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Creating a set up to record orchestral music Summing Mixers
Old 3rd September 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Creating a set up to record orchestral music

Hi

I am a composer more than a engineer so I am looking for some advice. I put orchestral music in the title as I am not doing strict classical but write orchestral music for Television and Film.

For small budget projects I usually end up mixing solo instruments with samples, for medium I hire small studios and bring in players and sometimes I do full orchestra which I get recorded at Smecky Studios.

I want to build a decent setup to record orchestral instruments myself. As I do not get enough time in other studios to always get the performance that I am after, as the length of time in the studio is based on the budget I am given. I have built a nice sounding largish room that I can fit anything from solo instruments, small string sections to very small chamber orchestras. I have a good list of players to call upon and so would like to have the freedom to do the recording myself.

I own Apogee Symphony units with the PCI64 interface, for now I am more than happy enough with them.

I was thinking of adding to my existing pre-amps a API lunchbox (10 slot) and filling it with either the DAV 501's or Forssell SMP 500? Do you think this is the best choice? Then if I need more channels I can get another lunch box and add additional pre-amps if and when I need?

I do have one last question, I have had my stuff mixed at AIR Lyndhurst and the difference that board makes is amazing!!! It is a beast!! I know that I can't reproduce that. But the separation and sound in the mixes compared to in ITB version is really amazing!!

So I would also like to get something to either mix through or sum. I was thinking of either a Aurora GTM822 mixer or a summing device like Neve 8816 or Dangerous DBox. Something in that price range, I can't really afford much more. Would something like the Aurora be too coloured for me?

Any advice from the classical engineers on here would be great!!!
Old 3rd September 2011
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Reiner's Avatar
 

For me the "colour"-question is a matter of taste, some like it more coloured others more clean. Try it out and find what's fitting your taste best.
In case of high quality recordings of classical instruments, I think it´s way more importent to have a whole bunch of decent microphones (and I mean really good ones!). Talking about Schoeps, DPA, Neumann, Earthworks and stuff like that. (I evan heard fabulous recordings made with lots of Royer ribbons.) For me that´s the biggest question after haveing gifted musicians in a really well sounding room. Cause the benefit of a really good mic on a mediocre preamp is greater than vice versa. If that's done, you can go for really nice preamps, pushing it to the next level. Next to the ones you mentioned above, I'd also give Grace or Millenia a try. In my experience they are really nice for orchestral recordings.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Thanks. I am based in the UK and the price of the Millennia 500 series units compared to the DAV is 3 times and I don't feel I would be getting 3 times a better sound, so I ruled them out. I listened to alot of the demos posted on GearSlutz comparing the different 'clean' pre-amps and really liked the Fossell and DAV.

I completely agree on the microphones. I didn't want to bring them into this thread incase focus got lost on the pre-amps and mxing, but you are on the money there and is something I am also addressing just as seriously.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
You will never better Air Lyndhurst.
Just track to the best of your abilities and let a proper music mixer/studio sort it out.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
You will never better Air Lyndhurst.
Just track to the best of your abilities and let a proper music mixer/studio sort it out.
Couldn't agree more!! The reason I am doing this is for the small to medium budget projects. I want to be able to bring in musicians for the day and conduct them to get a performance I am happy with without worrying about studio time / costs. Then if the budget allows I can still get them mixed there.

What do you think of the API lunchbox idea with either the DAV or Forssell?
Old 4th September 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simsy View Post
Couldn't agree more!! The reason I am doing this is for the small to medium budget projects. I want to be able to bring in musicians for the day and conduct them to get a performance I am happy with without worrying about studio time / costs. Then if the budget allows I can still get them mixed there.

What do you think of the API lunchbox idea with either the DAV or Forssell?

If you are conducting the performance, you definitely need someone else on the desk. something goes wrong, you get a strange noise on the recording, you overload something, etc, etc, you need additional ears. As for gear the DAV's, anything like that is fine for the job, you need to think more about the mic's, positioning and room acoustics, more than the pre's you are using. In my experience, the real costs in recording classical players arise from session fee's and the real time constraints tend to come from how much good playing a player can do in a day.

Obviously YMMV
Old 6th September 2011
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Thumbs up Forssell SMP-500 mic amps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simsy View Post
What do you think of the API lunchbox idea with either the DAV or Forssell?
The Forssell mic amp modules are fantastic and will compare very well with anything else you're considering. The DAV amp is also very fine, but it's been several years since I've heard one. We use the Forssell SMP-500 amps every week for large orchestral concert recordings.
Old 7th September 2011
  #8
I have to second Reiner's preamp suggestion. I've used Grace pre's for years on classical recordings, and been very pleased with them. Plus, they make a 500 series module, so you can put a couple into that lunchbox you're thinking about.
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