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Prokofiev Piano Sonata No. 6

Hi guys, miss me?

So I hadn't done any recording in a while, but last night I recorded a talented young lady playing a concert of some difficult material. Hoping to build on my [="http://recording.org/ftopicp-252336.html#252336"]previous experiences[/]="http://recording.or…"]previous experiences[/], I took that approach and modified it per Spearritt's suggestions.

[[url=http://="http://dmfrench2.iw…"]Excerpt from Vivace of Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6[/]="http://dmfrench2.iw…"]Excerpt from Vivace of Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6[/]

I used a pair of R-122 in Blumlein 8' from the piano and 4' high and a pair of CMC62 in AB spaced 2.5' apart, 7' from the piano, and 7' high. In retrospect this may have been too close (you tell me), but I had no soundcheck this time, so oh well. The Royers were mixed in at about -4dB relative to the Schoeps.

I liked the tone I had on the last recording, aside from being a little bottom heavy, but it had no image definition. This one has more image and I think better tone, but I'm still not thrilled. Any suggestions for building on this next time?

Comments

David French Tue, 05/23/2006 - 09:40
Thank you David.

I have some questions about things that I see as inconsistencies in your replies. I hope you don't take this is as nitpicking, but I'm eally confused and eager to learn from you.

1) Up [="http://recording.org/ftopicp-276522.html#276522"]here[/]="http://recording.or…"]here[/] you said the main pair should be 3-4 m away, but in the last post you said 2-3. My main pair was 8' away, which is 2.44 m, right in the middle of your 2-3 m range.

[[url=http://="http://recording.or…"]Here[/]="http://recording.or…"]Here[/], on the other thread (point 6), you said that you like the Blumlein pair to be behind the omnis such that they get the same direct to reverb balance, but here you said the Blum should be much closer than the omnis.

Now, this has nothing to do with ears, but I decided to check out the angles graphically. See [="http://xs301.xs.to/xs301/06212/PianoBlumDist.jpg"]this scale drawing[/]="http://xs301.xs.to/…"]this scale drawing[/]. One set of lines represents teh extent of the sound source for a 90 degree sweep and the other pair represents the extent of the sound source for a 72 degree sweep (the correct SRA as calculated [[url=http://="http://www.hauptmik…"]here[/]="http://www.hauptmik…"]here[/], which is based on M. Williams's The Stereophonic Zoom. I find that you should be this far away for each case:

90 degrees - 1.168 m
72 degrees - 1.76 m

Like I said, no ears involved, but if the soundboard is the extent of the sound source, then this should be right.

Also, it seems like getting the piano to fill the stereo field in the blum array and getting the correct direct to reverb ratio will usually be mutually exclusive.

Did I mention no sound check? 8)

ptr Tue, 05/23/2006 - 12:22
David French wrote: Monkey's Audio did 2.1% better than FLAC at 24 bit and 4.3% better than FLAC at 16 bit.

You're welcome! - Small procentages but if You're dealing with big files small amounts to big!

Quite an interesting discussion om positioning at the grand you have here...

/ptr

larsfarm Tue, 05/23/2006 - 12:47
Nice playing!

First, I'd be happy if I could catch a piano like you did. You heard my results in an earlier thread... I hope you don't mind my questions. I make them in order to learn from the dialog. The Schoeps pair sounds quite nice, but it puzzles me a bit. Some sounds in it seems close and others not so close. The softer and lower register sounds full and smooth, but the forte right hand playing sounds has a different character. There is plenty of room in the Schoeps pair too, isn't there? Should one have more? Could you perhaps add your mic positions to the drawing you made earlier?

best regards
Lars

DavidSpearritt Tue, 05/23/2006 - 14:17
Yes, I have been a little inconsistent. Sorry about that. Operating from memory. Lets get the notebook out.

Looking at my notes from the last piano recording I did with the SF24 and Omni outriggers, here are the dimensions.

1. SF24, 2770mm from front leg, piano skewed with tail around so that the tail leg is 440mm further back than the near front leg.

2. SF24 2070mm high

3. 4003's, 2140mm away from near front leg, 740mm out each side of centre line where SF24 was, and 2370mm high.

So in summary, the omnis were a little nearer than the SF24, spaced 1.5m apart, and 2.4m high, whereas the SF24 was further out and lower.

Now I think I said that the omnis should be nearer based on theory, due to the directivity accent from the SF24, but that you should use your ears.

I also said to START with the mics in these sorts of positions but move them as required as I cannot possibly understand what your hall is like. Unfortunately I have been too specific about my case and you have taken me too literally without a sound check. Our rooms are obviously very different and one should always listen and adjust.

I know you said you didn't have a sound check, and from your dimensions and sound of your omni pr, your room is smaller than the one I am in. Is this true? I am in a chamber concert hall that seats 1200. Ceiling height at the stage is some 17m. What is your room like.

Sorry to have confused you.

DavidSpearritt Tue, 05/23/2006 - 14:25
Also, it seems like getting the piano to fill the stereo field in the blum array and getting the correct direct to reverb ratio will usually be mutually exclusive.

Yes a little. Again these are starting positions before repositioning after careful listening and balance.

I find the big problem with Blumlein is that on its own it can sound mono and too far away if a very quick balance is done in headphones without proper listening. So if I am setting up without decent sound check, I start by placing it closer than one would like, to spread the image and I can usually do something with it later with a little reverb. If its too far away there is nothing that can be done.

DavidSpearritt Mon, 05/29/2006 - 02:26
I have permission from the artist to post these samples. The pianist is Jayson Gillham, http://www.jaysongillham.com

The two samples are made with same pianist, same piano, same hall, same piece. You can't get much better than that for consistency. :)

Etude 1 is the setup as described above. Etude 2 is similar but with Schoeps MK21 outriggers instead of the omnis and with slightly different positions of mics and piano. Both main pairs are the glorious SF24.

http://www.lodestarrecordings.com.au/downloads/Etude1.mp3
http://www.lodestarrecordings.com.au/downloads/Etude2.mp3

David French Tue, 05/23/2006 - 16:24
Interesting.

2770 mm is about 9 feet, and my Blumlein pair was about 8 feet away. Yours was about 6.8 feet high, while mine was only about 4 feet high. So, you were about 1.8 feet (54 cm) farther away. Yours presumably was not too far, but mine was way too far, yet mine was closer. Yes, differeny halls. Mine at 600 seats is smaller. Greater sound density at the same distance? [="http://www.bsu.edu/alumni/media/36164/alumnusnov04mibsursahall.jpg"]Here's[/]="http://www.bsu.edu/…"]Here's[/] a picture of the hall, and [[url=http://="http://dmfrench2.iw…"]here's[/]="http://dmfrench2.iw…"]here's[/] a stereo impulse I made of the hall. The speaker was a Genelec 1037C. It was resting back on a chair aimed up and out into the hall. The mics (4007 spaced 30 cm and 250 cm high) were about 2/3rds of the hall's length back (at FOH). That should give you a very good idea of what I'm dealing with.

Our omnis were the same distance away, yours are twice as wide, and your were just a little bit higher.

We have the same setup except for four major factors: Your SF-24 was twice as high, your omnis are brighter, , your omnis were twice as wide, and your hall is bigger. All in all, It still seems odd to me that my recording is so very much worse. I really want to get to the bottom of this. I woudl be very happy to be able to make piano recordings as good as yours. Could you post a little of this recording you've been speaking of?

aracu Tue, 05/23/2006 - 19:28
David (Spearritt), I'm surprised that you recomend placing the outriggers 4 meters apart, which seems far apart, but I take your word for it based on the high quality of your recordings. Would you recomend a similar
placement as a starting point, if the main mic is a AKG c426b and the
outriggers are Sennheiser 800's ?

aracu Mon, 05/29/2006 - 19:24
In each example, the recording process has become
part of the process of musical interpretation. The first
example draws attention to detail and the beautiful
sound of the piano, seeming to probe inside the
instrument and performer. It brings out an emotional
warmth and gives a good idea of the lovely sound
qualities of the Royer. The second example has a
slightly hazy, blurred, impersonal character. Maybe
the outrigger mics are turned up or maybe the Royer
is further away. This version adds to the trancending
"religious" quality of the music inherent in the composition,
and sounds appropriate to it. The piano sounds unified with
the space of the hall.

DavidSpearritt Wed, 05/24/2006 - 05:05
We have the same setup except for four major factors: Your SF-24 was twice as high, your omnis are brighter, , your omnis were twice as wide, and your hall is bigger. All in all, It still seems odd to me that my recording is so very much worse. I really want to get to the bottom of this. I woudl be very happy to be able to make piano recordings as good as yours. Could you post a little of this recording you've been speaking of?

The hall is the big factor of difference here. I will try to post something when and if I get permission from the artist.

Cucco Wed, 05/24/2006 - 09:19
Outriggers spaced 4m is perfectly acceptable when using such a strong center as blumlein/ortf/XY. For piano, I certainly wouldn't go MUCH further, but 4m is fine. The purpose of the omni outriggers really is to capture the sound of the instrument in the space, not the sound of the instruments mechanics. Leave that to the center pair.

As for direction - aim them how you'd like. With more directional omnis (such as M50s or M296s), I would bring them slightly towards center and angled down slightly towards the instrument. For less directional ones (Schoeps, Earthworks, DPA), it's all a matter of personal preference.

aracu Wed, 05/24/2006 - 09:50
Very interesting. The one thing I don't understand is, if the goal of
the outriggers is to capture the sound of the instrument(s) in the
space, why not have them much further back in the hall. David
Spearritt suggested that having the main pair closer would produce
a wider and dryer stereo image, so why not have the outriggers
much further back to capture more ambience. I guess it would depend
on the acoustics of the particular hall.

Cucco Wed, 05/24/2006 - 10:57
aracu wrote: Very interesting. The one thing I don't understand is, if the goal of
the outriggers is to capture the sound of the instrument(s) in the
space, why not have them much further back in the hall. David
Spearritt suggested that having the main pair closer would produce
a wider and dryer stereo image, so why not have the outriggers
much further back to capture more ambience. I guess it would depend
on the acoustics of the particular hall.

Think of it this way (well, I do at least).

Get the mics up on the instrument too close and you capture the instrument virtually devoid of space.

Get the mics away from the instrument too far (deep into the hall) and you capture the essence of the space, but nothing much of the instrument.

Put the mics where there is a good blend of the two and you now have a great sense of how the instrument actually interacts with the space. That's the purpose of these outriggers.

J.

Cucco Wed, 05/24/2006 - 11:14
Mr. French -

I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of doing what I could with your piano sample. I found the tracks to be usable overall. Granted, there are things I'd like to be better, but I think you still have a potentially good recording on your hands.

(Dead Link Removed)

What I did -

Each file to its own track.

Left Schoeps at unity gain and panned hard left and right.
Placed left R122 at -2.0 dB and panned -20 dB left
Placed right R122 at -6.2 dB and panned 20 dB right

EQ on Schoeps - HPF at 29Hz
EQ on R122 - High Shelf at 2700 Hz with max gain at peak of curve at 2.2 dB

EQ on total mix - 1dB cut at 814 Hz spanning 2.5 octaves

SIR Reverb - added in lightly to flavor.

Let me know what you think. Given a little more time, I'm sure there's more to do, but I was satisfied with these results after only 5 minutes of playing.

J.

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