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This is by far the best orchestral recording I've ever heard (help me pick out some mics?)
Old 3rd January 2021 | Show parent
  #121
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
Won the Grammy for best orchestral performance and best engineered album. An award voted on by one’s peers. Goes to show that what is the majority on some Internet forum isn’t the majority of working professionals.
May I comment about the Grammy Awards as a former trustee and governor of the organization?

I will start out by saying that Shawn Murphy is a great fellow and highly skilled engineer. I bet he delivered exactly what he wanted to deliver for the BSO.

Grammy awards in classical music are Amero-centric. The Grammy awards for classical do not reward the best classical music recordings in the world. Most of the BEST English, German, French, Hungarian, Japanese, and Dutch recordings are ignored by Grammy voters. Grammy voters vote by name recognition both in performance and production categories. One group is popular and one set of production people are popular for a few years and they win the majority of the awards. Then another different set of groups and production people begin to win the awards.

But these awards are not for the best recordings in the world. These awards are for names the Grammy voter recognizes. These are awards voted on by a rather small number of voters who are mostly over 60 years old.

Furthermore, and most importantly, Grammy voters often do not determine the winners of the awards. Special committees vote on the classical awards and those committee members also propose their friends and even themselves to be the award winners. I know this because I used to be part of the cadre that ran these committees.

Finally, let's get right down to business and talk about the awards in the context of how they can benefit the winners. Winning the Grammy in classical music brings lots of congratulatory emails and tel. calls to the winners. It is nice to win the award.

However, very few have been able to raise their rates or garnered more than 3 additional recording jobs as a direct benefit of winning the classical Grammy.


When I told 2 of my friends, who are both very prominent classical engineers with big orchestras, to raise their rates after winning 7 Grammys one year, they told me that if they tried to raise their rates they would be fired.

One of them WAS fired after he told operations that he was raising his rates.
Old 3rd January 2021 | Show parent
  #122
Gear Nut
 
That’s a sad tale. I do find it ironic that you infer that the Grammys are meaningless yet you list your nominations proudly in your GS profile.
Old 4th January 2021 | Show parent
  #123
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the insight Plush.
Things often work similarly for musicians, a name will get you into places that ability alone may not.
Old 4th January 2021 | Show parent
  #124
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
That’s a sad tale. I do find it ironic that you infer that the Grammys are meaningless yet you list your nominations proudly in your GS profile.
Welcome to the recording business.

I didn’t write to say the award is meaningless. I wrote to point out that a production winning a Grammy does not mean it’s a good recording.
Old 4th January 2021
  #125
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
A better analogue for a Grammy win would be the presidential election; someone wins and someone loses. “Someone” could mean the person whole is running for the gig but it also could mean the people who did the voting. Win or lose, good or bad, Godsend or evil, means the world or nothing at all, all depend who you are. Since it is not a simple stop watch clocked competition, the politics inevitably kick in. So, let's take it with a grain of salt and leave it that way.

If someone tells me a particular recording won a Grammy, I would offer my congratulations, for whatever it is worth.
Old 4th January 2021 | Show parent
  #126
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
In my day job, I've gotten a lot of award-show recognition. I don't think the award-winning stuff is always the best stuff I've done, but I do think it sort of averages out. And I also think the people who win a lot of awards are, on average, better at it than the people who don't.

And I will confess to a couple of things about the Grammys. First, even though I realize it's all wheeling and dealing by the boys in the back room, when a record I worked on got nominated, it felt pretty good. And second, when I think I can use that nomination to my advantage, I do. I'm pretty sure it has helped me get at least a couple projects.
Old 4th January 2021 | Show parent
  #127
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You only truly win something, if winning is not a purpose.
Old 4th January 2021 | Show parent
  #128
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher ➡️
You only truly win something, if winning is not a purpose.
Sounds like something Deepak Chopra would say.
Old 4th January 2021 | Show parent
  #129
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob 28 ➡️
Sounds like something Deepak Chopra would say.
It doesn't need a qualified philosopher to show a deeper insight.
Old 4th January 2021
  #130
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I can only tell ya the nominee dinner party is the greatest!
Old 5th January 2021
  #131
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The official party after the ceremony is rather fun, usually. And then, there are always those private parties, if you were invited.
Old 11th January 2021 | Show parent
  #132
Gear Maniac
A bit off topic from the latest replies, but back to the OP this sounds pretty good and the playing is tops from all involved...

Ray
Old 3 weeks ago
  #133
Gear Addict
 
DaveyJones's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Not for me

I know the OP states that it's the best acoustic in the west but I don't agree. I find the back rows of the orchestra (e.g. at 33:00) have a lot of room in them, especially compared to strings (yes, yes, I know they are at the front and the brass is at the back and it's a front back perspective thing, but with 50+ mics on stage I'd like a little more firect sound on the brass).

Also, some of that driving stuff in the cello/DBass section is a little muffled - to my ears.

I'd love to know how much input the conductor gets on the overall balancing of the sound and how much is down to the producer.


Fantastic music
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #134
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Carnes ➡️
Decca made legendary recordings with just three.
Virtually NO Decca orchestral recordings were made with three mics. Some chamber, yes.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #135
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayS ➡️
A bit off topic from the latest replies, but back to the OP this sounds pretty good and the playing is tops from all involved...

Ray
Suntory Hall , now you are talking.
Yuga Wang and a splash of Brahms Piano Conc No 2.
Great
Wait till we get the The Balvenie single barrel Hall built with Benedeti and her chums celebrating Burns supper night.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #136
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by M50k ➡️
Virtually NO Decca orchestral recordings were made with three mics. Some chamber, yes.
The really minimal one John Dunkerley has an affinity for, and cites in his book I believe, is the 1959 Pierre Monteux/LSO “Daphnis et Chloe”, recorded by Alan Reeve with 6 mics live to stereo at Kingsway Hall (tree and outriggers, and mono balcony choir spot). It’s fabulous, check it out if you haven’t heard it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #137
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
A quick aside to awards.
My friend won a Bafta for best sound in TV.
It resolved that the episode in question was entirely mute ,but skilfully track layed and dubbed.
The award was for the team, and a nod to all the efforts put in.

As for' best acoustic in the West' that is some claim, is it even the best acoustic in America ?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #138
Gear Nut
 
Wavefront's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 ➡️
As for' best acoustic in the West' that is some claim, is it even the best acoustic in America ?
I'd be curious to hear this one, too.
Attached Thumbnails
This is by far the best orchestral recording I've ever heard (help me pick out some mics?)-carlsbad-caverns.jpg  
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #139
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
That statement would indicate being in an awful lot of venues in one's lifetime. Maybe even more than an awful lot. Maybe tens of thousands.

Probably just a "turn of phrase".

D.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #140
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
you can save yourself the trouble: it is sufficient to acknowledge any statement that contains a superlative with a certain wink of the eye...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #141
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The Listener's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
Granted this is the best acoustic space in the West but i think its a very fair argument that Shawn Murphy is an undeniable genius engineer.

Listen from around here

https://youtu.be/MCxVvrEyLJw?t=1686

and just enjoy the next 5 minutes




Here is the behind the scenes teaser:
https://youtu.be/u8hF_NVqCtg

I'm guessing a whole lot of Scheops knowing Shawn
A nice recording, but I was recently blown away by this concert recording (not the same material, but amazing sound):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEGOihjqO9w
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #142
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Very interesting thread, because it confronts us with difficult choices we have to make in these changing times…

When I started doing (orchestral) recordings (in the 90s), my initial ideal was a “natural” perspective of the orchestra. Not as central as the conductors position, but also not as far as row ten of the hall.

My ears had been trained (or maybe programmed) by listening to all the recordings made by great conductors like Karajan, Solti, Haitink, Stokowsky, Dutoit etc.

Even in the analogue age there were huge differences in how conductors and engineers saw their ideal projection of an orchestra.

Karajan for instance worked with two engineers that had a totally different approach; one used mostly omni’s and the other one always worked with directional mics. Apparently he could live with both. His own preference seemed to be a kind of cinemascopic canvas on which he could paint the diverse colours of the instrument groups. That was not so different from what we hear in the Shostakovich under Nelsons.

Probably my own ideal was the sound that the Philips engineers got in the Concertgebouw, where they put the orchestra in the centre of the empty hall (removing the chairs).

I have never had the luxury of recording that way, because when I finally had my chance of recording there, times had changed and time was money, so my recordings in the Concertgebouw had to be done during live concerts. That does add noise from the audience, making it necessary to go closer to the instruments, but most importantly it limits the wonderful acoustics. of that hall.

I have never recorded in the Boston hall, but it is said that its acoustics are similar to that of the Concertgebouw. Without audience the Concertgebouw has a beautiful reverb that makes woodwind shine and breathe, and also adds a certain twinkle. When the hall is packed with people, you lose that special quality. Don’t get me wrong; it is still a nice acoustic, but a lot of the magic is gone. I guess that goes for most halls.

Combined with closer miking to avoid an excess of audience noise, the engineer is bound to include some (artificial or non-artificial) reverb in post. Last, but not least, there is often little to no time for experimenting with switching locations of your mics, so you end up with a well-tried compromise that “will do fine”. ( How lucky were those engineers in the 60s and 70s when there was still enough money and time to find the best spots in an empty hall… )

I believe these developments have been a decisive factor in the “close and artificial” approach, we see (and hear) in these days. Of course it is made easier by modern gear, offering many channels, a great range of reverbs, time-alignment etc. When all that tech is available, it becomes difficult not to use it... :-)

Then there is another important factor. In the 20th century, people (ok, mostly men) were very much interested in getting good sound into their house. Hifi was cool in those days. Since the Walkmans and iPods that all shifted towards headphones. Hifi lost its attraction to the public. Hifi racks and floorstanding speakers were exchanged for little boxes the size of a milk carton that are connected with lossy transmission to lousy sources. (When I talk to people they truly believe it sounds just as good as those large speakers that went to the dump… )

This development has made it more important for us to deliver a master that not only goes well with earbuds listening in the underground, but which must also sound reasonably convincing on that milk-carton crap that has no dynamic range or real bass.

I don’t like being part of this reality, but if my masters don’t sound convincing on the bad stuff that my clients use, then I will for sure lose them as clients. I still try to come to some compromise that sounds reasonably well on my studio monitors and my large speakers in my living room, but that has become a very difficult balancing act.

I listened to this recording of the 11th symphony by André Nelsons (who is my favourite among conductors of his generation). I used the 24bit 96kHz download (not the disfigured YouTube version, which suffers badly from the YouTube treatment).

I listened both on headphones and on my large speaker system. Of course, it is done by a well-versed group of engineers. It is a very modern (aka synthetic) recording, presenting a sharp focus on all the groups of the orchestra, thereby helping the untrained listener and also impressing the listener with exaggerated and very punchy percussion, closely lit woodwinds, and well aligned (but boxed in) strings.

One could argue that the Shostakovich symphonies do benefit from such a cinemascopic approach, because it serves their pop-like qualities (repetitive themes that can be too predictable and long drawn) and their heavy use of dynamic contrasting episodes. To a certain point I think this is true. Such a recording will certainly appeal to people who begin exploring classical music, and who will fall for the popular character of these works. This is not about refinement and abstract music, but more of attention grabbing like in a movie trailer.

Speaking of movies and cinemascope, we can see a similar trend there. I recently watched a few of the Hollywood blockbuster from the 90s. Hollywood never had the aspiration to bring arthouse movies to the public, but what struck me is that those films were still very much focussed on storytelling and acting. Visual effects were already important, but they didn’t overpower the rest. If you compare those films with the commercial films that nowadays find their way into our living rooms through streaming services, it is remarkable to see the shift towards visual effects. Films are nowadays fully focussed on getting as much visual effects or “beauty shots” into them at the cost of storytelling and acting. Actors seem to do a scene only once and whether their acting carries any dramatical weight or whether they are intelligible or not seems totally irrelevant nowadays. Visual technique has become a self-fulfilling purpose, and the masses seem content, so why bother?

So, yes, our times and tastes are changing. As a professional, I have to adjust somewhat. I remember the first time I started adding compression to my mixes of classical music. It felt like stealing from the altar in a church. I still try to keep it under control as to make it not too apparent, but where is the limit? It is like the loudness wars that ruined pop-music; will we know where to draw the limit? Even non technical friends that listen to classical music have started to notice how much classical music is being compressed lately...

Personally, I find this Shostakovich recording over the top. There is nowhere any sense of a hall. Each instrumental group is acting within its own acoustical box, not allowed to breathe into the whole picture, not allowed to resonate into the natural acoustics of the hall. Dynamics are too limited. Wind instruments and percussion are seated just as close to you as the concertmaster. I find it a claustrophobic and fatiguing affair, aimed to impress, not to move me in any sense.

But that is me… Does it matter to the market when I and some other bunch of weirdos that still visit live concerts and possess high quality gear at home, are not happy with recordings like these? Probably not.

The fact that a recording like this gets an award speaks for itself.
It is likely that the able engineers would like to do thing differently, but they too have to adopt to a more hyped age, and that’s what they do…

I have nothing against putting many mics out there. Recently I used 12 channels for a solo harp. I choose to put so many mics there because the acoustics were problematic and also because I wanted to experiment. In the final mix I will use as few as I can get away with.

If one really uses 50 mics in a symphonic recording (with the spot-mics in more than a homeopathic dose), then you will always end up with an artificial sound, so in this sense I fully agree with Plush; this is an entirely cinemascopic recording, with no aspiration to bring something of the original dynamics and acoustics into your living room.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #143
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I agree with Lucas.
Most contemporary film and music is quite synthetic
It is pleasing when older recordings from the Golden Age reveal the hall, the music and the performance.
Before multitrack radio mic films dominated again the room was important, radios were used only in wide or v long shots , not continually with no perspective.
Such is change, luckily we have archive for the alternative.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #144
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Yannick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
What bothers me most about the OP recording is that tonally, it is VERY far from how a good orchestra sounds in a good hall.

I will never understand who decides why the recording should sound entirely different from the real thing ? It is not as if the recording would be much harder to mix, wouldn't it ? Quite the opposite.

Funny, this other thread where the Berliner straight to disc recording (with just a blumlein pair) pops up. I remember the quotes when it was released, of how fabulous & realistic it sounds ("it" being the vinyl, not the 50 scrapped mics and just the properly placed blumlein).

Some people just need to complicate things, I wonder why. It must be an ego thing.

I agree, technically the recording has been magnificently done. Overdone alas. It is like killing a good steak on a BBQ.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #145
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick ➡️
What bothers me most about the OP recording is that tonally, it is VERY far from how a good orchestra sounds in a good hall.

I will never understand who decides why the recording should sound entirely different from the real thing ? It is not as if the recording would be much harder to mix, wouldn't it ? Quite the opposite.

Funny, this other thread where the Berliner straight to disc recording (with just a blumlein pair) pops up. I remember the quotes when it was released, of how fabulous & realistic it sounds ("it" being the vinyl, not the 50 scrapped mics and just the properly placed blumlein).

Some people just need to complicate things, I wonder why. It must be an ego thing.

I agree, technically the recording has been magnificently done. Overdone alas. It is like killing a good steak on a BBQ.
I agree. It's tonality lacks higher frequencies and sparkle. It is very much a midrange affair. Possibly exaggerated by the compression?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #146
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robshrock's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Carnes ➡️
It's not elitist at all. It's what you've got to do these days. There are a lot more recordings made of live performances: a lot of symphonies and labels can't afford to convene players for a closed-house session (and cities are a lot noisier than they used to be). So you set up for a couple of nights of live recording and put the album together from that. Ray is correct in that you've got a lot more spots and section mics to get around the sounds of the audience. 50 mics is not unusual.

I have a friend--John Newton of Soundmirror--who's recorded a lot of orchestras over the decades. In recent years, he recorded a number of albums for the Utah Symphony and I'd always go over to see how he set up. The Symphony did a Mahler 8 in the Mormon Tabernacle. The room is--to be diplomatic--problematic. The basic acoustics aren't great to begin with and they insist on running sound reinforcement--even with a large orchestra and 300-voice choir! John had to hang 80 mics for that concert and it took him months to clean up the recording.

Can you still get good orchestral recordings with a basic tree? Sure, but the truth is that you can do better with better coverage. Let me hasten to add that my mic locker comes nowhere near 50 mics.

It's a treat to see what they've done with the BSO studio. I was down in that room over 20 years ago while the BSO was premiering a Dutilleux piece. At the time, it was not such a pleasant space. But it's what they'd used for ages. I'd love to go down there and see it now.
I LOVE Dutilleux. Was turned on to his 2nd Symphony by none other than Clare Fischer.

I bet that was incredible…
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #147
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Carnes ➡️
... and labels can't afford to convene players for a closed-house session (and cities are a lot noisier than they used to be).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Carnes ➡️
... and it took him months to clean up the recording.
Is the cleanup work done pro bono?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #148
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
Is the cleanup work done pro bono?
That is a good question...

In must confess that I have sometimes made a lot of (unpaid) extra hours for cleaning up lots of noises from audiences. Sometimes it just feels better to do the thing without going begging for extra payment...

That is maybe not an entirely professional attitude, but I hate to renegotiate and/or deliver something that isn't up to scratch.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #149
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mpdonahue's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
Is the cleanup work done pro bono?
Having done the work in question, no, it is charged hourly. However, we are talking about a rounding error when compared with the cost of a recording session with an orchestra. We spent about 20 hours of time denoising the Mahler 8. A 15 minute overtime session in a live recording with a 100 player orchestra costs about $10k and you might be able to cover 4 or 5 spots. I took out hundreds of noises.
As always, YMMV.
-mark
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #150
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue ➡️
Having done the work in question, no, it is charged hourly. However, we are talking about a rounding error when compared with the cost of a recording session with an orchestra. We spent about 20 hours of time denoising the Mahler 8. A 15 minute overtime session in a live recording with a 100 player orchestra costs about $10k and you might be able to cover 4 or 5 spots. I took out hundreds of noises.
As always, YMMV.
-mark
Mark, if I may ask; what is your favourite cleaning software?
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