pounds of mixer/road case, mics, etc., that I loaded onto a bicycle trailer for the short ride to the stadium! And I'll remember that the stock foam windscreens might be good for air conditioning noise, but not for 10mph wind noise.






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