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Interesting First Job Back
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Interesting First Job Back

Last week, I was ask to record a violin/piano duet (Brahms Violin Sonatas) in a large private "salon".

There was video involved, now the standard it seems, so my normal omni pair(s) in the appropriate position in the room was a non-starter.

Close mic'ing was the rule of the day; not my favorite way to record classical performance to be sure.

So, one mic over the violin and two mics peeking under the short-stick lid of the 9' piano; gotta see the pianist of course. All DPA 4011s. Two Josephson C617 in Decca Tail on the piano (just to try) and two Neumann KM140 in ORTF about 12' away as room mics.

Okay, it sounds perfectly fine. A bit present and the violin spot did a fine job of recording the 5.5k "edge" of the gut-string fiddle. Here is what I discovered in the mix. The close mics on the piano sounded horrible as expected. The Decca Tail pair was the clear winner even with more violin bleed. EQ the violin track and add a touch of Altiverb, add some room mics to put some air around the music and and it is totally presentable.

But doe it sound "good"? Gotta say, sounds like a pop mix to me. No sense of space, no stage depth and an artificial stereo stage.

Client will be thrilled. Me? Not so much.

Is this our future?

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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jnorman's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Doug - that is exactly the kind of thing I have been faced with for the past year+. Sonatas in people’s living rooms with video. I gave up on using any spot mics on either the soloist or the piano, as they just never helped - I too dislike a “close mic’ed” sound - and simply put up my MSTC64 where it sounds okay in the space. I often use a little bit of acon deverberate to remove as much of the room as I can, and then add some very short (0.8s- 1.2s) chamber reverb (using inspirata these days) that sounds sort of like what the room looks like in the video (it’s way too easy to make it sound good but not match what you are seeing…). It is a tricky game - I can’t wait until my local venues open back up, but more and more it is these students playing in their teacher’s living rooms.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I think you guys should be giving ribbon mics a chance in places like these....and 'real ribbons', you know the sort that has a gentle roll off starting just before the instrument (and mic capsule !) spike onset zone....not the scaredy-cat 'modern ribbons' that promise flat to 20k HF extension, for fear of frightening the "flat-response condensor mic children" (ie us ! )
I'm sure you'll put the fig 8 nulls to great use too.... in these boxy. low ceilinged boom and screech chambers the clients call their favourite music room....

What have you got to lose...give it a try and report back here.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
Last week, I was ask to record a violin/piano duet (Brahms Violin Sonatas) in a large private "salon".

There was video involved, now the standard it seems, so my normal omni pair(s) in the appropriate position in the room was a non-starter.

Close mic'ing was the rule of the day; not my favorite way to record classical performance to be sure.

So, one mic over the violin and two mics peeking under the short-stick lid of the 9' piano; gotta see the pianist of course. All DPA 4011s. Two Josephson C617 in Decca Tail on the piano (just to try) and two Neumann KM140 in ORTF about 12' away as room mics.

Okay, it sounds perfectly fine. A bit present and the violin spot did a fine job of recording the 5.5k "edge" of the gut-string fiddle. Here is what I discovered in the mix. The close mics on the piano sounded horrible as expected. The Decca Tail pair was the clear winner even with more violin bleed. EQ the violin track and add a touch of Altiverb, add some room mics to put some air around the music and and it is totally presentable.

But doe it sound "good"? Gotta say, sounds like a pop mix to me. No sense of space, no stage depth and an artificial stereo stage.

Client will be thrilled. Me? Not so much.

Is this our future?

D.
the situation you described (and which may become the new normal, at least for many of us...) led me to adopt techniques commonly associated with production methods of other genre a long time ago.

unaltered, i mostly don't like the sound of close mics on piano for classical music either - however, the use of (spectral, dynamic and efx) processing can lead to the impression as if the mics would have been positioned in a more typical place - the use of ambient mics (and artificial efx) can help to compensate for the effects of directional mics and/or to add a sense of space (and ideally depth).

imo a rough mix of unaltered signals can no longer satisfy the needs of the audience in the era of streaming (and long before broadcasting) which is one of the reasons why i'm schlepping a (digital) desk, efx and a broadcast processor to most any location 'recording': if not going on-air at the venue, i can at least hand the artists a more or less 'finished' mix which - short of some minor tweaks - comes pretty close to final result.

this does not only speed up the whole process but is way closer to typical live mixing, a challenge which i enjoy to this day (and even more in recent years, except for the touring), rather than spending too much time in the studio...


___


[a former, very strict producer of the national broadcasting company was notorious for labelling anything that didn't suit him as 'not broadcast-ready' and was then (often) consistent enough to cancel the broadcast! - something hard to imagine in today's times...
what imo was even worse though was that by virtue of his position and his harsh critique, he permanently damaged several careers of ambitious technicians at an early stage! - the only thing i can mention in his defence is that he had an encyclopaedic knowledge and excellent taste so there was hardly much of a point arguing with him...
his career ended btw when his habit of taking a sip of fine brandy after a successful transmission got out of hand and he was relegated to an administrative post.]

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 2 weeks ago at 03:21 PM..
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