The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
ECM recording techniques
Old 23rd August 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
ECM recording techniques

I've been revisiting a lot of the ECM albums in my collection and I keep being blown away by the realism and clarity of the recordings. I was wondering if anyone here has any information about the mics/techniques that were used on these. The Charles Lloyd albums with Billy Higgins on drums particularly stand out to me as do all of the Tomasz Stanko albums. Thanks!
Old 25th August 2010
  #2
Here for the gear
 
amerio's Avatar
 

ECM recording techniques

Hi! I'm an official ECM sound engineer that works for and with Manfred Eicher, in my opinion one of the most important producers in the world. He was and is a very innovator in this kind of music and his idea of sound is really distintive. I recorded a Lot of albums here in Italy in my down studio and around in Europe. I started in 2003 with the album of Enrico Rava "Easy Living" and in 2008 arrived a Grammy Nomination for Best Vocal Album with the cd of Norma Winstone "Distances". All recorded, mixed and mastered in Udine (Italy). The very important thing for this sound are:
A-music at all
B-musicians at all
C-space where done the recording
D-Manfred Eicher
E-engineer and gear
Everytime is a pleasure to' record musicians like these, sound is really simple to' do. Put good mics like Shoeps, Neumann, Akg, Dpa and others, good preamps, never compressore or just a touch and the final reverb from Lexicon L480 or the new Bricasti M7. On master just a little limiter to' control some peaks. Never that everynody can do. It is the ability of Manfred, to' sign the way and put the right ingredents in the right parts. Working with Manfred is an incredible thing: everytime I learn a lot of things, and I'm really proud to' work with. Just an episode:
During Anouar Brahem Trio tracking in Rtsi Swiss beatifull room, was perfect to' use a very nice introduction improvvised that was perfect for a melodic song fine before. Audio was on ProTools multitrack, so very simple to' do but there were two kind of splice to' do, every really musical and fine. I started to' think which to' use....after few seconds, Manfred tipped on my back with a quite "....please, think fast!" This open my mind and now everytime I edit, I done my work before he tell me something. I learned that a good engineer must to' be inside the music and recognise where musicians go. It is a very hard and beautiful work. If you want more info, make your questions. I'm really like to' answer. Regards, Stefano
Old 25th August 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 
sedohr's Avatar
 

Ciao Stefano!

Thanks for this info. Very interesting to read. One recognizes the sound of ECM recordings from far away.

I have this beautiful sounding Stefano Bollani album; Piano Solo which you worked on (right ? ; Stefano Amerio) . I have a technical question: How far from the piano do you put the mics ?
It sounds a bit further away than the usual sound.

Thanks for the info,
Kalli
Old 27th August 2010
  #4
Gear Maniac
Hi Stefano, thank you very much for responding! I completely agree with you about the importance of Manfred Eicher and I don't think any other recordings sound like ECM. There's a certain sense of being there that I think is so crucial for this kind of music.

I had two questions that I wanted to ask about the recording techniques: Do you ever use room mics or is all of the reverb digital? Also, what do you usually use on overheads for drums or does it vary?
Old 29th August 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
rkopald's Avatar
HOLY ****! You work with Manfred Eicher?! I have a ton of ECM recordings! "Solstice" and almost everything else Ralph Towner's done, "Legend Of The Seven Dreams", "Song For Everyone", "Cycles", some weird Terje Rypdal,
The list is endless. ECM DEFINES a very specific sound in Jazz. I love the label. How lucky you are to work with Mr. Eicher! I'm jealous! What a label.
Old 29th August 2010
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Oscar G. Hinde's Avatar
 

Working as an engineer for ECM is like a dream for me! It's great to have you here, Stefano! Gearslutz has it's bad things, but when you come across a thread like this you realise what an important, worthwhile comunity it is.

I'm also a big fan of the ECM sound (as well as many of it's artists). And I too think that the use of reverb kind of defines ECM productions so I would love to hear about it from one of the guys who actually make it happen! From what I can hear on the records, the use of artificial reverb depends a lot on the artist and album. Does ECM (Mr. Eicher) have a prefered reververator or does it depend solely on the engineer doing the work for that particular album? You said you use very little (if at all) compression, wich makes perfect sense. However, when you do what do you usualy go for?

Thanks a million for dropping by!
Old 29th August 2010
  #7
Gear Nut
 
MFPhouse's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Accurate View Post
I've been revisiting a lot of the ECM albums in my collection and I keep being blown away by the realism and clarity of the recordings. I was wondering if anyone here has any information about the mics/techniques that were used on these. The Charles Lloyd albums with Billy Higgins on drums particularly stand out to me as do all of the Tomasz Stanko albums. Thanks!
Just Google with the Keywords
Jan Erik Kongshaug and Tonstudio Bauer Ludwigburg.

There you can get many Information round about the Sound of ECM and there Studio Equipment.
Old 29th August 2010
  #8
Here for the gear
 
amerio's Avatar
 

ECM recording techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by sedohr
Ciao Stefano!

Thanks for this info. Very interesting to read. One recognizes the sound of ECM recordings from far away.

I have this beautiful sounding Stefano Bollani album; Piano Solo which you worked on (right ? ; Stefano Amerio) . I have a technical question: How far from the piano do you put the mics ?
It sounds a bit further away than the usual sound.

Thanks for the info,
Kalli
Hi Kalli, on this Recording I used two close mics Shoeps cmc64 in ortf inside the piano and two Dpa 4000 series omni in A-B. This is a particolar recording done directly on two track master. No mix, no mastering, no nothing. We use only a touch of digital rev Lexi 960. The desk was an analog fantastic Studer 990 at the last work before replacement with the really beautiful Studer Vista 8. In this recording we use a lot of ambient mics. It is a Manfred choice because he loves this room and wanted enhance this character.
Stefano
Old 29th August 2010
  #9
Here for the gear
 
amerio's Avatar
 

ECM recording techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by Accurate
Hi Stefano, thank you very much for responding! I completely agree with you about the importance of Manfred Eicher and I don't think any other recordings sound like ECM. There's a certain sense of being there that I think is so crucial for this kind of music.

I had two questions that I wanted to ask about the recording techniques: Do you ever use room mics or is all of the reverb digital? Also, what do you usually use on overheads for drums or does it vary?
Hi, always I record the room. Usually I use Shoeps Omni in A-B configuration or cardioids if I need less room natural reverb. On overheads first choice is Shoeps cmc64. Clean and natural sound. Neumann U87 (old ones but with new capsules) for percussion or if I cannot use close mics on drums. Other mics that I like is Neumann TLM103 & 102 and KM184. From Akg the model 451 is fantastic like C414 BXLS (gray grille, i don't like gold grille) and to' have a very nice 70s rock sound the Gefell Mv692/M70 rocks with their sweet on face mid. Ciao, Stefano
Old 29th August 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
There was quite a long thread going here a while ago about ECM that might be of interest, check it out:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remot...utz-house.html
Old 29th August 2010
  #11
Here for the gear
 
amerio's Avatar
 

ECM recording techniques

[QUOTE="Oscar G. Hinde"]Working as an engineer for ECM is like a dream for me! It's great to have you here, Stefano! Gearslutz has it's bad things, but when you come across a thread like this you realise what an important, worthwhile comunity it is.

I'm also a big fan of the ECM sound (as well as many of it's artists). And I too think that the use of reverb kind of defines ECM productions so I would love to hear about it from one of the guys who actually make it happen! From what I can hear on the records, the use of artificial reverb depends a lot on the artist and album. Does ECM (Mr. Eicher) have a prefered reververator or does it depend solely on the engineer doing the work for that particular album? You said you use very little (if at all) compression, wich makes perfect sense. However, when you do what do you usualy go for?

Thanks a million for dropping by![/QUOTE

Ciao! About reverb depends by a lot of factors. Most of the time Lexicon L480 is the main reverb and now we start to' use Bricasti M7 because have the same warm sound with no noise floor and good digital sound when you stay in digital domain without using its great D/A outs. Other is Lexi960 but sometimes it is to much clean (in a good way....;-))). About compression I prefer to' control the peaks of sounds on drums and on doublebass. Softknee with 2:1 or 3:1 with max 3 dB of reduction. I love Drawmer for drums and bass, Summit Audio TLA 100 on brass and vocals. If drums Are heavier on snare an old Urei 1176 modified (sound really better than original with less noise) is really a top choice, but only when needs. On master a little limiter just to' control the peaks. I don't like the stupid war of levels! F***kin' limiters! I love the dynamic change. On amplifiers volume knob is done to' rotate CW and not to' turn down because tons of distorted signal make you annoying!-))
All the best!! Your ears decide..everytime!-))
Old 29th August 2010
  #12
Here for the gear
 
amerio's Avatar
 

ECM recording techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscar G. Hinde
Working as an engineer for ECM is like a dream for me! It's great to have you here, Stefano! Gearslutz has it's bad things, but when you come across a thread like this you realise what an important, worthwhile comunity it is.

I'm also a big fan of the ECM sound (as well as many of it's artists). And I too think that the use of reverb kind of defines ECM productions so I would love to hear about it from one of the guys who actually make it happen! From what I can hear on the records, the use of artificial reverb depends a lot on the artist and album. Does ECM (Mr. Eicher) have a prefered reververator or does it depend solely on the engineer doing the work for that particular album? You said you use very little (if at all) compression, wich makes perfect sense. However, when you do what do you usualy go for?

Thanks a million for dropping by!
Take care about music, not gear!-)) This is a very difference!
Old 29th August 2010
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Oscar G. Hinde's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakas View Post
Ciao! About reverb depends by a lot of factors. Most of the time Lexicon L480 is the main reverb and now we start to' use Bricasti M7 because have the same warm sound with no noise floor and good digital sound when you stay in digital domain without using its great D/A outs. Other is Lexi960 but sometimes it is to much clean (in a good way....;-))). About compression I prefer to' control the peaks of sounds on drums and on doublebass. Softknee with 2:1 or 3:1 with max 3 dB of reduction. I love Drawmer for drums and bass, Summit Audio TLA 100 on brass and vocals. If drums Are heavier on snare an old Urei 1176 modified (sound really better than original with less noise) is really a top choice, but only when needs. On master a little limiter just to' control the peaks. I don't like the stupid war of levels! F***kin' limiters! I love the dynamic change. On amplifiers volume knob is done to' rotate CW and not to' turn down because tons of distorted signal make you annoying!-))
All the best!! Your ears decide..everytime!-))
Interesting answers, especially about the 960. I would never have thought that too clean would be undesirable in an ECM context, but there you go! I love Summit Audio comps. Subtle and yet powerfull.

You're lucky you work doing stuff that doesn't pay attention to the loudness war! You can concentrate on pulling out a beautyful sound instead of worrying about being louder than anyone else!

Thanks for you replies!
Old 29th August 2010
  #14
Here for the gear
 
amerio's Avatar
 

ECM recording techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscar G. Hinde

Interesting answers, especially about the 960. I would never have thought that too clean would be undesirable in an ECM context, but there you go! I love Summit Audio comps. Subtle and yet powerfull.

You're lucky you work doing stuff that doesn't pay attention to the loudness war! You can concentrate on pulling out a beautyful sound instead of worrying about being louder than anyone else!

Thanks for you replies!
Just with Manfred..... Other cliente don't understand.... And I must to' use tools like f****ing limiters to' ruin the sounds;-(( but it is the market!
Old 29th August 2010
  #15
Here for the gear
 
amerio's Avatar
 

ECM recording techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakas

Just with Manfred..... Other cliente don't understand.... And I must to' use tools like f****ing limiters to' ruin the sounds;-(( but it is the market!

L480 warm is Made by convertors. Grainy but with a character. 960 is wonderful but in some cases sterile. Absolutely better but need more manipulation to' have a 480 simil sound. Two different kind of sound, but really good!!! Fantastic everytime!
Old 30th August 2010
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Oscar G. Hinde's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakas View Post
L480 warm is Made by convertors. Grainy but with a character. 960 is wonderful but in some cases sterile. Absolutely better but need more manipulation to' have a 480 simil sound. Two different kind of sound, but really good!!! Fantastic everytime!
Cool! I've never worked on a 960. I've have had experience with the 480L though and have always thought that it had a very special sound that I haven't heard on the newer PCM96 units I have also worked on.
Old 2nd September 2010
  #17
Here for the gear
 
amerio's Avatar
 

ECM recording techniques

Hi Oscar.
For this reason we start to use Bricasti M7. Sounds really warm and remember 480. But all these machines Are really good!!!
Old 8th March 2012
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Stephen Bennett's Avatar
 

Stefano

Just listening to 'The third man' Enrico Rava and Stefano Bollani. Wonderful sound. Is that a C12 on the trumpet?

I love the sound of ECm - have a collection that spans decades of wonderful music.

Regards

Stephen Bennett
Old 17th June 2014
  #19
Gear Head
Hey stephano can you give me the details of a mastering engineer who like yourself has worked on ECM records ... I own a studio and record jazz
Old 19th September 2018
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amerio View Post
Hi! I'm an official ECM sound engineer that works for and with Manfred Eicher, in my opinion one of the most important producers in the world. .... If you want more info, make your questions. I'm really like to' answer. Regards, Stefano
Hi and sorry for jumping in this excellent thread maybe too late with a question. Could you tell us something about the ECM monitoring system through which you check the recordings quality ? I googled a lot but found nothing. I would be very curious to know anything that can be disclosed of course.
Thanks a lot, gino
Old 29th September 2018
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginetto61 View Post
Hi and sorry for jumping in this excellent thread maybe too late with a question. Could you tell us something about the ECM monitoring system through which you check the recordings quality ? I googled a lot but found nothing. I would be very curious to know anything that can be disclosed of course.
Thanks a lot, gino
You can see Rainbow Studio's (home of Jan Erik Kongshaug) gear list here:
Studio << RainbowStudio

Some more recent pictures here:
>> OAS i Rainbow Studios

Jan Erik was the one creating the characteristic ECM sound in the 70s together with Manfred and has done about 700(!!) productions together with Manfred. (Jan Erik Kongshaug Discography at Discogs: Technical - Credits) I'm sure his monitoring system has changed more than once during that period.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MorganN View Post
You can see Rainbow Studio's (home of Jan Erik Kongshaug) gear list here:
Studio << RainbowStudio

Some more recent pictures here:
>> OAS i Rainbow Studios
Jan Erik was the one creating the characteristic ECM sound in the 70s together with Manfred and has done about 700(!!) productions together with Manfred. (Jan Erik Kongshaug Discography at Discogs: Technical - Credits)
I'm sure his monitoring system has changed more than once during that period.
Hi thank you very much indeed for the very kind and valuable reply.
I read
Quote:
Dynaudio Acoustics M2 and Bowers & Wilkins 802 monitoring
between other things. At this moment i am studying speakers.
The first decision to take is to go for high efficiency monitor speaker or not. I have the impression that high efficiency speakers (above 90 dB/1 Watt) are more suitable to reproduce a wide dynamic range with low distortion than normal efficiency ones. And they are also less demanding in terms of amplification.
Thanks a lot again, gino
Old 4th October 2018
  #23
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorganN View Post
Jan Erik was the one creating the characteristic ECM sound in the 70s together with Manfred and has done about 700(!!) productions together with Manfred. (Jan Erik Kongshaug Discography at Discogs: Technical - Credits) I'm sure his monitoring system has changed more than once during that period.
Just yesterday, I checked through my CD collection and picked out 'Changing Places' by the Tord Gustavsen Trio. Haven't listened to this in a while and was really blown away by the greatness of this piano trio. It's just beautiful music without ever being bland or 'new age'. One of the best sounding recordings of piano trios I ever heard. Recorded by Jan Erik Kongshaug in 2003.

ECM Records
Old 6th October 2018
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Just yesterday, I checked through my CD collection and picked out 'Changing Places' by the Tord Gustavsen Trio. Haven't listened to this in a while and was really blown away by the greatness of this piano trio. It's just beautiful music without ever being bland or 'new age'. One of the best sounding recordings of piano trios I ever heard. Recorded by Jan Erik Kongshaug in 2003.

ECM Records
Tord Gustavsen Trio is a joy listening to both live and recorded.
Be sure to check out their latest album:
The Other Side | HDtracks - The World's Greatest-Sounding Music Downloads
Not sure it's available for lossless HiRes streaming (not MQA).
Peer Espen Ursfjord that recorded and mixed it has been engineering at Rainbow for a long time now.
Produced by Manfred Eicher.
Old 6th October 2018
  #25
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorganN View Post
Tord Gustavsen Trio is a joy listening to both live and recorded.
Be sure to check out their latest album:
The Other Side | HDtracks - The World's Greatest-Sounding Music Downloads
Not sure it's available for lossless HiRes streaming (not MQA).
Peer Espen Ursfjord that recorded and mixed it has been engineering at Rainbow for a long time now.
Produced by Manfred Eicher.
Thanks. I plan to get that album on vinyl.

I realized that the Tord Gustaven Trio played here in town last August - only I didn't know about it....hopefully next time!
Old 8th October 2018
  #26
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Just yesterday, I checked through my CD collection and picked out 'Changing Places' by the Tord Gustavsen Trio. Haven't listened to this in a while and was really blown away by the greatness of this piano trio. It's just beautiful music without ever being bland or 'new age'. One of the best sounding recordings of piano trios I ever heard. Recorded by Jan Erik Kongshaug in 2003.
ECM Records
Hi and thanks for the recommendation. I bought a copy now and waiting to receive it
I have another cd from ECM ... this one here below



ok ... i did not like the experiment. Gregorian choirs are just nice ... by themselves. The recording is superb.
In the next life i will try to become a sound engineer for sure.
Thanks again and have a nice day
Old 8th October 2018
  #27
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginetto61 View Post
Hi and thanks for the recommendation. I bought a copy now and waiting to receive it
I have another cd from ECM ... this one here below



ok ... i did not like the experiment. Gregorian choirs are just nice ... by themselves. The recording is superb.
In the next life i will try to become a sound engineer for sure.
Thanks again and have a nice day
You're welcome!

I guess Jan Garbararek is an aquired taste.....I loved his work with Keith Jarrett though, especially 'Belonging', also on ECM.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump