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Vintage violin spots (orchestral solo)
Old 11th September 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
Vintage violin spots (orchestral solo)

A question for those who knew some old-timers, or were one I was listening to a compendium record of violin concerto selections I've had for probably twenty years, but haven't had in the rotation for a long time. The tone of these players of a previous generation is as exceptional as would be expected (Oistrakh and later) but what struck anew me was the gorgeous, mellifluous, sympathetic way they were mic'd. These were obviously not the super high-resolution selections we have now, like the MKH800 I've seen more recently (Hilary Hahn comes to mind), but granted the era were likely tube mics, and they sound like pure, heavenly, violin LOVE.

M49 perhaps? Does anyone have any guesses what a great engineer would have instinctively reached for, say between 1960 and 1980?

EDIT: I should add that what really spurred this on was stumbling across Tony Faulkner at Abbey Road recording the Shostakovich no1, with a giant LDC hanging over Mayuko Katsumura. Then I had to investigate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b35-gEUlFik
Old 11th September 2019
  #2
Definitely depends on the label and engineer. I’ve seen m49, km64/84, RCA 44, etc in photos and on session sheets. Tony’s got a U47 there I believe. The tone comes from the players, but the tape medium and tubes/transformers in the signal path help to soften the transients and strong harmonic content compared to how we’re often recording now (digital, transformerless).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klimermonk View Post
A question for those who knew some old-timers, or were one I was listening to a compendium record of violin concerto selections I've had for probably twenty years, but haven't had in the rotation for a long time. The tone of these players of a previous generation is as exceptional as would be expected (Oistrakh and later) but what struck anew me was the gorgeous, mellifluous, sympathetic way they were mic'd. These were obviously not the super high-resolution selections we have now, like the MKH800 I've seen more recently (Hilary Hahn comes to mind), but granted the era were likely tube mics, and they sound like pure, heavenly, violin LOVE.

M49 perhaps? Does anyone have any guesses what a great engineer would have instinctively reached for, say between 1960 and 1980?

EDIT: I should add that what really spurred this on was stumbling across Tony Faulkner at Abbey Road recording the Shostakovich no1, with a giant LDC hanging over Mayuko Katsumura. Then I had to investigate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b35-gEUlFik
Old 12th September 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
Coles 4038, Neumann U89....not strictly vintage, but still very workable ?
Old 13th September 2019
  #4
The sound and musicianship comes from the player, and to be honest, I do not rate this player at all.

Great players were recorded with ancient mics and equipment but their sound was incredible. I can say no more.
Old 13th September 2019
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Stradivariusz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
The sound and musicianship comes from the player, and to be honest, I do not rate this player at all.

Great players were recorded with ancient mics and equipment but their sound was incredible. I can say no more.
I very much agree with your idea, altough it is very easy to record a world class player in a way that it won't be listenable, especially the instrument like violin
You can record a great show with the phone, but you won't enjoy it more then once, and just as a souvenir.
Contribution of a great engineer is important and he has an enormous impact on the final sound. I think.
Old 13th September 2019
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stradivariusz View Post
I very much agree with your idea, altough it is very easy to record a world class player in a way that it won't be listenable, especially the instrument like violin
You can record a great show with the phone, but you won't enjoy it more then once, and just as a souvenir.
Contribution of a great engineer is important and he has an enormous impact on the final sound. I think.
Well. yes - great recordings were made with excellent engineers and producers as well as great players, but if the violinists were only average then the recordings, although well made, would not be the recordings always sought after, at least by the really knowledgeable. Of course there are plenty of people who hear rather second rate violinists (pianists etc) and think them great, (should I mention Lang Lang?) - and in these instances they are probably unaware how good the recording quality is. Unfortunately in the general public's eyes, anything goes.
Old 13th September 2019
  #7
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Plush's Avatar
When you get to top level microphones that sound basically neutral, the microphone is not making the sound. The player / room is making the sound.

It does help that in the olden days of recording, they chose and paid for the best halls for that repertoire. The music was not recorded in just any old place.

When the U47 was released, it was considered not really a vocal microphone per se, but a universal studio microphone.
Old 13th September 2019
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
When you get to top level microphones that sound basically neutral, the microphone is not making the sound. The player / room is making the sound.

It does help that in the olden days of recording, they chose and paid for the best halls for that repertoire. The music was not recorded in just any old place.

When the U47 was released, it was considered not really a vocal microphone per se, but a universal studio microphone.
Plush, you're a hugely experienced veteran. If you'll indulge a question on a hypothetical, suppose that David Oistrakh were alive now and in his prime, and you'd been commissioned to record him in the Bach unaccompanied violin suites in a venue of your choice. What microphone set-up would you use for that ideal acoustic? (And let's suppose for this example that you're blessedly free of any constraints over self-noise of any components; the record company - in its surpassing wisdom and largesse! - commissions you on the basis that you have carte blanche to produce what you feel to be the finest sound quality.) Thank you in advance for your insights!
Old 13th September 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
 

A relatively recent example.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNuHVKNWYSE

Sennies everywhere.
Old 14th September 2019
  #10
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Plush's Avatar
I would record him with an AEA R84 ribbon mic or a Coles 4038 ribbon mic through a DAV electronics Broadhurst Gardens No. 1 mic amp. The tape recorder would be a Stellavox (Voice of the Stars) SM8.
Old 14th September 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I would record him with an AEA R84 ribbon mic or a Coles 4038 ribbon mic ......
A stereo pair ?
Old 14th September 2019
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
A relatively recent example.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNuHVKNWYSE

Sennies everywhere.
Well, a much better example even if not quite up there with the greats, but as he is still young time will tell. I thought the orchestra/violin solo balance a bit off at times but that may have been adjustable in post. (The violin harmonics and orchestra balance at that point as well as the ensemble were a bit off ...). The orchestra in loud tutti's sounded a bit "boxy" and that may have been the venue which seemed to have a low ceiling and it did not appear to be a recording studio or concert hall, as far as I could make out. I guess this was the Israel Phil? Not sure of the conductor who only made it by the skin of his teeth, in my opinion.

As far a miking goes, simpler setups may work better, but what do I know!

P.S.
Judging from other material he (Radulovic) seems to be a bit of a gypsy fiddler. I see now that the orchestra was the Borusan Istanbul Phil., a new one on me.

Last edited by Lurcher_lover; 14th September 2019 at 08:14 AM.. Reason: New info
Old 14th September 2019
  #13
Here’s how one great engineer, who learned directly from the great engineers before him (the ones that invented the techniques) approaches it:

https://youtu.be/ZR1pYodlV90

The album being recorded in the above video:

https://www.pentatonemusic.com/tchai...os-steinbacher

Last edited by king2070lplaya; 14th September 2019 at 06:11 PM..
Old 14th September 2019
  #14
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I would record him with an AEA R84 ribbon mic or a Coles 4038 ribbon mic ......
A stereo pair ?
Of course he would be recorded in stereo with two ribbon mics and a pair of Schoeps CMC52 omni as hall mics. It is essential to do it very simply.

Try in vain to learn how to do it from a YouTube video. Instead you have to be on site as an apprentice and be guided / shown by a master.

Last edited by Plush; 14th September 2019 at 03:46 PM..
Old 14th September 2019
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Of course he would be recorded in stereo with two ribbon mics and a pair of Schoeps CMC52 omni as hall mics. It is essential to do it very simply.

Try in vain to learn how to do it from a YouTube video. Instead you have to be on site as an apprentice and be guided / shown by a master.
Or do both. I procured my mentorship with a legend only after doing years of work researching, using (among others) online resources. I’d encourage all students to take advantage of any and all resources at their disposal, even if it’s studying a YouTube video, session photo, or GS article. The apprentice system that many of my elders grew up in is nearly dried up, so now we have to look elsewhere to subsidize our learning.
Old 14th September 2019
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Stradivariusz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
Here’s how one great engineer, who learned directly from the great engineers before him (the ones that invented the techniques) approaches it:

https://youtu.be/ZR1pYodlV90

The album being recorded in the above video:

https://www.pentatonemusic.com/tchai...os-steinbacher
If you have more videos, please share
Old 15th September 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
Here’s how one great engineer, who learned directly from the great engineers before him (the ones that invented the techniques) approaches it:

https://youtu.be/ZR1pYodlV90
The venerable TLM170 pair on that violin is unsurprising.
Old 15th September 2019
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
Judging from other material he (Radulovic) seems to be a bit of a gypsy fiddler.
Sitting near the front of the concert hall early Nov to see and hear him play the Tchaikovsky. What a treat it should be.
Old 15th September 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
The orchestra in loud tutti's sounded a bit "boxy" and that may have been the venue which seemed to have a low ceiling and it did not appear to be a recording studio or concert hall, as far as I could make out.
Same team in a bigger room.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjuAHDzB1nE
Old 15th September 2019
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Thanks for the link. I'm really growing on this violinist and very good orchestra too. Sounded great in a much nicer venue, and I suppose you can't get a lot better than that!
Old 15th September 2019
  #21
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
Or do both. I procured my mentorship with a legend only after doing years of work researching, using (among others) online resources. I’d encourage all students to take advantage of any and all resources at their disposal, even if it’s studying a YouTube video, session photo, or GS article. The apprentice system that many of my elders grew up in is nearly dried up, so now we have to look elsewhere to subsidize our learning.
YouTube cannot explain WHY.

Of course life long learners use all resources.

Apprentice system has not dried up. Fantastic resources are out there more than ever today.

The learner with passion will always INSERT themselves in front of potential mentors.

Take a work shop

Attend a school--I recommend McGill University in Montreal or Indiana University.

Become a summer employee at Aspen or Grand Teton Music Fest.

Assist known recordists--watch and absorb methods

Offer your services to a famous practitioner

Visit sessions in major cities

When an event in your town is being recorded, follow the cables back to the control room and introduce yourself.

Buy 2 expensive microphones (not cheapies) and any recorder and a mic stand and start showing up for anyone who will let you record. You MUST charge them for your services. Never work for free.
Old 15th September 2019
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
YouTube cannot explain WHY.

Of course life long learners use all resources.

Apprentice system has not dried up. Fantastic resources are out there more than ever today.

The learner with passion will always INSERT themselves in front of potential mentors.

Take a work shop

Attend a school--I recommend McGill University in Montreal or Indiana University.

Become a summer employee at Aspen or Grand Teton Music Fest.

Assist known recordists--watch and absorb methods

Offer your services to a famous practitioner

Visit sessions in major cities

When an event in your town is being recorded, follow the cables back to the control room and introduce yourself.

Buy 2 expensive microphones (not cheapies) and any recorder and a mic stand and start showing up for anyone who will let you record. You MUST charge them for your services. Never work for free.
No offense, Hudson, but you’ve worked in the profession for nearly 40 years, and I don’t think you grasp what the experience is for young engineers coming up today.

You’ve mentioned some very nice resources there, but all are either A) exclusive and not realistically available to most people (for example, many festivals only hire interns from those 2 or 3 elite schools) and/or B) they don’t offer a true continuing mentorship or career path.

And you mischaracterize my argument. Obviously YouTube doesn’t explain why. But let me give an example of how we can use this video as a resource for deeper learning: One can see this video, hear the sound, see the setup. Take to Google and find more articles about setups done by this same team of engineers. I can link a half dozen articles off the top of my head that are easily Google-able, that discuss this type of setup in some detail; it’s history, practitioners, dimensions, and balance notes. And session photos, and videos like this, and the recordings made give a visual and aural reference for how the setup should look and what it should sound like. This gives you an informed template to start with.

It’s not a substitute for mentorship, and I never said it was. But in the absence of opportunity, it can help the young engineer along the way to finding more and better opportunities for procuring mentorship and steady work.
Old 15th September 2019
  #23
Lives for gear
 

imo videos can maybe give a hint on how someone gets things done in a specific situation but there are just too many details which cannot be shown/don't translate/miss context...

you need to set sail for yourself and sail into the open water! i support plush's recommendation to get reasonable gear and start recording; same for mixing.

for me, watching my teacher rehearse and play with an orchestra and various small ensembles was another tremendously valuable source of information, as well as my two mentors working in different fields of our profession.
Old 15th September 2019
  #24
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Plush's Avatar
On the contrary, I do grasp exactly what it is like for young engineers because I am the person who is helping them get to the next step and the next recognition in their chosen craft. I am the person who introduces them to big wigs. I am the person who introduces them to their next employer.

Why would I not be aware?

Each week I get calls and letters asking if the people can come and observe how I work and can they help me with the recordings. Mostly I say yes if I think they know something.

Recently, one of my young charges won a position as the Recording Fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami. He is such a personable and pleasant and knowledgeable young man.

He obtained a 3 year paid fellowship there. This summer he worked at Aspen.

If the person can't do what I suggested above in my prior post, then they will fail at recording and lose all their assets. There are a lot of fakes out there.

There are also some fake experts here on the Remote Possibilities forum.

None of them will last.

Each to their ability. And each to their creativity, passion and drive. If one starts out by saying,
"you can't get there from here," then things won't happen for the person.

In general I have come to believe that one has to live in a big city with an active music life in order to pursue recording.

If you are interested in recording, you have to move to a big city.



Recording is awfully hard work.
Old 15th September 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
In general I have come to believe that one has to live in a big city with an active music life in order to pursue recording.

If you are interested in recording, you have to move to a big city.

Recording is awfully hard work.
Yes.
Old 15th September 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
Thanks for the link. I'm really growing on this violinist and very good orchestra too. Sounded great in a much nicer venue, and I suppose you can't get a lot better than that!
A really well engineered live recording, in a great acoustic. Thrilling.
Old 15th September 2019
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
Stradivariusz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
One can see this video, hear the sound, see the setup. Take to Google and find more articles about setups done by this same team of engineers. I can link a half dozen articles off the top of my head that are easily Google-able, that discuss this type of setup in some detail; it’s history, practitioners, dimensions, and balance notes. And session photos, and videos like this, and the recordings made give a visual and aural reference for how the setup should look and what it should sound like. This gives you an informed template to start with.
King!

I'm very much interested in this kind of reading. Want to search myself, but would love to hear just a hint for help to spare some time and find quicker what I wish to find. Is goofeling on the name of the engineer and asking for the setup enough to get the information? Or do I need to use something more specific?
Old 15th September 2019
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stradivariusz View Post
King!

I'm very much interested in this kind of reading. Want to search myself, but would love to hear just a hint for help to spare some time and find quicker what I wish to find. Is goofeling on the name of the engineer and asking for the setup enough to get the information? Or do I need to use something more specific?
Googling the name of the engineer or company is a good way to start. Google “Polyhymnia recording session”, for example.

There’s also been a ton posted here on GS as well that’s worth investigating.

Try reading through the complete post histories of users like TonyF, Kingsway, AVillalta, and Mpdonahue, who learned from the greats and pioneers and have made careers themselves making records for major labels. Lots of wisdom contained there.
Old 15th September 2019
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Stradivariusz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
Googling the name of the engineer or company is a good way to start. Google “Polyhymnia recording session”, for example.

There’s also been a ton posted here on GS as well that’s worth investigating.

Try reading through the complete post histories of users like TonyF, Kingsway, AVillalta, and Mpdonahue, who learned from the greats and pioneers and have made careers themselves making records for major labels. Lots of wisdom contained there.
TonyF and Mpdonahue are specialists I know from here (TonyF recordings are one of my favourites). Two others are new for me, will definitely search here on GS.
Reading GS is my daily routine. I'm going through all the posts posted here from back to now started from the page nr 151 as they are more recent and the forum was more alive I think. When this is done will go from 151 till the end. Searching also a lot on the "critical" subjects. Very happy this forum exists.
Thanks a lot for the answer!
Old 1st November 2019
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
Thanks for the link. I'm really growing on this violinist and very good orchestra too. Sounded great in a much nicer venue, and I suppose you can't get a lot better than that!
Have just come home from sitting in the second front row under his nose for the Tchaikovsky. Amazing mastery on display.
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