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Pipe organ recording equipment and technique
Old 12th April 2021
  #121
Thanks for your answers.
I spent a lot of time doing microphone placement tests, proceeding each time for minimal displacements (height, distance, spacing), and each time I felt differences.
The current position seems to have a better compromise to my ears.
I talked about "compromise" because I'm realizing that it seems impossible to get everything I want from the recordings: spatiality, ambiance, clarity, detail.
I also noticed that certain stops combinations (which sound great live) don't work in recording, and there is no other solution than to change stops combination. Once again... compromise.

I wanted to ask you: do the tracks that I will deliver to the mastering engineer have to be (partially) equalized by me? Or should I just provide the "raw" tracks as they come out of the microphones?
Old 12th April 2021 | Show parent
  #122
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🎧 10 years
Send the mastering engineer the best stereo file you possibly can, incorporating whatever 'treatments' you need to apply to make it sound the way you'd like your audience to hear it.

Document (via notes) any failings you believe the recording might have in living up to your expectations...as a signpost for improvements the engineer might aim for....but definitely send the best mix you possibly can. The ME might simply make the sound a little louder, more even in dynamics...and perhaps that will be the limit of his/her 'improvement'

I'd seek out a ME with a track record of prior experience in working with classical music, and ideally organ music, as this will be reflected in the methods they employ (and knowing when to stop !) I think in general you're looking for the application of a light touch, rather than a sledgehammer approach, by this person !

Don't just 'upload the files' to the ME, at least have a face to face or phone conversation...so you can convey your thoughts about the recording, and they can outline their typical modus operandum with this type of material....then proceed if you believe they're on the same page with you !

Adopt a similar mindset (and expectations) as that of talking with a medical specialist about your health
Old 12th April 2021
  #123
Thanks for your suggestions!
Generally, should I also increase the volumes or apply compression, or is it a specific job of the MA?
Old 12th April 2021 | Show parent
  #124
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist ➡️
I wanted to ask you: do the tracks that I will deliver to the mastering engineer have to be (partially) equalized by me? Or should I just provide the "raw" tracks as they come out of the microphones?
Give them both, and tell them what you did. "Track A is the raw microphone pair. Track B sounds closer to the actual sound in the room and is equalized +2db at 3kc with a Q of 2 using an Orban 622 equalizer." This both gives them a clean track AND give them an idea of what you want.

The unprocessed tracks really should be unprocessed. No level changes, no sample rate conversion, nothing. The processed tracks... you do whatever you think you want it to sound like because they are there more to show the mastering engineer what your aim is than anything else.

If at all possible, attend the mastering session. I know in the covid era, this is hard, but there is nothing more enlightening than listening to your tracks on the high resolution mastering monitors and having the mastering engineer point out what he is hearing while you tell him what you would like to hear. It is worth every penny for the education.
--scott
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #125
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist ➡️
Thanks for your suggestions!
Generally, should I also increase the volumes or apply compression, or is it a specific job of the MA?
If you increase volume and/or add compression...in general you are painting the mastering engineer into a corner, giving them less ability to apply those tools as part of their craft/art. If they need to use these tools, and you have applied them beforehand...they have less scope to bring your recording to "the target" levels.

Make a copy of the files at at all stages of any work you do on these...and document in extreme detail exactly what you have done.... and why, for the ME's reference.

Supply the 'untouched' versions... along with any 'pre-mastering' versions, and as Scott says, attend the session if at all possible.

You really need to specify each and every possible delivery medium the final mastered product could end up on: CD, streaming, MP3, radio broadcast, hi_res download, vinyl etc....since each of these could conceivably require slightly different mastering treatment, and it will be much more economical if the ME can treat your files as a batch/group...for each of these possible destinations.

You'll recall my medical specialist analogy earler...now I'll add another.....

Imagine you have encountered a major problem with your computer: perhaps you suspect a virus attack, trojan infestation, malware, a failing hard drive...etc etc. Let's add a little danger...you haven't backed up your computer for some time.

Maybe you felt a little adventurous, and you tried in the previous days doing some driver updates...you downloaded a new antivirus program, in case it might help, and you ran a few scans with it...you thought it could have been the video card or the hard drive, so you replaced those also....you tried some other measures after doing a Google search, which you can't even recall (they didn't help anyway)

You didn't write down any of these strategies, to remind you of your steps, and each day your computer is losing more functionality and responsiveness....it is far worse now than it was when you commenced your own 'repairs' 4 days ago...

You decide to take your computer to a reputable and qualified repair specialist.

He tells you that you should have brought it to him 4 days ago, and not attempted these random, blind 'fixes' yourself. He asks you to describe exactly what restorative steps you have taken (and in which sequence) in the last days...you truly can't remember with the required detail....because he would really like to reverse about 95% of them, to bring the computer back to how it was on Day 1 of the decline...

If you start your own mastering, without making copies and documenting your steps...you are embarking down a similar (though less devatasting) road...and the ME will be similarly impressed with your efforts as the computer repairman.

Stay away from the rabbithole....

Last edited by studer58; 4 weeks ago at 03:41 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #126
Thanks for your invaluable advice! You are all very kind!


Yes, the original copies of the raw tracks are stored separately, and the tracks I applied the EQ to are secondary copies, so I keep the original copies carefully.

Actually until now I have only tried to add some eq and no other changes have been attempted ..
I will also follow your advice to hand over the two tracks, one raw and the other modified with eq to let the engineer feel what result he should approach...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #127
Good morning, I have a curiosity.
I have read that omni diffuse field microphones are actually free field microphones with a high frequencies "correction" (electronic or mechanical).
If I use a free field mic and then EQ it later to make it sound like diffuse field, is the result the same?

Is there any difference in electronically correcting the high frequencies inside the diffuse field microphone (I presume analogically) compared to applying a digital equalization later on a free field microphone?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #128
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
no.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #129
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist ➡️
Is there any difference in electronically correcting the high frequencies inside the diffuse field microphone (I presume analogically) compared to applying a digital equalization later on a free field microphone?
Be aware that the off-axis response is not the same with respect to the on-axis response. So you can equalize one so it will sound the same in one direction, but that doesn't mean it will sound the same in other directions.

In practice, though, you can get pretty close. And in reality most omnis aren't flat either in the diffuse or free field anyway, no matter what they print on the box
--scott
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #130
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
As has been mentioned already, the need for sandbags with tall stands is crucial.

These are helpful in having a reversible face of either black or hazard-striped yellow/black....and the sealed mailing bags inside to contain the sand are a good idea too, although I doubt they'd 'conform' as well around a tripod leg as loose sand would ?

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews...stand-sandbags
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #131
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
no.
What part of my speech does it refer to?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #132
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist ➡️
What part of my speech does it refer to?
[no] it doesn't matter where you put the filter.

personally, i prefer using adjustable filters on my desk though and not any fixed filters built into mics - well, mostly...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #133
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
[no] it doesn't matter where you put the filter.

personally, i prefer using adjustable filters on my desk though and not any fixed filters built into mics - well, mostly...
Ok thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #134
In case I want to try the Faulkner 4way array (I will have to buy two more cardioid microphones), can you explain how I should connect them? Which left / right channels to connect each microphone to?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #135
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist ➡️
In case I want to try the Faulkner 4way array (I will have to buy two more cardioid microphones), can you explain how I should connect them? Which left / right channels to connect each microphone to?
Outer pair (67cm) spaced AB Omni mics are pair 1: pan these hard left and hard right.

Inner pair of cardioid mics, in either ORTF, NOS or 47cm width/90 degree angled out (latter is Tony Faulkner's original recommendation...but you can use whichever gives you a pleasing result) are pair 2: pan these also hard left and right.

Retain independent gain control (output level) over both pairs.

The aim is to balance the relative contribution of one pair against the other, and it's generally found that one pair predominates over the other by about 6dB or more (equal output from both pairs tends to give an unsatisfactory blend)

What you're aiming for is that the stereo width and images that each pair generates are as close to each other as possible. There always tends to be some mismatch between the two images....which I believe is what contributes to this "ear/brain disparity sense" if you overlay both images at 50/50 balance.

The inner cardioid (or sub cardioid) pair 2 gives you a more detailed and precisely locatable stereo image, with reduced ambience or room/hall reverb. The outer Omni pair 1 gives a somewhat more diffuse and less focussed stereo image, with a greater contribution of room/hall ambience....and extended lower bass capture (ideal for organ).

Overlaying these 2 images at 50/50 gives rise to that perceptual image disparity, particularly the evenness of the image width...hence the recommendation of at least 6dB (and perhaps much more) difference.
Old 1 week ago
  #136
Ok, thanks very much!
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #137
A detailed stereo image as preferred in orchestral recordings is of no importance with organ recordings. It is even more a disturbance. There is nothing more irritating than hopping prestants from one place to another. What is really important; blending of all pipes and all the different sections of the organ. I like to create the illusion of depth rather than left and right accuracy. A ruckpositiv should be standing slightly closer than the mainwork, and if the organ has a brustwerk or oberwerk, those should all have the right depth in the image to succesfully balance and blend with the other works and room. Although Tony's set-up is very well suited for chamber music, I do not see the advantage for organ recordings, but that is of course totally up to the recording producer and artist involved.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #138
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister ➡️
Although Tony's set-up is very well suited for chamber music, I do not see the advantage for organ recordings, but that is of course totally up to the recording producer and artist involved.
While 67cm AB width is generally deemed sufficient for orchestral and chamber music, organ recordings often have wider AB spacings...a couple of metres or more. If so, that would bring into question the validity of the Faulkner 4 mic approach in general ?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist ➡️
I am hardly satisfied with my performances unfortunately, but I intend to produce this cd because the organ has been totally re-voiced to my specifications and I would like to leave an "official" sound document. I don't do it for my vanity.
I think within the possibilties of the microphones you used, you got a very good balance. What type of organ is this, who built it and where does it stand?
Old 6 days ago
  #140
Good morning,
it is an Italian organ, built by the G.Tamburini company in the 1960s.
It is an electrical action organ.

Here is the stops

Man I:

Principale 8
Flauto 8
Dulciana 8
Ottava 4
Decimaquinta 2
Ripieno 4f.
Unda Maris 8
Tromba 8



Man II:

Bordone d'eco 8
Viola 8
Principale 4
Flauto 4
Flautino 2
Ripieno 3 f.
Sesquialtera 2f.
Voce celeste 8
Oboe 8



Ped.

Subbasso 16
Basso 8
Bordone 8
Principale 4
Bordone 4
Tromba 8
Tromba 4
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #141
Thank you very much for the stop list. Is the II manual's windchest placed above the manual I ? In that case it might help to get a bit more presence to have the microphones slightly higher. In the future I would really give a pair if wide-cardioids a try. Schoeps MK21, Neumann KM143 or maybe DPA 4012.
Old 5 days ago
  #142
The wind chest of the II man is positioned at the same height as the I man, but behind it.
Thanks for the advice on microphones.
Unfortunately they are all too expensive for me, especially Schoeps and DPA.

I think the problem does not only concern the cost of the microphones, but of all the equipment that must be behind the microphone...
I currently have a Focusrite Clarett 4pre audio interface, and I fear that with precious microphones like Schopes or DPA this interface is out of place, and maybe I need to buy also very high quality preamps (Millennia?) and high end ADC...

..and the total cost would be too high for me..
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #143
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist ➡️
The wind chest of the II man is positioned at the same height as the I man, but behind it.
Thanks for the advice on microphones.
Unfortunately they are all too expensive for me, especially Schoeps and DPA.

I think the problem does not only concern the cost of the microphones, but of all the equipment that must be behind the microphone...
I currently have a Focusrite Clarett 4pre audio interface, and I fear that with precious microphones like Schopes or DPA this interface is out of place, and maybe I need to buy also very high quality preamps (Millennia?) and high end ADC...

..and the total cost would be too high for me..
while it's certainly nice to have all the über-gear, it's no longer a necessity to achieve stellar results: any decent quality gear allows to do so and the results are much more heavily influenced (if not defined) by the instrument/source, the room/hall/church, the mic technique/position, time for setup/adjustment/on-site monitoring capability, mixing chops, experience and taste etc. than by the mics, preamps and converters.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #144
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
while it's certainly nice to have all the über-gear, it's no longer a necessity to achieve stellar results: any decent quality gear allows to do so and the results are much more heavily influenced (if not defined) by the instrument/source, the room/hall/church, the mic technique/position, time for setup/adjustment/on-site monitoring capability, mixing chops, experience and taste etc. than by the mics, preamps and converters.
And the GOOD news is that it's a lot easier to make a good omni than a good cardioid and a lot easier to make a good cardioid than a good figure-8. Consequently if you're looking for a cheap omni that is good, you have a lot more choices than you do if you're looking for a cheap cardioid.

I am personally rather partial to the Oktava 012 with the omni capsule in the bargain basement category. People on gearspace seem to be fans of some of the Line Audio products but I have not personally used them.
And the Audio-Technica AT4049 is a lot more money than the Oktava but a lot less money than the Schoeps or the Josephson 617.

And... all of this said... once I made an organ recording with an EV 635A and a Uher recorder and really it didn't sound very good but the organist liked it and the video guys liked it and it made it to a national TV broadcast. Sometimes it's more important to be in the right place at the right time than to have the best technical quality.
--scott
Old 4 days ago
  #145
Thank you for your advice.

Certainly, as an audiophile, I think I ran into a misunderstanding, that is to believe that a high fidelity recording is a recording made with top quality equipment and without any postproduction.
Actually this recording experience is teaching me that a high quality recording is always the result of the (probable) great work of the audio engineer.

Of course, your advice that very good results can be achieved with modest equipment encourages me, but...
then I listen to these examples recorded with the Schoeps MK2 and am fascinated by how wonderful these recordings are:

Schoeps MK 21 instead of MK 2H for organ recording ?

here everything is perfect for my ears, the feeling of ambience, the perfect reproduction of details even when playing loud, everything is wonderful!
Sure, it's a different organ than the one I recorded, and the acoustics are probably better too, but the Schoeps probably did a lot to create the sonic wonder too...
Everything looks "professional" whiley my recordings in comparison are "amateur" and appear in all their "cheapness", unfortunately.

For this alone I would be tempted to buy the Schoeps, but... then I have other doubts: perhaps such precious microphones could bring out more the suboptimal acoustics of my church... and then I would have spent a lot more money uselessly!

I'm a little confused ..
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist ➡️
The wind chest of the II man is positioned at the same height as the I man, but behind it.
Thanks for the advice on microphones.
Unfortunately they are all too expensive for me, especially Schoeps and DPA.

I think the problem does not only concern the cost of the microphones, but of all the equipment that must be behind the microphone...
I currently have a Focusrite Clarett 4pre audio interface, and I fear that with precious microphones like Schopes or DPA this interface is out of place, and maybe I need to buy also very high quality preamps (Millennia?) and high end ADC...

..and the total cost would be too high for me..
Within the limits of the organ construction and the quality limit of the microphones, I think you have created a very fine recording. I think also the influence of microphone preamps is highly overstimated. I see no reason why a Focusrite usb interface could not be connected with either of the three types of microphones I suggested. BTW, the Neumann 143 is a very fine microphone.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #147
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Wavefront's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist ➡️
Of course, your advice that very good results can be achieved with modest equipment encourages me, but...
then I listen to these examples recorded with the Schoeps MK2 and am fascinated by how wonderful these recordings are:

Schoeps MK 21 instead of MK 2H for organ recording ?

here everything is perfect for my ears, the feeling of ambience, the perfect reproduction of details even when playing loud, everything is wonderful!
Sure, it's a different organ than the one I recorded, and the acoustics are probably better too, but the Schoeps probably did a lot to create the sonic wonder too...
Everything looks "professional" whiley my recordings in comparison are "amateur" and appear in all their "cheapness", unfortunately.

For this alone I would be tempted to buy the Schoeps, but... then I have other doubts: perhaps such precious microphones could bring out more the suboptimal acoustics of my church... and then I would have spent a lot more money uselessly!

I'm a little confused ..
In my opinion, the variable which is by far least discussed in making an excellent recording is microphone placement.

I don't just mean in a general way ("here's how I usually like to mic a cello") but in the far more nuanced process that leads a skillful engineer to modify his/her initial placement to achieve a clearly anticipated result after careful evaluation of the starting point. This includes, of course, knowing how to make a good recording (or at least one much better than might be expected) in a less-than-ideal situation.

All other things being equal, a pair of Schoeps microphones are able to render a good performance on a well-played instrument in a fine acoustic in a more luxuriously rich way than a pair of Line Audio microphones. But the qualitative difference between a pair of Schoeps with a mediocre placement and a pair of Line Audio with an excellent placement is orders of magnitude greater.

As with many things, the factor which is less discussed despite its importance, is harder to define, harder to explain, and cannot be bought.

I don't claim, by any means, to have mastered the above, but it is where a lot of my attention is these days.

YMMV etc.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #148
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Peter Allison's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have mentioned before on these "hallowed pages"before, and what I have written is just a laymans view of things.
A lot of over thinking and discussion on what works best is great, but at the same time can be very confusing for a newbie.
Back in the late 90's, a late friend contributed to a recording of a certain composer. He was both the artwork designer and the sound engineer. The double CD was well received at the time, by the "organ press". He used his trusty Tandy PZM mics and 2 tascam DAP1's (one as the back up), he edited the recording using Soundforge and then had the master tape professionally pressed. He recorded in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, with its huge reverberation. So a very simple recording but with excellent results. Yes, it could have been made to sound like a Telarc or Priory recording, but for whatever the equipment outlay was, it sounded as good
Old 3 days ago
  #149
I ask you, if it is possible, can you point me to some CD that has been recorded with modest equipment.. I'd like to hear some examples, so I can get a better idea... (if possible..)
It would also be nice to know in addition to the microphones, also the preamp/ADC (or interface) used.

What I perceive with my modest AT4022s (and the rest of the gear) is a good audio recording of "simple" sounds, so single stops are recorded very very well, but when there are multiple combinations of stops (or very loud sounds) the sound tends to lose precision, in a certain sense, it is as if it were "simplified" in comparison to reality...
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #150
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
When deciding how apportion one’s budget for recording, there are strict guidelines. Let’s simplify by saying that one concentrates ONLY on optimizing the source. Once you have a good acoustic, good player, and good instrument, one puts ALL their resources into the up front gear. The microphones, the preamps, and the converters.

If you don’t do it according to optimizing the SOURCE SOUND, one loses detail and nuance forever. Never able to ever be recovered or improved later.

Your decision is made for you by following this maxim.
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