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Stereo Recording - the Decca Tree technique

I've done my first Decca Tree recording

In all the years I've been recording, Decca Trees have been a mystery to me. I've been at sessions where they were used and the amount of hardware up in the air was daunting, but with a bit of effort, I've done one - in a venue with less that wonderful acoustics, and the effort was worth it!

In the video, I mentioned the files so you can try for yourself. The mono tracks are a bit bland, but when you pan the left, left, centre centre and right to right - the stereo field opens up really nicely. Have a listen - these are the files from a rehearsal take, so forgive them the mistakes, but you can localise where they came from, which is really nice.

I can now understand why for the big orchestral and choral sessions, the Decca Tree is so popular, and if I can manage the mountings for future recordings, I'll certainly repeat it.

Download the files and try it for yourself. I've also included a mix, with a little extra reverb help. I can't host them here because of the two file limit - so I have put the mix here, and you can download the raw files, untreated, from my server.

Comments

Bertel37 Mon, 05/02/2022 - 04:24

Paulears describes the pains rigging up a Decca tree with a set of LDC microphones which usually have a weight of 500 .. 800 grams each. I started using the Decca tree in early 2008 for recording a choir in a small church. I made my own construction using 8x1 mm aluminium tubes for a light weight arrangement holding 3 omni SDC microphones on a conventional microphone stand with an 1m extension to reach approx. 3.5 m in height. Since SDC omnis ar rather more omni than LDC types I prefer them anyway apart from weight. This way I have little trouble with respect to transport and setup of the tree.

I think my recording is not much worse with the SDC omnis. (I do not rate the choir !)

paulears Mon, 05/02/2022 - 05:14

Bertel37 wrote:

I think my recording is not much worse with the SDC omnis. (I do not rate the choir !)

I thing that's another example of a 'big' recording - the piano got captured very well I thought. On the choir front, so much about them is just their makeup - most have the same problems, unless they have sufficient applicants for the entry process to be very selective - most of the choirs and orchestras I do have this issue. I'm lucky in that I get to put some of the stuff out there, but I have lots I cannot share, because they don't want things on YouTube. Recording an hour and being able to release just 5 minutes is common. I have one piece of classical German Operetta I have even had a cease and desist legal letter, because the person singing got famous, and remembered I had recorded her in her, less, er, wonderful stage of her career. In fairness, I get to share more choir work than any of the more modern stuff I record.

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