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Questions about Setting Preamps for a classical recording
Old 9th August 2021
  #1
Gear Head
 
Questions about Setting Preamps for a classical recording

I'm pretty sure the new Decca book didn't mention this, and since i missed the Analog recording days completely I'm not especially confident on my mic pre-setting objectives (especially those involving vu meters)

Lets say I am using an 8 channel Grace or RME preamp , recording at 32 bits and at 96khz.

What are my objectives?

1) Is it like in other studio situations where they run the most dynamic section and my preamps all roughly hit -6db inside TotalMix or Prootools (or sequoia).

1a) In an orchestra probably 70 percent of the volume will come from the brass and percussions - how do i ensure my ww spots are correct?

2) Are all microphones set according to this pattern (including spots, outriggers etc..)? Does one try and get slightly less headroom on the main Decca trees etc..

The decca book refers alot to setting the tree at 0db -.5db etc.. but it doesn't mention any technique to insuring the individual mics themselves are recorded equally.


Secondly, I wished to ask if any classical editors are using protools. I know Sequoia is preferred for its source-destination editing. That being said Ramiro (who is a fantastic editor here in Los Angeles) uses ProTools and can get highest quality editing from them.

Lastly, I recently saw a set up sheet for the Jurassic Park OST and saw that Shawn Murphy was using avalon preamps (m2 mkii) - he has since switched to Grace and now currently Pueblo. Thoughts on Avalon preamps for classical? I could imagine getting a nice recording of Thomas Tallis Fantasy or perhaps Rachmaninoff Vespers where a slight glossy color could contribute to the overall musicality of the piece.

Always appreciate your time and input!
Old 9th August 2021
  #2
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
I'm pretty sure the new Decca book didn't mention this, and since i missed the Analog recording days completely I'm not especially confident on my mic pre-setting objectives (especially those involving vu meters)

Lets say I am using an 8 channel Grace or RME preamp , recording at 32 bits and at 96khz.

What are my objectives?

1) Is it like in other studio situations where they run the most dynamic section and my preamps all roughly hit -6db inside TotalMix or Prootools (or sequoia).

1a) In an orchestra probably 70 percent of the volume will come from the brass and percussions - how do i ensure my ww spots are correct?

2) Are all microphones set according to this pattern (including spots, outriggers etc..)? Does one try and get slightly less headroom on the main Decca trees etc..

The decca book refers alot to setting the tree at 0db -.5db etc.. but it doesn't mention any technique to insuring the individual mics themselves are recorded equally.


Secondly, I wished to ask if any classical editors are using protools. I know Sequoia is preferred for its source-destination editing. That being said Ramiro (who is a fantastic editor here in Los Angeles) uses ProTools and can get highest quality editing from them.

Lastly, I recently saw a set up sheet for the Jurassic Park OST and saw that Shawn Murphy was using avalon preamps (m2 mkii) - he has since switched to Grace and now currently Pueblo. Thoughts on Avalon preamps for classical? I could imagine getting a nice recording of Thomas Tallis Fantasy or perhaps Rachmaninoff Vespers where a slight glossy color could contribute to the overall musicality of the piece.

Always appreciate your time and input!
# 1 is the most robust approach although the safety margin you should leave can vary/depends on transients/metering.

use whatever recording/editing system you are the most familiar with - that said, no love for pt here.

the importance of the preamps gets vastly overrated: any preamp of decent quality will do and from listening to the full mix, no one in the world can tell which preamps (or which other gear) you used...
Old 9th August 2021
  #3
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
I'm pretty sure the new Decca book didn't mention this, and since i missed the Analog recording days completely I'm not especially confident on my mic pre-setting objectives (especially those involving vu meters)

Lets say I am using an 8 channel Grace or RME preamp , recording at 32 bits and at 96khz.

What are my objectives?

1) Is it like in other studio situations where they run the most dynamic section and my preamps all roughly hit -6db inside TotalMix or Prootools (or sequoia).

1a) In an orchestra probably 70 percent of the volume will come from the brass and percussions - how do i ensure my ww spots are correct?

2) Are all microphones set according to this pattern (including spots, outriggers etc..)? Does one try and get slightly less headroom on the main Decca trees etc..

The decca book refers alot to setting the tree at 0db -.5db etc.. but it doesn't mention any technique to insuring the individual mics themselves are recorded equally.


Secondly, I wished to ask if any classical editors are using protools. I know Sequoia is preferred for its source-destination editing. That being said Ramiro (who is a fantastic editor here in Los Angeles) uses ProTools and can get highest quality editing from them.

Lastly, I recently saw a set up sheet for the Jurassic Park OST and saw that Shawn Murphy was using avalon preamps (m2 mkii) - he has since switched to Grace and now currently Pueblo. Thoughts on Avalon preamps for classical? I could imagine getting a nice recording of Thomas Tallis Fantasy or perhaps Rachmaninoff Vespers where a slight glossy color could contribute to the overall musicality of the piece.

Always appreciate your time and input!
PREFACE: Your questions get answered as your experience builds.
Which level to peak at is guided by how your converters sound with high levels and the general high headroom capability of your recording system.

1. I have been backing off from anything over -6dBFS or -4dBFS. My system sounds more effortless and non strained when using conservative levels. Turn up later if required.

1a-highest levels come from massed sound, not brass particularly. You set these levels in rehearsal. If you don’t record the rehearsal then you’re doing it wrong.

2. You solo your wind channels to judge if you have sufficient detail. Except for horn, your ww channels will not stress the system. -6dBFS is also a good level there. Mic both rows of woodwinds.

Protools is nowhere in classical recording. Film score recording is not classical recording. It has an entirely different aesthetic. The reason Protools is nowhere is because it is a poor editing model for complex work. If you have Sequoia, stick with that. If not acquire it today.

Here I use SADiE and Sequoia. SADiE is excellent and fast to learn but Sequoia has an even better editor and handles modern plug-ins much better. Sequoia can be controlled by modern control surfaces while SADiE lags behind greatly in that capability. Protools is nowhere and compared to the above is a total joke. You see it used in Hollywood as a multi-track recorder and post system.

Preamps are very important because they are in the front end of the recording chain and they are amplifying very small (low level) signals.

They must be very high headroom / high detail units such as (in no particular order):
D.A.V. electronics Broadhurst Gardens Decca preamps, Pueblo, Rens Heijnis Custom Built,
Tube-Tech, SONOSAX, Nagra, Crookwood, GML, Gordon, Gyraf Audio, etc.
I’m sure Avalon is fine. It comes from LA and is fashion equipment.

The signal hierarchy in recording ALWAYS proceeds from SOURCE to DESTINATION.
So the order is ALWAYS:

Player, instrument, hall, microphone, preamp, converter, monitor, recorder.

This hierarchy also shows where you should put your money and resources.
Old 9th August 2021
  #4
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Few of us who've come up in the digital era are completely comfortable with VU meters. They're fortunately rather rare on modern recording gear because they don't answer the fundamental question that needs to be answered in a digital capture: "Am I clipping the converters?" Fortunately, even when front-end metering is lacking, your DAW's metering will tell you what you need to know. Live capture is not like mastering where we need to worry about inter-sample peaks: if you're running that hot, you're in deep trouble.

I used to follow the -6 dBFS rule back in the days of 16-bit recording, but I don't anymore. To do that safely, you must ask the ensemble to play the loudest passage for level setting purposes and then hope they haven't sandbagged you. It makes for a stressful session, because they usually do -- it's simply human nature to give a little bit more in the heat of the real moment. Now that we have plenty of bits (yes, 24 is plenty for capture), I don't like to make such requests: it's hard on the brass players, for one thing. So I don't bother asking or waiting for the big fff moment in the score. I find that any forte passage in which the whole ensemble is playing is sufficient: set the peak levels to -12 dBFS and stop worrying.

Do I use Pro Tools? Nope. Sequoia has spoiled me and the license for that is expensive enough without paying Avid as well.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 9th August 2021
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
Lets say I am using an 8 channel Grace or RME preamp , recording at 32 bits and at 96khz.
If you're recording at 32 bit wouldn't input levels be next to unimportant...as you couldn't overload the input stages ? I thought that was the selling point behind the Zoom and Sound Devices mixPre 32 bit recorders....being able to record gunshots and jet engines with complete impunity as regards level settings ?
Old 9th August 2021
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Interesting hierarchy Plush and convincing, but shouldn’t the monitor be before converters?
Old 9th August 2021 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
If you're recording at 32 bit wouldn't input levels be next to unimportant...as you couldn't overload the input stages ? I thought that was the selling point behind the Zoom and Sound Devices mixPre 32 bit recorders....being able to record gunshots and jet engines with complete impunity as regards level settings ?
'to record gunshots and jet engines' is a bit a different scenario...
...but even 32bit recordings won't save you if you clip the mic or overload the input stage of preamp.
Old 9th August 2021
  #8
Lives for gear
There are, of course, several definitions for what exactly is 'Classical Music'. Once a definition for that phrase is adopted, 'Classical Recording' may not imply the same subset of notions as 'Recording Classical Music'.

Despite mention of the Decca book, the OP's questions seem to involve a lot of the latter?


Be bold in pursuing whatever it is you want.

Ray H.

I am highly suspect about claims that Pro Tools [Ultimate, backed by sufficient hardware resources] "is a poor editing model for complex work"? Perhaps someone can explain this?
Old 9th August 2021
  #9
0VU
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Objectives: To capture a clean, undistorted, unclipped signal.

1. Pretty much. Though, I'd leave a lot more than 6dB of headroom if you're recording 32 (or 24) bit. You have more headroom than a thing with lots of headroom so don't worry about it and stay comfortably away from the end of the meters. Especially if you're multitracking lots of sources. Just capture risk free clean audio with a generous magin of headroom and give yourself plenty of space for manoeuvre in the mixdown/mastering.

1a. Don't bet on it. When everyone is playing FF then the overal balance generally will give level prominence to brass and perc but, particularly in more dynamic sections, beware of things like piccolo or tutti woodwind sections hitting notes which excite sympathetic resonances or which pick up some reinforcement through phase anomalies in the mic'ing or venue acoustics and produce random huge peaks which can be 12dB or more higher than their average playing levels for just a note or two. The same can happen with choirs (especially large numbers of sopranos belting out high notes), or even solo singers if you get the mic'ing wrong or the venue is being unhelpful. So leave plenty of headroom. And make sure you do a proper balance and level check in rehearsals. A bare minimum of running short excerpts of what the conductor/band think are the loudest sections, or where you spot a particularly notworthy section in the score. (Though you should be taking the whole rehearsal as a balance check and even recording it as extra cover.) Of course, on sessions you can always do a retake to fix such random peaks but with live work it's important to allow for the semi-expected. And remember that, live, people do tend to get extra excited and go faster/louder/sharper than they did in rehearsal!

2. Some people like to have all their mics peaking at the same kind of levels, others like to set all their faders at 0dB and more or less mix by setting the mic gains. Neither is right or wrong; just do what suits you. The only caveat being that most analogue electronics has a varying size of sweet spot outside which it performs less well or produces effects (noise/different kinds of distortion) which are more or less desirable in different circumstances. e.g. on some analogue mixers it was a good idea not to set mic gains which resulted in the faders routinely sitting miles away from 0dB as the non-linearity of the faders away from the 0dB area could be an issue for mixing. So learn your kit, where it likes to work, and how you can manipulate it. Sometimes the effects are subtle, benign and creep in slowly, with other kit it can be quite serious and sudden.


I don't know any classical specialists using PT for their normal workload. In the UK, most used to use SADiE or Pyramix (or, earlier, Sonic Solutions). Film scoring is different and ime people working on that mostly use PT, largely for it's dominance in the studio market where movie soundtracks tend to start life and the ease of sticking with a single format for the project from top to bottom with simpler portability in moving projects between studios/post facilities.

On this forum, Sequoia/Samplitude seem popular but there are actually relatively few people actively writing on here so don't think that necessarily reflects what's happening in the 'outside world'. I meet a much lower percentage of Sequoiatude users in 'real life' than the numbers on here would suggest. Personally, I still have one SADiE system (used to have four) that I don't think I've used in the last five years; also two Pyramix MADI systems (used to have five MADI/Dual systems) but, since about 2002/3-ish I've mostly used Sequoia and Samplitude unless it makes sense to use something else for compatibility when working on outside projects.

It doesn't matter what you use - just go with whatever has the facilities you need/want, a workflow you like, and makes your job easiest and least stressful. If all your work comes in as PT projects or the majority of your clients seem only to understand PT, then maybe go with that for ease of translation. If you need to do something it doesn't do, or want a plugin which doesn't work with PT or you hate working in the PT environment, etc. then use something else. Sequoia is a great choice. Even Reaper is fine if it does what you want. And it's seriously cheap!


I'd echo Plush's chain of importance from Player to Recorder, though I'd add that the performer choses the instrument, and the choice of venue (and performer) are (or should be) guided by the repertoire; the combination of performer and repertoire largely dictates the venue (which needs to be appropriate to the repertoire and sympathetic to the performer(s) sonically and creatively), and, once the mics and mic techniques/positions are chosen, the subsequent stages should really just stay out of the way and do a technical job of capturing what the mic is picking up. Ideally, for me, the preamp should be part of that rather than functioning as an FX box or being a major contributor to the 'sound'. If it's that then something is wrong elsewhere but if it's just adding a few extra percent of fairy dust to an optimised balance then that's fine.

Don't get hung up on what other people use. So long as the kit you have isn't actually very poor quality and actively conspiring against you to degrade your signal path (which, once you pass a reasonable threshold of quality it won't) it really doesn't matter. There's a lot said about 'matching' preamps to mics, sources, converters, colour of the artist's dress, whether there's a P in the month, etc., etc. but I don't subscribe to that in any but the most detailed/esoteric examinations. Unless you have absolutely everything else in the performer to listener chain optimised to within a gnat's chuff of perfection, there are so many more important things which have far more noticable effects on the quality of your recordings than worrying about the minutiae of sonic differences between similarly high quality mic preamps (or AD converters).

Just get something clean, quiet, reliable, and neutral then thoroughly learn the possibilities it offers and how to use it and the other kit in your rig. One could spend the rest of one's life superficially trying high end preamps, jumping from one to the other in a search for the magic bullet that will produce everything you want, in any situation, forever more but I'd suggest that it's better to find something that does the job well enough and really learn it inside out. Then you'll know what you and it can do and will have detailed knowledge of what, if anything, you're looking to improve on, change, or add in a future purchase.

If you're going to be doing a wide range of recording, avoid anything with too much 'character' as it just reduces the versatility of the equipment and you risk getting shut into a sonic signature which might not suit every situation and which just adds a layer of complication when you need to work against it. By all means explore 'character' options or equipment with a certain 'sound' when you've got the basics covered. Or, maybe, if you plan to specialise in recording a limited range of genres, in a limited range of venues, with specific artists (maybe you're employed as the in house engineer for a specialist venue, or an early music choir which always records in the same few venues, then you can get away with chosing and blending strongly coloured kit to optimise every bit of your recording chain for a very specific, limited range of circumstances. Otherwise I'd always go for neutrality and flexibility as a starting point.

I do have four channels of Avalon preamps (AD2022). They're nice enough and perfectly useable on classical recordings (I bought them for a specific series of recordings - optimising my rig for it ). A little more character than the likes of Crookwood, Gordon, Grace, Merging, Millennia, and some of the various other preamps I have but not at all overpowering and I very much doubt that anyone could tell which I used on any given job; I know that without my session notes I couldn't tell just by listening. Glossy? Meh. They're quiet, clean, very very slightly smooth/warm-ish but still clear and detailed. The biggest difference I hear is a subtle, pleasantly "airy" maybe "fragile", quality to the HF (not brightness/hardness/thin-ness/sparkle, just subtly more "soft" or "delicate" than a Crookwood/Millennia/Grace/etc.). They've been completely reliable in the 20 or so years that I've had them, the filters and input options are all useful and and I quite like how they look even if they are a bit designer bling. On the downside, they're heavy, comparatively huge when you include the external PSU brick, the front panels scuff quite easily so need care, and I don't like nor see the point of VU meters for preamps - prefer peak meters. Would I choose them as my one and only preamp? No. Would I cry if I had no choice but to use them as my only preamp? No. (But I'd need a full time assistant or personal physiotherapist if I had to lug 64 or more channels of them around!)
Old 9th August 2021
  #10
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
Lets say I am using an 8 channel Grace or RME preamp, recording at 32 bits and at 96khz. Is it like in other studio situations where they run the most dynamic section and my preamps all roughly hit -6db?
-6dB would be far too close to the wire for me to feel comfortable in a live or actually any recording situation, for all the reasons David has outlined.

At 32/96k with decent converters you are surely light years above the noise floor setting peaks between -18dBFS and -12dBFS, while also leaving yourself plenty of overshoot for the actual take.

In a large multitrack situation I'd probably be much more concerned about things like CPU speed and disc storage at those high resolutions.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 9th August 2021 at 06:15 PM..
Old 9th August 2021 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➡️
I am highly suspect about claims that Pro Tools [Ultimate, backed by sufficient hardware resources] "is a poor editing model for complex work"? Perhaps someone can explain this?
don't worry: the assessment has only to do with the orthodoxy in the field of classical music recording...

there are dozens of reasons for choosing one platform or another: most are very personal and habitual, very few are technical, a few ergonomic and some perhaps economic - that said, there are still plenty of 'good reasons' to dislike pt though :-)

besides, recording and editing a small chamber music ensemble shouldn't be too 'complex' and you could easily use an ancient system like fairflight series III, ensoniq paris, sonic solution or editech/dyaxis for that...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 9th August 2021 at 06:39 PM..
Old 9th August 2021 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0VU ➡️
Objectives: To capture a clean, undistorted, unclipped signal.
... with as many bits as possible.

This is a data acquisition operation nothing more. So the optimum position is to try to fit the signal into as many bits as possible to minimize quantization noise.

I always ask artists to play the loudest section on the program to get some idea. Then I back off a bit. But of course with 24 bits, one has a lot of scope, so I back off even more.

But its best to make it as hot as possible. Now, where's my flame jacket.
Old 9th August 2021
  #13
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RobAnderson's Avatar
 
15 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
I'm pretty sure the new Decca book didn't mention this, and since i missed the Analog recording days completely I'm not especially confident on my mic pre-setting objectives (especially those involving vu meters)

Lets say I am using an 8 channel Grace or RME preamp , recording at 32 bits and at 96khz.

What are my objectives?

1) Is it like in other studio situations where they run the most dynamic section and my preamps all roughly hit -6db inside TotalMix or Prootools (or sequoia).

1a) In an orchestra probably 70 percent of the volume will come from the brass and percussions - how do i ensure my ww spots are correct?

2) Are all microphones set according to this pattern (including spots, outriggers etc..)? Does one try and get slightly less headroom on the main Decca trees etc..

The decca book refers alot to setting the tree at 0db -.5db etc.. but it doesn't mention any technique to insuring the individual mics themselves are recorded equally.


Secondly, I wished to ask if any classical editors are using protools. I know Sequoia is preferred for its source-destination editing. That being said Ramiro (who is a fantastic editor here in Los Angeles) uses ProTools and can get highest quality editing from them.

Lastly, I recently saw a set up sheet for the Jurassic Park OST and saw that Shawn Murphy was using avalon preamps (m2 mkii) - he has since switched to Grace and now currently Pueblo. Thoughts on Avalon preamps for classical? I could imagine getting a nice recording of Thomas Tallis Fantasy or perhaps Rachmaninoff Vespers where a slight glossy color could contribute to the overall musicality of the piece.

Always appreciate your time and input!
Quote:
1) Is it like in other studio situations where they run the most dynamic section and my preamps all roughly hit -6db inside TotalMix or Prootools (or sequoia).
After a time, you'll get a feel for where the preamp levels "belong" for a given ensemble/microphone/repertoire combination. With quality gear, if you are averaging somewhere in the realm of - 25 dBFS and peaking somewhere around -12 dB, you're fine. On a multi-track gig, I'll be looking at the average level on my 2-track master meter - not so much the individual tracks, except out of concern for peaking.

Quote:
1a) In an orchestra probably 70 percent of the volume will come from the brass and percussions - how do i ensure my ww spots are correct?
Refer to question 1, but I rarely ask for the "loudest" - just pay attention during soundcheck/rehearsal. Err on the side of caution - you can always turn it up later.

As long as your levels are healthy and not peaking, you're probably fine - set balance to taste with the fader. Hard to prescribe a level, since that is really dependent on situation, choice of mic, &c. I like to keep my faders not too far off unity, if possible, and set levels there (if I'm pulling all my faders down to achieve healthy level at Master, it's too hot on the channels) ; but when in doubt a proper signal level is the better aim.
Quote:
2) Are all microphones set according to this pattern (including spots, outriggers etc..)? Does one try and get slightly less headroom on the main Decca trees etc..
Occasionally, I'll run ambient/room mic's a little on the hot side so that detail in reverb tails won't be lost in electronic noise at the converter stage. The main mic's ARE the recording - see the above answers.

Quote:
Secondly, I wished to ask if any classical editors are using ProTools. I know Sequoia is preferred for its source-destination editing. That being said Ramiro (who is a fantastic editor here in Los Angeles) uses ProTools and can get highest quality editing from them.
I use Pro Tools. I know it really well, and I'm blazing fast. Most cats use Sequoia for lots of reasons - four point Source-Destination editing, ability to generate CD masters and DDP's right out of the program, really tight crossfade control, &c.

I have workarounds and emulations of all of those things in PT. I've found that many people have never really explored the crossfade dialog there, and I use playlists and different modes to achieve much of the same facility that some like about Source-Destination editing. Not saying there aren't advantages to Sequoia, but there's also a real depth and learning curve to some features in PT that many people haven't explored.

You could probably say the same for me and Sequoia. I did use Sequoia for a time, but found I was faster in, and better adapted to, Pro Tools. Regardless, I really haven't found an edit that isn't possible in PT that would have been possible in some other DAW. I can say the opposite.
Old 9th August 2021
  #14
Gear Head
 
thank you all
Old 10th August 2021
  #15
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
I'm pretty sure the new Decca book didn't mention this, and since i missed the Analog recording days completely I'm not especially confident on my mic pre-setting objectives (especially those involving vu meters)

Lets say I am using an 8 channel Grace or RME preamp , recording at 32 bits and at 96khz.
RME preamps sound weird and unnatural

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
What are my objectives?
To make the orchestra sound natural. You want to capture what they sound like in the hall/theater. Specifically the energy and the dynamics as well as the image and fidelity from the perspective of a concert goer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
1) Is it like in other studio situations where they run the most dynamic section and my preamps all roughly hit -6db inside TotalMix or Prootools (or sequoia).
In general the level doesn't matter as long as it doesn't clip or distort and you can maximize s/n. It does depend on the quality of the mic pres and the converters, specifically specs like slew rate and how they will capture transients of very dynamic sources typical of an orchestra.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
1a) In an orchestra probably 70 percent of the volume will come from the brass and percussions - how do i ensure my ww spots are correct?
you look at your meters and set them input levels accordingly


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
2) Are all microphones set according to this pattern (including spots, outriggers etc..)? Does one try and get slightly less headroom on the main Decca trees etc..
what type of mics are using? what
brands? what quality are they?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
The decca book refers alot to setting the tree at 0db -.5db etc.. but it doesn't mention any technique to insuring the individual mics themselves are recorded equally.
ahhhh the art of mic placement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
Secondly, I wished to ask if any classical editors are using protools. I know Sequoia is preferred for its source-destination editing. That being said Ramiro (who is a fantastic editor here in Los Angeles) uses ProTools and can get highest quality editing from them.
All DAWs are about the same now


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
Lastly, I recently saw a set up sheet for the Jurassic Park OST and saw that Shawn Murphy was using avalon preamps (m2 mkii) - he has since switched to Grace and now currently Pueblo. Thoughts on Avalon preamps for classical? I could imagine getting a nice recording of Thomas Tallis Fantasy or perhaps Rachmaninoff Vespers where a slight glossy color could contribute to the overall musicality of the piece.
Always appreciate your time and input!
Avalon pres sound amazing, much less sterile than grace
Old 10th August 2021 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeraz ➡️
RME preamps sound weird and unnatural


To make the orchestra sound natural. You want to capture what they sound like in the hall/theater. Specifically the energy and the dynamics as well as the image and fidelity from the perspective of a concert goer


In general the level doesn't matter as long as it doesn't clip or distort and you can maximize s/n. It does depend on the quality of the mic pres and the converters, specifically specs like slew rate and how they will capture transients of very dynamic sources typical of an orchestra.



you look at your meters and set them input levels accordingly


what type of mics are using? what
brands? what quality are they?

ahhhh the art of mic placement

All DAWs are about the same now



Avalon pres sound amazing, much less sterile than grace
Thanks for your time, i am using exclusively DPA mics - 2x 4006TL, 2x 4011, 2x 4015 and i have some randoms like KM184x2

Curious why you say that about RME's - i've read some very talented persons here singing their praises.
Old 10th August 2021 | Show parent
  #17
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
Thanks for your time, i am using exclusively DPA mics - 2x 4006TL, 2x 4011, 2x 4015 and i have some randoms like KM184x2
Very nice. No excuses with a kit like that.

David
Old 10th August 2021 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
Curious why you say that about RME's
don't bother: above quote is nonesense...

i happily use them along preamps/converters from other manufacturers - moreover, i have been using them as an integral part of a large scale room sound simulation system*, based on the processing of 24 microphone channels: rme preamplifiers/converters had outperformed products of two other renowned/highly praised manufacturers after expert assessment/direct comparison.


* please note that cost was hardly an issue in the case of this installation, as illustrated by the subsequent swap of the room sound processor from tc to astro spatial!

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 10th August 2021 at 08:54 AM.. Reason: * added
Old 10th August 2021 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
don't bother: above quote is nonesense...

i happily use them along preamps/converters from other manufacturers - moreover, i have been using them as an integral part of a large scale room sound simulation system*, based on the processing of 24 microphone channels: rme preamplifiers/converters had outperformed products of two other renowned/highly praised manufacturers after expert assessment/direct comparison.


* please note that cost was hardly an issue in the case of this installation, as illustrated by the subsequent swap of the room sound processor from tc to astro spatial!
does that apply to the Octamic and other similar preamps or just the micstasy?
Old 10th August 2021 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
does that apply to the Octamic and other similar preamps or just the micstasy?
the preamps/converters used in said installation are those of the octamic xtc...

https://www.rme-audio.de/octamic-xtc.html

...which uses the same chip as the micstasy but so do some of rme's interfaces - i don't precisely recall the earlier versions of the octamic (as i've almost exclusively been using remotely controllable preamps) other than it performed very well in those rare occasions in which i got to use it (as an addition to an existing setup).
Old 10th August 2021 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Head
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
the preamps/converters used in said installation are those of the octamic xtc...

https://www.rme-audio.de/octamic-xtc.html

...which uses the same chip as the micstasy but so do some of rme's interfaces - i don't precisely recall the earlier versions of the octamic (as i've almost exclusively been using remotely controllable preamps) other than it performed very well in those rare occasions in which i got to use it (as an addition to an existing setup).
ok cool that is what i have too
Old 10th August 2021 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
Curious why you say that about RME's - i've read some very talented persons here singing their praises.
Don’t bother with Mikeraz - he pops up on any (!) thread mentioning RME and craps over it. Do a quick search and you’ll see.

Plenty of classical recordings are done with RME mics pres and converters. Espc. in the European broadcast market they are very common. Also check what engineers on labels like hatmonia mundi use.
Old 10th August 2021 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgilroy ➡️
Interesting hierarchy Plush and convincing, but shouldn’t the monitor be before converters?
No, because one is mixing into the converter. The required monitor path is listening to line out on the analog console and then switching the monitor to hear the resulting sound from the output of the converter. (a/d—>d/a)
Old 10th August 2021
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
A lot of good advice here. Nothing wrong with conservative levels with today’s equipment.
Those who dump on RME are not informed. All you have to do is use a Micstasy like BIS Records does to hear how good the preamp and conversion is. The Micstasy is a DG Records design.

The only way to get better in recording is to do a lot of it.

Now I have standardized on the German Acousence ad converter. It is by far the best sound I have heard.
Old 10th August 2021
  #25
Gear Head
 
I re-read the Decca chapter (towards the opening) and they said that almost all condensers get 30db - and I looked at my Octamic Pre and 30db is straight up Noon.

Does anyone use generalized gain settings like these (as opposed to custom ones)
Old 11th August 2021
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
My custom pres all have 2-pos gain sw - 30db for mains and 20dB for spots.
Old 11th August 2021 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett ➡️
I re-read the Decca chapter (towards the opening) and they said that almost all condensers get 30db - and I looked at my Octamic Pre and 30db is straight up Noon.

Does anyone use generalized gain settings like these (as opposed to custom ones)
Never, ever. Moreover, while I agree in principle with Plush about setting levels during rehearsal, it can't always be done. Sometimes the rehearsals are held in a different space than the performance. Sometimes the program is repeated in multiple venues. I may use a fairly sophisticated rig with high-end preamps and converters in the "main" venue, but record the same program with a Sound Devices deck and a stereo pair in another city on the next night.

It's true that many college auditoriums tend to use permanently fixed mic hangs and the same recording rig for a decade or more. If you host the same type of events year after year, it's possible to develop "standard" procedures in which some work-study student turns on the recording system and isn't allowed to adjust any knobs. In the best case, that produces a "consistently mediocre" archival recording (often on MP3) but nothing suitable for release or broadcast.

I'd slit my wrists if I had to work that way.

David
Old 11th August 2021
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
I believe the post was referring to preamp gains, not recording levels.
Old 11th August 2021 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
I believe the post was referring to preamp gains, not recording levels.
In my typical practice, adjusting the preamp gains is the only way to control the recording level. I capture directly to DAW.
Old 11th August 2021
  #30
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Yep, me too. Preamp gains ARE recording levels.

D.
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