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CLASSICAL  November 2006

CLASSICAL November 2006

Subject:

Re: Spatial Paradox in Recorded Classical Music

From:

Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 27 Nov 2006 07:44:24 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (40 lines)

Barry Blesser <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>To jump back into the discussion that I started with a bit more
>detail,modern recording equipment and mixing studios changed music in
>much more profound ways.  Not only is the performance space split from
>the listening space, and not only is time split, but also there is no
>actual space in many recordings.  Each microphone, corresponding to an
>instrument or group of instruments, can have its own reverberations.
>Hence, one performer can be in a big space while another is in a small
>space, and that can change during the performance.  Spatiality becomes
>an artistic element controlled by the mixing engineer long after the
>performers have gone home.  Some spatial attributes may correspond to
>a large space while other to a small space.

I am reminded of an old Deutsch Grammophone recording of Le Sacre,
conducted by, as I recall, von Karajan.  After the fact mixing had it
sound like the bassoonist had played the opening solo in the front of
the orchestra and then went back to the woodwind section for the rest
of the piece.

Another interesting "problem" was encountered during a recent recording
session being done for release on my label.  It was solo piano and five
microphones were used.  The edits were done with all five channels set
flat.  Four microphones were relatively close to the piano, the fifth,
an omni, was placed out in the hall and used to pick up some of the
natural acoustic from the hall.  Mixing after the edits caused the edits
to be problematic as the natural reverb, when giving greater amplitude
in the mix, made the edits sound unnatural due to the slight time delay
and mix of the decays.  While the balance should have been done before
the edits, it was, for me (I wasn't doing the engineering or the editing)
a fine opportunity to observe how the use of many microphones creates,
in an odd way, a manufactured acoustic, even if no artificial delay or
reverb is added.

Thinking about this I am reminded of how negative the critics have been
when I have used two microphone spaced about 4 feet apart.  Perhaps the
placement was not ideal, I do not know, but it would appear that honesty
is not the best policy when you are looking to get a good review.

Karl

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