Originally Posted by rumleymusic
Well the center mic is not in front because of the violas.
Apparently there are a lot of different "ideas" behind what we call Decca Tree today. The gist of what I have gathered from someone involved with Decca recordings for a very long time is:
- if they recorded an ensemble standing in straight rows, like a choir, they didn't move the center mic forward. It was just three mics in a row.
- if they recorded an ensemble in a half-circle, like most orchestras, they wanted to keep their mics at similar distances from the ensemble. As the violas (or whoever was sitting in the middle) are a few feet back, the center mic had to follow. Remember the tree usually stood right IN the orchestra, with the L/R mics (often) somewhere above 1st stand of violins respectively celli, and pointing outward, therefore, due to the M50's pattern, attenuating the violas quite a bit, in addition to their larger distance from mic. See where the necessity for that center mic and its position comes from? Often they would place the R mic a bit lower to get the celli as present as the high strings.
- Outriggers were usually panned hard L/R (or, rather, assigned, as their early desks didn't feature pan pots...), sometimes the mics could point slightly inward for more "glue", L/R were always hard L/R, and C was always dead center.
- The room was treated heavily with either blankets if too live or wooden panels if not live enough. I recall a photo of a session where you can see dozens of panels laid out all over the seating.
- Everything was decided by carefully listening, and optimizing.
- Lots of experimenting were done.
It is in front because the delay created in relation to L and R creates a greater sense of 3D spaciousness throughout the entire orchestra.
If it was like that, any wavefront would hit the Center mic first, no matter if it was violins, violas, celli, and therefore everything would be perceived in the center.
The idea was to combine the realistic image of a stereo pair recording with the fast response and wider depth of a muli-miking technique, using delay as a beneficial tool, and avoiding problems too many mics can create.
That's precisely what I'm saying. But that's not the Decca Tree idea, nor is it the outrigger idea. It's the idea Deutsche Grammophon has been perfecting.
Yes delaying the outriggers (dare I say treating them as a spots, though I don't know why we all get so worked up over wording) will tighten the image, slightly. *snip* I let the main pair create the L/R image, and pan the outriggers according to their placement in the orchestra, delaying them so they match perfectly with the main pair.
Well, a spot mic, to me, is used to get "more presence", and needs to be panned to where the source appears through the main pair (or...to correct placement of, say, soloists). Outriggers in my terminology are used for "more spaciousness" and not as spots for the outer violin stands.
Originally Posted by sonare
Something that has not been discussed is the playback level of outriggers/flankers compared to the main array. I start at -6dB and go down until the expansiveness of the room is still there but the image is not muddled.
RE the Tree-- an engineer who was there in the beginning says the flankers should be hard L & R but the tree L&R should not be. Gains are set to taste.
That's again proof that there seem to be lots of different "stories" about the Tree.
How did they achieve panning when they didn't have pan pots (did they really split the mic to two channels, one assigned left, the other right, and one being pulled down, say, 12 dB?). Or did they have pan pots (that would contrast what "my source" told me)?