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I've just uploaded some format comparisons that people may find interesting. There are two actual tracks (each an approximate 1 minute excerpt) and there are 4 different format combinations of each track (so 8 tracks in total).

 

The comparisons are as follows (with file names given)

 

1. track_01_original_24192. One minute excerpt from Classic Records HDAD 2029 - Wagner Stokowski Everest Records. This is a bit perfect rip from the original commercial HDAD disk at the original resolution and bit depth of 192 KHz, 24 bit.

 

2. track_01_original_jonp_redbook. The same as above, but I have downsampled it and dithered it to the best of my ability and experience to 44.1 KHz, 16 bit redbook standard.

 

3. track_01_original_jonp_redbook_back_to_24192. As per 2 above, but padded back to a 24 bit container and then resampled back to 192 KHz.

 

4. track_01_original_redbook. This is the same excerpt as all of the above, but when the original analogue to digital conversion was made during the mastering sessions, a redbook quality analogue to digital conversion was made concurrently to the 24 bit 192 KHz one. So what you are hearing here is precisely the same analogue source material as in excerpt 1 - played into the two identical converters at precisely the same time, but one of the convertors was set to 16 bit, 44.1 KHz, as opposed to 24 bit, 192 KHz for the other (as per excerpt 1). This is a bit perfect rip from the redbook CD included in the commercial release.

 

 

5. track_02_original_24192. One minute excerpt from Classic Records HDAD 2014 - Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3 Everest Records. This is a bit perfect rip from the original commercial HDAD disk at the original resolution and bit depth of 192 KHz, 24 bit.

 

6. track_02_original_jonp_redbook. The same as above, but I have downsampled it and dithered it to the best of my ability and experience to 44.1 KHz, 16 bit redbook standard.

 

7. track_02_original_jonp_redbook_back_to_24192. As per 2 above, but padded back to a 24 bit container and then resampled back to 192 KHz.

 

8. track_02_original_redbook. This is the same excerpt as all of the above, but when the original analogue to digital conversion was made during the mastering sessions, a redbook quality analogue to digital conversion was made concurrently to the 24 bit 192 KHz one. So what you are hearing here is precisely the same analogue source material as in excerpt 5 - played into the two identical converters at precisely the same time, but one of the convertors was set to 16 bit, 44.1 KHz, as opposed to 24 bit, 192 KHz for the other (as per excerpt 5). This is a bit perfect rip from the redbook CD included in the commercial release.

 

 

Download is approximately 162 MB in FLAC format (recommended to convert back to wav first before replay).

 

https://www.sendspace.com/file/dzehxh

 

I have compared files 1 with 2 and 5 with 6 on headphones and I think I can understand (or listen to) what people mean with "smearing" (less "crispness"?) and shorter (or muddier?) "decay".

Will try to give it a go with the speakers sometime.

Thanks.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

 

HQPlayer Desktop / Mac mini → Intona 7054 → RME ADI-2 DAC FS (DSD256)

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This is already a bit complex topic in itself. Because you would already need to consider 0-axis frequency response vs diffuse frequency response of the mics. If it is flat at 0-axis the diffuse field is rolled off. If diffuse field is flat, then 0-axis has increase towards high frequencies... (omni mic becomes directive towards HF)

 

I personally prefer flat diffuse field because it sounds more like real thing to me, but I also realize it depends on the recording environment. If one recorded in very damped acoustics like anechoic chamber, then 0-axis would give more correct result. While lively acoustic like a hall or church would give more realistic result with diffuse field compensation.

 

Same goes for headphones, I prefer the ones with roughly flat diffuse field response. (my speakers are also somewhat diffuse field compensated, so the 0-axis anechoic frequency response increases a bit towards high frequencies)

 

Hi Miska,

 

My mics are omnis.

Here is their polar response:

omni-polar-pattern.png

 

As you can see, the on-axis response is flat. The off-axis response is flatter than most other mics are on-axis. And they settle *fast*. I love these mics. (Mine are a matched pair.)

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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I suggest getting an audio editor and playing with resampling. You will be able to see the frequency response to sine waves and the impulse response to transients with this tool as well as conduct various statistical measurements. You can also listen to the sonic effects. To get as much of an "apples to apples" comparison start with a hires file and down convert and then up convert using the filters you are testing. Then compare the original and final files. With an audio editor you can examine exactly what the filters do by zooming into to individual samples of a file, difference the input and output files, etc... and apart from dither noise objective results will be consistently repeatable. (Not so, often, with subjective evaluations, unfortunately. :) )

 

 

 

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As you can see, the on-axis response is flat. The off-axis response is flatter than most other mics are on-axis. And they settle *fast*. I love these mics. (Mine are a matched pair.)

 

Yes, this mic is certainly flatter off-axis than many other mics. The 20 kHz line at 90 degree line (if I can see correctly from the small pic) indicates that there's somewhere around -3 roll-off at 20 kHz in the diffuse field.

 

I would use this kind of mic for recoding smaller groups in smaller spaces, but not for symphony orchestra with minimal two mic setup where I think it would sound a rolled off on highs.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Yes, this mic is certainly flatter off-axis than many other mics. The 20 kHz line at 90 degree line (if I can see correctly from the small pic) indicates that there's somewhere around -3 roll-off at 20 kHz in the diffuse field.

 

I would use this kind of mic for recoding smaller groups in smaller spaces, but not for symphony orchestra with minimal two mic setup where I think it would sound a rolled off on highs.

 

Hi Miska,

 

Everyone has their own approach.

Based on my direct experience with this microphone (which I trust much more than any numeric representation of a device's performance), I'd use this mic any time I want to capture the sound I hear in the presence of an event, regardless of the size of the ensemble or the type of music.

What I hear from it is that it is very good at "getting out of the way". I can't ask for anything beyond that.

 

I'm always interested in microphones, having used many dozens of designs of all types. Most, to my ears, have a "sound." What that sound is doesn't matter to me because any sound is, to my mind, a distortion. I want the sound to come from the source, not from the mics. That is why I love this particular design.

 

Have you done much recording? If you know one that is better at "getting out of the way", I'd love to know what it is so I can try it. Always interested in learning something new. So far, I haven't heard anything with as little "personality" as this one.

 

Just my perspective of course.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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Hi Miska,

 

My mics are omnis.

Here is their polar response:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]17794[/ATTACH]

 

As you can see, the on-axis response is flat. The off-axis response is flatter than most other mics are on-axis. And they settle *fast*. I love these mics. (Mine are a matched pair.)

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

 

Too bad there aren't any speakers that are as Omni as your mics!

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The sound of real life tends to roll at the top. This can be seen with any good sound analysis software package (I'm partial to SpectraFoo).

 

If the monitoring or microphones also roll the top, we get a rolled off version of the reality. To hear the roll off as it exists in reality, we need gear that does not change the input. In other words, the gear *must* be flat. Please don't take my word for this. Try some recordings using flat gear and rolled off gear. It shouldn't be difficult to hear what happens.

 

With regard to the BBC's conclusions, if one is going to compare what comes from speakers vs. the sound of reality, my opinion is that one must be confident that what is fed to the speakers gets it right first. Feed the speakers a bright signal and you'll want the speakers to roll off in order to sound more like reality. Feed them a dull signal and you'll want the speakers to have a treble lift in order to sound more like reality. For this reason, I'd want to know a lot more about the specifics of such a "test" before drawing any conclusions based on it.

 

It is not enough to say the microphone has a flat frequency response. Does it smear time? That can add "brightness." Where was it placed in relation to the sound source? That can skew the resulting recording used to assess the speakers and decide on a desired response.

 

Also, flat frequency response is important but by itself, it is far from enough.

I want flat phase response too. (Who cares if the frequencies are even if they don't arrive on time?)

 

Sound is complex and if we're going to get it right, I believe we need to look at all aspects of it, not focus only on a single aspect to the exclusion of all others.

 

Hi Barry,

 

The British Brodcasting Company Research Department produced government-funded extensive reasearch in the areas of audio and video recording and transmission for more than six decades, employing some of the finest engineers in these fields, I'm sure they knew what they were doing.

 

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/reports/bbc-rd-report-list.pdf

 

They also have (or at least had) a few orchestras and chourses...

 

Have you ever tried the Coles 4038 ribbon mic?

Here's a link to the article on it's design: The Design of a Ribbon Type Pressure-gradient Microphone for Broadcast Transmission - Publications - BBC R&D

 

Best,

Ricardo

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

 

HQPlayer Desktop / Mac mini → Intona 7054 → RME ADI-2 DAC FS (DSD256)

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Hi Barry,

 

The British Brodcasting Company Research Department produced government-funded extensive reasearch in the areas of audio and video recording and transmission for more than six decades, employing some of the finest engineers in these fields, I'm sure they knew what they were doing.

 

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/reports/bbc-rd-report-list.pdf

 

They also have (or at least had) a few orchestras and chourses...

 

Have you ever tried the Coles 4038 ribbon mic?

Here's a link to the article on it's design: The Design of a Ribbon Type Pressure-gradient Microphone for Broadcast Transmission - Publications - BBC R&D

 

Best,

Ricardo

 

Hi Ricardo,

 

Yes, the Coles is a nice sounding mic in some ways. That is exactly what I don't like about it.

I find it has a distinct personality: nice mids, without much reach into the bottom, or the kind of pitch determination that I find to still be one of the weak links in much audio gear. To my ears, it also tends overall toward the dark type of sound some folks prefer. Compared to what I hear at the event, and to other mics that capture the event more faithfully, it loses a bit of what I call "focus."

 

Of course, this is just my perspective. As with anything in audio, if you ask three different folks, you will receive at least four different answers. ;-}

I want the sound to come from the event being captured, not from the gear used to capture it. When the gear can do this reasonably well, I say it "gets out of the way." In my experience, there a a lot of gear that sounds very good (i.e, distorted but in a nice way ;-}). It seems to be the exceptions that get out of the way.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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Have you done much recording? If you know one that is better at "getting out of the way", I'd love to know what it is so I can try it. Always interested in learning something new. So far, I haven't heard anything with as little "personality" as this one.

 

Some amount... The most "out of the way" has been Sennheiser measurement mic capsules plugged into my ear canals and then later listened through a calibrated headphone pair. I can clearly hear any sound direction including above my head and behind me, to the extent it is so convincing that I have to turn my head to see if the sound source is really behind me or coming from the headphones. IOW, so convincing that it is really hard to tell if it is reproduction or a real thing.

 

Traditional microphones will never hear sound the way we do. The only way is to use either real head recording or a dummy head, with calibrated artificial ears.

 

Main problem with minimal mic recording + speaker listening is that you get two acoustics mixed together. Original venue acoustics and listening room acoustics. This is one of the reasons I prefer listening through headphones.

 

I've heard many symphony orchestra recordings that sound rolled off compared to what I hear for example at the new local concert hall (which has carefully designed modern acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota). There's a fixed 5.1 channel Fukada-tree style setup hanging from the ceiling at the front of the stage.

81143822_XMDKCWsXRI4C8U3BvS_p7v0DiXKawhNOkgBoQ0T5Xhk.jpg

 

What I'd like to try for recording larger setups is Sanken CO-100K. At least the Telarc guys using those manage to make pretty good recordings... :) (that mic is pretty flat in diffuse field, so it has increasing on-axis response slope)

 

 

I'm yet to hear a convincing recording of full scale Mahler's 8th, so there's clearly a lot to be done... :)

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Some amount... The most "out of the way" has been Sennheiser measurement mic capsules plugged into my ear canals and then later listened through a calibrated headphone pair. I can clearly hear any sound direction including above my head and behind me, to the extent it is so convincing that I have to turn my head to see if the sound source is really behind me or coming from the headphones. IOW, so convincing that it is really hard to tell if it is reproduction or a real thing.

 

Traditional microphones will never hear sound the way we do. The only way is to use either real head recording or a dummy head, with calibrated artificial ears.

 

Main problem with minimal mic recording + speaker listening is that you get two acoustics mixed together. Original venue acoustics and listening room acoustics. This is one of the reasons I prefer listening through headphones.

 

I've heard many symphony orchestra recordings that sound rolled off compared to what I hear for example at the new local concert hall (which has carefully designed modern acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota). There's a fixed 5.1 channel Fukada-tree style setup hanging from the ceiling at the front of the stage.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]17814[/ATTACH]

 

What I'd like to try for recording larger setups is Sanken CO-100K. At least the Telarc guys using those manage to make pretty good recordings... :) (that mic is pretty flat in diffuse field, so it has increasing on-axis response slope)

 

 

I'm yet to hear a convincing recording of full scale Mahler's 8th, so there's clearly a lot to be done... :)

 

Hi Miska,

 

I always find it interesting to hear how others would approach capturing sound. So far, I've yet to find two folks who would do it the same way, even among my favorite engineers. There are some commonalities sometimes but only that. What seem to be fundamental differences remain.

 

You mention minimal micing and speakers resulting in hearing two acoustics. I find that a properly treated listening room is pretty good at getting out of the way and letting you hear the acoustics of the recording venue. On the other hand, I avoid dummy head type recordings because they mean the results will involve two sets of pinnae. Also, while the spatial information can be interesting, I find the tonal information suffers - and between the two, I want to tone of the instruments first. I want both but the tone has to be there. It is why I listen in the first place.

 

To my ears, having mics high up, such as hanging from the ceiling, makes me feel like I'm looking down on the players when I listen, as if I'm up in a high balcony (aka "the cheap seats"). ;-}

 

What I also find interesting is that even though different engineers choose different approaches, and I find the results having different degrees of realism, a good number, taking vary disparate approaches, create very pleasant recordings. I prefer to use fewer mics than Keith Johnson does, yet I would call him my favorite engineer. I don't like mixing more than a single mic per playback channel. Yet, I love Keith's work and I love the three mic recordings done by Telarc engineers like Jack Renner, and the ones from the "golden age" by C. Robert Fine and by Lewis Layton.

 

I've spent much time experimenting with different mics and different mic spacings to arrive at what I feel gives me the most accurate "picture" of the event. It is an avenue I'll continue to explore, while others follow different but perhaps equally interesting paths.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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On the other hand, I avoid dummy head type recordings because they mean the results will involve two sets of pinnae.

 

It doesn't really with headphones. And if you are too worried about you can use IEMs like Sennheiser IE 800. This is still the only method I've heard to give a really convincing acoustic 3D hemisphere (or a bit more, down to -30 degree vertical plane).

 

To my ears, having mics high up, such as hanging from the ceiling, makes me feel like I'm looking down on the players when I listen, as if I'm up in a high balcony (aka "the cheap seats"). ;-}

 

It's roughly 3 meters above the player level, which is roughly the mid-level of "floor" seats at the hall (check out the picture, it leaves out the balcony areas altogether which is many times unoccupied). Great thing about acoustic design of this hall is that there are almost no bad seats at all, all the seats are good (and no flat floor or straight angles anywhere outside the stage). Not the best possible placement, but probably the best for recording live concert with the hall fully occupied.

 

The hall acoustics can also be electrically adjusted, there are several adjustable acoustic elements, most hidden out of sight.

 

 

This picture actually shows the permanent mic installation:

musiikkitalo_konserttisali_2_netti.jpg

 

(the hall is partially owned by the local broadcasting company and they use the mics and cameras for broadcasting 5.1 channel live)

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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It doesn't really with headphones. And if you are too worried about you can use IEMs like Sennheiser IE 800. This is still the only method I've heard to give a really convincing acoustic 3D hemisphere (or a bit more, down to -30 degree vertical plane).

 

Hi Miska,

 

True, IEMs remove the listener's own pinnae. But those are the ones I'm used to hearing the world through. ;-{

Plus, I've never found headphones that can provide the tonality, particularly the bottom, or the depth of a good pair of speakers properly set up.

 

It's roughly 3 meters above the player level, which is roughly the mid-level of "floor" seats at the hall (check out the picture, it leaves out the balcony areas altogether which is many times unoccupied). Great thing about acoustic design of this hall is that there are almost no bad seats at all, all the seats are good (and no flat floor or straight angles anywhere outside the stage). Not the best possible placement, but probably the best for recording live concert with the hall fully occupied.

 

The hall acoustics can also be electrically adjusted, there are several adjustable acoustic elements, most hidden out of sight.

 

 

This picture actually shows the permanent mic installation:

musiikkitalo_konserttisali_2_netti.jpg

 

(the hall is partially owned by the local broadcasting company and they use the mics and cameras for broadcasting 5.1 channel live)

 

But there are no seats at the position (i.e. the relative angle to the stage and instruments) of those mics. The ones at that height are further away. The ones at that distance are lower down. In my opinion, the sounds radiated upwards are not the optimal ones for listening to most orchestral instruments.

 

As I said, every recordist seems to have their own approach and their own preferences.

 

That aside, the hall looks beautiful!

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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I always find it interesting to hear how others would approach capturing sound. So far, I've yet to find two folks who would do it the same way, even among my favorite engineers. There are some commonalities sometimes but only that. What seem to be fundamental differences remain.

 

You mention minimal micing and speakers resulting in hearing two acoustics. I find that a properly treated listening room is pretty good at getting out of the way and letting you hear the acoustics of the recording venue. On the other hand, I avoid dummy head type recordings because they mean the results will involve two sets of pinnae. Also, while the spatial information can be interesting, I find the tonal information suffers - and between the two, I want to tone of the instruments first. I want both but the tone has to be there. It is why I listen in the first place.

 

To my ears, having mics high up, such as hanging from the ceiling, makes me feel like I'm looking down on the players when I listen, as if I'm up in a high balcony (aka "the cheap seats"). ;-}

 

What I also find interesting is that even though different engineers choose different approaches, and I find the results having different degrees of realism, a good number, taking vary disparate approaches, create very pleasant recordings. I prefer to use fewer mics than Keith Johnson does, yet I would call him my favorite engineer. I don't like mixing more than a single mic per playback channel. Yet, I love Keith's work and I love the three mic recordings done by Telarc engineers like Jack Renner, and the ones from the "golden age" by C. Robert Fine and by Lewis Layton.

 

I've spent much time experimenting with different mics and different mic spacings to arrive at what I feel gives me the most accurate "picture" of the event. It is an avenue I'll continue to explore, while others follow different but perhaps equally interesting paths.

 

Hi Barry,

 

Have you ever recorded an orchestra?

If so, what was the mic setup you end up using?

 

I find the sound of old Dorian recordings quite "natural" both in tonal balance, detail retrieval and perspective but I think Miska would probably find them overly rolled-off at the top.

 

It would be interesting to hear your's and Miska's opinion on Reference Recordings' and Dorian's "Rite Of Spring"; I find that the RR recording provides overly exagerated detail...

 

Best,

Ricardo

 

 

P.S.: I also like the sound of many FM broadcast of live concerts by different european radios that were recorded using a single pair of mics hanging from the stage canopy, and despite the high frequency roll-off and the limited dynamic range they sound better than a lot of commercial recordings...

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

 

HQPlayer Desktop / Mac mini → Intona 7054 → RME ADI-2 DAC FS (DSD256)

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But there are no seats at the position (i.e. the relative angle to the stage and instruments) of those mics. The ones at that height are further away. The ones at that distance are lower down. In my opinion, the sounds radiated upwards are not the optimal ones for listening to most orchestral instruments.

 

As I said, every recordist seems to have their own approach and their own preferences.

 

That aside, the hall looks beautiful!

 

Hi Barry,

 

And would you say that on a regular gig people would be sitting at the place where you placed your mics for recording the "Winds of Change"?

 

Best,

Ricardo

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

 

HQPlayer Desktop / Mac mini → Intona 7054 → RME ADI-2 DAC FS (DSD256)

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Hi Barry,

 

Have you ever recorded an orchestra?

If so, what was the mic setup you end up using?

 

I find the sound of old Dorian recordings quite "natural" both in tonal balance, detail retrieval and perspective but I think Miska would probably find them overly rolled-off at the top.

 

It would be interesting to hear your's and Miska's opinion on Reference Recordings' and Dorian's "Rite Of Spring"; I find that the RR recording provides overly exagerated detail...

 

Best,

Ricardo

 

 

P.S.: I also like the sound of many FM broadcast of live concerts by different european radios that were recorded using a single pair of mics hanging from the stage canopy, and despite the high frequency roll-off and the limited dynamic range they sound better than a lot of commercial recordings...

 

Hi Ricardo,

 

I have recorded a small orchestra but it was many years ago, before I established my current preference for how to deploy microphones.

I was the engineer for that recording but not the producer. In that instance, the producer absolutely did not want any microphones on the stage because the recording was going to be of a live performance and he felt the mics would be a distraction.

 

So, I "flew" a pair of mics overhead. I did not have my favored mics back then. Not even the B&Ks (now DPA) that I came to favor a few years later.

We had a pair of AKG 414 multipattern mics, which are quite common in many major label recordings. (Not at all close to what I'd use today.)

 

The final recording, to my ears, gave the distinct impression of "looking down" on the players and had the sound the instruments radiate upward, as opposed to the sound they radiate into the audience.

 

I believe we already have a pattern where recordings that I find accurate sound "exaggerated" to you. (What is your system comprised of and how is it and the listening position placed in your room? I don't know if it is this or simply your preference.)

I have not heard that Dorian recording, though I did master some of their very first releases many years ago.

 

I *love* the Reference Recording. Like Keith's other work, I do hear a *very* slight brightness which may be the electronics and/or the mixing of more than one mic per playback channel and the resulting "smear" in time. But this is nit-picking in my opinion because Keith makes some of the most otherwise convincing recordings I've ever heard.

 

On his recording of Rutter's "Requiem" (another of my favorite sounding discs), it is possible to hear multiple attacks due to the pickup by multiple mics (though he does not use *that* many, it is more than one per playback channel). That said, it was only by listening to this recording that I could tell the ceiling at the Meyerson Symphony Center is *very* high up. (So much for "no height information in stereo recordings.") It was many years after hearing this fabulous recording that I actually saw a photo of that room, where the ceiling must be 80 feet above the floor! One of the best sounding recordings I've ever heard. I've often said you can almost hear what color sweaters some of the vocalists are wearing. ;-}

 

If I was going to record an orchestra today, my mic setup would be identical to what I've used on all the Soundkeeper Recordings, which I've written about on the BDA site and the Soundkeeper blog. The placement of the array varies a bit with the instrumentation and the room but the basic array is the same. It took me years to find this arrangement, which I feel provides the most accurate "view" of whatever occurs in its presence. (The mics don't "care" if the music is from a symphony orchestra, a jazz quartet, a solo voice, or an electric rock band.)

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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Hi Barry,

 

And would you say that on a regular gig people would be sitting at the place where you placed your mics for recording the "Winds of Change"?

 

Best,

Ricardo

 

Hi Ricardo,

 

In this context, a *very* good question!

 

If you try making some recordings using different mics in different rooms, what you'll soon find is that mics do not "hear" the way humans do. People have the advantage of having their ears connected to a brain that directs their attention. Mics do not have this "benefit." (This is much the same as the way a photo of a person taken under fluourescent lighting makes them look green, whereas out brains filter this information once our eyes have provided it.)

 

Omnis for example, must be placed closer (or let's say, "less distant") from the source than directional mics in order to get the same direct-to-reflected ratio.

That said, at a regular gig, a person *could* stand where the mics were for "Winds of Change" but the rest of the audience might get a bit upset because that person would be standing at the front center of the stage, blocking everyone else's view of the band and blocking the band's view of the audience.

 

When I'm at a Work of Art gig, I prefer to be a bit further back than the mics, not only to stay out of everyone's way but to get a better "view" of the sound from the whole ensemble and from the interaction with the room.

I do prefer to be at the same height as the mics during the recording or close to it. I would not want to be sitting at the top of a high ladder or suspended on a trapeze hanging from the ceiling. I suspect other audience members (the reasonably sober ones) would feel the same way. ;-}

 

So, while someone at a gig *could* listen from where the mics were positioned during the recording, the mics at the recording were placed to provide a perspective of hearing a bit more of the space around the players. Sitting nearby would provide the same perspective. Put another way, if you sat in one of the front pews of the church where the recording was done, you would hear something very much like what the mics heard. (If you sat up near the ceiling, you would hear more "room" but the instruments and voices would not sound the same.)

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

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Concert hall orchestra recordings today, and for the past four decades or so, are principle mic'ed with five ITU positioned primary omnidirectional microphones (three roughly proscenium positioned, and two further removed ambience), plus any number of close typically cardioid section or instrument spot sweetening mics. The primary five mics are at an elevation of 10 to 15 feet above and somewhat in front the orchestra. to more equalize the distance between the front instruments and those at the rear and far sides.

 

The spot mics are mixed in at very low levels comparatively, and provide an initial 'feel" or sense of the instrument(s)/section, rather than the body provided by the primary array. The ear brain precedence effect seems to override the time smear from different physical mic positions, and the overall affect is positive I suspect.

 

This overall microphone alignment supports both stereo and multichannel mixes. Additionally, since recording tracks are cheap today, many engineers/producers will also put up a coincident pair, or four mics between the left and right primary mics (known as the a and b, and if four, a', a, b, and b') to optimize the stereo mix.

 

Unlike small group acoustic recording, the cost of an orchestra recording is immense, easily approaching $100,000 for a project. Plus, depending on the country, the union rules usually limit each session to 2-3 hours, and typically 15-30 minutes of program material. Therefore, recording companies will put up more than necessary, track it all, and choose the most appropriate mic tracks and levels in post production.

 

For my personal interest, I find the raw five primary microphones, played out in 5.0 multichannel, stunningly accurate both spatially and in instrument detail. I believe the variability we all sense in various different orchestra recordings is mostly a combination of the microphone choice and placement plus the acoustic of the performance hall, and significantly the over processing of post production.

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Hi Miska,

 

True, IEMs remove the listener's own pinnae. But those are the ones I'm used to hearing the world through. ;-{

Plus, I've never found headphones that can provide the tonality, particularly the bottom, or the depth of a good pair of speakers properly set up.

 

 

 

But there are no seats at the position (i.e. the relative angle to the stage and instruments) of those mics. The ones at that height are further away. The ones at that distance are lower down. In my opinion, the sounds radiated upwards are not the optimal ones for listening to most orchestral instruments.

 

As I said, every recordist seems to have their own approach and their own preferences.

 

That aside, the hall looks beautiful!

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.com

Barry Diament Audio

 

 

Ever tried the Smyth Realizer system? I have not, but I might someday. My understanding is that it calibrates for your own pinnate and Head Transfer Function, then a specific room in two separate calibrations via mini-mikes inserted into your ears, headphone style. It also maintains stable frontal imaging which does not rotate even if you turn your head via an IR device mounted on the headphones. It supports 8 channel playback via two channel headphones. I understand it is used quite a bit in mastering, especially in Hollywood.

 

If you are as deeply into Mch orchestral recordings as I am, you will find high surround mike setups in a number of halls similar to that depicted. True, approaches to Mch orchestral miking vary from minimalist, like Jared Sacks' Channel Classics, to highly multi miked, like the Polyhymnia or Sound/Mirror engineering teams. The latter teams use many spot mikes in the orchestra, as well. Having many examples of both minimalist and multi approaches and many in between those, I have no clear favorite. I hear no sense in my extensive Mch library of the multi miking as in the infamous old DGG "multiple mono" recordings in stereo. Both approaches can yield excellent results in Mch. And, for my money, there are no stereo recordings that come anywhere near as close to Mch by these top teams, plus quite a number of others, in delivering what is by far the most realistic sense of being there in the hall for the performance.

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True, IEMs remove the listener's own pinnae. But those are the ones I'm used to hearing the world through. ;-{

Plus, I've never found headphones that can provide the tonality, particularly the bottom, or the depth of a good pair of speakers properly set up.

 

I'm very happy with the Sennheiser HD 800 I'm using as my prime reference at the moment. And also with the other top of the line headphones.

 

This is official diffuse field response of my pair

hd800-resp.png

 

Of course with these kind of headphones any shortcomings in the recording, DAC or headphone amplifier become very apparent. Magnifying glass for faults, which is main reason I'm using those (good tool).

 

For me personally most systems don't have so much problems with bass, but the most problematic part is with cleanliness and character of the highest frequencies especially with transients. This is also where many recordings fall short.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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