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Earcatcher array: samples
Old 23rd March 2017
  #211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
thank you for that excellent answer.
It is amazing to be able to use LDC as a main pickup.
You can judge that once I've got some samples up (which will take some time, as I want to have edited the recordings first).

Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
Two questions of ergonomics- did you set up some sort of monitor listening room?
I set up in the same room (a church) because I want to keep eye contact with the musicians and also to allow the producer to be in very direct communication with the group. So gave them headphones (Focal Spirit Pros) during playback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
How long did you take to refine these sounds? (how long was the checking and refining period?) - I always worry about tiring musicians out and can be overcautious, so i am curious.
I used the entire morning of the recording day to set up and get the sound right. Even told them there would be no lunch before we agreed on the final sound. There was a good reason for taking so long: I had tried to communicate in all different ways beforehand, but had only gotten very vague pointers of where they wanted to go. So I had been stressing out all on my own to think what it could be they possibly wanted. I explained that, when they arrived, and said that we needed to take more time to find our best sound. It's a group that is used to a lot of discussion, so they knew how to handle that well.
Old 23rd March 2017
  #212
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Originally Posted by wildplum View Post
he's on an ego trip, that's all. let it be.

Okay. Didn't realize ECA could also be the Ego Catcher Array. Will do like the Beatles and Let it Be.
Old 23rd March 2017
  #213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
This sample is from Brunetti's first string quartet: we come into it halfway the first movement until the end of the movement. There are three following movements as it is a pretty long piece at over 27 minutes. We are planning a CD with the two Brunetti pieces and a piece from Spanish composer Reynoso, who has never been recorded before.
Hi,

the overall sound of these samples is quite charming and the sense of space rather beautiful. But the balance is off, and the first violin sounds as if it is in a different acoustics, whilst the cello is quite muffled and changes directivity with its dynamics.

How are they sitting? Second violin is the most underexposed of all instruments and appears to be directly behind the first. The viola is very present and seems to sit far right (which in some cases, they do). The cello moves all over the place from center-right to R.

I have always found the imaging especially difficult with string quartets, as well as getting the unique differences in timbre of each instrument, due to the way they sit and are turned, exactly right. I do not hear this in your recording to be how it should be.

Seems your array has the same challenges and issues that all other stereo techniques have.

By the way, I know Tomoe and she is a great musician and very nice person. I am sure working with all of them is a lot of fun!

Best,
Dirk
Old 24th March 2017
  #214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
Hi,

the overall sound of these samples is quite charming and the sense of space rather beautiful. But the balance is off, and the first violin sounds as if it is in a different acoustics, whilst the cello is quite muffled and changes directivity with its dynamics.

How are they sitting? Second violin is the most underexposed of all instruments and appears to be directly behind the first. The viola is very present and seems to sit far right (which in some cases, they do). The cello moves all over the place from center-right to R.

I have always found the imaging especially difficult with string quartets, as well as getting the unique differences in timbre of each instrument, due to the way they sit and are turned, exactly right. I do not hear this in your recording to be how it should be.

Seems your array has the same challenges and issues that all other stereo techniques have.

By the way, I know Tomoe and she is a great musician and very nice person. I am sure working with all of them is a lot of fun!

Best,
Dirk
Hi Dirk,

Don't know how you listen, but on all my systems (both speakers and headphones) it is very clear where everybody is sitting and the stereo image is very stable. I just got an email from someone who didn't know how the seating was and who had absolutely no problem telling me the correct order: "The stage image is more precise (from left to right) : 1st Violin - Viola - Cello - 2nd violin". I agree that the cello seems to move a bit depending on frequency and dynamics, but that clearly was the case in reality too. You can actually hear how it radiates different frequencies into different directions, exactly as we know it from the literature. In my latest recording (no samples here) I put the cellist on a riser, which helped getting a more focused core sound in that space. In the recording posted there was no riser available, unfortunately. However, it seems that the cello is doing exactly what the composer wanted: to be the warm fill in the room between the higher pitched instruments. Are you sure you are not misled by your expectation bias regarding seating?

The viola (which is the instrument I suspect you don't hear so clear) tried to disappear entirely into the first violin sound, as to extend her notes. I was able to bring the viola more forward, but the player (and leader of the group) commented on the mix as is: "I hear myself more than enough". You may not agree with the artistic choices of the musicians, but I feel that they are correctly represented, based on their critical remarks. (These are all people who will be professional enough to tell me if there is anything they don't like, and I strongly invite them to do so. I have endlessly discussed the preferred shape of the soundstage and the sound and size of the room they wanted, as well as the amount of "aura" that the individual voices would need to have.)

Since you know the first violinist you will also know that she has a very particular personal sound, full of "storm and fire". I think that is captured very faithfully. And yes, she is a very nice person, just like the others of the group. We had a marvellous time doing this recording. My assistant prepared sandwiches and cooked great meals everyday and we enjoyed each other's company a lot. Everybody was inspired to bring this unknown music to life in the best possible way. It was because of this recording that the 1st violinist recommended me to her other group, to do this week's recording.
Old 24th March 2017
  #215
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
But the balance is off, and the first violin sounds as if it is in a different acoustics, whilst the cello is quite muffled and changes directivity with its dynamics.
direct sound of the cello is completely stable here. The first violin could be a tad less highlighted, but as we all know, this isn't an easy call. It sometimes just does not work with the "politically correct" balance. The response of the acoustics seems to be embedded in the instrumentation & writing, so it appears normal to me ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
How are they sitting? Second violin is the most underexposed of all instruments and appears to be directly behind the first.
Obviously, the viola is between Vi1 and cello, and I do agree the imaging of this one is not so clear. I would not say the balance should be more forward, but it would have helped to have a more solid presence of the viola. I wonder in which direction he/she was playing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
I have always found the imaging especially difficult with string quartets, as well as getting the unique differences in timbre of each instrument, due to the way they sit and are turned, exactly right. I do not hear this in your recording to be how it should be.
Well, the easy road is put a spot on each one, and make it sound perfectly balanced. But that is not at all how a real string quartet sounds nor should sound. How do you define "how it should be"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
Seems your array has the same challenges and issues that all other stereo techniques have.
Indeed. Like the choice of main mics. They do what I would expect that brand to do. They seem to add a false "liveliness" and resonance to the natural sound. The mp3 obviously does not help either.

Anyway,
Old 24th March 2017
  #216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
direct sound of the cello is completely stable here. The first violin could be a tad less highlighted, but as we all know, this isn't an easy call. It sometimes just does not work with the "politically correct" balance. The response of the acoustics seems to be embedded in the instrumentation & writing, so it appears normal to me ?



Obviously, the viola is between Vi1 and cello, and I do agree the imaging of this one is not so clear. I would not say the balance should be more forward, but it would have helped to have a more solid presence of the viola. I wonder in which direction he/she was playing.



Well, the easy road is put a spot on each one, and make it sound perfectly balanced. But that is not at all how a real string quartet sounds nor should sound. How do you define "how it should be"?



Indeed. Like the choice of main mics. They do what I would expect that brand to do. They seem to add a false "liveliness" and resonance to the natural sound. The mp3 obviously does not help either.

Anyway,
I couldn't agree more with your observations! And indeed, the WAV's sound a lot better in this case. There are parts, BTW, where the viola plays more strong and there I find it perfectly present. We have been discussing this already during the recording and clearly the player has this preference to dissolve in the total sound and be the "invisible" support of the stars of the ensemble. I find it a recommendation of his character that he is able to make his ego subordinate to the musical interpretation. Especially when you realize that he is one of the finest viola players in the genre.
Old 24th March 2017
  #217
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Well, it has been my experience that in these cases, you can easily loose 30minutes soundcheck fiddling around. first violin 10cm to the back, viola 10cm to the front, and voilá, the whole balance is completely screwed, unnatural, and the music does not function anymore. Out goes the theory that the viola (or 2nd violin) part was too soft ...

Also, with a quartet, you already have 5-6 opinions about who is too loud and who is too soft
Old 17th June 2017
  #218
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Two ECA's

In post https://www.gearslutz.com/board/12523288-post208.html I promised some samples made with an LDC ECA. Here is a sample made with a special combo of two ECA's: one on a stand made with two Brauner Valvet X LDC mics and one made out of Schoeps BLM's on the floor. Both are at the same distance from the players in order to avoid time differences. The BLM-ECA is a new model, specially designed for precisely picking up forward projecting instruments such as guitars, celli and double basses, while maintaining a spacious room sound. The mix below is some 50/50 of both arrays.

The piece you hear is La Mort de Marie-Antoinette from Dussek, originally written for fortepiano, here in a unique string quartet arrangement. (All gut strings.) It's roughly the first half of it, so you will not hear the guillotine come down. This excerpt is from one single take without any editing, so do not expect picture perfect playing of every note.

There is no fader riding, no compression, no EQ. It's just a simple ITB fixed level mix. Enjoy!
Attached Files

Last edited by Earcatcher; 17th June 2017 at 08:45 PM.. Reason: Addition of instrument info.
Old 17th June 2017
  #219
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
The piece you hear is La Mort de Marie-Antoinette from Dussek, originally written for fortepiano, here in a unique string quartet arrangement.
Excellent. Just gorgeous.
Old 19th June 2017
  #220
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Lovely. Thanks for posting the Dussek for our listening enjoyment. I guess the only thing better than one Ear Catcher Array is two of the of mysterious ECAs...
Old 25th June 2017
  #221
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How to capture musical inspiration?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
Excellent. Just gorgeous.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Lovely. Thanks for posting the Dussek for our listening enjoyment. I guess the only thing better than one Ear Catcher Array is two of the of mysterious ECAs...
Thanks guys! I'm happy you can appreciate the sheer listening experience. I've always intended this thread to be about the developing of a sound and you clearly understood that. Music is our love and I was hoping for some more comments on the sound aspects after over 400 listens of the file. I personally feel that I am finally getting some grip on this elusive matter, making it work for me to get very close to the sound ideal that I was looking for. When you compare this sample to the ones just before in this thread it is very interesting how the sound differs from each other. Keep in mind: the first violin and the viola are played by the same musicians in the same room, with the quartet in the same place in the room (although the viola switched position with the cello).

One of my goals was to find a fitting sound character for this music, more romantic and emotional in style than for the baroque pieces. Also, I wanted to avoid the sharpness of the first violin that was audible in the louder parts of the baroque pieces (and which was actually audible in the room as well). I knew this piece (Dussek) would be even more straining to the instruments, while the content dictated lots of dramatic depth and size. (I mean: this woman is arrested, her children separated from her, awaiting her head being sliced off in front of the mobs. That's a lot to cope with and it should find approriate translation in the playing and the recording resulting from that.) We took a lot of time to find the right sound and then recorded several takes of parts only. In the end, when we wanted to do a few full takes of the entire piece, the light from outside went down but we could not turn on the lights in the hall, as they would buzz. The musicians did not have stand lights with them, so we McGuiver'd lights from their smartphones and extra mic stands. In a pitch black hall, with no sound from outside at all they played the entire piece in the beams of the faint phone lights. It was a magical moment and I think you can actually hear that in this recording, where the story is told by the filigrain string sounds dissolving into the darkness of the night. By the way: it is not meant for a CD, but as a demo for the ensemble only. We plan on doing a video with it at a later date.

Last week I was recording 15th Century Spanish vespers in a stoney church. Music never recorded before, reconstructed from reminder scribbles on the back of other documents. It employed plainchant, polyphony and ancient instruments. Mindblowing music. The use of the secondary BLM-ECA turned out to work very well here too. I plan on keeping this combo for maximum flexibility in post. It was a long road to get here and I have been amazed at what can be learned about sound capture when you persist in looking beyond the known maps of recording technique.
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