We're going to play in a contest in which we are going to play "No Leaf Clover" by Metallica. So since we are only going to have a few orchestra instruments on stage (20 at the most), i want to mic them. How do i go about doing so? What types of mics and where on the instrument? We'll probably have trombones, trumpets, a tuba, a few violins, violas and cellos.
honestly, unless you are playing to more than 5000 people outdoors, the only thing you'd want/need to mic would be the low strings. Brass come through fine, higher strings should cut fine too, but if you want to mic them that'd be up to you. As far as mics go just put a couple large diaphragm condensors up,, if you tried to mic every instrument the sound guy would murder both you and your sound.
haha cool. im going to go do a sound check soon and make sure you can hear everything even with our sound coming through the PA. Im not sure if the strings will be heard from the back of the place. Its a pretty large auditorium. Probably seats a few hundred to a thousand.
You'd be surprised how sound carries in a space designed to do so.

Especially strings.
"Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you." - Aldous Huxley
A 20-person orchestra should be able to keep up just fine if your drummer isn't a total meathead and you keep your amp at a reasonable volume. It does depend on the instrumentation though. If you've got 3-4 string instruments per part you'll be fine. Brass can keep up on its own.

If you do decide to mic, two overhead Audio-technica 2020s or 4040s are great.
I recorded a performance by the Prairieview A&M orchestra in Texas a few years back. I used one Rode NT4 positioned about 3 feet behind the conductor and about a foot above his head into an original mbox into a powerbook g4. It sounded really good.

Edit: I just realized you were talking about running them through the PA and not recording. A full orchestra should be able to hang with your band in terms of volume unless you're ridiculously loud.
Last edited by greg3456 at Apr 28, 2011,
I just need to make sure i get enough of each instrument for each part. If brass cuts through well enough i might just stick with one or 2 of each and then add more strings.
If your orchestra is at all competent, you shouldn't need to remove or add players to balance the volume, but rather ask the members to change dynamics. If at any point you need to mic something because you can't hear it, I guarantee that you can fix the problems if you tell certain parts to back off.

Well, at least in my experience.
"Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you." - Aldous Huxley