EQ? help with this acoustic track

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Aaron, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. Aaron

    Aaron Active Member

    I'd be thrilled if anyone can offer advice with anything I can do to this track.

    The situation:
    The recording was made at an Old Town Hall in this room. It's so reverberant that when I got there to set up it was just the organizer and myself talking from opposite sides of the room and could barely hear what he was saying because everything was bouncing off the walls like mad.

    The group is a 12-piece string orchestra that sets up in a semi-circle just like a quartet only much wider as you can imagine.

    The mics I have are the small-diaphragm Rode NT-5's, again, I know not the best to record strings. I've noticed the overall character of these are very transparent and tend to sound bright and thin, versus full and warm, if that's the correct terminology.

    Since the group was so wide and knowing I wanted to be able to capture the entire ensemble, I knew I had to back the mic stand up a bit further from the group than a quartet. I had 1 mic-stand with a spaced pair on a stereo bar, no more than a foot apart, angled slightly outward maybe toward the middle of each half. Violins and violas were at the sides, and two cellos and two double bass were in front of me, furthest away. With the lows so far away I knew the recording would be lacking in those frequency ranges, even more so given the mics I was using.

    From this recording it sounds just so spacious and I think those lows were lost with the distance and the overall size and reverb in the room.

    Post production- Obviously didn't need to add any reverb. I added a bit of mid and low-end EQ to the tracks in this concert, not much really, but it's still sounding very thin and distant to my ears.

    What else can I do to this recording to add some body to it, bringing some of the lows and low-mids more forward in the mix, while keeping that clarity as much as possible? The file I've uploaded is 1 movement from the Mozart piece, there were 5 other tracks and can say all have the same relative sound.



    Attached Files:

  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Aaron, the recording sounds pretty good like it is.
    You could clean up a few noises with a restoration tool or put it through a tape emulation to sweeten the HF.
    But in the end, we can't mix what isn't there. It could be different, Yes ! But better ??
    This unique point in time when this live performance happened (including you in the performance) sounded like that ! Too many manipulations would kill it's identity.

    Just my humble opinion ;)
  3. Aaron

    Aaron Active Member

    Thanks Marco. Makes sense and I agree. I explained this to some degree to one of the 'spokespeople' of the group, with all the factors we had, this is how it was. We're going to do some future recordings and I mentioned wondering how these particular pieces would have sounded in a less reverberant and spacious room. Of course I would have liked the ability to spot mic the pairs of cellos and pairs of double bass on 2 additional tracks or something like that. All in due time I guess.
    Gotta love that Mozart though ;)

    pcrecord likes this.
  4. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I can't really offer any advice as I have not really worked with strings in a classical sense like this, although I'm sure there would be those members here who have who could offer you some advice.
    I like the dynamic range in the recording, from very quiet sections to a crescendo effect, one thing that I am wondering is whether some compression would help increase those quieter sections a little, but I would try to be mindful of the overall effect this would have on the recording, without adding anything thats not desired, and the effect this would no doubt have on reducing the dynamic range. Just a thought, but as I stated, Iv'e never recorded an orchestra myself, so I'm just blue-skying here.

    But like Marco, I think it sounds pretty good as well. (y)
  5. Aaron

    Aaron Active Member

    Thanks Sean, glad to hear an opinion on the dynamic range. Some of the reviews I read for CD recordings have people complaining about the dynamic range from sounding so quiet to having the orchestra erupt into full force, but as engineers isn't capturing that part of what it's about? Plus isn't that the characteristic of an orchestra or section, to be able to translate the composed music that way? So I don't know what they're referring to. Interestingly enough, some of those people were actually complaining because they were listening to it while trying to take a nap and those louder sections kept them awake. Go figure.
    Honestly, I've never done any post compression effects and don't even know the effect it would have at all.
    pcrecord likes this.
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    That surprises me. I'm not saying I don't believe you - I do - I'm just saying I'm surprised by it, as any classical fan I've ever talked with will say that they love the wide dynamic range of orchestral...from that one whisper-level solo flute or oboe, to the big crescendo crash of the entire orchestra coming in - these are things that generally don't bother a fan of classical orchestral music - to the contrary, they like it. Perhaps those tastes are changing...

    Generally speaking, there is usually very little - if any - gain reduction used on most classical recordings - none at the recording stage, and very little - at most - at the post-pro mixing stage.

    Now, there may be GR added during mastering to bring the levels up to an acceptable standard - but I can't say that with any sense of confidence. We'd have to have one of our resident M.E.'s chime in on that one.

    But, I speak with little experience on the subject; and what I do know is based on the methods I saw in use many, many years ago; as I mentioned, perhaps things are changing with that genre.

  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    It could be that the dynamic range on the better classical CDs takes people by surprise if their main diet of classical listening is supplied via FM radio. So much compression is used on radio broadcasts, particularly from commercial stations, that the original recording dynamics can come as a shock.

    Try something like the 1993 Decca CD of Bruckner 2 in the recording by Solti and the Chicago SO, and you really get an idea of what it's like to capture the full dynamics of a performance in a great-sounding hall.
    DonnyThompson likes this.
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Didn't even think of that, pal, but good catch. Those listening mainly to classical on an FM station are getting versions that are limited through the radio station's compressors, so the dynamic range wouldn't be as much as listening to a CD.
  9. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    Maybe a light amount of multiband comp to bring up the lows in the front half of the song. The mids and highs jump alot in comparison.. It's tough though as you don't want to mangle anything.. Great performance and recording with only 2 mics!!
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Personally, I would never use Multi Band Compression on classical/orchestral. I might use an active EQ... but even then...in very small increments.

    Only IMO of course.
  11. AODEF

    AODEF Active Member

    Zynaptiq Unveil(costs around $379), use it all the time in audio for video.(remove room sound)
    Best for constant sounds like this.
    If I was doing alot of recording of orchestra, it could be an investment.
    There is a demo for trying it.
    PS..I do not work for them. lol

    There is a phase inversion of copy method that uses compression/eq, and some other tricks...
    but works best for transient sounds where you can capture the attack and remove sustain.
    There are alot of articles on that.
    There are a ton of other methods.
  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    This guy tested it. It seems very impressive !!
    Chris Perra likes this.

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