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Re: [ARSCLIST] How not to mike an orchestra
phillip holmes <insuranceman@xxxxxxxxxx> writes:
>I can't stand most modern recordings. I worship at
>the alter of Decca and Mercury. One thing that is an absolute truth is
>that some microphone techniques are stupid to the point of moronic
>imbecility. No concert goer, anywhere, is going to here a French Horn
>from two feet behind the bell.
Well, now, that is not entirely true. Many halls in Europe and the US
(and probably elsewhere) have seats behind the orchestra (nominally for a
chorus) that are often sold to the listening public. You don't have to be
two feet from the bell of a horn to be blasted backward by the sound.
However, this does not meet my definition of "best seat in the house." ;-)
>I've seen jackass recording engineers
>put their microphones behind the Horns, pointed at the bell. The things
>don't sound like Horns when they're recorded that way.
Well, those "jackasses" include some of the folks you probably worship:
Kenneth Wilkinson, John Dunkerley and Simon Eadon...all ex-Decca.
Making good loudspeaker music means occasionally placing microphones where
they *look* ridiculous but where (when mixed in judiciously) they *sound*
marvelous. The fact that you worship Decca recordings means that you
appreciate having a mic in the horn section three feet high pointing at
the bells. I have attended sessions with the Decca folks where this was
regular practice and I was at first horrified--only to become a convert
after I heard the results. You absolutely cannot judge what a recording
will sound like by gazing at the placement of the microphones.
>Brass players are successful arrangers because they use more brass
>instruments. Brass is more "awesome" than the other instruments. When
>you add all the various mutes to your tonal arsenal, a full brass
>section can produce whisper soft sounds all the way up to something like
>a freight train running over a jumbo jet.
Absolutely true! My favorite orchestral pieces are those that attempt to
use the full palette of the brass section. However, depending on the room
in which the recording is taking place, the tonmeister may have to do some
pretty weird-looking things to get the proper sound on whatever medium for
playback. One absolutely cannot make judgements about the "jackassedness"
of a recording engineer by watching where he or she puts the microphones.
One can only make that determination by listening to final product. In
the Decca and Mercury cases, I see that you agree with me that what might
look weird sure sounds great!
Charles Lawson <clawson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Professional Audio for CD, DVD, Broadcast & Internet