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Harpsichord solo with a pair of Rode NTRs Audio Interfaces
Old 12th April 2018
  #1
Harpsichord solo with a pair of Rode NTRs

Dear all,

I have initiated a birthday series for François Couperin (350 years in 2018) by recording his 8 Préludes from 'L'Art de toucher le Clavecin' on my teaching harpsichord at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp: the famous original Dulcken 1747 harpsichord at Museum Vleeshuis. Starting today, each week will see a new upload, so I'm sharing the first Prélude today with you.

The museum has very large acoustics: the whole main floor is solid stone, interrupted only by some text panels and other instruments. Very noisy as well (humidifiers/ventilators and city centre of Antwerp), so I used some RX. No other effects were used, no EQ, no editing at all.

Recorded using a pair of Rode NTRs in the 'Faulkner Phased Array' (forward-facing fig8s in 20cm AB), into RME UFX with 45dB of gain. Microphones about 1,5m away from the instrument, at 1,8m above the harpsichord floor level (the instrument is standing on a small podium), diagonally 'perpendicular' to the bentside and angled towards the soundboard. Video recorded with Nikon and Panasonic cameras.

Hope you will enjoy! I'll post the updates in the comments below -- the current video only shows one register, the next one will have two 8' registers engaged, and the third video the full set of three strings per note, with 8'8'4'.

YouTube
Attached Thumbnails
Harpsichord solo with a pair of Rode NTRs-2018-04-09-13.56.51.jpg   Harpsichord solo with a pair of Rode NTRs-2018-04-09-13.47.52.jpg  
Old 12th April 2018
  #2
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
Hope you will enjoy!
I did indeed enjoy that, quite a lot actually. Amazing that a piece of wood that old can be tuned so well and sound so nice.

Nice bit of playing too. And the perfect mics/technique for that instrument in that setting, with your playing. Fabulous.

Korneel, you bring a smile to my face.
Old 12th April 2018
  #3
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jnorman's Avatar
Apo - very nice in many ways. My impression, however, is that the harpsichord is meant as a salon-type instrument with a more intimate feel, and the recording is presenting it more in a cathedral organ type manner, ie, the reverb seems far too huge for the intimacy of the instrument.
Old 12th April 2018
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
My impression, however, is that the harpsichord is meant as a salon-type instrument with a more intimate feel, and the recording is presenting it more in a cathedral organ type manner, ie, the reverb seems far too huge for the intimacy of the instrument.
True and not true :-)
Historically, harpsichords would be found in salons indeed, but also in larger ballrooms (the type of foyers you can find in older opera houses for instance) with lush (wooden) acoustics, churches, chapels...
But anyway, this instrument has been staying in this museum since the 70s, moving is not an option, so I had to record it in the room it is standing in. I guess with omnis or even cardioids I would pickup way more reflections from stone floor and stone ceilings, so the fig8s did serve me well here...
Old 12th April 2018
  #5
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That was really nice!
Old 13th April 2018
  #6
Very very nice!
Old 16th April 2018
  #7
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Timothy Lawler's Avatar
 

Beautiful sound and playing. Time travel, really.

Visually nice also (though I can't help imagining this without the plastic spiral binding of the print music).
Old 18th April 2018
  #8
Thanks so far for all the comments!
Have to say that I am falling quite in love with the NTRs :-)

Here is the second prelude, using two strings per key as opposed to one in the first video: YouTube
Old 19th April 2018
  #9
Gorgeous! Thank you for sharing. You are making me want to postpone other planned purchases in favor a pair of NTRs too
Old 19th April 2018
  #10
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hm... - aesthetically questionable.

to make it clear, this is about taste - and mine is obiously different: i don't like the recording, all i can hear is some harpsicord floating around in a rather large room. there is a mismatch between direct sound (actually sound that creates the illusion of beeing close to the instrument in this case: it's lacking almost all directional information) and the room sound: too much and too large of the latter (for a more intimate sound).

don't wanna be rude, it's just how i'm hearing things - again, other folks may like the recording a lot (and that's okay)...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 21st April 2018 at 01:16 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 19th April 2018
  #11
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Timothy Lawler's Avatar
 

I love it. Please keep them coming.
Old 20th April 2018
  #12
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Yannick's Avatar
 

I also like it.
I understand the compromises made, that being said I think the image is a little bit narrow. Maybe it would have been interesting to try the Ribbons in XY, narrower than blumlein if you want to keep noise out, or MS, but I don't know how these bigger ribbons will behave.

Tonally this sounds very nice, and the image is stable, so it makes for a very believable recording/performance IMO.

The big reverb some seem to hear is not the space, but the reverberation of the harpsichord ... Unless Apotheosis tells me I am imagining things ...
Old 25th April 2018
  #13
Dulcken harpsichords in general, and specifically this 271-years-old box, have a large self-resonance, making them harder to tune but very rich in sound. Yannick is familiar with historical keyboards, it shows :-)
Here is the third prelude: YouTube
I will stop posting the weekly updates (as you have had all sound intensities now), but come back when the complete set is uploaded, to add them for later reference.

Image is indeed a bit narrow -- this was the first time I used this 8-8 setup. But actually it does not bother me, as the reverb takes the full width and the harpsichord is centered. I did try blumlein and MS before using the Faulkner technique, but too much noise on-axis in both cases...
Old 25th April 2018
  #14
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
Dulcken harpsichords in general, and specifically this 271-years-old box, have a large self-resonance, making them harder to tune but very rich in sound. Yannick is familiar with historical keyboards, it shows :-)
Here is the third prelude: YouTube
My only complaint with this is... it's too short! How can we hear the whole piece?
Old 25th April 2018
  #15
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Timothy Lawler's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
Here is the third prelude: YouTube
Wonderful recording. Articulate, spacious, rich. Listening with eyes closed.
Old 25th April 2018
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
...
Image is indeed a bit narrow -- this was the first time I used this 8-8 setup. But actually it does not bother me, as the reverb takes the full width and the harpsichord is centered. I did try blumlein and MS before using the Faulkner technique, but too much noise on-axis in both cases...
Image sounds GREAT to me on my monitors.
Old 26th April 2018
  #17
Gear Addict
Beautiful relaxed sound to my ears!
Old 26th April 2018
  #18
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
...I will stop posting the weekly updates (as you have had all sound intensities now), but come back when the complete set is uploaded, to add them for later reference...
I am enjoying these little preludes - each a sort of musical amuse-bouche - but it would be great if you could eventually put up all eight preludes and the allemand together, as a more substantial aural feast.
Old 30th May 2018
  #19
As promised: the complete set of Couperin Préludes in a single playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...hMIRb3ql0qDSOs
I did not record the Allemande because 1. it is not a Prélude, 2. I think the work itself is less convincing (sorry Couperin), 3. in the book, it is a seperate piece as well.
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