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too many mics... Ribbon Microphones
Old 7th January 2011

A thread also popped up about the sound on a piano forum:

NY Philharmonic New Year's Eve concert* - Piano World Piano & Digital Piano Forums

The original poster, Bruce D, writes:

What surprised me more than anything was how wooden and dead the Steinway sounded. I don't think that can be blamed on Alice Tulley Hall nor on the recording itself, not with modern recording technology. The mid-range of the piano wasn't too bad, but the upper registers of the piano seemed to project no sustain whatsoever and surely did no service to the pianist. The extreme upper register sounded like wood on wood! Given that, were I a reviewer of the concert, I wouldn't have been able to do critical justice to Lang Lang's playing other than comment on his virtuosity.
Old 7th January 2011
It looked like the mic was placed inside the piano, over the strings, at the midpoint. A rather bad placement for tone quality if I have ever seen one.
Old 7th January 2011
Not having been there, we may only guess for knowing the way(s) a recording went badly. The subject is worth some time for chance of learning something valuable.

Personally find it encouraging unsatisfactory recorded instrument sound is being noticed enough for having discussions more than 'once-in-a-blue-moon!'
Again, maybe lots of discussion about this and it's just me a bit crazy with cabin fever and not getting out enough.

Good chance also the 25 years long-term addictive effects of solely using just one mic for recording everything. Was in denial, now dealing directly with 'stereo-surround mic' can't or won't give up addiction.

Right now, can't decide which it is.

I do know to greatly prefer hearing the 'real sound of a piano,' and not the more commonly recorded 'piano sound.'
Old 8th January 2011
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post

...Sorry to be contrary. I'd love to hear more comparisons like this!
Hi, Millennia has some sample mp3s on their site demonstrating pretty convincingly that an sf-24 and a full mix of 20 or more mics are almost indistinguishable when carefully mixed. There's also a mic list/stage plot sheet of the Messiah recording to go with it. Millennia - The other side of the tracks

Of course there are differences in weight and perspective in these clips but they show that multi-mic'd can be subtle if there's enough time to edit it carefully. I disagree with leaving the harp buried, that was a technology limit of the time; I agree that raising the spot level of whichever instrument currently has video focus while ensemble, is kind of 3rd grade;

Solo instruments probably already have enough space to be heard while in a CU shot, so generally we should strive to get the balance so that no sections are ever MIA. We don't always have access to a score for guidance from the dynamic markings. After achieving the everyone who was there is still there in the playback, the bill-payers' personal prejudices take over the mix decisions. Sigh...
WalterT Happy NY
Old 9th January 2011
Gear Nut

Originally Posted by jnorman View Post

anyway, here is a clip from an orchestral recording made with nothing but a single royer SF12 - sounds pretty good to me...(it is from the royer promo CD)
That clip needs a cleaning of the windshield compared to Berlin Phil clips. And balance wise... A spot mic on the brass would have made it possible to hear the bass trombone which isn't heard in this clip. Either a spot mic was needed or that bass trombonist is playing a slide euphonium.

Old 2nd August 2011
Lives for gear
jpupo74's Avatar
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Yes, recording an orchestra without spots or with just two mics is a completely amateur and whimsical idea betraying inexperience and ignorance of what the job is about.
I wonder what Steven Epstein would think about your statement.

Old 2nd August 2011
Gear Nut
jmcarlock's Avatar

I think recording with just two mics can make loads of money, simply ask your local tonmeister.

It is about recording music after all.
Old 2nd August 2011
Originally Posted by jpupo74 View Post
I wonder what Steven Epstein would think about your statement.

I'm sure that he and Richard K. would pretty much agree. (having been known to put out a mic or two themselves....)
All the best,
Old 2nd August 2011
Lives for gear
In the heyday of glorious unprocessed FM stereo in the UK (70's) the BBC Proms was THE benchmark.
A coincident pair + spot was sufficient for the mighty Albert Hall and BBC Radio 3.
As tele intervened more spots were introduced, for their c/u coverage.
Then more commercial aware SM's brought the spaced omni concept in.
Tele became obsessed with more coverage and the ceiling not only sprouted mushrooms for acoustics but a forest of dangleing Schoeps cables and hangers.
Lots of critical listeners mourned the concise image from the coincident pair.
Today the sound is very refined and the wind section has wrapround ear protection from the trombones and acoustic screens to duck behind.
However I would love to hear a concert 70's style and compare to the myriad collection of camera friendly Schoeps.

Old 2nd August 2011
Lives for gear
jpupo74's Avatar
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
I'm sure that he and Richard K. would pretty much agree. (having been known to put out a mic or two themselves....)
All the best,
One thing is film scoring with RK and other is the amount of work he did with just a air of 4006's.

Old 2nd August 2011
Lives for gear
boojum's Avatar
OK, I'll ask, who is Richard K.?
Old 3rd August 2011
Gear Nut
jmcarlock's Avatar

Richard King is fantastic.

I think that the right amount of microphones has to do with how many it takes to capture the emotion in the sound. I say this because I do not agree that a 2-4 mic approach is invalid in everyday type work. Many times this is the kind of recording a client wants.

I also respect Mr. Donahue's opinion.

Last edited by jmcarlock; 3rd August 2011 at 03:31 PM.. Reason: addition
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