How to mic a carillon

Discussions on various technical aspects of carillon instruments and standards.

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How to mic a carillon

Postby DarrellEldridge on Fri May 01, 2015 4:42 pm

The design of our bell tower (at First Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL) requires that we mic the carillon (48-bell Verdin). Without the mics, the player is unable to hear the bells, even though the clavier is located just a few feet below. It has become necessary to replace the mics. How does one go about choosing the best mics for the application? To what extent does the particular configuration - as opposed to the characteristics of carillons in general - weigh on the decision? I would appreciate any information that you can offer.
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Re: How to mic a carillon

Postby JohnGouwens on Fri May 01, 2015 7:49 pm

It's such a shame when architects blunder this way, and don't allow for a good way to hear the bells directly! Much depends on your tower - is it way open, or are there some corners where you could place microphones safely? Assuming you have to mic them from within the tower, try to get a few feet away from any bells. Any bells that are really close will be picked up in an overbearing way. I believe the most successful such setup is at Bok Tower in Lake Wales, Florida, which involves (or did last I knew) a set of Schoeps pressure zone microphones. They are outstanding - and very expensive!! (I'll add to this later.)
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Re: How to mic a carillon

Postby DarrellEldridge on Fri May 01, 2015 10:27 pm

The tower is completely enclosed beneath the bells, so the only option is to place the mics in with the bells. We have some weatherproof condenser mics, but they seem to be overpowered by the sound, as there is way too much distortion. I wonder whether dynamic mics would work better, and whether there are weatherproof units available... or if I'm even going in the right direction.
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Re: How to mic a carillon

Postby FrancesNewell on Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:59 am

another consideration is: what's the best setup for recording? As long as you have to set up mica, might as well have the best possible setup for quality recording.
Also, anything that is dependent upon electronics can fail for lots of reasons. If the power cut out in the middle if a performance, you would not be able to hear your bells unless you had a backup system
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Re: How to mic a carillon

Postby FrancesNewell on Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:11 am

One other idea: Ed Herrmann recorded the Rockefeller Chapel bells for his GCNA Barnes Scholarship project.
He should know about avoiding distortion a and capturing the best of your bells' overtones.
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