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New Book Coming on Decca Recording Technique
Old 1 week ago
  #241
Lives for gear
We are fortunate to have the book. Yet I am continuing to learn from - and am exceedingly grateful to have - all of the perspectives [comments, endorsements and criticisms] expressed here about both associated and alternative options.

I listen to Decca recordings and contemplate: what Decca thing here really knocked my socks off? . . .and what might I have instead wished - or done - different today?

I do own a Grace Design Decca Tree [plus Surround]. After reading the book, I understand better some of the different forces that I need to weigh in my thinking. . .particularly given my present and planned investments.

It seems completely appropriate that different views are expressed on this thread.


Kind regards,

Ray H.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #242
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
it is a pity that the reactionary wing usually immediately turns to unsubstantiated personal attacks when someone from the progressive wing does not share the same enthusiasm for things of the past or even dares to criticise the historical narrative and contrast it with its own narrative, which rests on a wealth of experience that is fed by a multitude of sources, with regard to which the reactionary wing shows itself to be about as ignorant as it possibly gets.

@ ray: can you give an assessment of how important the code of the Apollo programme can still be for some software developers today?

@ scott: thx for putting things in much nicer words that i ever could!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
The Decca Book is a great guide to making recordings that sound like Decca recordings, and that is a great and useful thing.

There are a couple books out there which are good guides to making recordings that sound like Mercury recordings and recordings that sound like film soundtracks.

I wrote an article on how to make recordings that sound like Rudy Van Gelder records and it was great fun and I had a lot of time experimenting and trying to reverse-engineer things. I'd turn that into a book if I could get a publisher to pay for it.

But the first part is deciding what you want the recording to sound like, and a book won't teach that. What's worse, there are changes in fashion and what might be popular today may sound as dated as the NBC Toscanini records with the crazy gain changes sound today.
--scott

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 10:21 PM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #243
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Post # 235 laughable

Nice Mister has not read the book.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #244
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
well, i did - then gave it to a student who admittedly seems to enjoy it much more than i did; trouble is that from what he's picking up from the book, i doubt he'll survive even a minute during a live broadcast, let alone at foh or monitor...

...but what really bugs me is that i had hoped to be classified as a janitor?! - hope you are okay, mr plush?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #245
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
@ scott: thx for putting things in much nicer words that i ever could!
One of the best things about Scott's posts is the quote in his sig, a line from one of my all time favourite films, Diva. Opera, high end audio, France, intertwined plots, the best car chase ever, beautiful women, mystique, a wave machine, old Citroëns. Whats not to like.
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Diva
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #246
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
One of the best things about Scott's posts is the quote in his sig, a line from one of my all time favourite films, Diva. Opera, high end audio, France, intertwined plots, the best car chase ever, beautiful women, mystique, a wave machine, old Citroëns. Whats not to like.
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Diva
excellent film! and thx for the reminder of where the quote stems from...


[i literally drove into the film set of j.j. beineinx' next film (of which i fear the remake became more popular than the original) but of which i'm reluctant to post its title as it might upset the traditionalist around here, at least the opening scene; half or europe must have had a crush on béatrice dalle... - diva' was more classy though!]
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #247
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
it is a pity that the reactionary wing [. . .]

@ ray: can you give an assessment of how important the code of the Apollo programme can still be for some software developers today? [. . .]
I hesitate, as serious discussion of software development will land me soundly with the mutants over at table 9. [1]

And - long story short - I don't think the association between Apollo and Decca works [2].

Still, some of my best humor is lifted from NASA's old code base. . .and there is some interplay with the music biz. See: Lines 33-45 in BURN_BABY_BURN--MASTER_IGNITION_ROUTINE.agc


reactionary wing commander GAINBRAK,1 # NUMERO MYSTERIOSO

Ray H.

[1] Robbie Hart | Adam Sandler, The Wedding Singer. 1998

[2] Countdown. . .
10. Software dev changes far too rapidly. . .relative to most anything!
9. Apollo source was written a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
[. . .]
3. Apollo source included TRASHY LITTLE SUBROUTINES, and I prefer the vulgarity of my jokes - at worst - not exceed what one might expect from a Carol Burnett Show rerun.
2. The Apollo program was strongly associated with Fly Me To the Moon [Reprise Records] - definitely not Decca.
1. I already did Space Cowboys on another thread.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #248
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
#HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE
#*************************
#TABLES FOR THE IGNITION ROUTINE


Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➡️
(...) long story short - I don't think the association between Apollo and Decca works (...)
*


if that wasn't close, how about this:


#"IT WILL BE PROVED TO THY FACE THAT THOU HAST MEN ABOUT THEE THAT
#USUALLY TALK OF A NOUN AND A VERB, AND SUCH ABOMINABLE WORDS AS NO
#CHRISTIAN EAR CAN ENDURE TO HEAR."
#HENRY 6, ACT 2, SCENE 4

i think some of it comes pretty close, except that the decca folks did not use nouns and verbs in such a clear and logical way...

...but maybe my association is indeed not that good - so:

# 01521 * P01 ILLEGALLY SELECTED



* EDIT: i didn't suggest that, i was merely asking about the relelavance of technical achievements from the past for our modern world and specifically in the context of software development.


[...and i alluded to my view on the development of audio gear, instruments, techniques used to capture, mix and master, store, distribute audio, new formats and trends tgat emerged, expectations from the listeners/audience etc. which imo have changed a lot - my guess is that similar things happened in siftware development...]

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 10:07 PM.. Reason: * EDITED
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #249
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
There's a suggestion that the Decca ethos (as outlined in the recent book) was one of hair-shirted minimalism, and of using fewer mics than were required... for the purpose of attaining 'elementalism' ...or something arcane like that ?

On the contrary, the authors seem at pains to capture exactly the required detail using exactly as many as mics as are necessary Insufficient mixer channel inputs never have seemed to be the problem...and it's arguable that their "live on site to 2 track stereo" mix both guaranteed and necessitated that nothing could be later doubled, cut and pasted, phase-shifted or width enhanced... via M-S or other trickery.

So..they got it right on the night (or day)..using as many mics as necessary and no more...sometimes creatively using spill/bleed...but never going without 'essential material capture'

If you want hair shirted minimalism...try Opus 3, or those other folks who'll rigorously use only a spaced pair of B+K spaced omnis...in a "perfect" acoustic.

Decca could never be that dogmatic..nor deluded.....they were far too busy being pragmatic
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #250
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse ➡️
Fixed it for ya!: "Since veteran engineers are afraid and unwilling to take on assistants or interns or teach or let new engineers shadow or learn." (and programs at major festivals are focused on free/cheap labor and following a set script -- not on instruction or training)
So, want to be on a panel with me at the AES or NAMM talking about orchestral recording?
--scott
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #251
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
One of the best things about Scott's posts is the quote in his sig, a line from one of my all time favourite films, Diva. Opera, high end audio, France, intertwined plots, the best car chase ever, beautiful women, mystique, a wave machine, old Citroëns. Whats not to like.
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Diva
It turns out that is actually a misquote from the film, but I had been using it for fifteen years before anyone pointed that out to me and that was probably twenty years ago and I figure it's too late to change it now. It is probably my favorite film of all time, though.
--scott
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #252
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
On the contrary, the authors seem at pains to capture exactly the required detail using exactly as many as mics as are necessary Insufficient mixer channel inputs never have seemed to be the problem...and it's arguable that their "live on site to 2 track stereo" mix both guaranteed and necessitated that nothing could be later doubled, cut and pasted, phase-shifted or width enhanced... via M-S or other trickery.
Yes. And they did this without a basic theory behind any of it, they did it by ear. So the book is basically a compilation of "things we did that worked well in different places but we don't have explanations why."
And that, for one thing, is very very cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
If you want hair shirted minimalism...try Opus 3, or those other folks who'll rigorously use only a spaced pair of B+K spaced omnis...in a "perfect" acoustic.
Yes, and I am coming to this from a viewpoint much closer to that of the hair-shirted minimalist. I consider Decca's use of spotmiking more excessive than what I'd prefer.... I would sooner move performers around to get balances. I'll do a vocalist with an orchestra often with a single pair when there is time, just moving the vocalists much closer to the main pair than the band. Same thing with a soloist with a choir; I will experiment a bit with positioning the choir and orchestra and then move the soloist up front. Of course, sometimes you don't have time for that and spotting and sectionals are the only solution. Sometimes you're stuck recording in a horrible parking garage and your goal suddenly turns from trying to accurately reproduce the sound to the room to desperately trying to eliminate it.

I gather most of the people who are objecting to the book here are people who build mixes entirely out of sectional mikes, and that's a thing and you can do it and some people like it, but I wouldn't claim it's a modern technique and therefore somehow better in some way.

Christian's comment about education is a hugely important one; books like this are a view into the techniques used by recordists but also a view into what goes through their heads. I don't think about the process the same way Culshaw and crew did, and to my mind that is what makes the book such a great thing because I now can have a view into a very different way of thinking.
--scott
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #253
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Great points Scott....it really does come down to intangible things like philosophy and agency. Philosophy in the sense of 'how are you going to render the structure of the sound and performance, such that it is the most convincing facsimile of the real event, in dynamics...dimensionality...texture.

Agency in the chemistry of "how much ability are you given (or taking) to move players around, adjust their sight lines, choose a variety of acoustic spaces for them to perform in" etc. Or is your job spec to conform totally to the prevailing conditions...to adapt to them, invent work-arounds so that the less than ideal becomes workable...or indeed much better than that ?

Amidst this comes the notion of 'tool using and sound sculpting' ....are you going to be a passive gatherer of sound, placing your minimalist mic pair in the 'ideal piece of air'....or an active wrangler of every variable imaginable, like deedeeyeah and his sacred magical black and silver boxes ?

Some people must move mountains...others let the mountain come to them...it takes all kinds to make this world !

There's also a corollary with the domain of audio mastering. The very best practitioners instinctively know when to employ the vast range of processing tools at their disposal...to rescue a poor mix from the jaws of defeat. Yet they'll also recognize when a very good mix requires the lightest touch possible: a quarter dB lick of 16k 'air' eq...some 1 to 1.1 compression....or perhaps simply nothing at all (the Hippocratic or 'straight wire with no gain' approach !).

The humility, wisdom and maturity to recognize that the situation does not require the laying-on of my hands to improve it...

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 03:36 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #254
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
.... books like this are a view into the techniques used by recordists but also a view into what goes through their heads. I don't think about the process the same way Culshaw and crew did, and to my mind that is what makes the book such a great thing because I now can have a view into a very different way of thinking.
<<---- This !!
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #255
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NorseHorse's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
So, want to be on a panel with me at the AES or NAMM talking about orchestral recording?
--scott
Scott - that'd be wonderful! I'd love to participate.
Old 6 days ago
  #256
Gear Maniac
So to follow up, I was happy with the brass session, where I used the spots-first, mains-later approach we discussed a la the Decca book. Used all TLM170R and Schoeps wide cardioids (maybe MK5 on tuba I forget), 4006TL mains 85cm. Sample preliminary mix attached, open to feedback.

However I have not had the nerve to tear the foam out of the Neumanns yet. 'Give me strength!'
Attached Files

Palestrina_v1.mp3 (3.29 MB, 439 views)

Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #257
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klimermonk ➡️
So to follow up, I was happy with the brass session, where I used the spots-first, mains-later approach we discussed a la the Decca book. Used all TLM170R and Schoeps wide cardioids (maybe MK5 on tuba I forget), 4006TL mains 85cm. Sample preliminary mix attached, open to feedback.

However I have not had the nerve to tear the foam out of the Neumanns yet. 'Give me strength!'
Nice rounded sound on the instruments, one could almost believe you'd spotted them with ribbons ! You said the hall was on the small side, with dryish acoustics, and that's the image I'm hearing on your recording. The stereo sense of the instruments is a little too 'precise' to my taste (too ORTF-isn)... I lean more toward an AB flavour...which you've used.

Maybe therefore a little more mains pair plus large hall ambience, and a little less spots focus would suit my preference more... but you've got a nice balanced truthful recording here
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #258
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klimermonk ➡️
So to follow up, I was happy with the brass session, where I used the spots-first, mains-later approach we discussed a la the Decca book. Used all TLM170R and Schoeps wide cardioids (maybe MK5 on tuba I forget), 4006TL mains 85cm. Sample preliminary mix attached, open to feedback.
Nice! I used to play horn and spent many years surrounded by the brass section in HS and college. This brought back memories!

I'd like to hear this group in a bigger hall. Or at least the artificial reverb from a bigger hall. Other than that, excellent! Nice balance too -- bottom end was just right.
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #259
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I got a chance to try out the Decca 2 x 2 Tree tonight...AB 50cm omni main pair KM183... with MKH 8020 flankers.

You should be able to see them all in the front camera shot from the streamcast...no spot mics used.

It might be still loading/buffering onto the Vimeo platform, so slide the playbar across until you see the concert commence....try around 10-11 mins in...?

Main pair were pannned 75% left and right, flankers/outriggers hard left/right

My thought was that additional spots might conspire to collapse the front to back depth... your thoughts and reflections on this 'spotless frontal quartet' welcomed !

https://vimeo.com/546802195
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #260
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I got a chance to try out the Decca 2 x 2 Tree tonight...AB 50cm omni main pair KM183... with MKH 8020 flankers.
Shows how good this can be. Simple. Clean. Nicely done!

Were the flankers in line with the main AB pair, or were they forward of the main pair?
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #261
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Man, am I such a fan of a front array and no spots! Nicely done. I am interested in the answer to Bruce's question as well. On such a relatively small group, I am (well was) typically using a "one-bar" array, ORTFs in the center, and omnis out one meter apart. The omnis/flanks come out for "wider" ensembles.

Wow, your stands seem quite high, looks like 12 feet (3.7m) or so? Why did you decide to go so high?

Thanks and I can't wait to put some concert recording photos on GS. We just had old friends over yesterday. First home visit in 14 months. It felt so normal and SO WEIRD. Wow!

D.
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #262
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson ➡️
Shows how good this can be. Simple. Clean. Nicely done!

Were the flankers in line with the main AB pair, or were they forward of the main pair?
The flankers were slightly forward (closer to the band) by about 2.5 feet than the main pair... mainly to allow the round-based stands to sit on the stage edge, rather than having to be 4 feet taller by residing down on the audience floor level.

Last edited by studer58; 2 days ago at 05:29 PM..
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #263
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
Wow, your stands seem quite high, looks like 12 feet (3.7m) or so? Why did you decide to go so high?.
I guess they are relatively high, maybe 10.5 feet, but that’s mainly because I was aiming to match/equal the height of the fixed/non-adjustable main pair at about 11.5 or 12 feet above stage floor. If everything could have come down 2 feet lower it all might sound a bit tighter...but, for a first trial at least, it shows promise. Flankers were around 9 feet either side of the main pair. Panning the main pair in a little gave a slightly more ‘solid’ centre image, which was the aim .

Did you see the shiny main pair bar, level with the upper central organ pipes ?

I like how it’s possible to close your eyes and pretty much guess an instrument’s distance from the front via the amount of ambience surrounding it, and then confirm via watching the video (the flutes and clarinets are indeed close to the conductor!)
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #264
This isn’t really doing it for me, it’s very indistinct, and blurry, and at times I’m wondering if the mics are panned correctly, as flutes and brass aren’t quite localizing where they should.

Personally I’ve never liked this setup for wind band, the thing that it excels so well at, blending a wide string section, works against an ensemble like this IMO. I also find this technique works best when used in conjunction with section spots on orchestra, to add some point back to the rear of the ensemble (winds, brasses, timp, perc, etc)

I also think trying to do this setup so informally doesn’t really work; going closer than 3’ on the center mics changes they way they interact with each other when panned in. I tried that a few times when I was learning the technique years ago, and couldn’t get the technique to work unless I used the specified middle-mic spacing and panning. 50cm is approaching Onno middle mic dimensions, and you’re probably better off just panning hard LR and adding the ORs to to fill out.

Glad to see you’re trying it out though! Give it a shot closer to spec and see if you’re happier with the results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I got a chance to try out the Decca 2 x 2 Tree tonight...AB 50cm omni main pair KM183... with MKH 8020 flankers.

You should be able to see them all in the front camera shot from the streamcast...no spot mics used.

It might be still loading/buffering onto the Vimeo platform, so slide the playbar across until you see the concert commence....try around 10-11 mins in...?

Main pair were pannned 75% left and right, flankers/outriggers hard left/right

My thought was that additional spots might conspire to collapse the front to back depth... your thoughts and reflections on this 'spotless frontal quartet' welcomed !

https://vimeo.com/546802195
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