Third classical concert recording

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by David French, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I'm back! Did ya miss me?

    :?

    Here's some more snippets for critique by your finer ears. Today we have some Debusy cello and piano sonata, and some Schumann piano quintet. IMHO, this is moving toward a much more professional sound when compared to my earlier recordings. This is also my first time working wth people who can actually play... and ith nice instruments . 8)

    The files can be found here.

    So, how do they hold up?


    Thanks as always.
     
  2. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Hi David
    I really like these.
    I particularly like the piano sound on the second sample.

    John
     
  3. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Thank you John. Anything you don't like? Anything you think could have been better?

    Here's the setup for both recordings:

    Main Pair: Schoeps MSTC 64 U ORTF 9' in front of group, 8' high, aimed downward at the group, panned hard left/right.

    Outriggers: DPA 4006 16' on either side of the ORTF in the same vertical and horizontal plane. Mics were aimed at the center of the group, and were panned hard left/right. Mixed at -9 dB relative to the Schoeps.
     
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey David,

    Sorry, I haven't gotten a chance to listen yet, so I've got nothing significant to contribute, but I have a question?

    Where are you getting such fantastic mics? Do you own them, are you renting/borrowing them?

    Not to say that one can't own a fantastic mic collection such as this, as you know, there are a few of us here who have some seriously large high-quality mic collections, but the ones you are using are generally thought of as classical mics - typically owned by those who do hundreds of classical concerts/recordings yearly.

    Just curious...

    J. :D
     
  5. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Good and fair questions. The hall i'm working for owns their own mics (lucky me).
     
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I would definitely count you among the lucky if you have mics of that caliber at your disposal.

    Critique:

    Once again, you've done a good job. The only gripes I have about these pieces are the panning/width. Occassionally, I find the mix to be a tad wide bordering on unnatural. (Again, let me preface this with the fact that I'm monitoring on cans not on the Dyn's). I feel the problem could be solved in the following manner -

    The ORTF pair - pan soft left and right. Smaller ensembles truly don't need a hard left/right pan. Considering that this is your main mic array and the mics are placed rather close together, the panning shouldn't really be so hard. The distance to the ensemble is working in your favor here though.

    As for the flanks - here's where you can develop your width. Mute the flanks first and get your perfect stereo field with your main mics. Then, bring your flank levels up slowly until you get that great blend of ambience to direct sound (and of course, pan your flanks hard right and left). You will find that the level of flank to main pair can actually be quite high. In full orchestral situations, I often find my flank pair at or higher than the level of the main array while the main array simply helps to provide a solid center to the image and portray some depth and directionality to the center of the image.

    My suggestions for panning for the center array are - in relative to 0 scale (such as Samp or Seq), 12 to 18 db off center -- in absolute scale (0-100 such as Nuendo/Cubase) 45-75 off center. Of course, this is just a guideline.

    Now, for another question -

    Having used both the DPA/B&K and the Schoeps as your main pair for high string and piano, which do you prefer and why?

    J.
     
  7. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Thanks a bunch for the helpful tips Jeremy. As far as the panning width goes, it seems to me that it depends on your approach. There's one school of making a document of the event, then there's the other school of making a sound. I have tendencies toward the second school, but the first is certainly a noble and difficult pursuit. What do you think about this?

    I most definitely prefer the Schoeps as of now due to the better imaging and rounder tone, but i
    m not sure this is a fair comparison since i'm comparing omnis to cards, different players of differing skill levels, different mic techniques, etc. I think it will take much longer before I am wise enough to be confident in stating my preference.
     
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I tend to agree with you. To the purists that insist that all they would like to do is portray exactly what was heard on stage, I suggest they learn how to play an awful lot of instruments very well simultaneously. Simply put, regardless of how good the recording chain is, even if there were one good enough to capture a sound print identical to that which is performed, the consumer is still going to play it back through his/her Bose Acousticrap system and completely distort the original intention of the recording.

    Thus, it's my goal to portray as much as possible the sound of the ensemble insomuch as it agrees with the artistic vision of the conductor/music director and doesn't break any of my overriding principles.

    That being said, I definitely think accuracy is key to both schools of thought.

    I would tend to agree with your assessment regarding the microphones as well. You'll find that the Schoeps 6/4 combos portray an amazing sound with a depth that rival many if not all omni microphones. As for comparing the apple (Schoeps directional) to the orange (DPA omni), I think you would be surprised in the consistency of tone presented by all Schoeps microphones regardless of directional characteristics.

    Some of my favorites are the tube bodies with the colette capsules that Rich has (which I will drive down to his studio and steel shortly), but all of their Colette series stuff is simply astonishing. In my never humble opinion, the DPA stuff doesn't hold a candle to it when recording classical music. (Piano being the occassional noted exception)

    J.
     
  9. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    David

    It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is about the recording that I like, but there's something very familiar sounding about the piano. There's a big piano competition over here every three years, and this reminds me very much of the tone I hear in the hall where the preliminaries are held. Do you remember what piano was used?

    I know that's a bit vague, but that's what I hear. If someone asked me to record this competition, this is the sound I'd like to capture.

    BTW I also have a liking for the darker tone that one rarely hears on recordings -but that's a topic for a different thread :wink:

    You sound like you're having fun!

    John
     
  10. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    The piano is a 7' Steinway, not sure what model or if it's from Hamburg or the US.

    And yes, i'm having a blast at this job!

    Ben, you out there this time?
     
  11. bap

    bap Member

    The Hamburgs are usually high gloss finish and the New Yorks are a matte finish.
     
  12. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Hi David
    Steinway pianos are something of an enigma to me. Even when they are well maintained, some sound lacklustre (to me anyway), and others wonderful. It's great to hear one of the nice ones. I must admit to being a Bosendorfer fan. Anyway, what was the rest of your recording chain?

    I got an AKG C34 recently for piano and vocals, and it never ceases to delight me, but I thought it would quell my Schoeps/Sennheiser MKH lust for a while, but nothing has changed, so I'm going to have to load up that piggy bank again! I blew my Schoeps/MKH fund on other mics and a DAC, but after I buy a decent pre, I think a Schoeps pair simply has to be the next thing on my list. Does this addiction never end? The cool thing is the addiction is cheaper than the months of therapy necessary to cure it!

    Looking forward to more recordings!

    John
     
  13. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Well, if you keep improving at this rate I will be increasingly glad you are not anywhere nearby!

    The sound is excellent and I hesitate to make comments because of the inevitable deterioration of the delivery medium, but if forced to comment I would want SLIGHTLY more presence. Of course that means getting closer and that can mean harsher, so what to do?

    Aim upwards, of course. And I agree with Jeremy on width (IOW less would be good) and that presents a dlilemma when you fold in a coincident pair-- comb filtering. One possible solution is to lessen the angle to 90 degrees and possibly less. I would also take a different approach with the flankers-- use them as hall mics. Aim into the hall, and place them a few (or many) feet behind the main pair. Also play with separation. You are after "bloom" as well as reverb, so play around with that track in your DAW with delay and non-delay. Remember what Duke Ellington said: "If it SOUNDS good, it IS good."

    Witb chamber music that uses piano I almost always use touchups on the piano. MY favs are TLM193 zero degrees angle and about 10 inches apart. Up just enough to increase clarity but not loudness,

    As for DPA vs Schoeps, I will try to post soon an AB conparison I did between DPA 4017 and Schoeps CMC621. It is like comparing a good dry white (DPA) to a great merlot (Schoeps). Neither one is best. And I would not want to be without either brand.

    And same irritating question-- what micpres?

    Rich
     
  14. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Well, if you keep improving at this rate I will be increasingly glad you are not anywhere nearby!

    The sound is excellent and I hesitate to make comments because of the inevitable deterioration of the delivery medium, but if forced to comment I would want SLIGHTLY more presence. Of course that means getting closer and that can mean harsher, so what to do?

    Aim upwards, of course. And I agree with Jeremy on width (IOW less would be good) and that presents a dlilemma when you fold in a coincident pair-- comb filtering. One possible solution is to lessen the angle to 90 degrees and possibly less. I would also take a different approach with the flankers-- use them as hall mics. Aim into the hall, and place them a few (or many) feet behind the main pair. Also play with separation. You are after "bloom" as well as reverb, so play around with that track in your DAW with delay and non-delay. Remember what Duke Ellington said: "If it SOUNDS good, it IS good."

    Witb chamber music that uses piano I almost always use touchups on the piano. MY favs are TLM193 zero degrees angle and about 10 inches apart. Up just enough to increase clarity but not loudness,

    As for DPA vs Schoeps, I will try to post soon an AB conparison I did between DPA 4017 and Schoeps CMC621. It is like comparing a good dry white (DPA) to a great merlot (Schoeps). Neither one is best. And I would not want to be without either brand.

    And same irritating question-- what micpres?

    Rich
     
  15. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    The signal chain is Yamaha DM2000 pres and A/D into a Tascam CDRW-2000 via AES/EBU (yup, 16 bit. in the future, I will be changing this). This hall has it's own equipment, but someday I'm going to bring in my Sebatron pres and see what happens.

    Rich, thanks a bunch for the great advice. The width is an issue, and I see than now. Blumlein might be better in the future.
     
  16. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    That's a recipe for disaster if it is too wide with ORTF, unless you are thinking of folding the image in a bit. One of the many wonderful attributes of the SF12 is that you can fold it all the way in to mono without comb filter wierdness.

    Image width is a very "personal" thing. For chamber I do not like bigger-than-life imaging, but I DO like the hall sound to be very expansive. Which happens to be what it is like when sitting in a good hall.

    Rich
     
  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    This is one of the reasons that I'm not a big fan of ORTF.

    If the image is too wide, it's difficult to collapse. If the ensemble is the wrong size, you can get a whole in the middle. (ORTF is distance dependent. The most coherent imaging gained by ORTF comes when there is a healthy amount of distance between the ensemble and the mics. With larger ensembles in bigger halls, this isn't a problem. With smaller ensembles in these same halls, you are often forced to get too close in to the ensemble to avoid a wash of reverb. In these cases, the center image can disappear or go lifeless very easily. Altering angles can help, but if done even slightly wrong, you're screwed.)

    This is why, if I have to go directional, a lot of times, I'll use XY with omni flanks. The XY is a very tight, often unnatural pattern (too tight), but with liberal use of the flanks, you can get an incredibly natural sound.

    The safest bet when going ORTF is to use something along the lines of the MK21 capsule from Schoeps. These mics can do things mere mortal mics just can't.

    J.
     
  18. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    And now I know. I love this forum! Thanks Jeremy.
     

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