Quantcast
This is by far the best orchestral recording I've ever heard (help me pick out some mics?) - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
This is by far the best orchestral recording I've ever heard (help me pick out some mics?)
Old 20th December 2020
  #1
This is by far the best orchestral recording I've ever heard (help me pick out some mics?)

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
Old 20th December 2020
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
Granted this is the best acoustic space in the West
Not sure of this reference. Could you elaborate?
Old 20th December 2020
  #3
Lives for gear
You may also enjoy the following short article. . .

https://www.bso.org/brands/bso/intun...ew-grammy.aspx


Yours Shostakovichly,

Ray H.
Old 20th December 2020
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Ray, that elitist and dumb article mentions that they use 50 microphones to record the orchestra.

No comment.
Old 20th December 2020 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Ray, that elitist and dumb article mentions that they use 50 microphones to record the orchestra.

No comment.
Yea, they really maxed out, didn't they?

A primary driver seemed to be the desire for noise removal. . .and - to a lesser extent - broadcast vs. archive quality recording? It definitely sounded like a lot of process: pre and post production work.

I've only yet heard these recordings on YouTube through AirPod Pros, so can't relate to the best orchestral recording classification @ Pickett experienced.


But I didn't notice any chairs squeaking.

Ray H.
Old 20th December 2020 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➡️
Yea, they really maxed out, didn't they?

A primary driver seemed to be the desire for noise removal. . .and - to a lesser extent - broadcast vs. archive quality recording? It definitely sounded like a lot of process: pre and post production work.

I've only yet heard these recordings on YouTube through AirPod Pros, so can't relate to the best orchestral recording classification @ Pickett experienced.

But I didn't notice any chairs squeaking.

Ray H.
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.
Old 20th December 2020 | Show parent
  #7
Thanks for posting that !
Old 20th December 2020 | Show parent
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Ray, that elitist and dumb article mentions that they use 50 microphones to record the orchestra.

No comment.
I believe it won several Grammys so I don’t think my opinion is unique.
Old 20th December 2020
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Purism in recording is a classic example of making perfection the enemy of the good. From the second you press "record", no matter how many mics or how much processing afterward, the music becomes electrical signals and therefore an abstraction of the performance. So there is no "right" abstraction, only the one intended by the engineer/producer.
Old 20th December 2020 | Show parent
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob 28 ➡️
Purism in recording is a classic example of making perfection the enemy of the good. From the second you press "record", no matter how many mics or how much processing afterward, the music becomes electrical signals and therefore an abstraction of the performance. So there is no "right" abstraction, only the one intended by the engineer/producer.
Agreed what a ridiculous attitude
Old 20th December 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
My comment was on the written article itself, its tone, and how the author mythologized the work.

No, 50 microphones on an orchestra is NOT standard procedure. Where did you get that idea?? It is standard procedure on a film score recording though.

The recording is dramatic but I don't hear any depth in the sound, I can hear the compressor working, and the time aligned mics present the rear of the orchestra on the same plane as the front. Each texture in the orchestra is the same volume. The close miced gran casse adds weight but is fake and is heavily limited.

I don't hear the orchestra set in a real building or in the acoustic of the hall. I hear a Bricasti reverb preset.

Last edited by Plush; 20th December 2020 at 11:05 PM..
Old 20th December 2020
  #12
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
I believe this ends up looking a lot like Shawn’s film scoring setups, albeit with smaller mics. And that greatly resembles an old 90’s era Decca setup.

So you’re looking at:

Tree plus outriggers
Room pair(s)
String section spots
Wind section spots
Brass section spots
Percussion section spots
Principal spots
Soloist spots

Lots of mics, but As I understand it the way Shawn balances is based around the tree/outriggers/room first, then section mics, then close spots only when needed. And of course a healthy dose of Bricasti. A friend of mine did make an observation that you can hear some strong spot moves and highlights if you listen in, specifically to the woodwinds. I agree that these are great recordings, and I really enjoy Shawns work in general.

Who cares how many mics anyone puts out if the end result is good? Assuming you have adequate time and experience to place everything well during setup, it’s far better to have a mic out and not need it, than to need it and not have it, right? Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.
Old 20th December 2020 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
My comment was on the written article itself, its tone, and how the author mythologized the work.

No, 50 microphones on an orchestra is NOT standard procedure. Where did you get that idea?? It is standard procedure on a film score recording.
I don't really want to start a dustup about this, but I get my information from a friend who's recorded orchestras for years (for labels like Phillips, DG, Telarc and so on). He's got more than a few Grammys of his own. I've been on the stage and seen just what he hangs. Twenty years ago, he only put up twenty or so, but as it became possible to support more channels at high sample rates, that number increased.

You shouldn't think of these in the same way you think about multitrack recordings for pop music. There are still a few main mics capturing the bulk of the performance. Those extra spots buy you options in terms of improving focus and perhaps picking up a dB or two of gain for a soloist.

I had a very pleasant experience during a rehearsal of the Beethoven 9 a few years ago. This engineer had 50 some-odd mics set up, along with a preview pair of Samars set up as a Blumlein pair. We were easily able to A/B mic configurations. The Samars alone were glorious and would do a wonderful job for someone with a more conservative budget or mindset. But... as we brought in the full kit, the sound got more open and more detailed. A good orchestral recording can be a game of inches.

I'm most certainly not saying that you have to have 50 mics to record an orchestra. Decca made legendary recordings with just three. But, speaking as someone trained in classical composition, I really appreciate the ability to hear tiny details in the score that would otherwise be swallowed up.

PS - I took a look at your profile and saw you'd engineered "Rilke Songs" with Lorraine Hunt. I have it and it's a very nice recording. She left us way too soon.

Last edited by Michael Carnes; 20th December 2020 at 11:07 PM.. Reason: Postscript
Old 20th December 2020
  #14
The recording itself is decidedly amazing and the writing is Shostakovich at his finest (if you are in the mood for aggressive Shostakovich instead of retrospective Shostakovich (Violin Concertos, String Quartets). The tutti is extremely tight - those typical Shostakovich wind octaves are incredibly balanced, the piccolo is not piercing like in lessor recordings, the brass triads are balanced top to bottom (you don't hear only trumpet one) the bones and the tuba sound as one body. Its just so perfectly done.

I hear much of Symphony Hall - moreso than Mechanics Hall of the Bricasti.

Who cares how many mics were used? Probably 90% of the sound came from 5.

I just wish I knew more how it was done.
Old 21st December 2020
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
No doubt the playing is great. That's why everything lines up. The recording is laudable according to the philosophy of the recordists. Any discussion would have to address the specific complaints I listed.

I've heard this Boston piece a lot on cd here.

Listen to it on a large scale monitoring set up (not a hi-fi) and then you can hear how the recording was made.
Old 21st December 2020 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
What specifically are you wondering about? Mic type or placement? Mixing approach?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
The recording itself is decidedly amazing and the writing is Shostakovich at his finest (if you are in the mood for aggressive Shostakovich instead of retrospective Shostakovich (Violin Concertos, String Quartets). The tutti is extremely tight - those typical Shostakovich wind octaves are incredibly balanced, the piccolo is not piercing like in lessor recordings, the brass triads are balanced top to bottom (you don't hear only trumpet one) the bones and the tuba sound as one body. Its just so perfectly done.

I hear much of Symphony Hall - moreso than Mechanics Hall of the Bricasti.

Who cares how many mics were used? Probably 90% of the sound came from 5.

I just wish I knew more how it was done.
Old 21st December 2020 | Show parent
  #17
mic choices, angles, heights etc..
Old 21st December 2020
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
That is a very nice recording and sounded much better than things usually sound on YouTube. There might have been a special mastering pass to optimize for streaming. But give Shawn plenty of credit for knowing his way around a microphone.
Old 21st December 2020
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Saw this earlier today: Classical engineering forum?

I doubt GS would set up an independent forum for classical, but you don't know if you don't ask.
Old 21st December 2020 | Show parent
  #20
I'd like that
Old 21st December 2020
  #21
The timpani and bass drum sounds especially fantastic (yes obviously they are loud) - I know at the scoring stage that he uses at u67 for timp - I also love the left to right image of the strings - the contrabasses sound brilliant in the quasi fugue passage.
Old 21st December 2020 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
mpdonahue's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Ray, that elitist and dumb article mentions that they use 50 microphones to record the orchestra.

No comment.
Thanks for your enlightening contribution to this topic.
All the best,
Mark
Old 21st December 2020
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Hello Mark,

You can be sure that we will raise our rates a lot in celebration of the CSO winning the Best Orchestral Performance Grammy next year.
Old 21st December 2020 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
mpdonahue's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
mic choices, angles, heights etc..
In the past, Nick Squire was hanging a small tree of MKH8020's, with Schoeps outriggers, and Neumann omni ambience mics(They were KM83's but I suspect they have changed them since). The BSO mic locker has a bunch of Schoeps mics and Collette cables, Newer Sennheiser 8000 series mics and a fair number of Neumann KM80 series.
In the WCRB days, Tuna Howell used to use a modified Onno set with 4007 in and 4006 on the outside, but I don't know if they were BSO mics or radio station mics.
If it is the same as it used to be, the BSO do these recordings without a patch. Nick Squire does the day to day recording, Bob Wolff does the editing, Brian Losch does the denoising, Shawn Murphy does the mixing and Producing (Maestro Nelsons is actively involved in the production as well) and Tim Martyn does the mastering. It is a lot of people, but everybody is good at what they do and chosen because of it. Bob W has been doing Shawn's editing for 3 decades, since the Sony Classical days. While I have philosophical differences with how Shawn mixes records, his body of work shows a consistent excellence that can not be denied.
Haters gonna hate...


As always, YMMV.
All the best,
Mark
Old 21st December 2020 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
using a multitude of mics does not only offer multiple options in terms of how to portray an ensemble/orchestra (plus organ, choir, soloists), it also allows to pay more attention to details (which may no be possible when working on a tight recording schedule) or to 'separate' direct/reflected and ambient sound - however, it also requires a different approach in terms of mic choice and mixing technique!

i'm mostly up to ca. 32 - 40 mics but i got no problem 'wasting' many more mics, especially in less-than-perfect venues or when being forced to adapt the mic positions due to 'looks' for tv/video - if there isn't endless editing involved/for broadcasting, i much prefer using rather too many than not enough mics!



[besides, i have an entire line of mute buttons in front of me but no bricasti (or then the sony sampling reverb to actually capture the room i'm working in) here - i prefer quantec - see pic]
Attached Thumbnails
This is by far the best orchestral recording I've ever heard (help me pick out some mics?)-20201221_183211.jpg  
Old 21st December 2020 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
mpdonahue's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Hello Mark,

You can be sure that we will raise our rates a lot in celebration of the CSO winning the Best Orchestral Performance Grammy next year.
Hudson,
Like they say in baseball, there is always next season...
If you get a chance, give a listen to one of this year's "Best Orchestral" nominees, Oregon Symphony "Aspects of America: Pulitzer Edition" and tell me how many mics you think are in this production. It's available in 5.0 surround as well as Stereo.
Could be a little, could be a lot. We recorded 48 tracks.

-mark
Old 21st December 2020
  #27
wonderful information - thank you

I notice a similarity in the mixing choices between the Shostakovich (mixed by Murphy) and this John Williams cue

https://youtu.be/oJJlW9hdBsc?t=188
Old 21st December 2020
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
At the risk of stepping out on a ledge with someone closing the window behind me, I'll offer the following observation. In listening to the Shostakovich, I'm reminded a little of the recordings of Gordon Goodwin's big band by Tommy Vicari. On the one hand, they sound nothing like "classic" big band recordings (think Thad Jone/Mel Lewis). But on the other hand they sound remarkably precise, present and punchy. Tommy may have originally come out of a pop music background, but he was respectful of what the band was all about. There's no abuse in any of those mixes.

I listen to the percussion in the Shostakovich and it's wonderful. But I don't think it really sounds the same in Boston Symphony Hall (and I've heard a lot of stuff in there). There'd be an overwhelming thunder from the bass drums out in the room. Use of the spots (and perhaps some other jiggery-pokerey) gave us percussion with all the impact and perhaps more precision than we might hear in the audience.

All this is to say that a somewhat 'impure' approach to recording the classical music we love--in careful hands--can give us an experience that might be closer to what the composer heard in his or her mind. It is a profession of artful cheating, after all.
Old 23rd December 2020 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue ➡️
Hudson,
Like they say in baseball, there is always next season...
If you get a chance, give a listen to one of this year's "Best Orchestral" nominees, Oregon Symphony "Aspects of America: Pulitzer Edition" and tell me how many mics you think are in this production. It's available in 5.0 surround as well as Stereo.
Could be a little, could be a lot. We recorded 48 tracks.

-mark
For those interested in taking Mark up on the mic count challenge, you can sample the stereo 320kbit/s MP3 tracks (I know, since I made them from the DXD EM) here:

https://www.nativedsd.com/catalogue/...-edition-live/

Tom
Old 23rd December 2020 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➡️
Yea, they really maxed out, didn't they?

A primary driver seemed to be the desire for noise removal. . .and - to a lesser extent - broadcast vs. archive quality recording? It definitely sounded like a lot of process: pre and post production work.

I've only yet heard these recordings on YouTube through AirPod Pros, so can't relate to the best orchestral recording classification @ Pickett experienced.


But I didn't notice any chairs squeaking.

Ray H.


I love the odd squeaky chair, you know there's a human behind sitting on it!!
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 468 views: 88927
Avatar for David Spearritt
David Spearritt 3 days ago
replies: 2704 views: 411721
Avatar for Diogo C
Diogo C 30th October 2015
replies: 60 views: 7388
Avatar for patrikfoley
patrikfoley 28th January 2021
replies: 80 views: 5168
Avatar for QueenSisi
QueenSisi 20 hours ago
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump