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Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto - Feedback Please
Old 3 weeks ago
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto - Feedback Please

Hi Friends,

Just looking for some feedback on the recent recording I did with a local amateur orchestra. The soloist is a 15 year old student at the school where I teach music, but he is not my student. It was my first time recording a piano concerto with orchestra. I can post a .wav file if that is preferred. I have forgotten the file attachment limits.


Attached Files

Tchaik Pno Cto 1 sample.mp3 (10.23 MB, 493 views)

Old 3 weeks ago
Lives for gear
jnorman's Avatar
Generally, the balance between the piano and the orchestra is not quite where you want it - the piano is very present , while the orchestra sounds more distant, giving the impression that the piano is not in the same “space” as the group. Some corrective eq could help the definition and presence of the orchestral sound. Also, the piano spots seem to be spaced too far apart, and make the piano too “wide” in the stereo imaging. Likewise, your mains also seem to be spaced too far apart, resulting in low cohesion of the orchestra as a whole - perhaps you were trying to create a “hole in the middle” for the piano, but if so, you slightly overdid it. Go back to your main array and work on the overall balance, eq, and stereo image, and get it as solid as you can - then bring up the piano spots just enough to give a bit of definition to the instrument while still keeping it balanced with the ensemble.
I hope this helps a bit - recording orchestra is a challenging task, and it often requires a fair amount of trial and error. Please keep at it - it can be extremely rewarding and a hella bunch of fun.
Old 3 weeks ago
Hi Jnorman,

Thanks for your feedback. I was somewhat limited in the placement of my AB pair as the orchestra would not let me place any mics directly behind the conductor, so they were on separate stands on either side of the conductor's podium, resulting in the hole in the middle effect. Perhaps I could pan them more to the center. I can certainly change the balance or the soloist/orchestra and panning of the piano as it was in front of the orchestra and miked separately. Those mics had to be placed where they are so the videographer could get a clear view of the performer.
Attached Thumbnails
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto - Feedback Please-20191122_212515.jpg  
Old 3 weeks ago
Lives for gear
Jim's analysis and advice is pretty much on the money....if you have the recording as a multitrack (?), you can go back and make those revisions, and that should restore some of the desired perspective and balance to the whole.

If the AB pair were on either side of the conductor's podium at 1 to 1.5 metres apart, that shouldn't produce a 'hole in the middle', so I wouldn't recommend panning them in from hard L/R. If they were 2+ metres apart, then that's getting a bit too wide....but you could still usefully pan the piano pair (only) in, to occupy that area, as Jim has recommended....and thus simultaneously reduce the overly wide piano image.

Looking at the photo you seem to have the piano spot ORTF pair quite close-in to the centre of the piano....which is probably giving that over-focussed sound. Next time try going back a metre or two from the piano, or move the mics down towards the tail end somewhat.

In the present situation you could eq those piano spot mics to remove a bit of the midrange energy, and apply some reverb to sink the piano into a similar acoustic to that of the concert that the piano doesn't jump out (this will probably involve dropping the piano spot volume also) To begin with, take the piano spot out altogether, then gradually bring it back in, with those eq, pan and reverb treatments added, until it occupies the appropriate space and level in the mix

Last edited by studer58; 3 weeks ago at 02:14 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
Lives for gear

next time you're going to record, ask those in power whether things will need to sound as good as things hopefully look - then insist on a better position for your main mics or refuse to proceed!

now that you're stuck with what you got, you might try to encode mains into m/s and then push up the center/bring down the sides a bit to get a more solid center image. otherwise, what has been said (lower the piano) and do what needs to be done to achieve the impression as if the mics would have been at somewhat larger distance: roll off the highs a bit and maybe use some compression and some efx, just anything that emulates the effect of some distance and air between the source and the mics.
Old 2 weeks ago
Thanks everyone for your feedback. I will try your suggestions and see if the client approves of the changes. Best wishes for the new year!
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