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Recording an 1885 Steinway
Old 30th May 2022
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Recording an 1885 Steinway

This interview by Greg Simmons (Simmosonic, who often posts here) with the engineer (Cookie Marenco) of a piano, vocal and violin recording might interest many ...supported by samples in numerous formats and resolutions ranging from DSD256 to WAV and mp3

https://www.audiotechnology.com/feat...eavenly-voices
Old 30th May 2022
  #2
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I loved reading through this great interview.

Thanks to you for posting and thanks to Greg as well, if he's here!

EDIT: And I just listened to the Blue Coast Records clip as well - a beautiful recording and to my ears definitely an unusual sounding Steinway. Not sure if that's the uniqueness of the instrument or the way its recorded - most likely a subtle combination of both.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 30th May 2022 at 06:33 PM..
Old 30th May 2022
  #3
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jnorman's Avatar
Thanks Ray - fun read.
Old 30th May 2022
  #4
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
From the article...

CM: Right! As we’ve already discussed, I pan the mics from the player’s perspective with low notes on the left side and high notes on the right side. I like how they separate that way, it’s as if you’re playing the piano. As a pianist, I don’t understand how anyone could pan it any differently!

Amen! Amen, amen, and hallelujah!
Old 30th May 2022 | Show parent
  #5
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
As we’ve already discussed, I pan the mics from the player’s perspective with low notes on the left side and high notes on the right side. I like how they separate that way, it’s as if you’re playing the piano. As a pianist, I don’t understand how anyone could pan it any differently!
What about if you're a listener?
Old 30th May 2022 | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
What about if you're a listener?
You can pretend you know how to play the piano...?
Old 30th May 2022 | Show parent
  #7
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
You can pretend you know how to play the piano...?
…. Why can’t a pianist pretend they know how a piano projects sound to an audience? An experience more common to listeners than sitting in the performers seat at a grand piano?….

In my experience, most pianists don’t care that the panning is backwards from their sensation at the instrument. The piano sounds so different from in front than at the seat anyways. I have no problem with player perspective panning, but the evangelical dogma is a bit much.

Edit, I love this article, thank you for sharing. An article by Cookie from 20 years ago informed in a big way how I record piano today, and it’s great to read more into her background, philosophy and techniques here. Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by king2070lplaya; 31st May 2022 at 12:07 AM..
Old 31st May 2022 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
From the article...

CM: Right! As we’ve already discussed, I pan the mics from the player’s perspective with low notes on the left side and high notes on the right side. I like how they separate that way, it’s as if you’re playing the piano. As a pianist, I don’t understand how anyone could pan it any differently!

Amen! Amen, amen, and hallelujah!
I'm a pianist of moderate ability, (no let's be honest, less than moderate) but that always makes me feel as though I've been in a balletic pirouette and come out of it with my back to the audience! (Photo supplied on request).
Or the feeling you get when you realise you're reading the map upside down.
It's the audience perspective for me every time, and follows most other musical ensemble positioning with treble on the left, bass on the right.
I guess there are no rules though.

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 4 weeks ago at 12:29 PM.. Reason: pirouette
Old 31st May 2022 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton ➡️
I guess there are no rules though.
Building on this, aren't we living in the era of multiple delivery formats, remasterings, remixings, SACD's and BluRays with several layers: mono, stereo, 5.1 etc. Why not dual-mic at the recording session and offer player perspective as well as audience perspective in the download or disc options ?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Sterling Circle memories

Thanks for posting that great interview with Cookie Marenco. She mentions being introduced to DSD and Meitner converters while visiting Boulder, Colorado. The place she heard them was a building in an industrial park on Sterling Circle in NE Boulder. At the time, it was quite a hotbed for pro audio, containing all of the following under one roof:
  • Airshow Mastering's Colorado branch, with three staffed mastering rooms, including David Glasser's large 5.1 surround capable one.
  • Immersive Studios, a large live capture audio/video facility with a full stage and variable acoustics.
  • Wind Over the Earth, a pro audio dealer founded by Mickey Houlihan (best known for his work with David Darling and Paul Winter), which sold top-of-the line recording equipment to engineers and artists by letting people take it home to their own studios and try it. (Mickey and crew sold me my first DPA mics and pretty much everything else in my studio that turned out to be "too good to outgrow".)
  • Gus Skinas's Super Audio Center, a mastering / mix room dedicated to facilitating DSD releases.

Sadly, it's all gone now: Immersive closed; David downsized Airshow and had Sam Berkow build him a single room up one of the nearby canyons; SACD became a niche format and Gus moved where the rent was cheaper; WOTE's new owner moved it to Longmont, where he could afford to build out a proper studio, but the last couple of years have been hard on him, so he's selling the space and concentrating on gear sales.

David L. Rick

Last edited by David Rick; 3 weeks ago at 03:49 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
Building on this, aren't we living in the era of multiple delivery formats, remasterings, remixings, SACD's and BluRays with several layers: mono, stereo, 5.1 etc. Why not dual-mic at the recording session and offer player perspective as well as audience perspective in the download or disc options ?
It's an interesting idea and one that perhaps inevitably Brian Eno was exploring a version of decades ago - the artist records the material and the listener can 'mix' the basic tracks however they wish to hear it.

I first listened to the Blue Coast clip on my nearfield studio monitors and I must say I enjoyed being 'immersed' in the piano sound as if it was me sitting on the stool - bass on the left. Situation reversed listening at home. No 'right' answer I guess, but yeah, in theory one could offer both.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #12
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
Building on this, aren't we living in the era of multiple delivery formats, remasterings, remixings, SACD's and BluRays with several layers: mono, stereo, 5.1 etc. Why not dual-mic at the recording session and offer player perspective as well as audience perspective in the download or disc options ?
technically speaking feasable, commercially speaking rather not...

nevertheless, i keep using a multitude of mics to enable different perspectives and multiple formats on most more ambitious projects i'm involved even though artists then mostly realize/release but a stereo mix.

___


[personally, i find mixing in surround more benefitial (from an aesthetic point of view) than pushing up resolution on stereo mixes.

immersive, on the other hand, i find little purposeful except for some installations in exhibitions or then for cinema; i have not met anyone yet who would have installed such a huge loudspeaker setup in the living room.]
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
Building on this, aren't we living in the era of multiple delivery formats, remasterings, remixings, SACD's and BluRays with several layers: mono, stereo, 5.1 etc. Why not dual-mic at the recording session and offer player perspective as well as audience perspective in the download or disc options ?
Or leave it to the listener to swap the wires over on his speakers?
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton ➡️
Or leave it to the listener to swap the wires over on his speakers?
Or release raw 3D audio files and sell/lease de-matrixing software for the end user to recreate their own blend of sounds...like a Schoeps Polarflex or Harpex type process.

But you'd also better have a good helpdesk, to de-mystify the process for listeners who like the DIY-mix idea in principle, but get lost trying to implement the decoding in practice !

Not so much immersive...more like 'waving while drowning'
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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And don't forget a good ol' mono option. Like, say, if 90% of the consumption happens on cellphones?
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #16
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
And don't forget a good ol' mono option. Like, say, if 90% of the consumption happens on cellphones?
+1

But never mind these new-fangled telephonic devices - what about on 78rpm vinyl for my trusty HMV?
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Recording an 1885 Steinway-491bde64-3bf4-40a2-a021-7df413588c48_1_201_a.jpeg  
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
But you'd also better have a good helpdesk, to de-mystify the process for listeners who like the DIY-mix idea in principle, but get lost trying to implement the decoding in practice !
Not so much immersive...more like 'waving while drowning'

All our operatives are busy at the moment, your call is very important to us, you are 103rd in the queue, but please listen to this awful music while you wait.
Your call is very important to us.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton ➡️
All our operatives are busy at the moment, your call is very important to us, you are 103rd in the queue, but please listen to this awful music while you wait.
Your call is very important to us.
...and we're going to tell you so about 453 times before someone picks up the phone, if we pick up the phone...

Re: piano perspective--since most of my piano recordings are of pianos in ensembles we are mostly interested in some version of an audience perspective. For a solo piano recording I'd ask the player-producer what they want and do that.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #19
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
+1

But never mind these new-fangled telephonic devices - what about on 78rpm vinyl for my trusty HMV?
My son, who has younger, better hearing than me, says the Edison Diamond Disc Phonograph sounds much better than the Gramophone...

(he has two of them AND a cylinder phongraph as well)

Audiophile wars are nothing new...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
The perspective thing is interesting. Being a pianist it's natural for me to hear the bass more on the left and the treble on the right. Reading this thread has made me realize, though, that I never found myself asking where the bass come from in a recording. Brain is a strange beast and at the same time a powerful "equalizer"....if you play the piano you will easily associate bass lines with left side because is your left hand playing even if the recording features the opposite. The main difference in a recording is, in my opinion, between close or more distant perspective. I am just thinking that when I critically listen to students preparing concerts or exams or competitions I istinctively place myself at a distance in order to judge how the blend all elements and how they project the sound, all things that are more a "mono than stereo" thing ( in musical terms, not technical). I understand and appreciate that in a recording, which is an artificial reconstruction of a real thing, the lack of being there is replaced by the amount of details and location clues; just don't thing that where basses and trebles come from tells us something of a better or more natural experience.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by carpa ➡️
I understand and appreciate that in a recording, which is an artificial reconstruction of a real thing, the lack of being there is replaced by the amount of details and location clues; just don't thing that where basses and trebles come from tells us something of a better or more natural experience.
yep - the thing is though that pretty much regardless of (condenser) mic and position, you get more or less the full spectrum into any mic unless you'd be using very steep filters (which is what i'm doing when using a separate mic for lf only - just on this mic though).
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