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Sonic Signature of Schoeps CMC6-MK2 and Sennheiser MKH8020 Condenser Microphones
Old 21st December 2010
  #31
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I was told that the Schoeps MK2 was the mic used for the acclaimed CDs Horowitz at home and (or ?) Horowitz - Last Recordings, both recorded at Horowitz' home in New York. So at least with this New York Steinway D, the match was great.
Recorded in a living room and recorded with Neumann mics. Supervised at the time by the Neumann importer. Not a model for sound.
Old 21st December 2010
  #32
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Thank you Plush for correcting my wrong information got from such a forum. However I like the intimate sound from these recordings. Well, I love these recordings...
Old 21st December 2010
  #33
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I never post here anymore, but I do drop by to read every once in a while. I had to log in to correct this. The mics used were certainly Schoeps MK 2, as told to me directly by the wonderful engineer himself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Recorded in a living room and recorded with Neumann mics. Supervised at the time by the Neumann importer. Not a model for sound.
Old 21st December 2010
  #34
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Thank you Brian for correcting the information just given here by a trustworthy member of this forum who corrected an information given by myself who reported an information given by someone who I do not remember (may be the same soud engineer who informed you...) on a forum which I do not remember (this one, Klaus Heyne's one or 3dAudio one).
So Schoeps or Neumann, that is the question....
Old 21st December 2010
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
The mkh8020 is actually rather flat up to 20kHz. It is only beyond where it exhibits a noticable (the not audibly) boost in the high register.
MKH8020 does have quite lot of ultrasonic noise, easy to see when checking high sample rate recordings with frequency analyzer. It will show a lot happening in the 30 kHz and above range, even when nothing is really happening. Resembles a DSD recording in that sense...

Does not really matter, of course, but a bit surprising still for a top end mic.
Old 21st December 2010
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Not a model for sound.
I agree completely. Those Horowitz recordings are truly awful. Dry, way too close, and in an apartment with a 9ft Steinway. Puhleeze.
Old 21st December 2010
  #37
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I think that you are just jealous... heh
Old 22nd December 2010
  #38
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Did you listen to these samples?
Applications - SCHOEPS.de

Did you consider DPA 4090? It's much cheaper than the Sennheiser or the Schoeps and is in my opinion one of the best mics to record a grand piano (close miking).

Pieter
Old 22nd December 2010
  #39
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The mics used in the 1985 Horowitz Home Recordings were M-S omni and bidirectional Schoeps capsules placed into the piano. This technique was employed to isolate any noise from the film crew in the cramped living room. Here's the following excerpt, as quoted from the cinematographer's site:

"It was many months later when Susan Froemke, the Maysles' long time producer, asked me in hushed tones over the telephone if I would show up at the Steinway piano showroom in Manhattan. So began Vladimir Horowitz: the Last Romantic. Horowitz is a legend in the concert world. Best known, perhaps, as a recording artist, it was a rare event to film him in performance in his New York studio and to catch him in conversation with his wife, Wanda. Once again the same production team- the Maysles brothers and Peter Gelb of Columbia Artists Management- went into action. John Pfieffer, Horowitz's long time record producer, was hired to supervise the music recording. Like Ozawa, the Horowitz project was intended for multiple release, but with one notable difference. In addition to a premiere stereo screening at Carnegie Hall, video cassette release and television broadcasts, we were asked to produce the materials for a compact disc and an analogue record set. The task was to make sure our technology could accommodate this multiple format release."

"Logistically,
Horowitz was the simplest of these four pictures. It was filmed in one place for six days over a two week period. By filming standards the hours were quite civilized. Technically, it was the most complex. We had two weeks to design a system to create a uniform code whose time base and frame reference we wanted to be useable in post production and devise a stereo mike configuration which would be discrete, if not invisible, to the cameras, sound good and somehow avoid the noise the film crew would necessarily make. When I write "we" I really mean we on this particular project. The technical success of Horowitz was due in no small measure to the support I received from New York's audio community, film and video workers alike. Bill King, and Mike Shoskes were my on-set colleagues. Jerry Bruck of Posthorn Recordings, John Hampton of Star Tech Audio, Dave Smith of Editel, Guy Genin of Zellan Optics and Paul Yaeger and David Leitner contributed their share of useful information and assistance."

"For the first task- to generate a 24-frame-rate time code whose time base we could make 60 Hz- we chose the new Nagra IV-S TC time code. We then acquired a Sony PCM-F1 modified to accept the 60 Hz from the Nagra IV-S TC as its time base. Note that most of the modifications done in New York or Los Angeles on the PCM processor permit it to accept either an audio or video sync reference. We used the Nagra IV-S TC to generate time code and sync. A second stereo Nagra was used to record the dialogue, mostly through Audio Ltd. wireless microphones. Two video recorders, one VHS and the other U-Matic, stored the digital music. Two video decks offered several advantages. While one was used as backup for the other, we could also dedicate each VCR to a particular purpose. The Beta U-matic machine provided tapes for the digital record editing. The VHS machine, an industrial grade Panasonic 6800, operated as a 6-track audio recorder--two digital channels, two VHS HiFi channels and two linear audio channels with Dolby B NR. During the shoot we maximized the audio capabilities of the 6800 for music, backup dialogue, time code and sync pulse."


"The most unusual choice we made was in our miking technique. Maestro Horowitz's studio is no larger than an ample living room. There was no way we could place mikes in the room without them either interfering with the camera crew or vice versa. The solution to this dilemma was simple.
Into the piano itself went an M-S stereo pair in the form of a Schoeps boundary mic, omni directional in pattern, and a bi-directional capsule. From that point on the mikes were never seen and, from the microphone's point of view, the crew was never heard. That meant that the piano sound, which was dry and close up, was to be enhanced in post production, much like a rock n' roll record."

Sound "Digital Recording in the Field", by Lawrence Loewinger
Old 22nd December 2010
  #40
I love my Schoeps MK2s. Here's a little sample from a Shastakovich piano trio... recorded fairly close in a semi-dark sounding hall -- about 300 seats. Piano is a Hamburg Steinway D... could have used a close pair on the piano to equal the depth of instruments in the sound stage. The sample is not quite the raw tracks, but its nearly unsweetened. Just a touch of EQ and a touch of extra verb. Preamps were DAV. Enjoy --
Attached Files

Shasta Sample.mp3 (4.60 MB, 2283 views)

Old 22nd December 2010
  #41
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I have owned the 8020 (traded for 800 twins) and have the Mk2 and 2S and used to have the 2H. I cannot begin to call the Mk2 bright or with a sheen, and while the twin and 8020 are not the same mic there is a family resemblance. There is a "Schoeps sheen" with the Mk2S however. Personally I would not reach for 8020 for piano (and every Bosendorfer I have heard reminds me of breaking glass in the treble-- this is with the Imperial with the LF extension).

I will admit to being a fan of the Decca technique (Mk2S pair down towards the foot-- see the Simon Eadon thread). In the right room with the right instrument (a session with a Hamburg Steinway for example) I would try the multi-pair German method as well.

But back to the original thought-- with my BG micamps the Mk2 is darker than the 8020-- to my ears.

And I am also with Ben on the 4003 trapezoidal grids.

Rich
Old 22nd December 2010
  #42
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rich - interesting comment about the bosendorfer imperial. i have recorded an imperial on several occasions (92 keys - how fun is that?), and for a couple of commercial CD projects (artist name is debra huddleston), and the one i have worked with does not seem to display that effect - it is truly one of the most magnificent and well built musical instruments i have ever experienced. i have heard that bosendorfers and yamahas prefer the west coast, while the steinways are manhattan at heart...
Old 22nd December 2010
  #43
I have to agree with Rich on this one. The Bosendorfer Imperials I've worked with have tended to have a very difficult top end to capture. Even moving toward the tail of the instrument doesn't get rid of the sometimes thin and poking sound. A lot depends on the player, but in general I prefer the Steinway sound.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 88man View Post
The mics used in the 1985 Horowitz Home Recordings (...)
tutt
The CDs that we are discussing are
Horowitz at Home , Deutsch Gramophon, recorded December 1988 through February 1989, 14 East 94th Street (Horowitz's Home), New York City, New York.
Horowitz: The Last Recording Sony Classical Recording, recorded on October & November 1989 at 14 East 94th Street (Horowitz's Home), New York City, New York.

Note that the recording teams and the microphones may have been different for both CDs.

See this list of the studio (including home) sessions.

But I'm a bit annoyed that the program of the DG sessions sessions is not exactly the one of the CD: 3 tracks are missing...

The last recording was produced by Thomas Frost according to this source. (Note that the sound engineer was installed in the basement.)
Old 22nd December 2010
  #45
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Conflicting mic info on the Horowitz discs seems to be prevalent. Perhaps my memory is faulty. I was told that the mics were slung from wires to try to get some distance from the piano. This suspended position also put the mics out of the camera frame. My source for this info was Jerry Graham at Gotham Audio.

I luv luv luv Bosendorfer sound and if it is too trebly then the piano is voiced poorly. It does not have piercing treble---in fact one of the beauty parts of a Bosendorfer is its restrained treble. With bronze-ish mid bass the piano has a center of the earth bass foundation on the Imperial Flugel. It is a model of solidity and refinement.

Our dry rooms here in America are not kind to these instruments.

Sometimes what one finds is that a piano tech has voiced the treble of the Bosendorfer to compete with a Steinway. They have applied lacquer to the treble hammers trying to get it to project more.

I like the maxim that you play up through Schumann on a Bosendorfer and then switch to a Steinway after that time period.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #46
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It may well be that I have not heard a well-voiced Bosendorfer. Looking forward to the experience!

Rich
Old 22nd December 2010
  #47
Quote:
It may well be that I have not heard a well-voiced Bosendorfer. Looking forward to the experience!
Bosendorfers in general (especially new ones) have a much more erratic tone than a Steinway in different registers and dynamics. It can take several years for them to settle down and open up. But when they do, what a glorious sound it is.
Old 23rd December 2010
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Conflicting mic info on the Horowitz discs seems to be prevalent. Perhaps my memory is faulty. I was told that the mics were slung from wires to try to get some distance from the piano. This suspended position also put the mics out of the camera frame. My source for this info was Jerry Graham at Gotham Audio.
Thanks for your complement of information. The sessions you are referring to are likely not the one for both CDs recorded at the very end of Horowitz life that I am referring to, in the recording sessions of which there was no video. The last track of the The Last Recording was partly recorded 4 days before he passed away.
Old 29th December 2010
  #49
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Celloman's Avatar
Probably different gear was used on different sessions for Horowitz's home recordings.. however, I recall my teacher, Tom Frost, who was the producer/engineer for "Horowitz At Home", telling the class that Omni Schoeps Collette system were used with the Sony TCD-D10 DAT modified with Apogee filters. Sonnex was used to treat the room for noise and unwanted reflections. This is confirmed in an interview about the recording sessions in REP magazine.
Mike
Old 29th December 2010
  #50
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Plush's Avatar
Sonic Signature of Schoeps CMC6-MK2 and Sennheiser MKH8020

Thanks for the info and for the correction. Now back to recordings not done in a living room.


Posted via the Gearslutz iPhone app
Old 30th December 2010
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celloman View Post
Tom Frost, who was the producer/engineer for "Horowitz At Home", telling the class that Omni Schoeps Collette system were used with the Sony TCD-D10 DAT modified with Apogee filters. Sonnex was used to treat the room for noise and unwanted reflections. This is confirmed in an interview about the recording sessions in REP magazine.
According to the link in my penultimate post, he was also the producer of The Last Recording. So although they have different labels, the same gear may have been used for both CDs.
Old 30th December 2010
  #52
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didier.brest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Now back to recordings not done in a living room.
Why not in a living room ? CMC6-MK2 and MKH 8020 can be used in a living room !
Old 31st December 2010
  #53
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Didier, I must admit that I can never tell much from your "shootouts" because the recording is so close and in a small room.

I find microphones reveal their differences most significantly in excellent acoustics and a good distance from the instruments.
Old 31st December 2010
  #54
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If the room is small, with parallel sides, and has inadequate acoustical treatment to absorb the early reflections, the standing waves will make any microphone (from radio shack to boutique) sound harsh and indistinct, as if it were processed with a bad quality eq.
Old 31st December 2010
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Didier, I must admit that I can never tell much from your "shootouts" because the recording is so close and in a small room.

I find microphones reveal their differences most significantly in excellent acoustics and a good distance from the instruments.
We were discussing about Horowitz' living room, not mine. Both these CDs have a very good sound that translates the intimacy of the location. It seems that there was a confusion in this thread with previous recording sessions including video, the sound quality of which might be not so good.

I'm sorry that you cannot find my shoo-outs useful. I have got the opportunity for recording in a church (sample here attached) but I do not think theses acoustic conditions being better for microphone shoot-out. Note also that most piano recording nowadays are done with rather close microphones even in top acoustic conditions. See for instance this video of the recording of the last CD from Hélène Grimaud.
Attached Files

church.mp3 (7.70 MB, 2038 views)

Old 31st December 2010
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
Note also that most piano recording nowadays are done with rather close microphones even in top acoustic conditions. See for instance this video of the recording of the last CD from Hélène Grimaud.
But this recording is done is a rather large room with excellent acoustics and with 3 pairs of microphones, close, medium and far, no doubt being mixed and balanced carefully together. See 0.50 in that video and pause it there for a good look.

I think the off-axis response of microphones is one of the most important issues for classical music as a lot of the sound coming to the mic in typical positioning will be off axis. When the mic is too close to the instrument and its in a small dead room, this off axis response cannot be heard sufficiently well.

Also, with respect to piano recording, close mics can only be used when the loudest playing is mp perhaps. Helene is playing very softly in that video. If a grand piano played at f or ff was miked that close, one could not listen to it.
Old 31st December 2010
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
... with respect to piano recording, close mics can only be used when the loudest playing is mp perhaps ... if a grand piano played at f or ff was miked that close, one could not listen to it.
I think that's an overly sweeping statement to make. Sometimes a closer mic'd piano can be very pleasant, even for loud performances.
Old 31st December 2010
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
But this recording is done is a rather large room with excellent acoustics and with 3 pairs of microphones, close, medium and far, no doubt being mixed and balanced carefully together.
I am quite sure from listening that the main pair is the close one. The other stands are too far for being the ones of the main pair. In such a mixing, the tracks from the microphones other than the ones of the main pair have a relative low level. For listening to the sound, better quality highlights are available from Qobuz.


The attached image was posted by John Willett as being representative for the piano recordings made by DG.
Attached Thumbnails
Sonic Signature of Schoeps CMC6-MK2 and Sennheiser MKH8020-close.jpg  
Old 31st December 2010
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
I am quite sure from listening that the main pair is the close one. In such mixing, the others pairs have a relative low level.
Why are you and how can you be so sure of this?

Quote:
The attached image was posted by John Willett as being representative for the piano recordings made by DG.
Hardly. Depends on room, repertoire, player and many other things. That looks like a marketing shot anyway.
Old 31st December 2010
  #60
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I am sure
1) from my listening experience,
2) because the other mics stands seen in the video are obviously much too far for being the ones of the main pair.
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