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Premier 2 track location engineers Mixers (Digital)
Old 1 week ago
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Premier 2 track location engineers

A while back I remember reading some articles about a couple of different engineers who specialize in making the highest possible quality 2 track recordings of chamber and classical music. Seems like each had won Grammys, and were being interviewed about their techniques. These guys were like the ultimate 2 track/2 mic purists, and I think they may also have had their own labels. As I recall, both engineers used “modified” DPA omnis exclusively. I would like to reread that material.
Can anyone provide links or names or other info on who these guys are, or articles or threads where they were discussed? Thanks.
Old 1 week ago
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I meant to use the word “purist” rather than premier in the subject line.
Anyway, I found what I was looking for. For those who would like to read a bit about two microphone purist engineers and labels, here is a small discussion of a few “audiophile” labels:
https://hifiwigwam.com/forum/topic/2...ophile-labels/
Old 1 week ago
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Thanks for posting that - very interesting reading!

I admit that when I first read the subject line I was really curious why you could want to know about engineers who recorded using Adobe Premiere...

-Mike
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celticrogues View Post
I admit that when I first read the subject line I was really curious why you could want to know about engineers who recorded using Adobe Premiere...

-Mike
I know a classical guy who's using PTLE and a digi 02R with on board preamps. He edits and masters with this as well! His CD's are on Naxos.
Old 1 week ago
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Old 1 week ago
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Not to be smug in any way but almost all my recordings are two mics to two tracks. It is both the easiest and the hardest method of recording acoustic music there is.

The album that I engineered for Naxos was anything BUT two mics to two track so I can't claim anything like a highly rated release or a Grammy but some of those recordings sound very good if I do say so myself

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
This is also an interesting little read
https://westonsound.wordpress.com/20...d-multitracks/
I'd take issue with a few of his contentions in that article. For starters, "An omni-directional stereo coincident microphone pair is still the main component of our live recordings"

He goes on to dismiss the notion of a stereo pair of mics placed in the 'best seat in the house' ...which is fair enough, as we know that's not in the audience, and very likely just behind and above a conductor (orchestral or chamber concert) ....no "best seats" 10 feet up in the air there !

I guess all the lolly-wrapper noise stuff is aimed at audiophiles and neophyte recordists, who are fond of repeating the mantra about ear spaced mics in the centre of the middle row of the audience...again, this is largely dismissable as folklore, yes ?

The contention that "The speakers in your listening environment, in essence, are now almost doubling the distance from your ears to where the microphones picked up the sound" suggests some affiliation with simplistic audiophile beliefs about mic spacing, and he uses this to justify headphone listening over speakers listening. Admittedly not all binaural recordings translate well to speakers, but he's invoking the wrong reasoning.

He also claims to have his recording dynamic range curtailed by the maximum volume of applause...which suggests (perhaps) an audience placement for mics, although applause can often exceed performance input levels, no matter where situated. Clearly he hasn't been employing 24 bit recording with sensible headroom, where such issues aren't really bothersome any longer....or sensibly riding the gain or faders, if he's a tape man ?

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 09:40 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I'd take issue with a few of his contentions in that article. For starters, "An omni-directional stereo coincident microphone pair is still the main component of our live recordings"

He goes on to dismiss the notion of a stereo pair of mics placed in the 'best seat in the house' ...which is fair enough, as we know that's not in the audience, and very likely just behind and above a conductor (orchestral or chamber concert) ....no "best seats" 10 feet up in the air there !

I guess all the lolly-wrapper noise stuff is aimed at audiophiles and neophyte recordists, who are fond of repeating the mantra about ear spaced mics in the centre of the middle row of the audience...again, this is largely dismissable as folklore, yes ?

The contention that "The speakers in your listening environment, in essence, are now almost doubling the distance from your ears to where the microphones picked up the sound" suggests some affiliation with simplistic audiophile beliefs about mic spacing, and he uses this to justify headphone listening over speakers listening. Admittedly not all binaural recordings translate well to speakers, but he's invoking the wrong reasoning.

He also claims to have his recording dynamic range curtailed by the maximum volume of applause...which suggests (perhaps) an audience placement for mics, although applause can often exceed performance input levels, no matter where situated. Clearly he hasn't been employing 24 bit recording with sensible headroom, where such issues aren't really bothersome any longer....or sensibly riding the gain or faders, if he's a tape man ?
I have first hand experience with this recording company, as they used to record a group I perform with regularly. Thankfully, our board of directors has moved on after repeated frustrations from our conductor about the poor balance. No main stereo pickup. Spot mics abound on orchestra, sometimes they get a low-set M/S pair or X/Y but often just the section spots. Very close omnis at extreme L/R of choir (yes that's in front of orchestra, and missing the center pickup), mics inside piano laid down on foam sheets on the plate, I could go on. I've seen the backstage setup as well. Often a dozen or more channels, and never good results.

The new company we have hired typically uses a simple main stereo array above / behind the conductor and a set of wide omni flankers. Results have been very good so far.
Old 1 week ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltronic View Post
I have first hand experience with this recording company, as they used to record a group I perform with regularly. Thankfully, our board of directors has moved on after repeated frustrations from our conductor about the poor balance. No main stereo pickup. Spot mics abound on orchestra, sometimes they get a low-set M/S pair or X/Y but often just the section spots. Very close omnis at extreme L/R of choir (yes that's in front of orchestra, and missing the center pickup), mics inside piano laid down on foam sheets on the plate, I could go on. I've seen the backstage setup as well. Often a dozen or more channels, and never good results.

The new company we have hired typically uses a simple main stereo array above / behind the conductor and a set of wide omni flankers. Results have been very good so far.
How good or bad a recording seems to sound is sometimes in the "ears" of the listener (or reviewer). I have read reviews of certain recordings where the reviewer goes into ecstasy over the recording and when I listen to that recording it seems to have a lot of problems the reviewer missed or glossed over. I am not an expert in two mic recording but since that is the way I have done most of my recordings for over 40 years I feel like I can adequately critique recording done with this technique.

One problem that every two mic recording engineer had to content with is the perspective that one is trying to get right. When people listen to my recordings the one thing they all say is "it sounds like I was in the hall at the concert" and that is what I am aiming for. I have seen others place the microphones behind the group or two cardiods hanging strait down over the ensemble and maybe they can get what they want using these techniques it must sound strange to a "normal listener". Everyone has their own "way" of dong things and if it works for them then who am I to say differently.

FWIW
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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I have read about these minimalist and purist recording guys for many decades. Mostly one encounters these articles in the audiophile sphere and the audiophile press.

These articles often shroud the practitioner in mystery and profess that these "engineers" (often only high end hi-fi freaks) use very esoteric or exotic microphones and microphone techniques. Usually they do nothing of the kind.

Look to Kavi Alexander who has set the benchmark in this area for many years. His label, Water Lily Acoustics is first class.

The other super practitioner in two mic technique is Tony Faulkner who for many of his most lauded releases used two Neumann M-50 mics.

Many other practitioners lauded in the audiophile press simply offer average or poor results.

"Straight to twin-track" as Tony Faulkner describes it really works well in great halls. If you don't have a fantastic acoustic to record in, then using only two mics does not produce a great result.

Most of the articles cited are old hat propaganda. Many refer to recordings that sound awful.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Quote:
I'd take issue with a few of his contentions in that article. For starters, "An omni-directional stereo coincident microphone pair is still the main component of our live recordings"
Hopefully, he just doesn't know what the term "Coincident" means in terms of microphone spacing. Regardless, for a classical audio engineer, that is rather bad either way.

Preachy dogma when it comes to recording techniques does get tiresome. Recording methods must change depending on the venue and the ensemble. One should not get caught up on one "signature" technique for the capture of all recordings. It just shows an unproductive stubbornness at best, and a fatal lack of knowledge of the craft at worst.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Yes I think most of this enthusiasm for two mic recordings came from "we only have two ears" etc. Fine approach for binaural, nonsense for loudspeakers.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
one encounters these articles in the audiophile sphere and the audiophile press.

These articles often shroud the practitioner in mystery
it's inconsistent of you to look down on audiophiles after your recent posts claiming that you can hear the
difference between a 192 and 325 kHz recording and that some of your gear is modified to record up to
1000 kHz
Old 1 week ago
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Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
Hopefully, he just doesn't know what the term "Coincident" means in terms of microphone spacing. Regardless, for a classical audio engineer, that is rather bad either way.

Preachy dogma when it comes to recording techniques does get tiresome. Recording methods must change depending on the venue and the ensemble. One should not get caught up on one "signature" technique for the capture of all recordings. It just shows an unproductive stubbornness at best, and a fatal lack of knowledge of the craft at worst.
In their defence, sometimes these audiophile labels had one particular hall/room that they would record in exclusively (Troy Music Hall comes to mind, eh Joel !) ...if that luxury were afforded us, I know we'd have tape markings on the floor for where the singer, cello, drums, piano, harpsichord should stand...but even that would be only a starting point.

If you had an overhead 'free-ranging' 3D mic placement electric pulley system...you get my drift (ie TOTAL CONTROL)...life would be wonderful

Meanwhile, back in the real world, adaptability is crucial to success..and that means perhaps working backwards.....shooting for the best final blend possible, using minimal miking if possible, but augmented with 'cover yer ass spots' and perhaps alternate pairs (eg Faulkner/Boojum/Norman, MS, Soundfield)

It's ultimately down to "is this a recording session/is this a concert", how much setup/experimentation time do we have, is the venue amenable to cables all over the floor, am I confident in my monitoring, how many mics/stands/cables do I have....and a million other on-site variables.

I liken it to big game hunting or fishing...are you a sniper with backpack type, or a "Rocket Man" (sorry Don) ?
Old 1 week ago
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Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
almost all my recordings are two mics to two tracks
a shamefully anti-gearslutz-increasing-consumption-of-goods philosophy
Old 1 week ago
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Originally Posted by aracu View Post
a shamefully anti-gearslutz-increasing-consumption-of-goods philosophy
No, GS is about spending maximal funds on gear...price and perceived esoteric quality trumps quantity every time...
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Not to be smug in any way but almost all my recordings are two mics to two tracks. It is both the easiest and the hardest method of recording acoustic music there is.
Likewise, on all accounts!

When I reflect on all the acoustic recordings I’ve made over the last 20 or so years, the ones I am fondest of are all direct-to-stereo. I love the challenge, and when all the pieces come together correctly the end result is wonderful.

I have reduced my recording rig down to a matched pair of MKH800s and a Nagra 7. Sounds great, and serves my purposes...
Old 6 days ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
it's inconsistent of you to look down on audiophiles after your recent posts claiming that you can hear the
difference between a 192 and 325 kHz recording and that some of your gear is modified to record up to
1000 kHz
Laughable!
I’m looking down on audiophile recordings. Most sound poor.

Once again, you follow me around on GS to bait me.
Old 6 days ago
  #19
Many of the AE's that did quality work 20+ years ago are now retired. Some were retired early from pink slips.
Old 6 days ago
  #20
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Hey, did any of you listen to the MA recordings? I found the site and listened to some sample recordings. Overall, they do sound quite good.

However, it does seem a bit of a contradiction to claim to be a purist recording label but have such close micing.

Here is from the recording of the Bach cello suites.

http://www.marecordings.com/MP3/MP3M073A.mp3

from this page...

J.S. Bach/6 Suites a Violoncello Solo Senza Basso Vol. 1 HiRez, MA Recordings

It sounds a tad too close for my taste, boomy, and bigger than life.

And a Bach Flute sonata...

http://www.marecordings.com/MP3/Sona...%20Allegro.mp3

from this page,

Flute Sonatas of J. S. Bach volume 1, MA Recordings

Somehow the flute recording doesn't sound like just two mics to me. It almost sounds like a spot mic.

Curious for other opinions.
Old 6 days ago
  #21
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I listened to the flute sonata, and it did not sound real - sounds like a small space with too much reverb added. I agree it sounds like a spot mic on the flute and a pair on the harpsichord. The close mics don’t bother me as much as the inappropriate addition of faux space.
Old 6 days ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
I listened to the flute sonata, and it did not sound real - sounds like a small space with too much reverb added. I agree it sounds like a spot mic on the flute and a pair on the harpsichord. The close mics don’t bother me as much as the inappropriate addition of faux space.
Yes, with the mic so close to the flute with that much verb it seems to me there must be at least an ambient pair in the hall. But judging by the sound of the reverb I am inclined to say it was added.

Either way, I wouldn't associate this sound with audiophile "values" of the engineer "getting out of the way". These sound far bigger than life and not at all how the instruments sound from the perspective of the listener. This isn't to say they don't have an appeal. It just doesn't seem consistent.
Old 6 days ago
  #23
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I listened to another of the flute pieces - it sounds like perhaps a single pair, but with the flutist standing very close to the main mics and the harpsichord much further back. Quite odd. From what I gather, audiophiles do prefer “they are here” more than “you are there”....
I would bet a fair amount that there are plenty of us here who are at least technical audiophiles, in that we have all loved cool audio gear all our lives. There are magnaplanars in my past, as well as transcriptors turntables, SAE amps, and various other sonic technology wonders and I imagine most of you might have similar skeletons in your closet, heh? Or perhaps you have a pair of KEF or raidho monitors, aavik preamp, and a Bergmann magne in your living room right now...

Last edited by jnorman; 6 days ago at 04:51 AM..
Old 6 days ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
I listened to another of the flute pieces - it sounds like perhaps a single pair, but with the flutist standing very close to the main mics and the harpsichord much further back. Quite odd. From what I gather, audiophiles do prefer “they are here” more than “you are there”....
I would bet a fair amount that there are plenty of us here who are at least technical audiophiles, in that we have all loved cool audio gear all our lives. There are magnaplanars in my past, as well as transcriptors turntables, SAE amps, and various other sonic technology wonders and I imagine most of you might have similar skeletons in your closet, heh? Or perhaps you have a pair of KEF or raidho monitors, aavik preamp, and a Bergman magne in your living room right now...
Yes, important distinction..."You are there" vs "They are here". Hmm...it is the same with Pierre Spray at Mapleshade - his recordings bring the performers into your living room, so to speak. And there is something very appealing about that.

However, if that is true, that audiophiles tend to prefer "they are here"- and I think that is likely the case - then that officially places me at the other end of the recording philosophy because classical instruments are designed and meant to be heard from a distance, with the natural blend of the instruments in a shared space reaching the listeners ears. Everything I aim at is to capture the sound of the instruments as they would sound in a concert hall.

And it seems to me that the entire minimalist philosophy and advantage of using only two mics, the "purist" form of stereo, would be undermined by such close micing and even rendered unnecessary.
Old 6 days ago
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Close mid'c classical is great for movies. Not much else in my opinion.

D.
Old 6 days ago
  #26
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Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
I listened to another of the flute pieces - it sounds like perhaps a single pair, but with the flutist standing very close to the main mics and the harpsichord much further back. Quite odd. From what I gather, audiophiles do prefer “they are here” more than “you are there”....
I would bet a fair amount that there are plenty of us here who are at least technical audiophiles, in that we have all loved cool audio gear all our lives. There are magnaplanars in my past, as well as transcriptors turntables, SAE amps, and various other sonic technology wonders and I imagine most of you might have similar skeletons in your closet, heh? Or perhaps you have a pair of KEF or raidho monitors, aavik preamp, and a Bergman magne in your living room right now...
A lot of those early 'hi-fi demonstration/audiophile recordings' were ultra close miked, with unnaturally fast transient attacks due to proximity (ie no attenuation due to air and distance)...designed to show off the 'speed' of hifi speakers. As a 15 year old back then I was impressed...until I realized that nobody listens to a steel stringed acoustic guitar with their ear 3 inches from the strings or soundhole !

A lot of the aims and ideals were admirable..the direct to disc (LP I mean) recordings which eliminated the tape step altogether, for example, but the giveaway was how the mics, cables and electronics figured more prominently on the sleeve than the composer or players !

Those sorts of recordings turned a Klipsch La Scala horn speaker into a truly frightening transducer !
Old 6 days ago
  #27
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And nobody listens to a singer from 6” away either, but that is how almost every singer is miced these days, like every acoustic guitar is miced from 8-10”, and pianos have mics 6” over the strings, drums from a couple of inches, etc etc. we throwbacks here in the classical world are the only engineers left who put mics several feet away from sources. However, even masters like John eargle often used close mics for sonatas and quartets. Even the DPA website suggests some ridiculously close mic setups for classical instruments.
Old 6 days ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
A lot of those early 'hi-fi demonstration/audiophile recordings' were ultra close miked, with unnaturally fast transient attacks due to proximity (ie no attenuation due to air and distance)...designed to show off the 'speed' of hifi speakers. As a 15 year old back then I was impressed...until I realized that nobody listens to a steel stringed acoustic guitar with their ear 3 inches from the strings or soundhole !

A lot of the aims and ideals were admirable..the direct to disc (LP I mean) recordings which eliminated the tape step altogether, for example, but the giveaway was how the mics, cables and electronics figured more prominently on the sleeve than the composer or players !

Those sorts of recordings turned a Klipsch La Scala horn speaker into a truly frightening transducer !
Hi Studer, only one little glitch... It says the flute recording was done in 2010.
Old 6 days ago
  #29
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Originally Posted by shosty View Post
Hi Studer, only one little glitch... It says the flute recording was done in 2010.
For sure, I'd be the last to suggest that questionable recording practices are buried back in the 70's...the ' extreme close detail = reality = authenticity' ethos never went away, ever since it became easy to smear a spring/plate/chamber on, to give a faux impression of distance.

"Way up close yet far away at the same time...gee ain't I clever "
Old 6 days ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
For sure, I'd be the last to suggest that questionable recording practices are buried back in the 70's...the ' extreme close detail = reality = authenticity' ethos never went away, ever since it became easy to smear a spring/plate/chamber on, to give a faux impression of distance.

"Way up close yet far away at the same time...gee ain't I clever "
Ah ok, I was confused as to which decade we were talking about! haha
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