What to do about pit


Our spring Musical, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, is coming up shortly and being in the pit band, I was wondering what the best way to mic us was. They were going to have each of us have a mic, but now they've changed it to one central mic for all of us. (us being a two saxes, two clarinets, one flute, one piano?, a bass, and a drumset (not that the drumset needs it--or the bass--it's got it's own amp, or the piano--cuz i think we just plug it in.) but for the winds--any suggestions on how to get the best sound from us with one mic?
I would place the clarinets and flutes closest to the mic because they are generally the quietest. For the most part you really shouldn’t need to mic a pit, it depends on the construction of the pit and the placement of the band.
delnor said:
I would place the clarinets and flutes closest to the mic because they are generally the quietest. For the most part you really shouldn’t need to mic a pit, it depends on the construction of the pit and the placement of the band.

Well....we are going to be sitting on the stage in the back--behind a curtain in which we will be able to see out, but noone will be able to see us. We have two clarinets on teh end--then a flute, then a sax. I think we should probably change the order to the two clarinets, the sax, and then the flute--because the flute is actually the loudest of all of us. And that would also put the mic the farthest place possible away from the drum set.
what to do about a pit

my first question is why did they decide to go with only one mic? Delnor's suggestion of loudest closest is a workable solution. But, if there is any way to get more mics I would highly recommend it. Now the second question is what kind of mic are you looking at using? With this info I could be of more help.
pit questions

My previous post was way too brief.
So I would recommend first of all try figuring out why they decided to go down to just one mic. There can be several reasons for this (budget, lack of console channels, lack of equipment, or lack of know how) Second, I would try very hard to get more mics. Why? Because good instrument mics have to be very close to the actual instrument to get optimal sound. The second reason would be control. As a sound op you want as much control as possible. What sounds right to the band doesn't always sound right in the house.
But if they want to mic the entire pit with a pzm or a pcc, than Delnor's plan of action would be best. It is going to be far from top quality but will get the job done.
Thanks for all of the input. I will definitely have to check out the reasons for only one mic. Being a new school, budget could have a lot to do with it. It also might be because as a section we can't be louder than the actors, of course. But we have some very young actors on stage, so volume even with a mic with some of them might be a problem. I'll check it out.
orchestra mic

Actually the number of mics has absolutely nothing to do with the volume. The more mics will just give you better clarity to your sound. and if you are playing behind scenery, you are going to need it. Do to the fact that you are going to lose a lot of your treble as the sound tries to pass through.
While that can work for some spaces Tech Director, The true art of the mix is destroyed by only micing some instruments. Sure the stage volume might be loud enough, but if you have the piano, drums, and bass coming from the stage and the clarinets coming from the array over the stage or from the stacks on stage left and stage right, it just sounds ugly. You want to mix all the instruments together as well as the vocals. And just because you are using mics doesn't mean it has to be loud.
Thanks for all the info about that---i'll defniitely have to keep it in mind for next year. We are actually down front for this play. This was a change because our chorus teacher, not band teacher, is conducting us and she also had to cue the actors. It's a new school--and so we have young actors--and they needed some extra help. So we're down in front--and haven't needed to use any mics because of that--so it's worked out pretty well.
I'm glad to hear the situation was resolved.

I just want to point out one more thing to tech director. Another problem with just micing the softer instruments is that they are going to be behind a curtain. This severely impacts the quality of the sound. You might be able to hear the piano through the curtain, but you are going to lose the high end. Just some food for thought.
I've had very good results miking in sections with 414s. Then a separate mic for piano, bass DI, and drum overhead. I don't recommend individually close miking each instrument in the orchestral sections, unless you think you have a better ear for the orchestra balance than the conductor, and you have the time to fine tune it during multiple rehearsals.

I prefer to just leave the balance between instruments to the conductor and mic in more general areas. In my example, I used 2 414's one for woodwind and one for brass, on a tall boom, coming down at an angle about 8 feet away from the head of a person seated in the section.

For a larger ensemble with string sections, just add another 414 for the string section.

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