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A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015 Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015

I don't think there's any reason to suspect these videos and photos aren't from a genuine Decca recording session, at Potton Hall, Suffolk, UK... 2015 ?

You can see the typical Decca tail placement of mics: a closer, wider pair of Coles (?) and 2 slightly more distant pairs of Schoeps (?) on narrow width bar and a somewhat wider pair.

There's the red recording light clearly visible, early in the first video...so it's a session !

RME mic amps (?) on the stage edge, meters happily bouncing away.....

One puzzling thing is there's a somewhat distant tall mic stand in more traditional location, directly out from mid piano...and quite high. Could even just be lighting ?

The videos match the photo, so it seems to be kosher.

Here's the "studio" (Roger or other UK inhabitants here, maybe you're familiar with the place ?) : Recording Studio - Potton Hall

Here's the photo: https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...g?format=1500w

Here are the videos: YouTube

YouTube

YouTube
Old 1 week ago
  #2
It's a converted barn out in the countryside. Not an amazing room, but with the right instrument / ensemble it can be pretty great. I recorded Marc Andre Hamelin's Alkan Concerto for Solo Piano and Brahms Op. 119 in that space. The music, the people, the place... It was a magical week.

Watching those youtube videos of the Decca reinforces the fact that the space works well with artificial reverb
Attached Thumbnails
A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-img_2518.jpg   A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-img_2519.jpg   A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-img_2522.jpg   A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-img_2523.jpg   A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-fullsizeoutput_1ca.jpg  

A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-fullsizeoutput_2d3.jpg   A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-fullsizeoutput_4f3.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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tourtelot's Avatar
Yep, that's a Decca piano recording. Guess what? It works really well It is my goto for piano now, although I frequently get the "side-eye" from people who are used to the piano pair in the crook.

Sometimes , it also really helps with bleed from other members of the ensemble. The Coles look about "right" but the other pairs seem a bit higher than I usually put my mics.

That's why engineers have ears, right?

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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tourtelot's Avatar
Oh, not the "barn" photos. The ones in studer58's link.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by avillalta View Post
It's a converted barn out in the countryside. Not an amazing room, but with the right instrument / ensemble it can be pretty great. I recorded Marc Andre Hamelin's Alkan Concerto for Solo Piano and Brahms Op. 119 in that space. The music, the people, the place... It was a magical week.

Watching those youtube videos of the Decca reinforces the fact that the space works well with artificial reverb
It's interesting the studio listing didn't include the organ against the back wall shown in your photo...presumably it's hidden behind the foldable shutter screens when not required ?

Looks like a nice space, not huge....and away from traffic and aircraft presumably too ! The good piano would be a big attraction. In the Field Nocturnes photo, the Decca folks obviously prefer a corner-enhanced bass-ier sound....rather than siting the piano more centrally as you had done.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Looks like it was up for sale (mid 2011)....a nice dream to entertain, a consortium share bid on a very respectable rural studio ? Nice wooden ceiling.....and handy that it can double as a concert hall as well !

As an alternative recording job, it would beat wrangling cables and stands into a high school auditorium on a rainy night,20 mins before the rehearsal is due to start.....

The art of moving house - Telegraph
7 bedroom detached house for sale in Blythburgh Road, Westleton, Saxmundham, Suffolk, IP17 3EF, IP17

I'm almost certain that in the original photo and videos, the tall stand was indeed for lighting, as you can see in the family shot in the 1st link.
Attached Thumbnails
A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-ph-1.jpg   A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-ph-2.jpg   A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-ph3.jpg   A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-ph4.jpg   A Decca location piano recording for CD: Suffolk UK 2015-ph5.jpg  


Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 06:03 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Nice documentation! What is the original source of the photos?
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Thread Starter

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 07:24 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Aha, thank you!
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Nut
I recorded there in Potton Hall in June 2001. (Seventeen years ago). It is an excellent acoustic and very quiet. We did have a ram butt the outside wall at one point but it got moved very quickly! It was a different owner at that time, but it all looks as it was in 2001. We recorded Greig violin and piano sonatas, and my wife was the pianist.

EDIT: I think the owner in 2001 collected organs and kept them there, if I remember correctly.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Yeah, the organs are gone. I don't know if they have a house piano now, but back in the early oughts, Steinway London delivered the instrument we used.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Any idea, what is the different duty of the two sdc pairs (schoeps?) One probably a pair of MK2S or equivalent. But the other one? Cardioids?


Ronald
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RFrommann View Post
Any idea, what is the different duty of the two sdc pairs (schoeps?) One probably a pair of MK2S or equivalent. But the other one? Cardioids?


Ronald
The pair nearest the piano appear to be omnis, assume MK2, and the pair on the bar are cardioids of some sort (can see the side slots) but which ones?
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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They will likely not use all of the pairs. They might pick one or two pairs in post. There's a pair out the front too. The tail pairs might be supplementary.

I don't really like the sound at all. Its too diffuse and quite unlike the natural stereo image from a piano.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post


Here's the "studio" (Roger or other UK inhabitants here, maybe you're familiar with the place ?) : Recording Studio - Potton Hall

YouTube
Im not familiar with it 58
The BBC and Decca were not close
EMI had much more affinity to the 60s Beeb, Decca was more theatrical and creative it seemed, EMI was almost a BBC clone, the canteens smelled the same..
When I worked for World Service in Bush House I walked past Kingsway Hall many times but never ventured in, I wished I had
Both EMI and Decca used its great acoustic, but it was also a Salvation Army Hostel and that is my memory of its exterior!
In 1969 we filmed A Festival of Britten at Snape Hall in Suffolk, a Decca favourite and a ex Maltings with gorgeous ambience and woody resonance
That unfortunately burnt down and when rebuilt never quite replicated the original bloom
John Culshaw came from Decca to the BBC Music Department and relations were improved
Later when I did a Stereo Film course at Wood Norton , the wonderful Engineering training department, the Decca boys came down and gave us fascinating insights into their techniques, so different from the BBC
We also had Professor Sennheiser and the Schoeps DRs give us the manufacturers viewpoint
Decca suffered at the hands of Sony megalomania and was much reduced, but its memory lingers throughout the World, and its techniques ingeniously propagated.
Roger
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Roger,
According the the Telegraph article linked above, the current owner of Potton Hall is "Jeremy Hayes, for many years a music producer for Radio 3". He's looking to sell, so maybe he will offer a Beeb retirees' discount, if your interested...

Edit: I notice the byline on the Telegraph article was dated seven years ago - it may be too late!

Last edited by jimjazzdad; 1 week ago at 02:23 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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tourtelot's Avatar
I had experiences in that era that we are talking about although it was in the motion picture world and not the classical music world. But I get the vibe. Things were done so differently then in both worlds. Such an attention to detail, such a love of the craft. So when I get all nostalgic for the way it once was, that is my tell-tale that I am old

You can fill in the blank but as a mentor of mine said as he wrapped his final picture in the late '70s, "You know Doug? They just don't make (blank) like they used to." And he was so right. Sigh.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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tourtelot's Avatar
Oh, but I should mention, a lot of us here on this site sure as hell try to.

Off to fly mics and sit in on a rehearsal for tonight's recording.

D.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
0VU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Roger,
According the the Telegraph article linked above, the current owner of Potton Hall is "Jeremy Hayes, for many years a music producer for Radio 3". He's looking to sell, so maybe he will offer a Beeb retirees' discount, if your interested...

Edit: I notice the byline on the Telegraph article was dated seven years ago - it may be too late!
If you wanted to buy it you're a good few years too late. Jeremy sold it some time back, 2014 I think, to a chap called John Westgarth and his wife who have given the whole estate a refurb and tidy up and run some holiday cottages and a spa alongside the studio business. The organs are gone but afaik the piano remains. It's a particularly nice Steinway D that was added when Jeremy owned the hall.

It was originally built by a guy called Alan Foster who was a retired racing driver and Lotus car dealer to house his instrument collection, including several organs, of which he was a keen player.

Last edited by 0VU; 1 week ago at 05:59 PM.. Reason: Correcting typos
Old 6 days ago
  #20
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0VU View Post
If you wanted to buy it you're a good few years too late. Jeremy sold it some time back, 2014 I think, to a chap called John Westgarth and his wife who have given the whole estate a refurb and tidy up and run some holiday cottages and a spa alongside the studio business. The organs are gone but afaik the piano remains. It's a particularly nice Steinway D that was added when Jeremy owned the hall.

It was originally built by a guy called Alan Foster who was a retired racing driver and Lotus car dealer to house his instrument collection, including several organs, of which he was a keen player.
Yes, of course - Alan Foster - a very nice man, who had a couple of dogs who barked at us like mad when we went to the house, but were really friendly once you gave them a cuddle.

Sadly I think Alan died a year or so after we were there.

The great friend of ours who did the engineering and is also a producer used to record there a lot, but in recent years seems not to use Potton Hall at all. I think he has found somewhere closer to or even in London.

But Potton Hall was magic.
Old 6 days ago
  #21
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mljung's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
In 1969 we filmed A Festival of Britten at Snape Hall in Suffolk, a Decca favourite and a ex Maltings with gorgeous ambience and woody resonance
That unfortunately burnt down and when rebuilt never quite replicated the original bloom
Snape Maltings - Yes gorgeous ambience, several of the wonderful Britten Decca recordings were made there Didn't know it burned down, but I've heard there was a RAF airbase nearby, and a agreement that the noisy jets wouldn't crack the sky during recording.

::
Mads
Old 5 days ago
  #22
0VU
Gear Addict
 

The Maltings didn't completely burn down and the fire wasn't recent but two years after it opened.

Britten leased the building in 1965 and converted it to a concert hall as a new, larger, home for his growing Aldeburgh Festival, with the opening as a concert hall in 1967. It was badly fire damaged in 1969 but was rebuilt in time for the festival in 1970.

For anyone interested in the conversion of the Maltings into a concert hall, there's a good write-up by the original acousticians on the Arup website in this article from an Arup Journal from 1967
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