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Solo baroque violin
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Solo baroque violin

Hi all
Safest recording situation these days: solo baroque violin in a large, empty church. Quick setup for a demo recording: 10min of setup and balance, 40 for playing (four complete takes), 10 for packing. 1h of work. Edited in large takes. Lots of RX because lots of trucks and cars around the church. Slight compression because of video purposes afterwards.
Recorded using DPA4011 NOS and Rens Heijnis modded 4006 at 67cm on a single bar. My favorite version of Faulker's 4-mic array. All into the built-in UFX preamps.
No added reverb or any other FX apart from the above mentioned. 4011 dominate around 11dB above omnis because of noise floor.
File is 96k/24b wav.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ailtqidml9...st_RX.wav?dl=0
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apotheosis View Post
solo baroque violin in a large, empty church.
Nice. At first I thought it was a little too close, but the more I listened the more I liked the balance you picked.

OTOH, who cares what I think? What did the artist think?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Lovely. Really enjoyed that.

'Tis a shame that traffic should intrude. By "RX," do you refer to Izotope's spectral repair or something less surgical? I wonder, because this is only solo violin, whether you might get away with a high pass filter around 230 Hz?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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Sounds great, although listening through headphones the violinist's movements were a bit distracting to me as the image kept shifting around. I'm planning to record a solo violin this summer and have been debating whether to use a stereo array or just a spot mic for this reason.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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tourtelot's Avatar
Apotheosis-

On your "Faulkner Array", have you any experience to compare the 4011s in NOS verses the same mics in ORTF? I often use this same array, especially for wider choirs but alway with the cards in ORTF.

Also curious why you used this array, one specifically designed to deal with ensemble width, instead of just a stereo pair?

Thanks for your insight.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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i dunno...

i don't pick up any solo instrument by a stereo spot or a stereo main pair (or four-mic array) unless it's very large but more importantly, i don't like the results of signals panned hard left and right as the instrument then moves within the soundfield/between the speakers.

i mostly use a mono spot (or coincident pair) plus a pair of non-correlated ambient mics: the ambis allow to blur the image without directional cues and the coincident pair allows to control the width of the source but without a meandering panorama; same for mono spot.
if using the latter, i might add some early reflection/artificial reverb to widen the picture of the source.
single mic/mono spot (and preferably a directional pattern in this case) would also yield less noise, both from mics and pres but also from what's getting picked up...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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Plush's Avatar
I liked the authentic tone and timbre of your recording. Hearing such a reverberant church sound and blurred stereo picture was distracting, however.
I vote that you use only your cardioid mics. Violin soloists with omni mics are not a solution.
An excellent player!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrReid View Post
By "RX," do you refer to Izotope's spectral repair or something less surgical? I wonder, because this is only solo violin, whether you might get away with a high pass filter around 230 Hz?
Yes, Izotope, and quite a bit. I already had a HP EQ at 150Hz (omni) and 120Hz (card). Higher was really noticable in a thinner overall sound and less undertones/darkness in the violin. Next was a general noise reduction, 'Learnt' from the opening noise. Some de-wind for trucks. A lot of instant Attenuation for other noises.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
Sounds great, although listening through headphones the violinist's movements were a bit distracting to me as the image kept shifting around.
Honestly, that has never bothered me on any recording. I might even prefer this to dead-center soloists. Sounds more alive and real to me. Probably I am technically incorrect, but taste differs of course!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
On your "Faulkner Array", have you any experience to compare the 4011s in NOS verses the same mics in ORTF? I often use this same array, especially for wider choirs but alway with the cards in ORTF.

Also curious why you used this array, one specifically designed to deal with ensemble width, instead of just a stereo pair?

Thanks for your insight.

D.
I had planned on 2 omnis plus one mono spot at first, even when I mostly prefer a stereo spot (ribbons AB20 or so), but as there was far more noise than planned for, I wanted the flexibility to choose either omnis (my favourite mics in an excellent space) or cards as min pickup in post. There was really little time to check things on location, and I use this setup often enough to call it reliable for myself and glad that I did, as the omnis had far more noise than I would be able to remove afterwards...
Yes, I have used ORTF in the past, but I prefer more time differences and more on-angle, hence my taste for NOS instead.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Far too much reverb and blurred imaging for my taste. I'm not a great lover of baroque violin in any case - apart from a few exceptional players.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
What did the artist think?
The more reverb, the better, with detail. She loved the result. The ambience gives a meditational atmosphere, I follow her there.
Is it ideal for this music? Not per se. Is it ideal for this performer? Absolutely. And that counts, doesn't it?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
A lovely recording, 'warts and all'. I suggest a return visit to that church in a week or so, when traffic noise should be almost absent...with an MKH30 MS pair
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
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Earcatcher's Avatar
Tonally beautiful, even though a bit lean in the lower register, but direct/reverb balance is off and on headphones it seems as if there are two players taking over from each other from left to right and back. The shift is really large. Makes me dizzy.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
It does sound a lot better on speakers and not too good on headphones due to the notes being ghosted a fraction of a second later. I think a different location and acoustic would help a lot. However, still not my favourite style of violin playing.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Thanks all for your comments.
It makes me wonder: who is right, or what is right. We all speak from our intuiting, experience and own preference/taste of course.
But so does this recording. Apart from the LR shifting (I can understand that this is annoying), the direct/indirect ratio that seems to bother lots of people, was actually what this violinist wanted for this project with this kind of intimate music. The location was chosen on purpose by her.
So when you guys say that "a different location would help a lot", in what way would it help? I see this recording as a very specific colour correction, or filter, or LUT in video styles, or whatever you want to call it. Would it be my first choice? Probably not, but it is what the artist wants, and they are always right.
Interesting thoughts
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
I agree that an artistic choice should be honoured and that the rich reverberation is a fundamental part of this recording. I think you have nailed the direct/reverberant balance and the L-R wobbling could be solved by a coincident mic-ing technique such as MS.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
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of course the artists (conductor, producer, composer) are always right...

...unless they are not: i doubt the recording/mix represents what could be experienced by sitting and listening in this church or then small ensembles or soloist often choose way too large and reverberant spaces for recording (or even concerts) when smaller venues would be more appropriate - using omnis in these situations makes things even worse...

excellent chops don't necessarily come with good taste (and don't get me started on the use of vibrato for madrigals etc.)!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
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There's a feeling of the violin almost 'walking on a tightrope'...sometimes very close sounding, then another instant later exciting the large church ambience. Maybe that's the NOS pair giving too much close focus. There's no typical strings harshness that often comes with condensor mics at close distance (or directly above the instrument) and the darker baroque instrument tone helps also

it would have been interesting to hear the 4006 pair @40-48cm spacing...or a pair of ribbon mics alone closely spaced (eg Faulkner 20cm phased array). If the violinist is happy , and I can see why she would be, that's what counts
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...unless they are not: i doubt the recording/mix represents what could be experienced by sitting and listening in this church
Exactly my point: this recording is not intended as archive or true representation of a listener attending a concert. It is a medium an sich, as much as a photographer taking a picture in which you don't recognize the location, or when the angle is such that there is an artistic factor dominating in reality.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
of course the artists (conductor, producer, composer) are always right...

...unless they are not: i doubt the recording/mix represents what could be experienced by sitting and listening in this church or then small ensembles or soloist often choose way too large and reverberant spaces for recording (or even concerts) when smaller venues would be more appropriate - using omnis in these situations makes things even worse...

excellent chops don't necessarily come with good taste (and don't get me started on the use of vibrato for madrigals etc.)!
I would say (speaking as an ex-professional violinist/violist) that often musicians are not always right and some definitely have very strange and quirky tastes. It would have sounded a lot different in the church as our ears hear differently and adjust. The recorded sound can be quite different, but if that's what she wants, so be it. It will just mean that many people listening will switch off after about 3 minutes.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
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...with 30 seconds being more likely!

it's hard to argue about taste though - in that sense and in the current situation: follow the money as long as there is any work at all...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...with 30 seconds being more likely!
I just listened to it all the way through. For the second time. I was disappointed that it ended. I wanted more. Much more. A full CD at least. So at least some of us listen longer than 30 seconds!

It's interesting that some people hear too much reverb. Some not enough. Some hear too much motion from the player. Some think it's just fine.

I think it's a fine capture, of a fine player, in a fine old box of stones. I understand why the artist who played it is thrilled by the resulting recording. I would be too.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
I just listened to it all the way through. For the second time. I was disappointed that it ended. I wanted more. Much more. A full CD at least. So at least some of us listen longer than 30 seconds!

It's interesting that some people hear too much reverb. Some not enough. Some hear too much motion from the player. Some think it's just fine.

I think it's a fine capture, of a fine player, in a fine old box of stones. I understand why the artist who played it is thrilled by the resulting recording. I would be too.
OK, this is your opinion and obviously it's valid. I respect this although personally I don't think the same way about the playing or the way it has been recorded. But for those who are happy with it, that's fine.

If the violinist is happy with it that is also fine too.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
Thanks for sharing and it's certainly a very good result for an hour of work! Well played by the violinist, though it would have been even better to correct some of the mishaps in the fast high note passages. Limited time, I know!

However, to be honest, I personally really do not like this recording as it does not make me feel involved. As someone else pointed out, there is a disbalance between direct and indirect sound. Actually, to me it sounds like the cardioids were too close and the omnis too far, which is really funny, given how you set up the mics.

I would be curious about how it sounds when you re-balance and use the 4006 more. The 4011 are wonderful mics but by themselves quickly sound thin and uninviting - probably one of the reasons why they make such perfect spot mics.
For me, also, at this distance I hear instrument specific resonances that quickly become uncomfortable, as if the violin is close to my ear. That might explain why the violinist liked it, but for most non-players, it's not the preferred sound.

My guess-from-the-outside would be that moving the stand back a meter could have solved most issues? But then we are talking about different concepts of how it should sound, so...

Best,
Dirk
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