Jump to content
  • JoeWhip
    JoeWhip

    Sound Liaison One Mic + Recording

     

     

    IMG-20200817-WA0003.jpg

     

     

    Back in June 2019, I penned an article extolling the virtues of the superb One Mic Recordings released by Dutch audiophile label Sound Liaison. For those not familiar with that article, the link is here. The special nature of these recordings was made possible by the Josephson C700S microphone and the skillful use and placement of that mic by the recording engineer, Frans De Rond. In the piece, I discussed the four albums that were recorded using the one mic technique, noting that with each successive recording the sound improved as Frans continued to experiment with the placement of the mic in front of the musicians. All four of the recordings sounded superb with natural tone, spaciousness and pin point placement of the musicians in the sound field. All of the recordings featured a sensational sense of space from left to right as well as front to back depth. However, I did note an issue with using this technique with a vocalist and a drummer on the Carmen Gomes, Inc. recording Don’t You Cry. The issue was the fact that the drummer had to play a bit more reserved than with a multi miked recording so as to not drown out the vocalist. That was not an issue with the double bass or guitar as those musicians can just move up closer for their solos. That, however, is not possible with a drum kit. While the recording still sounded wonderful, it did lack a bit of dynamics. As the other three recordings did not involve a vocalist, this was not an issue. After my article appeared, Sound Liaison continued to release more one mic recordings which continued to improve with each release. Again, those recordings did not involve a vocalist. The question was how to improve the one mic recordings with a vocalist. This brings us to the latest one mic recording featuring Carmen Gomes, Up Jump the Devil, being released November 13th in high resolution, where this issue was resolved, completely.


    CarmenUJTD300shadowDXD.jpgYou will no doubt infer from the title of this article that the solution was to add some mic reenforcement to the drums and even the bass. I will let Frans describe what has been done and why he calls this a one mic plus recording.

     

    "There are several reasons at play why this is a One Mic plus recording.


    Maybe the most important is that I realized that when we had Carmen so close to the one mic she was creating an acoustic baffle that covered up certain frequencies.


    The same was true for Peter Bjørnild's double bass.


    For this recording the role of drummer Bert Kampsteeg was very important. We wanted him to be able to play as freely and dynamic as possible. By moving Carmen and Peter further away the drum sound got much more present.


    You could argue that this is a return to old fashioned multi mic recording but I don't think that is true, drums and guitar and a big part of the double bass sound is still coming from the Josephson 700s. The microphone is absolutely central to the sound stage we have created.


    I recorded Carmen and supported Peter's bass with two Josephson C700A microphones. The C700A is identical to the C700S except that it has only one figure of 8 capsule.


    But the beauty of these mic's are that spill colorization is much less of a problem. So they are perfect as spot mic's.
    We wanted the small 'sound scape' compositions to have a very dark atmosphere, (Peter said he wanted them sounding as dark as the Mississippi night) so I decided to add a spaced pair of Josephson C617 microphones up very high in the studio and let them be our main source of ambience. I think that worked very well. And also the deep drop tuned low 'A' of 27.5 Hz from the double bass got picked up very well by that pair. Such a low note is almost impossible to hear close up, somehow you only hear the upper harmonics generated, so that was an extra benefit of the ambient pair. And it made me fall even more in love with the sound of studio 2.


    Another funny thing....I keep learning things about the 700s. I have to keep forcing my self to keep experimenting with distance, closer or further away from the mic, it is absolutely crucial to get the best possible sound. I don't think I have ever captured Folker Tettero's guitar better than on this album and it was a question of moving the right leg of the table with the amp on, 2 cm. (0,787 inch) backwards and there the sound was! Unbelievable." 

     

    I have had the opportunity to discuss the recording process with several recording engineers like Frans and always learn something. My biggest takeaway is that the recording process is as much art as it is science. It is the types of microphones used, their placement, room acoustics and the like that are important rather than whether you record digitally or analog, PCM or DSD. Spectacular results can be had in many different ways. And yes, the sound of this latest recording from Sound Liaison is spectacular.

     

    IMG_20200717_114644.jpgThe album is a blues jazz tinged affair featuring some Robert Johnson songs. Rather than having clean breaks between tracks, the spaces normally between tracks are filled with what I can best describe as atmospherics, featuring drummer Bert Kampsteeg using his brushes on the snare and the bowing and plucking of the bass along with the clanging of the guitar. As a result the songs almost blend together all having a similar vibe and tempo, with the exception of the penultimate track, Stop Breaking Down, which is much more upbeat. The specialness of the sound of this recording is evident from the first few notes which feature the drums. The metallic sound of the cymbals and high hat is strikingly real as is the natural decaying of the notes. The kick drum is rock solid. This is some of the best sounding drum sound I have ever heard on a recording. Very dynamic and not reserved. The sound of the double bass is full, rich and powerful where needed but with no hint of bloat. And the guitar.....It is clear and reverberant. Naturally, not with added reverb. Of course, the vocals are captured beautifully. Carmen is right there in front of you. This recording doesn’t take you to the recording studio. Even better, it brings the recording studio to your listening room. Very few studio recordings do this. The drums to the left, Carmen in the middle in front of the instruments and the bass just to the right of her and the guitar to the right side of the soundstage. The sound is totally three dimensional. You almost feel like you can reach out and touch everyone. The sound is totally open with natural decay and depth. It is stunning. It really is. No hyperbole. 

     

    One more word about the drums. Far too many recording engineers pan the drums across the soundstage, giving an unnatural size to the drums. Not here. The drums are focused in the sound field and sound like a drum kit does live. I wish this was the case in more jazz recordings.

     

    In addition to finding the sound of this recording to be superb, I also found the music to be really satisfying as well. That, of course, is always a matter of individual taste. I can state without question, that if you have enjoyed the other Carmen Gomes, Inc. releases by Sound Liaison, you will enjoy this release as well. Sonically, I believe this to be the best ever released by Sound Liaison. Well done, very well done.

     

     

     

     

     

    Sound Laison Album Page - LINK

     

    Total time: 45:19
    Catalog Number: SL-1043A

    Original recording format DXD 352,8 kHz - Premium
    All other formats are converted versions of the original.
    This is a One Mic + recording; 
    Main central microphone: Josephson C700S
    Support microphone Carmen: Josephson C700A
    Support microphone  Peter's bass:  Josephson C700A
    Ambience microphones spaced pair of 2 Josephson C617


    Recording, mixing and mastering by Frans de Rond.
    Recorded at MCO, Studio 2, Hilversum, The Netherlands, on the 16th and the 17th of July 2020.
    Produced by Peter Bjørnild.
    Music arranged by Peter Bjørnild with lots of help from Carmen, Folker and Bert.

    Used equipment:

    Micpre's: Merging Horus
    Microphone cables by AudioQuest

    Speakers: TAD Compact Evolution
    Poweramp: Moon 760A
    Mixing headphones: Sennheiser HD800S / AKG 702

    All power cables and power conditioners by AudioQuest.

    Cover photo and video by Milan Bjørnild
    2 Meter Sessions photo's by Michael Boersma

     

     

    Carmen_v1_foto.jpg



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Thank you.  Even the YouTube video through computer speakers reveals something different in the sound quality.  

    Really enjoy reading about recording techniques.  Will check out the recordings now.  

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Umm, my laptop speakers make it sound as if the drummer is disconnected from the rest of the music - he sounds like he's in the shed out the back of the studio - so, I can't give the recording a stupendous thumbs up, sorry 'bout that ... 😝.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    5 hours ago, PAP said:

    Well written and well researched. The album sounds even better now with this excellent back ground information. Thanks. 

    Well, using a single-point stereo mike is a recording technique that I stumbled upon some years ago. I make all of my recordings using a single point mike. Mine is an Avantone CK-40 and is a large capsule (one inch) gold-sputtered Mylar diaphragm FET condenser mike. It is one of the best sounding mikes I’ve ever used; easily besting the extremely expensive and similar Telefunken ELA-M-270. The main differences being that the Telefunken has an etched brass diaphragm and the CK-40 has a modern sputtered Mylar diaphragm and the Telefunken is a tubed mike while the Avantone is FET. Believe me I have found that a good single point stereo condenser mike is the best way to record everything from a simple jazz or string quartet all the way to a full symphony orchestra (not really suitable for non-acoustic pop or rock though).

    What put me on to this recording method was a Turnabout recording of Copland’s “Billy the Kid” and “Rodeo” with the Dallas Symphony made in the late 50’s using a single point ribbon stereo mike and a passive “mixer”. It had the most natural soundstage that I had ever heard. I subsequently bought a B&O ribbon stereo mike, but at the time I couldn’t find enough quiet gain for the thing. But the Avantone was perfect in that regard and I have been pleased with it’s performance ever since.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I downloaded two free tracks.  These are instrumental and vocals using the single mic.  While the drum was indeed muffled in the native DXD format, it sounded more dynamic in DSD format.   ????     And the DSD sounded more relaxed and detailed as well.    

     

    Anyone else try this experiment?  

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    6 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Oh no, I hope @fas42 doesn't watch. Oops, I let the cat out of the bag.

     

    Oops indeed.  On another thread I mentioned how YouTube is useless for listening to different gear for purposes of truly hearing the quality of the equipment.  So, what I meant was that even lousy YouTube revealed a different quality in the recording.  @fas42, try downloading the free samples.  The recordings are very natural (at least, for me, in DSD - see above).  They cannot be heard properly through the computer.  

     

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    9 hours ago, PYP said:

    I downloaded two free tracks.  These are instrumental and vocals using the single mic.  While the drum was indeed muffled in the native DXD format, it sounded more dynamic in DSD format.   ????     And the DSD sounded more relaxed and detailed as well.    

     

    Anyone else try this experiment?  

    Can you provide a link to the files? Do you mean Carmen Gomez "A Fool For You" from Sings The Blues, compare the formats? This was a multi-microphone recording.

     

    BTW there are many reviews now on the Sound Liaison site itself. This one give some more background on the DXD sampler, One Mic and the recording process.

     

    Nice article@JoeWhip

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    11 hours ago, PYP said:

     

    Oops indeed.  On another thread I mentioned how YouTube is useless for listening to different gear for purposes of truly hearing the quality of the equipment.  So, what I meant was that even lousy YouTube revealed a different quality in the recording.  @fas42, try downloading the free samples.  The recordings are very natural (at least, for me, in DSD - see above).  They cannot be heard properly through the computer.  

     

     

    The Redbook download of the album in question is only 8 euro on Bandcamp, sounds good. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    4 hours ago, blue2 said:

    Can you provide a link to the files? Do you mean Carmen Gomez "A Fool For You" from Sings The Blues, compare the formats? This was a multi-microphone recording.

     

    https://www.soundliaison.com/index.php/6-compare-formats   I compared the highest resolution DXD and DSD.  Not sure if this is one mic or multi-mic, but the drums didn't sound live to me on the DXD.  Interestingly, when I listed to these tracks with my wife, she was primarily listening to the vocals and found the DXD "richer" than the DSD.  As usual, she is correct about the sound qualities.  Then I realized I am very used to the DSD-type of sound and listen for that.  If the DXD is "more analog," then I understand what folks look for in excellent vinyl reproduction (I've only heard OK vinyl reproduction, even in high-end stores).  To my ears, the "analog" sound on this recording isn't quite live, but then the DSD/redbook isn't either.  Nice to have alternatives.  

     

    For the sampler download, I'll try the DXD since the muffled drums seem to be an issue only when using one mic and trying to record vocals at the same time.  

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    11 hours ago, PYP said:

    https://www.soundliaison.com/index.php/6-compare-formats   I compared the highest resolution DXD and DSD.  Not sure if this is one mic or multi-mic, but the drums didn't sound live to me on the DXD.  Interestingly, when I listed to these tracks with my wife, she was primarily listening to the vocals and found the DXD "richer" than the DSD.  As usual, she is correct about the sound qualities.  Then I realized I am very used to the DSD-type of sound and listen for that.  If the DXD is "more analog," then I understand what folks look for in excellent vinyl reproduction (I've only heard OK vinyl reproduction, even in high-end stores).  To my ears, the "analog" sound on this recording isn't quite live, but then the DSD/redbook isn't either.  Nice to have alternatives.  

     

    For the sampler download, I'll try the DXD since the muffled drums seem to be an issue only when using one mic and trying to record vocals at the same time.  

    Are you saying the drums are muffled on the record under review? Cos they sound clear as a bell to me on the redbook download, if only all redbook were done as well as this. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    41 minutes ago, Rexp said:

    Are you saying the drums are muffled on the record under review? Cos they sound clear as a bell to me on the redbook download, if only all redbook were done as well as this. 

    I downloaded "A fool for you" in PMC352 (DXD premium) and DSD256.  The DSD sounded dynamic and the DXD sounded very nice except for the drum, which was very far back in the mix.  

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Completely different album than the subject of this piece. I have the Sings the Blues in both 24/192 and a special request 24/176.4 recording and do not hear what you are describing.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    47 minutes ago, JoeWhip said:

    Completely different album than the subject of this piece. I have the Sings the Blues in both 24/192 and a special request 24/176.4 recording and do not hear what you are describing.

    Interesting.  Are those FLAC files?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    That said I do very much agree with Joe's observation that; 

    Quote

     Far too many recording engineers pan the drums across the soundstage, giving an unnatural size to the drums. Not here. The drums are focused in the sound field and sound like a drum kit does live. I wish this was the case in more jazz recordings.

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    3 hours ago, PAP said:

    I think there are several good audiophile jazz albums by first rate musicians to be had from various labels.

    ECM  comes to mind as well as Naim and Linn and most of the Sound Liaison catalogue where the album bespoken here is from.

     

    and, to my ears, Blue Note has may excellent jazz albums going back decades.  Blue Note (in general) has a certain full and organic sound that works for me.   

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Dutch TV recorded the band around the same time as when  they recorded the SOUND LIAISON Album .

    The video does show how wel in balance the band plays, I mean look at Carmen standing right next to the drummer, and still you hear everything.

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    3 hours ago, PAP said:

    Dutch TV recorded the band around the same time as when  they recorded the SOUND LIAISON Album .

    The video does show how wel in balance the band plays, I mean look at Carmen standing right next to the drummer, and still you hear everything.

     

     

    All the instruments "on top of each other", and still you hear everything, is what happens with any recording, when the playback evolves to a competent level - it's one of the most obvious markers of playback reaching the right quality level; blurring of the acoustic clues that allow our hearing to distinguish what's happening in the recording spaces, is the giveaway of sub-par replay.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I was finally able to give this album a critical listen today, and was blown away.  Definitely one of Carmen's best, and the recording is one of the best I've heard from SL.  Not having yet read this review (no spoilers ;) I kept doing a double take at the quality of the recording of the guitar (wow).  Now reading the interview, I can see I wasn't the only one ;)

     

    Great write up Joe!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...