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Recording organ quartets Condenser Microphones
Old 18th December 2010
  #1
Talking Recording organ quartets

Hi. I'm a cathedral organist, recorded my first CD earlier in the year and am receiving excellent reviews so far. I'm looking at my next project, which could potentially be quite ambitious. I am playing with the idea of recording organ duets, trios and quartets. There is nowhere in New Zealand that would allow me to do this 'naturally' - ie nowhere with two comparable organs in the same venue. I'm looking at multitracking it - either using the same organ for each part, or different organs across the city (providing tuning and temperament matches, of course).

My question is, how do I make it sound like it is recorded in a real space? I was wondering about just using mikes on the organ and not using a pair of omnis etc to capture room ambience, then once editing is finished, set up a series of monitors in the church (probably four, widely spaced and the four organs panned equally across the room so they sound seperate), then record the room ambience and add it to the mix.

Would this work, or would I be better of going down a digital reverb route?

Cheers
Richard
Old 18th December 2010
  #2
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Liquid Shadow's Avatar
 

I don't see why you can't just use the same reverb for the whole thing. Bus everything down to a master bus and apply a reverb on that bus and you're set.

Regarding recording the ambiance of the churches, sounds like you want convolution reverb. If you have access to a convolution reverb in your DAW you can play around with that too.
Old 18th December 2010
  #3
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Eric Pederson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by organism View Post
Hi. I'm a cathedral organist, recorded my first CD earlier in the year and am receiving excellent reviews so far. I'm looking at my next project, which could potentially be quite ambitious. I am playing with the idea of recording organ duets, trios and quartets. There is nowhere in New Zealand that would allow me to do this 'naturally' - ie nowhere with two comparable organs in the same venue. I'm looking at multitracking it - either using the same organ for each part, or different organs across the city (providing tuning and temperament matches, of course).

My question is, how do I make it sound like it is recorded in a real space? I was wondering about just using mikes on the organ and not using a pair of omnis etc to capture room ambience, then once editing is finished, set up a series of monitors in the church (probably four, widely spaced and the four organs panned equally across the room so they sound seperate), then record the room ambience and add it to the mix.

Would this work, or would I be better of going down a digital reverb route?

Cheers
Richard
Just boils down to what software/hardware reverb quality you have access to vs. your reamp idea. Might be worth trying it both ways and comparing the results
Old 19th December 2010
  #4
Thanks for the advice... will try both ways and see what sounds best. I guess the reamping idea really depends on using excellent monitors - should be able to borrow from a colleague.

Cheers
R
Old 19th December 2010
  #5
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What about setting up and recording in the same space, allowing you to keep the same recording setup consistent? You track your part, then the next guy sits down and tracks his, with you in his phones. Etc, etc, for however many players. You may need to do a click track or a guide track. That takes away the interaction among the players, but allows you to keep the same room sound, and allows for overdubs.
Old 19th December 2010
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
What about setting up and recording in the same space, allowing you to keep the same recording setup consistent? You track your part, then the next guy sits down and tracks his, with you in his phones. Etc, etc, for however many players. You may need to do a click track or a guide track. That takes away the interaction among the players, but allows you to keep the same room sound, and allows for overdubs.
That is more or less how it will work anyway, except I will be playing all four parts myself. I plan to pan the organs to make them sound distinct (otherwise it could just be a complicated piece for one organ). My issue is how to add room ambiance without it becoming too noisy / confused, hence my reamping idea. It is a small organ, and can be successfully miked closely, so would minimize the ambiance for each individual take.
Old 20th December 2010
  #7
As someone who has multitracked organ before, I recommend using just one organ in just one space if you are looking to keep the sound cohesive.

I'm skeptical that playing the organ back through speakers would give you the ambience you want, but I'm also curious to see someone try it!

I think you are on the right track. Mike closer than normal, and leave the set-up in place for all four takes (unless you want to create near/far antiphonal effects). The ambience will be authentic.

Here is a related thread on multitracking a string octet using just a quartet: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5855635-post32.html

You should visit the Remote forum...
Old 20th December 2010
  #8
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So you are afraid that the build up of multiple room sigs would mess things up? Certainly a possibility. Then close mic and as was suggested above, a convolution verb would be a simple answer.
Old 20th December 2010
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
As someone who has multitracked organ before, I recommend using just one organ in just one space if you are looking to keep the sound cohesive.

I'm skeptical that playing the organ back through speakers would give you the ambience you want, but I'm also curious to see someone try it!

I think you are on the right track. Mike closer than normal, and leave the set-up in place for all four takes (unless you want to create near/far antiphonal effects). The ambience will be authentic.

Here is a related thread on multitracking a string octet using just a quartet: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5855635-post32.html

You should visit the Remote forum...
Fantastic. Actually, the video you posted is what got me thinking about this project in the first place! Even if I don't end up releasing it on disc, it will be push me as an organist and an engineer, and should be a lot of fun anyway.

I had planned to just use the one organ, and to leave the mic set up identical for each take.

Cheers for the advice

Richard
Old 20th December 2010
  #10
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tenor39's Avatar
 

Got to go with Norse on this one. Good advice. If you wanted to create the illusion of multiple organs in the same building, you could move the extra "organs" back in time relative to the main instrument to give a feeling of space - might work. I do this with Antiphonal chambers in churches all the time.
Old 20th December 2010
  #11
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Remoteness's Avatar
I'm also with Norse & Mike on this one!
It makes good sense.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #12
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sonare's Avatar
I am skeptical that your plan will be musically convincing. Different size/character instruments in a surround mix might work, but panning (or worse-- not panning) in a stereo spectrum could end up being confusing for the listener.

If you are simply looking for an interesting project this sounds...err-- interesting-- but it is a far cry from 3 or 4 instruments of almost any other description. What repertoire is there for more than 2 organs?

You mentioned a cathedral in NZ-- which one?

Rich
Old 7th January 2011
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Hi Richard, I'm the recording engineer for the Wanamaker Organ in Philadephia which is the largest playing pipe organ in the world, and have specialized in recording pipe organs for 40 years now. While your idea sounds interesting, I believe implementing that idea could be very problematic in terms of the acoutical setting of each organ, then trying to combine two or three organs on the same recording. You also have to be concerned about how each organ is pitched, A440, A435, etc, which temperment was used, not to mention how well each instrument has been tuned. Personally, I think this concept would be very difficult, and prossibly be extremely fustrating. Jim
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