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Old 17th June 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
sonare's Avatar
I found your 2 mp3s to be musically enjoyable. I was left with the following thoughts:

Overall it did seem that they were recorded from the best seat in the house-- which brings up a few questions. This was a live performance so the choice of venue was set, and unfortunately in an acoustic that is too live for this music. Just my opinion! The next thing is whether the best spot for listening is the best spot for recording? My answer is NO, because in a live event we have our eyes to solve balance issues and ignore the problems, such as the "David and Goliath" problem of rather delicate harpsichord vs soprano.

Remember the "triangle"-- music, performer, acoustic. It is rare to have control of all three, but you scored the most important: great music, excellent players. The room is simply too "wet" and there is little you can do, aside from choose cardioids (which you did). The best thing for the recording is go somewhere else, but this was a concert, after all.

Finally, consider playback level. We are used to "healthy" levels which is often louder than reality-- ceratinly harpsichord reality. (The hurdy-gurdy also comes to mind.) The harpsichord (and its close cousins) are some of the very few instruments that can actually be played back at genuine performance volume, which is to say that a spirited conversation will drown it out. Very important to not play it back too loudly.

Back to the examples-- given the same situation and conditions I would have used the 414 for the singer and placed the SM-81s in a spot that would offer more clarity and less singer (and less room sound)-- possibly right behind the harpsichordist, or 180 degrees from that. It might not sound any different - there is so much "room" - but I would at least try that.

You were handed lemons-- dissimilar instruments playing in an innappropriately reverberant room-- and still managed to make a recording that is pleasurable to listen to. That is no small thing!