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The wandering tenor effect
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
The wandering tenor effect

When I say 'effect'...you might be led to assume it's something apparent or perceived, on hearing the recording, but not a true occurrence during the performance ...like a phantom image or reflection ?

No, this was the real deal...a pacing-across-the-stage, singing sideways, up, down tenor, putting a lot of expression and drama into CPE Bach's "The Graces"

So, what to do with a recording where the imagery similarly wanders across the soundstage, dulled somewhat when he's off axis and suddenly sharper when he's singing up at the mic pair.

I've included 2 mic pairs here: the overhead spaced omni AB 46cm pair (which captures the ambience of the hall nicely) as well as a less helpful closer (1.5metre) XY pair of CM3's, as vocal spots.

How would you treat this recording: pan the OH main pair image inwards and perhaps invoke some phase cancellations; do the same with the closer XY pair and add reverb, convert the L-R image to M-S and process that way; just leave it exactly as is, retaining all the movement of the performance....or something else ?

The pacing around added a lot to the expressiveness of the performance, and I wouldn't have it any other way...for the concert audience's enjoyment.

However it does pose a bit of dilemma for the purposes of stereo rendering, as a recording. A sample of each pair is included here....

Any thoughts ?
Attached Files

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 10:40 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
I hear this a lot on early Decca when the tree was in development
It is a performance not a recording venue and theatrical artefacts will predominate
In a recording control can be achieved with camera tape floor marks and a stern look..
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Ah, what to do!

It seems, from your description, that it was intended for the tenor to wander for dramatic effect and that it was successful.

If the client wanted a recording of the event then you did your job, and you did it in excellent fashion!

Do nothing as far as trying to produce a stereo rendering, as a recording. If you try to produce a stereo rendering from this, I fear it will sound like someone trying to fix a bad recording.

If the client wanted a "normal" stereo rendering then he should have had the tenor sing from a normal position. If he wanted both then he should pay you to record the "wandering event" and pay you for another session to record a normal stereo rendering.

You recorded a musical event the way it happened, what's wrong with that - nothing!
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Thread Starter
Yes I think you're both right...it's a truthful rendering of the event, with image shifts included in the bargain !

There's not a lot wrong with the overhead pair alone, as it captures a good sense of ambience and spaciousness...while the vocal spot pair brings little of benefit to the table. As the singer faces towards and away from the main mics, you can hear voice clarity/focus coming and going.

To try and second guess that, via forensic mixing and eq-ing, would very likely go against the Hippocratic oath of recording: 'first, do no harm' (or, even worse, draw attention to the cover-up)

For the bulk of the concert he remained still, so this actually makes for an entertaining contrast. You'll hear the like in early recorded opera (both LP and for broadcast), as Roger says...before they started pinning radio mics onto singers !
Old 1 week ago
  #5
RPC
Gear Maniac
 

In these circumstances I quote the label on Pier One clothing: "The apparent imperfections in this garment are part of its natural charm." It's a live recording - that's what really happened! "Fixing" this would have required a Broadway-musical-style wireless and you would have had to know about it beforehand.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Yes I think you're both right...it's a truthful rendering of the event, with image shifts included in the bargain !

There's not a lot wrong with the overhead pair alone, as it captures a good sense of ambience and spaciousness...while the vocal spot pair brings little of benefit to the table. As the singer faces towards and away from the main mics, you can hear voice clarity/focus coming and going.

To try and second guess that, via forensic mixing and eq-ing, would very likely go against the Hippocratic oath of recording: 'first, do no harm' (or, even worse, draw attention to the cover-up)

For the bulk of the concert he remained still, so this actually makes for an entertaining contrast. You'll hear the like in early recorded opera (both LP and for broadcast), as Roger says...before they started pinning radio mics onto singers !
The piano sounds quite nice! I realize that was not the point or purpose but perhaps the steadfastness of the piano exaggerates the wandering effect of the tenor? This is one of the more interesting "recordings that did not work out as intended" I've heard. I would keep it.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Thread Starter
It actually sounds quite respectable in mono too...if you have a mono button try that on the playback and see what you think ?
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
I like live recordings that preserve a true image of the performance. In this one, I have no problem picturing the wandering tenor, as if I had actually been there. The life-like image is what distinguishes this from a more contrived 'studio' recording.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Thread Starter
Here's one from the same concert, this time he (and the soprano) remained still !
Attached Files

The Sunne Rising.mp3 (7.02 MB, 172 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Head
 

I get to deal with this guy.
He is a madman of the highest order. An absolutely incredible violinist and musician. But, he is uber hyperactive. He'll roam all around behind the treble range side of the violins, then step forwad for a solo. Then,... he'll jump off stage, and head off to the far back corner of the hall, and lay down an incredible solo, while wandering through the rear of the hall, sometimes on center, or the opposite corner.
He'll often lay down these really wonderful scat vocalizations, while playing insane solos, and dancing in the center aisle with patrons, all at the same time.
In one particular instance, in this same hall, there is a piano in the rear corner. He soloed his violin solo, and then flipped the keyboard lid up, and laid down an incredible piano solo, from what is essentialy the rear of the hall, as it relates to this stage.

He'll then wander back onto the stage,.. still with white hot strings from his continuing solo, and,.. see those boots? He will clear 2' of air space, and then come down clogging,... and yes, this might be to Haydn, or Vivaldi.

On this solo, below, he circled the head numerous times, playing the solo to the head, after coming back on stage. The head,... on a trio of sorbothane pucks.

What I wouldn't give to have a tenor just wander around in front of the array.
Attached Thumbnails
The wandering tenor effect-dscn3528_zpsqaqnq2pi.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moke View Post
I get to deal with this guy........What I wouldn't give to have a tenor just wander around in front of the array.
That's the difference between 'legitimate expression'...and extrovertism. It doesn't mean you have to tie yourself in knots trying to capture on record his roamings.

Sometimes a good solid hammer and a few 6" nails through his shoes can work wonders (if the stage floor can handle it) ....his stage act has arrived pre-packaged for YouTube video delivery, skip the audio-only altogether !
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