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Pipe organ recording equipment and technique
Old 8th August 2020
  #61
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tourtelot's Avatar
Hi Harry. No "pejorative" taken.

I did not mean to imply that other folks don't get excellent results from other DAWs. It is, indeed, "feel", or "comfort" or "getting it" with any DAW. I hated Logic, but more than a few folks out there love it. They are still selling it. Some folks like Audition, some Sequoia, some Pro Tools, some Reaper.

But if I were just starting fresh, and someone introduced me to Reaper, and after learning it, and seeing what it is capable of, I would still be amazed at the bargain that it presented. Fully, fully featured.

That is all.

D.
Old 8th August 2020
  #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
I'm sorry, but I have to make a comment about this.
Recording in 24 bit does not change the inherent analog circuit noise floor, which on any decent system is actually around -100 dBFS or so. Recording with peak modulation at -18 dBFS means that you need to raise that noise floor 18 dB in post, giving you a decent 14 bit resolution recording in a 24 bit package.
This is not a run and gun live recording with no rehearsal. Play, check peak level, leave yourself 3 or 4 dB of margin and get on with your life.

As always, YMMV.
-mark
Thanks for pointing this out. Sometimes i've encountered overloads (typically soprano) during concerts when i was aiming for a - 6dB or less during rehearsal. With organ of course 6 dB should suffice. But is there actually any benefit soundwise when the organ blower is 50dB louder than the noise floor of the preamp?
Old 9th August 2020
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
If you're currently recording effectively, efficiently, crash-free with Logic now...why change ?
...
The best DAW is likely the one that's currently working well for you...
That was what I was thinking... but an echo is... gratifying.

Now, if there was just something to record... (and if I didn't live in the region of likely the highest "recordist-to-general-population" ratio on the planet).

Thank you.

HB

Last edited by hbphotoav; 9th August 2020 at 06:40 PM..
Old 9th August 2020
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio View Post
As people have said, get the microphones up high, and if you have an arched ceiling don't put them directly on the center line.
Yes, my church has an arched ceiling, brick and stone structure.
How should I place the microphones? Why is it wrong to put them in the center line of the arch?
Old 10th August 2020
  #65
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Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist View Post
Yes, my church has an arched ceiling, brick and stone structure.
How should I place the microphones? Why is it wrong to put them in the center line of the arch?
I cannot comment on kludgeaudio’s experiences, but I had to record choir and/or organ in an old church with a barrel-vaulted ceiling numerous times and I quickly learnt not to use a coincident pair (Blumlien, MS) in there. And then I noticed the same phenomenon in other churches with barrel-vaulted ceilings.

It just became one of the rules I worked with:

barrel-vaulted ceiling = do not use coincident techniques.

I had no problem using spaced pairs in the centre line of the arch, but any coincident technique created a sound that was muddled and confused regardless of distance from the source if under the centre line of the barrel-vaulted ceiling. It was as if all the early reflections and reverberation of the room correlated together and peaked under the centre line of the ceiling, so the last thing it needed was a pair of coincident mics adding to that correlation in the recording and making it worse.

These were not huge churches, and often quite narrow along the aisle. Whatever the case, or cause, I resolved to using spaced techniques and the problem went away. I guess we’d have to look closely into the acoustics of a barrel-vaulted ceiling to see what’s really going on there...
Old 10th August 2020
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio View Post
if you have an arched ceiling don't put them directly on the center line.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simmosonic View Post
barrel-vaulted ceiling = do not use coincident techniques.
Not aimed at you especially Greg and Scott, despite the quotes, but I'm always puzzled how the exactness, or perhaps detail, that is applied to recording gear on this forum goes out the window when describing locations, especially churches! Is 'arched ceiling' meant to mean a vault? Is 'barrel-vaulted ceiling' meant to mean a barrel vault specifically, or, again, just any type of vault?

The acoustics of different types of vaults (even assuming they are masonry - and there are examples, including medieval ones, of timber vaults) are different, be they a barrel vault or a groin vault, or an example of the much more common Gothic ribbed vaults (i.e. quadripartite and sexpartite). Or a fan vault etc. But more significant for recording is the height of any vault. The effect of a masonry vault of a modest church with its apex at, say, 9m/30ft is hugely different than that in an Ile de France Gothic cathedral, such as the 48m/157ft at Beauvais. And what of the side aisles? None, three, five? Vaulted or not? What is above the aisles: a massive open tribune gallery? Then a modest Romanesque clerestory or a soaring Gothic one? So many huge variables, that blanket rules for vaults simply cannot be made.

And, above all for organ recording, where is the organ? Is it on the pulpitum several bays into the nave, and west of the crossing? Or perhaps on one side of the presbytery, or at the west end of the nave, or elsewhere? And if the organ is ostensibly in one such position, are the sounding pipes also where they appear to be? So often, especially in English cathedrals, sounding pipes are spread quite far from where you think they are at ground level.

In the course of my day job, I spend my life in English medieval cathedrals (principally Norwich and Ely), and, though not an organ recordist, have seen great recordings being made, without avoidance of centrally-placed mics, spaced or coincident, under (predominantly Gothic ribbed) vaults.

And I note that the example Heva posted (post #37 ) is centrally placed: this is, of course, at St Ouen in Rouen, which has a vault height of 33m (108ft).

Cheers,

Roland
Old 10th August 2020
  #67
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In the st.Ouen picture, the 15m mast puts up a Superlux S502 ortf stereomic and quite close to the organ. Would not be my choice (mic nor distance).
Old 10th August 2020
  #68
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
I'm sorry, but I have to make a comment about this.
Recording in 24 bit does not change the inherent analog circuit noise floor, which on any decent system is actually around -100 dBFS or so. Recording with peak modulation at -18 dBFS means that you need to raise that noise floor 18 dB in post, giving you a decent 14 bit resolution recording in a 24 bit package.
This is not a run and gun live recording with no rehearsal. Play, check peak level, leave yourself 3 or 4 dB of margin and get on with your life.
This would be true if the major noise source were the converter, but most of the noise is coming from the
microphones and preamps and will be the same no matter whether the gain is before or after the digital
conversion. 18dB may be an awful lot of margin but 3 or 4 dB sure isn't much.
--scott
Old 10th August 2020
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 View Post
Not aimed at you especially Greg and Scott, despite the quotes, but I'm always puzzled how the exactness, or perhaps detail, that is applied to recording gear on this forum goes out the window when describing locations, especially churches! Is 'arched ceiling' meant to mean a vault? Is 'barrel-vaulted ceiling' meant to mean a barrel vault specifically, or, again, just any type of vault?
If you suspect a flutter echo is possible, stay off the center line. The barrel vault is actually less problematic than some other vault configurations because the focus is fairly sharp so the area where it sounds obviously bad is relatively small.

Yes, this is very much a rough rule of thumb that sometimes has to be broken, but for a beginner you probably don't want to talk about modeling flutter echoes. Even though it's actually kind of cool seeing how they get created.

Coincident techniques? Sure, I have not had a problem as long as you stay out of the zones of the echo.
--scott
Old 12th August 2020
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 View Post
Not aimed at you especially Greg and Scott, despite the quotes, but I'm always puzzled how the exactness, or perhaps detail, that is applied to recording gear on this forum goes out the window when describing locations, especially churches! Is 'arched ceiling' meant to mean a vault? Is 'barrel-vaulted ceiling' meant to mean a barrel vault specifically, or, again, just any type of vault?
That’s a good question/observation, Roland...

My first experience with such a problem was in a church that was later described to me as having a ‘barrel-vaulted ceiling’. And I’ve used that term generically (rightly or wrongly!) ever since for any church with a curved ceiling that was designed to focus sound back down on the congregation. In the cases I can remember, there was usually one central aisle with rows of pews either side, all facing the front, and the ceiling was not too high up. They were built in the cruciform style. The one exception I can remember to this is/was St Augustines in Balmain, Sydney (Australia) which also has such a ceiling but the entire church is a large rectangle and the ceiling is quite high. I recorded Gregorian Chant in there as part of World Youth Day in 2008 and I used MS with no problem. I had been inside the ceiling of that church to drop cables and so on, and the entire curved arch was simply a framework clad with some kind of thin metal sheet with a pattern embossed into it, and would’ve been very easy to fall through if one was to step off the walkway down the middle. It was harness and helmet work. (See attached thumbnail)

Most of my recordings are live performances and I don’t get a lot of time to experiment with different techniques – especially if it means changing a mic rig as opposed to tweaking some angles and spacings; so making quick little rules to apply on arrival really speeds things up. One of those rules was that if I saw a curved ceiling of the type we’re discussing, I’d just avoid using coincident pairs in the middle because I’d had time-wasting experiences with that in the past. There are so many techniques available that excluding coincident techniques was not going to be a limitation – and particularly for organ or choral work, where I always preferred AB or near-coincident techniques anyway.
Attached Thumbnails
Pipe organ recording equipment and technique-6d1eb729-22a8-49ad-9700-fa179bc0ce14.jpeg  
Old 12th August 2020
  #71
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Greg, what you are describing certainly is essentially a barrel-vaulted ceiling (or nearly so: there are minor groins to accommodate the window heads). And, though you say they are high, these are squat buildings to me - and many others - who are used to recording/or listening to recordings of some of the great European organs in cathedrals etc. In which case the 'ceilings' are real masonry vaults, as I described. Even in England, where the great churches/cathedrals are longer and lower than many of their continental counterparts, we are talking about something very different to your examples in terms of height, form, construction, organ types, and, even, what constitutes 'old'! Here's a photo of the cathedral that I have worked on since 1996 (Norwich, begun 1096 and of 'modest' height, with a late (i.e. C15th) lierne vault) to give you an idea of what the 'norm' is for some of us!!

Cheers,

Roland
Attached Thumbnails
Pipe organ recording equipment and technique-_rh18082-lo-res.jpg  
Old 12th August 2020
  #72
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Notice how the photograph norfolksoundman9 shows has a ceiling which is a parabola (causing sound waves to come to a sharp focus at a point in the center) while the one that Simmosonic shows has a ceiling which is a circle, so the focus is more blurred. Which one is worse depends a lot on how far from the ground the focal point is, but either one can be a problem. You can calculate where the focus is and how broad it will be if you like calculating things, or you can listen to the microphone feed and move the mike to the side until you stop hearing weird imaging if you like listening to things. Or you can do both.
--scott
Old 12th August 2020
  #73
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i'm about to finish a fairly large re-installation in the largest concert hall here in town; to make things easy for sound techs, there are four fly points where a mic bar can get lowered from the ceiling.

the height can get adjusted via dmx control - here's a pic of one of the steel ropes and mechanism which will hold the mic bar; distance between the seated floor to the ceiling is ca. 16m - the second pic is a look down from the ceiling to the front truss with four moving heads - i'll add a pic of the organ tomorrow...
Attached Thumbnails
Pipe organ recording equipment and technique-20200812_141357.jpg   Pipe organ recording equipment and technique-20200812_151603.jpg   Pipe organ recording equipment and technique-20200813_193550.jpg   Pipe organ recording equipment and technique-20200814_002201.jpg  

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 13th August 2020 at 11:22 PM.. Reason: pics added
Old 12th August 2020
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio View Post
Notice how the photograph norfolksoundman9 shows has a ceiling which is a parabola (causing sound waves to come to a sharp focus at a point in the center)
I'm afraid not, Scott: the 15th-century vault at Norwich is not a parabola. Indeed, it is not a form used in medieval vaults. Also, you have to consider that each bay is (very crudely) two pointed barrel vaults intersecting, albeit with ribs, and mostly faceted webbing between ribs. Consequently, there is no 'sharp focus'. Incidentally, we have just had laser scans done of the high vaults of both 'my' cathedrals (Norwich and Ely) to analyse their complex geometry. I doubt if either survey, however, would be relevant to recording either organ, though, as a) the vaults don't focus sound as you think; b) vault-related issues would be too high; and c) calculating the effects would be mind-boggling complex. There is, of course, an acoustic difference between vaults of different types, and also between these and vaultless great churches. Sound engineers used to such medieval cathedral spaces are used to the acoustic issues, which are quite different from those of the faux barrel-vaulted (relatively) low ceilings to which Greg was referring.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 12th August 2020
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 View Post
I'm afraid not, Scott: the 15th-century vault at Norwich is not a parabola. Indeed, it is not a form used in medieval vaults. Also, you have to consider that each bay is (very crudely) two pointed barrel vaults intersecting, albeit with ribs, and mostly faceted webbing between ribs. Consequently, there is no 'sharp focus'. Incidentally, we have just had laser scans done of the high vaults of both 'my' cathedrals (Norwich and Ely) to analyse their complex geometry. I doubt if either survey, however, would be relevant to recording either organ, though, as a) the vaults don't focus sound as you think; b) vault-related issues would be too high; and c) calculating the effects would be mind-boggling complex. There is, of course, an acoustic difference between vaults of different types, and also between these and vaultless great churches. Sound engineers used to such medieval cathedral spaces are used to the acoustic issues, which are quite different from those of the faux barrel-vaulted (relatively) low ceilings to which Greg was referring.
So how DO they work out? I have only seen the 19th century American imitations of that gothic stuff, I have never had a chance to properly work in the real thing. The 19th century imitations are usually dominated more by multiple slap echoes from the sides than the flutter from the ceiling.

Am I right in thinking of the vaulting you're talking about more as diffusion than anything else?
--scott
Old 12th August 2020
  #76
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio View Post
So how DO they work out? I have only seen the 19th century American imitations of that gothic stuff, I have never had a chance to properly work in the real thing. The 19th century imitations are usually dominated more by multiple slap echoes from the sides than the flutter from the ceiling.

Am I right in thinking of the vaulting you're talking about more as diffusion than anything else?
--scott
The real stuff is a gothic cathedral in France, entirely made of nature stone!
incredible sound.
Old 13th August 2020
  #77
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Oktava is good at the lower price point, and space omnis are great for pipe organ. You can get a matched pair with cardioid and omni capsules:
https://www.amazon.com/Oktava-MK-012...ruments&sr=1-4

Here they are recording pipe organ recording with a comparison against much more expensive mics:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr7EEqzSErw

the photo at 3:16 appears to show where and how the mics were placed in the church.
Old 13th August 2020
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monitor View Post
The real stuff is a gothic cathedral in France, entirely made of nature stone!
incredible sound.
I think you might want to broaden the definition of 'real stuff' beyond French Gothic cathedrals, to add other great churches (St Ouen, Rouen, for example, is not a cathedral), and include Romanesque ones too (St Etienne, Caen, for example, is a Romanesque church), and other countries (not least Germany). As I mentioned above, English cathedrals are typically longer than their continental counterparts (but often lower), which has an effect on acoustics.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 13th August 2020
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio View Post
So how DO they work out? I have only seen the 19th century American imitations of that gothic stuff, I have never had a chance to properly work in the real thing. The 19th century imitations are usually dominated more by multiple slap echoes from the sides than the flutter from the ceiling.

Am I right in thinking of the vaulting you're talking about more as diffusion than anything else?
--scott
First off, Scott, we are not simply talking Gothic: so many cathedrals/abbeys in England are Romanesque (aka Norman) at their core, albeit - and Norwich is a good example - with Gothic vaults replacing open timber roofs. The acoustics are extremely complex, as are the interrelationships between organs and vaults: an organ on a pulpitum (i.e. the screen at the west end of the choir, several bays into the nave) has to work both ways (to the nave congregation and the choir stalls/any presbytery-based service) and will harness a vault in that regard (though, of course, the speaking pipes are rarely - especially in large cathedrals - limited to those on the pulpitum itself, often spread out into adjacent tribune galleries). At Norwich we have been thinking a lot about the organ sound, the balance between choir and nave, and the role of the vault (currently underused as a reflector due to the case design: see photo), as an organ rebuild is to begin soon. Organists and sound engineers will need to adapt, but I'd be extremely surprised if a centrally-placed mic suddenly became a problem due to the lierne vault way above! Anyway, I'll find out as we are planning to record the organ before and after the rebuild (exactly replicating mic positions)...

Cheers,

Roland
Attached Thumbnails
Pipe organ recording equipment and technique-_rhd9720.jpg  
Old 13th August 2020
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 View Post
Organists and sound engineers will need to adapt
We always do...I can't think of any instances where sound engineer considerations figure in the design or redesign of musical instruments (except if they're amplified/speaker equipped). Choristers or the general public acceptance of the sound might hold more sway ?
Old 13th August 2020
  #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
We always do...I can't think of any instances where sound engineer considerations figure in the design or redesign of musical instruments (except if they're amplified/speaker equipped). Choristers or the general public acceptance of the sound might hold more sway ?
I think I rather miss your point. I wasn't suggesting for a moment that sound engineers should be involved in organ design. The necessarily technical and expert analysis of the shortcomings of the present organ and the requirements of the rebuilt organ were largely defined by the organist and the master of music together with the organ builders, with input from the precentor, the organ consultant, and the cathedral musicians (i.e. the adults, not the choristers). As is normal.

My point was, rather, that although the rebuilding of the organ will have consequences for recording (positive: it will be a better instrument) and will utilize the vault more effectively, the idea that the vault will cause specific issues of 'sharp focus' as if from a parabola (as Scott suggested) will no more apply than it does now.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 13th August 2020
  #82
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 View Post
I think you might want to broaden the definition of 'real stuff' beyond French Gothic cathedrals, to add other great churches (St Ouen, Rouen, for example, is not a cathedral), and include Romanesque ones too (St Etienne, Caen, for example, is a Romanesque church), and other countries (not least Germany). As I mentioned above, English cathedrals are typically longer than their continental counterparts (but often lower), which has an effect on acoustics.

Cheers,

Roland
you're absolutely right.
Caen for example is literally having multiple churches splendid acoustics.
Old 13th August 2020
  #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monitor View Post
you're absolutely right.
Caen for example is literally having multiple churches splendid acoustics.
Indeed. I'm especially fond of St Nicolas, but this has no organ at all. St Etienne, with its Cavaillé-Coll, has by far the best organ in Caen.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 14th August 2020
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 View Post
Even in England, where the great churches/cathedrals are longer and lower than many of their continental counterparts, we are talking about something very different to your examples in terms of height, form, construction, organ types, and, even, what constitutes 'old'!
Good points. While living and working in Australia I had always been a bit ‘frustrated’ or ‘envious’ (for lack of better words) at not really having the opportunity to record in the kinds of places I see in Europe, for which much of the repertoire I recorded was intended to be performed in.

One of my first trips out of Australia was in the early ‘90s. While walking around Rimini (Northern Italy) I came across the Chiesa del Suffragio. It opened sometime in the early 1700s, and I realised it was the oldest Western church I’d ever entered at that time. (According to the official history, Australia was ‘discovered’ by Captain James Cook and claimed as part of Britain in 1770, so this church pre-dated that by many decades.)

One of my life ‘goals’, for lack of a better word, is to record a handful of different classical/chamber/baroque pieces of music in the venues they were written for (if still standing!): a string quartet piece, a choral piece, a pipe organ piece, etc. They will be self-funded direct-to-stereo recordings, each piece performed in the venue it was written for, with no further expectations, but if the recordings and performances turn out acceptable they would probably be worthy of release/dissemination as an album for the concept. The process itself would make a good blog or vlog.

And also, apologies to Organist for hi-jacking your thread; you started something very interesting...
Old 14th August 2020
  #85
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Good morning!

All this information is very interesting to me, I am learning very useful things!

Finally the Clarett 4pre has also arrived, and I have learned to use Reaper for the functions I need. From next week I will be able to start recording.

The AT4022 microphones also come with windscreen foam that probably have an anti-pop function for singers, but I was wondering if their use could also have some use with the organ, for example to modify frequency response...

By the way, I was able to find the frequency response and polar patterns of the AT4022 (I think DPAs are much more linear, but they also cost a lot more...)

https://www.audio-technica.com/media...t4022_ss_e.pdf
Old 14th August 2020
  #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist View Post
By the way, I was able to find the frequency response and polar patterns of the AT4022
I think you’re off to a good start. Those mics look quite respectable for the price, and that lift in the high frequencies might work to your advantage for distant work.

Feel free to share some of your first recordings...
Old 14th August 2020
  #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist View Post
The AT4022 microphones also come with windscreen foam that probably have an anti-pop function for singers, but I was wondering if their use could also have some use with the organ, for example to modify frequency response...
No, I wouldn't use the windscreens for organ recording unless there is some odd breeze (e.g. the breeze from HVAC: not something that exists in my world, but I am conscious from this thread that organs and churches used for recordings can be very different!).

Cheers,

Roland
Old 14th August 2020
  #88
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Thanks for your kind replies.

I go off topic, and ask if anyone can trace the type and configuration of microphones in this recording: https://youtu.be/w-6Fo6bWkJ4

It's a record I've always loved, and in my hi fi, it sounds beautifully good. It is an positive example for me, of a chamber music sound extremely good.
Old 15th August 2020
  #89
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Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Organist View Post
Thanks for your kind replies.

I go off topic, and ask if anyone can trace the type and configuration of microphones in this recording: https://youtu.be/w-6Fo6bWkJ4
This should be a new thread; it will possibly attract more readers and, in the process, you might find out who recorded it and how...
Old 15th August 2020
  #90
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Peter Allison's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 View Post
Indeed. I'm especially fond of St Nicolas, but this has no organ at all. St Etienne, with its Cavaillé-Coll, has by far the best organ in Caen.

Cheers,

Roland
Jake Purches made a wonderful recording, which I am listening to now
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