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Sparingly-used saturation in classical, preferences?
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #61
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Rembrandt was a "work for hire" guy, and he often got hired by wealthy people to do oil renderings of what they or their spouses wished they actually looked like. We're in that same business, more or less.
Interestingly Rembrandt was particularly known for doing things his own way, like highlighting the maid that wasn't even supposed to be in the painting at all. And he loved painting wrinkles and other signs of decay in his models. If anything, he was a true author.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #62
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
I think what we have here is a very basic difference based on the recording practices involved.

In classical, at least classical performance, recordist, record mostly with a main pair. There may be some additions; spots, flankers, center M/S, etc.

Jazz and pop (rock, pop vocal, and the like) recordists employ multi-mic'ing, multi mic, close mic'd techniques.

In such a capture, many tweaks can be applied to any particular mic to improve the sound of that track. Compression, EQ, verb, and even "saturation" and "distortion", Applying that to one mic, or a few may make the whole mix-down better, no question.

But if you are working with one mic pair, adding such processing will effect the whole spectrum of the capture. I would not consider adding any processing that would effect the whole entire recording except, like I said, minimal compression to tamp down some out of control timpani strikes or some such thing. Or maybe a bit of reverb to help a dry hall sound a bit better.

So, just as in everything, situation defines solution.

D.
i can mostly agree on this, although i've long started merging different approaches and don't differentiate by genre but by venue, stage volume, level of ampliflcation, audience size, options i want to have when it comes to mixing etc. - so: technical aspects!

possibly the only effect which genre has on my gear choice and/or approach is reflected by the ratio between dynamic and condenser mics; the amount of mics, the (necessary!) processing however doesn't vary which is the reason why i take a mixing desk to (almost) any 'tracking' session; more often than not, my 'live' mix then gets used.

that said, i'm lucky that i mostly get to work with ensembles/bands which aren't into too many takes or ridiculous amounts of edits either (or its a live broadcast anyway).
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearFiddler ➡️
Well, it should IMO. From what I've read and heard, coupled with my own experience with being digitally recorded prior to a career ending injury, classical music recording is an edit fest with view equals. I think that's rather sad. When I consider the $ from various angles...it's not hard to get the picture though. Oh well.
This is frequently the case and to be honest a lot of that has to do with not being able to rehearse properly, as well as the producer and concertmaster's desire for perfection at the expense of feel. It's not always like that, but it far too often is.
--scott
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearFiddler ➡️
He would record bits at a time as a common practice. Something that I encountered as an orchestra player one day as the winds were required to record a chordal passage one chord at a time. Fortunately, being a violinist, I only had to watch... and listen.
This was combined with Gould's incessant humming, which caused the producers to aggressively close-mike the piano and eliminate room mikes out of a desire to eliminate the spurious humming. Well, sometimes it was more like singing than humming.

Consequently Gould's recordings don't really bear very much connection to the sound or performance of an actual event at all. One could argue that some of his recordings don't bear very much connection to what Bach wrote down either, but I am too polite to do that. Although my piano teacher wasn't.
--scott
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #65
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🎧 15 years
Art and Artifice in Classical Recording

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler ➡️
Reading some interviews form some prominent classical music recordists and they mention having 1,000 different edits in their award winning recordings. And isn't that why they like using Sequoia and Pyramix? Because of the editing and cross fade capabilities for classical music?
Guilty as charged. Of course I don't do anything of this magnitude on "live" recordings. These are supposed to document a performance, and they mostly do. But a generally wonderful performance with a noticeable clam or flubbed entrance will never be approved for broadcast and that can be a tragic outcome. If editing in something from the dress rehearsal saves the release, then that's exactly what must be done.

Classical recordings done for label release rather than for broadcast or archive are a completely different matter. The point is to record the performers' best statement of the work in question. Top tier classical performers have "intention" for every note and the purpose of the recording is to capture that intent, not any particular run-through. All manner of artifice is fair game in pursuit of that goal. Of course both the artist and the engineer must be in service to the composer's intent. There's considerable latitude there, because musical notation is imprecise. The artist applies her musical judgement, grounded in a what's known about the musical practices of the composer's era. The engineer must think about how audiences would have heard the piece in a typical venue of the time period.

These foundational obligations are modified somewhat by the fact that we are producing a different art form than the composer was. A "recording" is an art form that did not even exist when much of the classical literature was written, and so it has its own aesthetics. We often want the sonic presentation to be clearer and more compelling than a live performance can ever be. Arguably, we are substituting recording artifice for the missing visual cues of a live concert. We may use spot and section mics. We may use EQ and level rides to make these sound more plausible. I've often chosen a "slower" preamp on a spot mic to make transients more like what would be heard in a hall. At the end, we may add artificial reverb or mix in hall mics to try to stitch it all back together into a coherent sonic whole.

There is moral hazard here. We can never know the composer's intent precisely. Not every composer was an expert orchestrator. Should we attempt to compensate for the fact that something gets submerged in dense scoring? Or should we assume that was intended? I was placing mics for a Brahms quartet when one of the musicians asked me about the balance. I had my "engineer" ears switched on and was caught off guard. "I don't hear the viola there," I said, because I thought I should say something. To which the producer replied, "I don't think you're supposed to." He was not making a viola joke.

Quote:
Why does the editing get a free pass? If it was a pure 2 or 4 mic stereo recording, it should be one and done; horn section cracking notes, the random wrong entrances of the woodwinds, the children crying, cell phones ringing, house doors banging, and the ushers crackling their candy and food wrappers and all....right?
I spend far more time fixing coughs and cell phone pings than anything else and do so with zero sense of guilt. These things are not part of the "performance", and they were a distraction to those present for it. There's no reason to archive them for posterity.

What has any of this to do with the topic at hand? Well, I've never once seen a composer call for "distortion" in the score. I don't even know what the word is in Italian! If I were ever to do such a thing, it would certainly be on a spot mic to clarify a musical line without actually raising the channel volume. I've never done it, but I confess that you've got me thinking.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #66
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A well known recordist told me, “my new piano record has over 800 edits.”

My response—“oh, sorry to hear that. That’s awful.”

It means the person couldn’t play or that the producer couldn’t guide the player.

Even worse, it means that the “artiste” got ahold of the edit button.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #67
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
A well known recordist told me, “my new piano record has over 800 edits.”

My response—“oh, sorry to hear that. That’s awful.”

It means the person couldn’t play or that the producer couldn’t guide the player.

Even worse, it means that the “artiste” got a hold of the edit button.
Not necessarily. The hall I used to record in had "cracking windows" from expansion when the sun hit them. They cause a very loud clicks in the recording done in that hall so lots of edits were required. The same goes for another hall I used to record in. It was on a major highway through town and was near the hospital so sirens were a "fact of life" as were large 18 wheel trucks. We tried to do our recordings at night to minimize the noise but we were not successful all of the time.

I helped do a recording in St. John's Cathedral for Paul Winter. It was done at night but we had to content with the subway trains. Not fun.

There are lots of reasons for lots of edits...not just what you mentioned.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #68
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🎧 10 years
Back when I worked for a living (Exponential Audio) I actually added a circuit for saturation into my second generation reverbs (it's under the 'warp' menu). I wasn't trying to emulate particular tubes or anything, but rather allowed you add to a a bit of even-partial harmonic distortion. I could add an odd partial if you really were after an old transistor sound. It sounds pretty decent on the verb if you're after an 80s/90s vibe.

But my own recording is classical and I don't like it on that. I really want what's coming out of the mics. I could see warming up an occasional soloist, but I'd really rather do that with a touch of EQ or a different mic. Of course you're going to hear analog artifacts on older recordings. But I think those engineers were really trying to minimize that. I don't know any classical engineers currently working who use saturation as a regular thing.

My goal is simply to give the listener the best seat in the house and to leave as few fingerprints as possible.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #69
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I use John Hardy M-1 and Jensen Twin Servo "Sony Classical Edition" mic preamps by Hardy. Also GML 8304 preamps. And Rens Heijnis custom built preamps.

Why would I add saturation to the sound from these stellar preamps?

The answer is that I would never do it.

I already experimented with Thermionic Culture green Fat Bustard tube mixer and saturator. I already experimented with the Kerwax Replica saturator. I already used the funky and awful 610 preamp from Universal.

All were judged as bad fudge and dumped.

All had truncated freq. response that ruined my hi-res recordings.

None added desirable characteristics.


your man on the scene,

Plush
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #70
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
A well known recordist told me, “my new piano record has over 800 edits.”

My response—“oh, sorry to hear that. That’s awful.”

It means the person couldn’t play or that the producer couldn’t guide the player.

Even worse, it means that the “artiste” got ahold of the edit button.
Sure - the late Glenn Gould just was a terrible piano player - NOT!

Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➡️
What has any of this to do with the topic at hand? Well, I've never once seen a composer call for "distortion" in the score. I don't even know what the word is in Italian! If I were ever to do such a thing, it would certainly be on a spot mic to clarify a musical line without actually raising the channel volume. I've never done it, but I confess that you've got me thinking.
It's important to make a distinction between adding qualities to the sound that were not in the original performance versus trying to replicate aspects of the sound we remember hearing during the performance but which may not have been captured faithfully in the recording.

Saturation can add harmonics, making a sound harmonically richer. Some of those harmonics might have actually in the original sound but may not have been captured in the recording. If the idea of introducing new harmonics to a recording is too radical, another option is to use a tool such as the sound editor in Melodyne to adjust the volume and other qualities of specific harmonics that are present in the recording, in ways that are more precise than conventional spectral editing or EQ. Many people think of Melodyne as pitch-correction software but that's only one of its many functions; it's also an extremely precise polyphonic audio editor, a very precise de-esser (you can adjust sibilants on a note-by-note basis), and a sophisticated harmonics editor; see https://helpcenter.celemony.com/hc-2...env=standAlone
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #72
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once more, the purist's approach falls flat: if one wants to avoid any saturation for some strange reasons, then one needs to use but transformerless mics and preamps, avoid ldc's, any tube gear and record at very low levels...
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #73
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
once more, the purist's approach falls flat: if one wants to avoid any saturation for some strange reasons, then one needs to use but transformerless mics and preamps, avoid ldc's, any tube gear and record at very low levels...
The very first people to do this stuff were such purists that they even avoided electricity.
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #74
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
This is frequently the case and to be honest a lot of that has to do with not being able to rehearse properly, as well as the producer and concertmaster's desire for perfection at the expense of feel. It's not always like that, but it far too often is.
--scott
Not able to rehearse properly...kinda boils down to *then don't attempt a recording*... for me. And I was a concertmaster fairly often. Perhaps you meant conductor? Anyway, accepting being under prepared and expecting someone to come in like Zorro... and slice and dice to save the day? Really?

Thankyou for your replies and for engaging with me. My goal isn't to ruffle anyone's feathers, though it may be unavoidable. And the following is more a general response to multiple posts.

-------------------------------------------

I have lp's going way back. Some of them belonged to my father, who sang in the Robert Shaw Chorale, and is on the Toscanini recording of Beethoven 9. How did Toscanini, or Ormandy, or Szell, or Reiner, or Karajan and their respective orchestras ever manage without a thousand edits? I don't hear any candy wrappers, coughs, or babies crying either. Guessing things changed some with the arrival of the cd.

It was a live by the sword die by the sword way of life. So and so's horn player cracked a note when it was time to shine? Too bad. That's what makes one orchestra better than another sometimes. I've played in orchestras where if 1rst horn cracked up, a pink slip would be on it's way the next morning. If it was someone that had delivered for years, they might've been given some slack. But it better not happen again for a good long time.

I understand and appreciate what some folks here are saying. But I think sometimes that the way things are isn't so good...ya know. For my peeps on the other side of the glass. For musicianship in general. We are people, not just glorified trigger mechanisms.

Last edited by GearFiddler; 5 days ago at 10:34 PM..
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #75
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
This was combined with Gould's incessant humming, which caused the producers to aggressively close-mike the piano and eliminate room mikes out of a desire to eliminate the spurious humming. Well, sometimes it was more like singing than humming.

Consequently Gould's recordings don't really bear very much connection to the sound or performance of an actual event at all. One could argue that some of his recordings don't bear very much connection to what Bach wrote down either, but I am too polite to do that. Although my piano teacher wasn't.
--scott
My mom had a recording of his Brahms Intermezzi that I 'd listen to back in my teens. I've never really compared his to anyone else's, but even so, they had a careful, studied quality to them I thought at the time.

And for all the talk about representing and doing justice to the composer, there he is moaning and groaning all over it.

I have little doubt I've spent far more time with Bach's Chaconne than Bach ever did. Way more. I've played large chunks of it in my sleep. While I would've never intentionally done something I thought didn't serve, I think the time spent on my part allowed for some freedom.

Last edited by GearFiddler; 5 days ago at 11:34 PM..
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #76
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy ➡️
I wonder how many classical recordists who shun saturation (or other processing) would stitch together a recording from a load of takes and still think they are delivering a pure product?

As it was played? Not really.

Subtle saturation might be helpful. Only one way to find out.
Not "as played" but "as should have been played".
Quite different than "let's add something that wasn't there, not in the hall nor in the score"

That said, I get paid to make the payer happy. I do whatever it takes to reach that goal.
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #77
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
It means the person couldn’t play or that the producer couldn’t guide the player.

Even worse, it means that the “artiste” got ahold of the edit button.
I think usually the first in that list. A lot of recordings and records should not be made.
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
I think usually the first in that list. A lot of recordings and records should not be made.
not so sure about the first one: i think the musicians' overall niveau is considerably higher compared to 25 or 50 years ago but i'm with you on the second one!

(anyone free to pull out if the process is set up in silly ways; that said, i find drum replacement about as stupid as pitch correction or endless comping and editing - even the challenge of punching in has long gone...)
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #79
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🎧 15 years
I recorded a local professional symphony orchestra in concert. The conductor sang along with the piece he was conducting and was picked up on the center stereo pair. There was nothing I could do about it so it stayed with the recording. Now with programs such as SpectraLayers Pro I could go in and mostly remove his singing but the cost to do so would not be cheap and why???

If you are not getting a good recording due to mic placement or other problems then I would work on getting them solved before I would spend time in post production trying to fix them. FWIW and
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearFiddler ➡️
I have lp's going way back. Some of them belonged to my father, who sang in the Robert Shaw Chorale, and is on the Toscanini recording of Beethoven 9. How did Toscanini, or Ormandy, or Szell, or Reiner, or Karajan and their respective orchestras ever manage without a thousand edits? I don't hear any candy wrappers, coughs, or babies crying either. Guessing things changed some with the arrival of the cd.
1. They recorded in a quiet studio.

2. They performed pieces that they had rehearsed with the conductor extensively rather than going into the studio with a brand new piece. They had a -lot- of time and money to get ready, which we don't today.

3. They edited a whole lot. Not as much as we do today, but you'll hear hundreds of edits on the 1950s Karajan Beethoven's Ninth. The razor blade is a powerful thing. Transient sounds like popping windows disappear with the use of a typewriter eraser on the master tape. When tape came in all of a sudden in 1949, it was a revolution even more dramatic than the digital revolution, and everyone went berserk editing the hell out of everything.

4. They missed some things anyway. I have an LP of one of the Tchaikowsky symphonies with Dmitri Mitropulous conducting where you can hear someone open and close the studio door in the reverb tail as the last note dies out.
--scott
Old 5 days ago
  #82
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🎧 10 years
Making lots of splices is not very different than what a sanitation worker does: It is a dirty job but someone has got to do it. Since it is a job, it also pays bills.

Going back to OP, people pay me to clean up their recordings. But, if people are willing to pay you to dirty up their recordings, the more power to you, I would say.
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #83
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
1. They recorded in a quiet studio.

2. They performed pieces that they had rehearsed with the conductor extensively rather than going into the studio with a brand new piece. They had a -lot- of time and money to get ready, which we don't today.

3. They edited a whole lot. Not as much as we do today, but you'll hear hundreds of edits on the 1950s Karajan Beethoven's Ninth. The razor blade is a powerful thing. Transient sounds like popping windows disappear with the use of a typewriter eraser on the master tape. When tape came in all of a sudden in 1949, it was a revolution even more dramatic than the digital revolution, and everyone went berserk editing the hell out of everything.

4. They missed some things anyway. I have an LP of one of the Tchaikowsky symphonies with Dmitri Mitropulous conducting where you can hear someone open and close the studio door in the reverb tail as the last note dies out.
--scott
Thanks! I assumed there was still some editing involved. I think that as a formerly performing musician it's a given that small extraneous noises are ignored or 'tuned out' so as to maintain concentration. Way more focused on the music. I think I understand the recordist's point of view though.

And if one can hear the edits, I would certainly hope that the corrected offense rises to a deserving level.

Anyway, something about "1000 edits" struck me as a bit of a boast. It shouldn't be. Maybe it was just an admission.

Well, when it isn't making me a bit nauseated, I find the subject interesting, and shall give it some more thought.

Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearFiddler ➡️
something about "1000 edits" struck me as a bit of a boast. It shouldn't be.
it isn't: a friend of mine got to record several symphonies with one of the leading german orchestras with a very well-know conductor: he spent a full year editing...

...or in his words: "i'm cutting things unnecessarily into individual pieces in order to glue them together again afterwards" - iirc, he mentiond something like 1000 edits across 48 tracks!?
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearFiddler ➡️
Well, when it isn't making me a bit nauseated, I find the subject interesting, and shall give it some more thought.
Before tape was available in '49 there was no editing, and it can be very interesting to listen to performances made before that time. Toscanini's NBC stuff was done straight through and if you can stand the incessant gain riding it's great.

Also... there was a brief period in the early digital era when technology moved forward and backward at the same time and everyone went to digital recording and lost their ability to edit within movements. Some of the recordings made in that era can also be illuminating.
--scott
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #86
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
it isn't: a friend of mine got to record several symphonies with one of the leading german orchestras with a very well-know conductor: he spent a full year editing...

...or in his words: "i'm cutting things unnecessarily into individual pieces in order to glue them together again afterwards" - iirc, he mentiond something like 1000 edits across 48 tracks!?
This 'ol world just isn't wound up tight enough yet.

Yeah, as I mentioned in a thread a while back, the last orchestral recording I took part in was just cause at it's conclusion for the engineer to call it a wrap and walk away...for good. Or maybe it was in the name of all that is right and good. Haha! I dunno.

It's heartening to know that some on the other side feel pretty much the same way though.

Conductors and producers are mostly to blame. I knew it all along.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #87
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
Before tape was available in '49 there was no editing, and it can be very interesting to listen to performances made before that time. Toscanini's NBC stuff was done straight through and if you can stand the incessant gain riding it's great.

Also... there was a brief period in the early digital era when technology moved forward and backward at the same time and everyone went to digital recording and lost their ability to edit within movements. Some of the recordings made in that era can also be illuminating.
--scott
I don't listen to music much anymore...really...and when I said, "I don't hear..." earlier, it should have been *haven't heard* really. But sometimes late at night I watch old war films. Victory At Sea kind of stuff and what not - and what strikes me most is the spirited playing I've heard. Absolutely bursting and bristling with life and vigor.

What I happen to encounter and hear now from time to time rarely has that. Maybe it's because once fluid players with their focus on front to back with all their heart are stopped and reduced to recording this little bit that wasn't quite perfect or that 8 notes separately and one at a time because somebody's foot shuffled, or their chair squeeked.

Basically though, I would have to go back and try to hear the flaws..and I think I'll just take your word for it.

The silver lining of this infernal injury I s'pose. I'm free of...that.


Last edited by GearFiddler; 3 hours ago at 03:48 PM.. Reason: Because edits are all the rage
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