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Polyhymnia at the Berliner Philharmonie
Old 2nd April 2013
  #1
Polyhymnia at the Berliner Philharmonie

Cool article here:

5.1 Surround Terakoya Lab / ?????????
Old 2nd April 2013
  #2
Gear Maniac
That's great. Thanks for posting.
Old 2nd April 2013
  #3
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Plush's Avatar
Nice details in the report. Bread and butter set up. (meat and potatoes)
(like Neve and Studer)

It is unclear if custom mic electronics are running on 48 volt phantom or at higher voltage. Mic placements and use of Neumann KM 130 is a standard EURO set up.

No doubt a fine record release.
Old 2nd April 2013
  #4
There's also this slightly more vague (in terms of technical detail) article, more about the team and the different projects they've collaborated on. I really enjoyed the John Eliot Gardiner Bach Cantata set, and also the Concertgebouw Live series, and didn't realize both of them came from this team.

Polyhymnia Tenth Anniversary - Audiophile Audition
Old 2nd April 2013
  #5
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
It is unclear if custom mic electronics are running on 48 volt phantom or at higher voltage.
They run on 48V, i read it on the polyhymnia website.
Old 2nd April 2013
  #6
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matyas's Avatar
 

Interesting that they chose 88.2 as the sampling rate.
Old 2nd April 2013
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by matyas View Post
Interesting that they chose 88.2 as the sampling rate.
Why? Seems to me the logical choice from a mathematical point of view, reducing errors when creating a Redbook Master. Never quite understood the preference for 96k by many engineers.

Best,
Dirk
Old 2nd April 2013
  #8
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matyas's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
Why? Seems to me the logical choice from a mathematical point of view, reducing errors when creating a Redbook Master. Never quite understood the preference for 96k by many engineers.

Best,
Dirk
I can't pretend to understand the mathematics behind this, but I have heard passionate arguments from both sides regarding the mathematical advantages of using an sampling rate that is an integer multiple of the target rate. Some engineers swear that with modern resampling algorithms, there is no advantage to using a double sampling rate. As I said, I am not qualified to comment. 96 just seems to be more common.
However, what I thought was especially interesting was that I though Polyhymnia mostly recorded directly to DSD for SACD, rather than using PCM at all. Again, I am not criticizing the decision to use 88.2/24-bit for an SACD release. (I own several Polyhymnia discs, and they sound fantastic, so I'm sure that their engineers know exactly what they are doing and have their reasons for doing so.) I just thought it was interesting that they went PCM for this project.
Of course (and again, I could be wrong on this), but isn't 1-bit/2.8 MHz equivalent to 16-bit/88.2 in terms of bits per second? If so, is that relevant at all?
Old 2nd April 2013
  #9
nkf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
Why? Seems to me the logical choice from a mathematical point of view, reducing errors when creating a Redbook Master. Never quite understood the preference for 96k by many engineers.

Best,
Dirk
Look at Blu-ray Audio. 96 and 192kHz SR are the way to go. I did a Blu-ray audio surround production in 24/96 and 88.2 was never an option. The regular audio CD was in my view a byproduct and the SRC sounded absolutely fine.
Old 2nd April 2013
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkf View Post
Look at Blu-ray Audio. 96 and 192kHz SR are the way to go. I did a Blu-ray audio surround production in 24/96 and 88.2 was never an option. The regular audio CD was in my view a byproduct and the SRC sounded absolutely fine.
Yes, therefore it depends on the final product. If an (SA-)CD-Master is the delivery format, a multiple of 44k1 makes sense. If Blu-ray etc. will be the product, much more sensible to record at a multiple of 96k.

Best,
Dirk
Old 2nd April 2013
  #11
Does anyone know the lineage of this type of main array setup? It seems to be right in between between your standard Decca tree and M3 type rigs. Was this the standard at Philips back in the day, and would this be the setup from which Onno's bar evolved?
Old 2nd April 2013
  #12
Quote:
However, what I thought was especially interesting was that I though Polyhymnia mostly recorded directly to DSD for SACD, rather than using PCM at all.
I'd say about 90% of all SACD titles were recorded in PCM, or converted to PCM at some point. Making the whole delivery format more of a protection medium for piracy than any kind of DSD purity.

I personally stick with 88.2 for 2x sample rates, because that is closer to the "ideal" sampling rate of around 60kHz that Dan Lavry suggests than 92kHz, which can cause added distortion in speaker systems not designed to handle the higher frequencies. Though most of the time I record at 48k when I know the delivery format is CD or MP3.

The video standard is 48kHz and some consumer BluRay playback systems are meant to work with multiples of that. Though most I have seen can do 88.2 and 44.1 also.
Old 3rd April 2013
  #13
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Don S's Avatar
 

24 Spot microphones!!
Old 3rd April 2013
  #14
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S View Post
24 Spot microphones!!
Producer, "Can we have a bit more harp?"

Engineer "Sure, is that enough?"

A couple of days later..........

Producer to director. "Hey (insert engineers name), is a great guy to work with, always has it covered."


Scenario "B"

Producer "Can we have a bit more harp?"

Engineer, "Unfortunately not, I've only spoted the winds and the soloists, too many spots destroys the perspective and the image"

Producer to director two days later, "We need to get another engineer, This guy doesn't have it covered and the conductor is complaining because he can't hear the harp."


Who do you want to be in this scenario?
Old 3rd April 2013
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtf View Post
If an (SA-)CD-Master is the delivery format, a multiple of 44k1 makes sense.
Pretty much debunked with modern async SRC.
Q. Why is 88.2kHz the best sample rate for recording?

But if the better perception is there in the head of the engineer because he himself can do integer math, then that's a good enough reason to choose it.
Old 3rd April 2013
  #16
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matyas's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
I'd say about 90% of all SACD titles were recorded in PCM, or converted to PCM at some point. Making the whole delivery format more of a protection medium for piracy than any kind of DSD purity.
I don't doubt that, and I don't necessarily have a problem with that, assuming the end product is good. However, I had been under the assumption, based on things I'd read elsewhere, that Polyhymnia tended to record straight to DSD. In any event, I'm sure that the end product is superb and that sampling rate is a far less important concern than the room, microphone placement, and above all, the performance!
Old 4th April 2013
  #17
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tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
Producer, "Can we have a bit more harp?"

Engineer "Sure, is that enough?"

A couple of days later..........

Producer to director. "Hey (insert engineers name), is a great guy to work with, always has it covered."


Scenario "B"

Producer "Can we have a bit more harp?"

Engineer, "Unfortunately not, I've only spoted the winds and the soloists, too many spots destroys the perspective and the image"

Producer to director two days later, "We need to get another engineer, This guy doesn't have it covered and the conductor is complaining because he can't hear the harp."


Who do you want to be in this scenario?
I guess I am lucky since I don't seem to have to turn down any work from producers who don't understand that fewer mics generally delivers a more pleasant experience and that if the composer hadn't wanted the harp to be heard he would have put it in a place in the score where the other instruments would cover it up.

D.
Old 4th April 2013
  #18
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Yannick's Avatar
 

I was under the impression, if you record 32+ tracks in DSD, without doing analogue premixes first, you end up with a hell of a lot HF noise.

Then it makes sense to record PCM for high track counts.
Old 4th April 2013
  #19
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Roland's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
I guess I am lucky since I don't seem to have to turn down any work from producers who don't understand that fewer mics generally delivers a more pleasant experience and that if the composer hadn't wanted the harp to be heard he would have put it in a place in the score where the other instruments would cover it up.

D.
I appreciate what you are saying, however, that's in a perfect world and recordings are almost never in a perfect world!

Without the visual stimulus of "seeing" the performers play, we need more help to hear the balance correctly, with your background in tv/film sound, you know very well the difference in level required for intelligiability depending on whether an actor is facing the camera or turned away.

My point is that there are several threads where forum members argue about how there are too many spots and all the reasons that they shouldn't be.

All I would point out is that the most successful people in our industry often place (and sometimes use) many spot microphones. Polyhymnia, our very own Mark Donahue from Sound Mirror, etc, etc, all will deploy a good number of microphones for many sessions, even if they do not end up being used. Constantly people "carp" about what they do, but they are the ones working with the best clients and winning the major awards. Even the Decca recordings, which are universally "liked" here, use a fair number of spots.
Old 4th April 2013
  #20
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Don S's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
My point is that there are several threads where forum members argue about how there are too many spots and all the reasons that they shouldn't be.
No argument here! I agree that if the producer wants a mic on it, it's covered. I didn't say too many, only a little surprised to see that it ended up being 24.
Old 4th April 2013
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S View Post
No argument here! I agree that if the producer wants a mic on it, it's covered. I didn't say too many, only a little surprised to see that it ended up being 24.
That's opera for you!
Old 4th April 2013
  #22
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tourtelot's Avatar
Yes, Roland. In practical terms, I think you are correct. But I think it's often times more of a "more is better" mindset, and someone (a producer) thinking that "if I don't like it, I can change it later." I see this a lot with movie scoring sessions where it is not uncommon to see more the 100 mics placed on a small orchestra. That's spot mics on first stands and then stereo pairs over sections, a tree and front outriggers (more than two) etc. etc. So some poor AE has to go through all this mess and try and set it up so that a mixer can try and make it sound anything other than muddled.

That's why it is so refreshing to have clients that, say, think the sound of a single pair on a choir sounds just like they did to the audience. I am known to put up a few spots here and there, but it's really only a few (oh and the harp might certainly get one .) And soloists may get a spot, and such. But it's just not my style to mic everything twice. I leave that to the big boys that have the time, the help, and the budget to, perhaps, muddle up a good sounding ensemble.

Just my $.02. Take what you like. . .

D.

Oh, and mixing dialog for film stops being like mixing for music just before the sound hits the diaphragm of the mic Two totally separate animals.
Old 4th April 2013
  #23
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To signal my agreement with Roland and Doug, in the best of all possible worlds a single pair, perfectly place will do the job just right. But so few of us are Onno and working in the Concertgebauw or similar venue. And while that perfectly placed pair might work well for classical it is the devil's own job to get it to work for pop, rock and jazz. I wish it were not so as I have had some hard lessons in this regard.
Old 4th April 2013
  #24
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tourtelot's Avatar
Oh yeah. What I said was strictly about "classical" whether that be played or sung.

The last "pop" recording I did had a full twenty four tracks on a two piece "power folk" band (louder than a mofo!) with a guitar player and a drummer. Whoa Nelly!

And jazz for me is the hardest thing to record live. I got so fooled last time thinking the trumpets would overplay the percussion that I had to give the guy his money back and say "sorry." Fail! Lesson learned.

D.
Old 4th April 2013
  #25
Just one or two quick comments,
I'm sure that Jean-Marie Geijsen used exactly as many microphones as he thought was appropriate to cover all the eventualities of recording a large orchestra with chorus and soloists in a live concert situation. To be honest, 32 mics for a production like this is really not that many. Mains, outriggers, ambience, string spots, wind spots, tymp, percussion, harp, chorus and soloists....I suspect that getting it in 32 tracks with a co-production team from radio included a compromise or two.
WRT the Decca comment, they hauled around Mitsubishi 32 track machines for many years. Many of the great Decca orchestral recordings of the late 80's and 90's were made on X850's.
All the best,
-mark
Old 4th April 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
... in the best of all possible worlds a single pair, perfectly place will do the job just right.
Where does this myth come from? What is the theoretical or practical basis of it. Let's exclude binaural obviously.
Old 4th April 2013
  #27
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Where does this myth come from? What is the theoretical or practical basis of it. Let's exclude binaural obviously.
Williams and Eargle come to mind. I believe Bartlett, too. But, it had better be a damned good hall and and damned good spot, or, in the best of all possible worlds, thank you Leibniz. There have been some clips on this board of a two mic array yielding excellent results. Onno Schutze did as well as his protege, Gaston69; Petrus, too. Mercury Living Presence did numerous ones after dropping the three mic array. Those Mercury recordings were good. So there are examples out there. Possible? Yes. Difficult? Yes. YMMV
Old 5th April 2013
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
Williams and Eargle come to mind. I believe Bartlett, too. But, it had better be a damned good hall and and damned good spot, or, in the best of all possible worlds, thank you Leibniz. There have been some clips on this board of a two mic array yielding excellent results. Onno Schutze did as well as his protege, Gaston69; Petrus, too. Mercury Living Presence did numerous ones after dropping the three mic array. Those Mercury recordings were good. So there are examples out there. Possible? Yes. Difficult? Yes. YMMV
What exactly did Williams say? As far as I understand, his experiments findings were concerning only the stereo imaging of signals of percussive nature. How big amplitude difference between the loudspeakers (mono signal) and how much delay on one side to obtain the same result. Nothing about the esthetics or technical/artistic parameters that contribute to a subjectively/objectively "good" recording.

Onno did many multitrack recordings in his time, and started only very late to restrict himself to 2 mics. His typical main system contained of 4 microphones. As much as I value Gaston as a member of this forum, there are so many other people who have worked with Onno and learned from him, and still use quite a bunch of mics for a job. As little as I knew him, I think Onno would have been the first to confirm Roland's post about the reality of classical record production.
Old 5th April 2013
  #29
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tourtelot's Avatar
Boy, my slight experience (not like all those folks praised so highly in this thread) finds it very hard and not so satisfying to try and place a close (closer) spot mic into a 2 (or four) main mic system. Sounds really "pasted on" to me even if I correct the timing errors. Not "musical." Sometimes with an out-front solo instrument or voice, it sorta works, or in the case of the little harp in the big orchestra, maybe. The above may all be true but I'm not convinced that it the right path for me.

D.
Old 5th April 2013
  #30
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Dirk, conjecture about what Onno might have said is useless. He was in the realm of two mic recording in his later years. So his direction of change was to two mics and away from multi or four mics. Maybe he was crazy, but I doubt it. He was quite fond of the DPA 4060, too, which is a sweet little mic.

Williams, in Stereo Zoom, covered two mic arrays and how they work as individual entities not as a sub set of multi-mic setups. In his book, Posthorn | Microphone Arrays For Stereo and Multichannel Sound Recording, he covers both two mic and multi-mic arrays. And you have glossed over, indeed ignored, the large catalog of Mercury Living Presence records. I remember them as a kid. They were freaking stellar then. Just a beautiful clear sound. Remastered from the original tapes to CD's by the original producer, Wilma Cozart Fine, they are a nice package. Is it as good or better than today's multi-mic CD's? I guess that depends upon how you want the venue re-created, I prefer the sound I would get from the fourth or fifth row rather than the more detailed and crisper multi-mic recording. I think this is just a matter of taste. But the point is that here is just one catalog of great recordings many of which were two mic recordings. It can be done, it has been done, and with great success. It is not an academic discussion. It is fact.
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