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Ols Style Orchestra Sound

Discussion in 'Orchestra' started by Midlandmorgan, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    (At suggestion of a well respected engineer/frequent poster, I am bringing this up at this forum....)

    I am looking to obtain the ...how do I put it? .... magical sounds of orchestras like Nelson Riddle, Nat King Cole, some classical, etc. Been commissioned to do a LOT of remote work this season, and would like to get that essentially enormously warm sound, using DAW...The rooms that have been ID'd are very good if not GREAT sounding venues....Conventional wisdom suggests the fewer mics the better.

    Micing techniques are not really a problem (I think I got a good handle on them) but I was more curious as to gear.... 4-5 M50s are out of the question, as is (dadgummit) a Crane Song Spider....so, with that in mind, what would you recommend signal chain wise? Tube gear in there? Colored/uncolored stuff?

    Current (as in bought and paid for) goodies include Josephson C42 set, modified ADK A51 IIIs, pair of AT 4041s, AT 4040s, and an RCA SK46 ribbon....pres include a pair of OSA/API, a Mindprint, and the oft slammed but to my ears very functional Focusrite Octopre...

    Suggestions/comments/ideas are all welcome....

    (Thanks, Rich...)

  2. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    The orchestra recording of that time period used a decidedly colored set of gear. Lots of tube and ribbon mics were used, lots of tubes in pres/consoles and of course analog tape.

    This whole notion of the almost sterile straight wire with gain from mic to recorder is a pretty modern notion since we have the equipment to be able to do that.

    The rooms they'd record in are great acoustic spaces and they had great players on the sessions as well. The studio recording method also uses a number of spot microphones inside the various sections- from the strings to the winds. It isn't purist, but it gives you a great sound.

    If you want to get a sound that is similar in the field, I have a couple suggestions. First of all, warmer sounding mics... You have some good mics, but many of your condensers have a presence peak to them. A more reasonably priced tube mic to look at is the Neumann UM57. It will give you a "larger than life" kind of sound- especially if you use a pair of them as your mains. Then because of the limited frequency response, use a more full range pair of omnis for flanks so that you preserve your top end. Something like a good pair of ribbons would be another way to go (ie Coles, Royers, etc...).

    Also, with your focusrite, be careful of gain staging... There are a lot of lower-end pres out there that sound good as long as they are nowhere near distorting levels. Use better pres for your mains/flanks, and keep stuff like the octopre for spots so you can keep the levels going through it lower.

    Hope this helps some...

  3. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    Helps quite a bit...actually, gives me exactly what I was looking for (and sadly, financially expecting...)

    Thanks again, Ben
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