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Bach on DPA and Sennheiser
Old 4 weeks ago
Gear Head

Bach on DPA and Sennheiser

Just came across a rather interesting pair of recordings:

It's the same Bach released in stereo and 5.1, recorded with a tree of five DPA 4041-S large diaphragm omnis:
Stereo streaming
Hi-res stereo and surround

or in stereo or 4.0, recorded with a pair of Sennheiser MKH 800 Twins:
Stereo streaming
Hi-res stereo and quad

(The pictures also show four height channels of DPA 4003/6, but the 7.1.4 version was not apparently for release.)

I'm only set up to listen in stereo. The direct-to-reverberant ratio of the two versions is different - the DPA stereo is somewhat wetter - possibly a downmix of the 5 channel tree? I like the Sennheiser version a great deal, though it seems possible that the optimal position for the Twins might have been slightly different, rather than in line with the front DPA channels. (Of course, it's possible that the Twin position was optimised with the quad balance in mind, and at any rate this is just personal taste.) Of course, this isn't anything approaching an A/B test - quite apart from the different placements, who knows what choices may have been made in mix and mastering.

Nonetheless, these recordings certainly provide an interesting non-scientific comparison of transient handling and tonal character, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. The Sennheisers reach for more treble detail, and have - apologies for pretension - a pleasingly 'chewy' density (that occasionally translates to a slight excess of weight in the low mids), while the DPAs' HF sheen and LDC character make themselves known in other ways, sometimes helpful and sometimes not. I found there were different movements where I could prefer both - and I think it's fantastic that a label sees fit to put both versions out there.

Whatcha think?
Old 4 weeks ago
Gear Maniac
DaveyJones's Avatar

I have only listened to the opening 20 seconds or so of the first track. My initial impression is that it is probably a VERY competently recorded album and I, of th the two Spotify versions, prefer the Non-Sennheiser version as it has a richer bland of ambience. I usually prefer less ambience but in this case it seems nicer and seems [I]feels[I] as if it is more inline with what the player was hearing as he seems to time his 'pauses' with the natural decay of the room in this one. I could be wrong of course...
Old 4 weeks ago
Here for the gear

The Sennheisers have more coloration in the Great-Octave, and in the stereo-version I compared it from, not the Spotify streaming. The Sennheisers could have been placed a bit more away from the piano, but it would have compromised the treble, it is already rather dark sounding, but as you mentioned the position may have been balanced on what it actually does in surround, while the DPA 4041 has this significant peak of 4-5 dB at 8Khz, ( ) which sometimes makes the piano a little too agressive in the treble, but the low end is far better than from the Sennheisers. I agree with you the DPA position has more reverberation, which I do prefer, but the top end is not everywhere pleasant, so I cannot really decide what I like most.
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