The Surrounding Orchestra

As part of an assignment, I was lucky enough to help record Ramsbottom Choral Society and Orchestra at Bolton Road Methodist Church with their rendition of Handel’s Messiah.

We recorded a full orchestral performance at the rehearsal on the night before the concert, but were able to experiment with the ST450 Soundfield microphone at conductor position. The photo below shows where we were able to get the ST450 (directly in front of the conductor with a mono omnidirectional Rode NT-2A).


The microphone itself is a wonderfully useful piece of equipment that takes in audio and produces up to seven output tracks. Four, named W, X, Y and Z, can be encoded using the SurroundZone 2 plugin into 5.1, 7.1, Ambisonic format and many more. These produce a realistic spatial mix with barely any work! In the below audio clip, I experimented with these recordings with Reaper and the FB360 Spatial Workstation, a tool I am quickly becoming familiar with and enjoying more and more.

I have found that Reaper is an ideal program for working with 360 Audio, as it is a very versatile, flexible program capable of making a created track into any kind of track – need an aux? An audio track? A master fader? All just one track each!

The routing is handled all by the handy routing button shown below:

routing button


Within the routing options you can see how I laid out my tracks: The orchestra is operating from the soundfield mic in 5.1 surround but I also used the mono feeds from the same microphone (it’s a useful beast!) to fill in the frontal gaps. The L and R are from the stereo output of the ST450 and the C is from the NT-2A.

The crowd noises were taken from the W, X and Y soundfield feeds to form a semi circle behind the listener.


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