Each month an industry expert highlights a topic of importance to the AES community. Listen, Learn, and Connect with advances in technology and best practices in audio.
For anyone interested in music recording, the E-Library is a well of treasures, containing collected experiences, thoughts and ideas about this subject. Most of the papers I've found so far concern orchestral recordings in large concert halls, which is perhaps a bit surprising. Recording a symphony orchestra is of course a prestigious job for a sound engineer, but according to my own experience, it is perhaps even more challenging to do a multimicrophone recording of an ensemble in a small or medium-large studio. Positioning the musicians to minimize or make the best possible use of leakage between microphones and at the same time keeping the musicians happy, sometimes requires a creative mind. I'd like to see more discussions about this.
Indeed, orchestral recordings have their own challenges. I've been to recordings where day one of the recording is the first time the musicians see the music, which typically leads to extensive editing when putting it all together. There is also a presumption that orchestral pieces are well balanced, but this is not always the case and especially not for first-time recordings or performances of new material. A suitable number of support microphones might come in handy, at least as a just-in-case. I definitely agree with Richard King that a "larger than life" perspective is what we strive for when producing something to be reproduced in someone's home by a pair of loudspeakers.
A number of papers below discuss the use of properly delayed support microphones. Some DAW's (e.g. Pyramix) even have plug-ins that can provide adequate attenuation and delay in the signals to the left and right channels, depending, say, on the separation distance between the main microphones and the angle and distance to the support microphone(s). Still, using support microphones with delays is not without complications. Leakage from instruments at different positions into the support microphones might cause unexpected results if not handled properly. More food for thought.
Curator: Per Sjösten
Per has been working with professional music recording since the mid 80s and with increasing intensity from the year 2000. His focus is on acoustic music and ranges from symphony orchestra to chamber music, choral music and organ as well as studio recordings of jazz/improv and world music. In 2003 he started the record label Footprint Records, dedicated to art music within the above genres. Recordings are typically multitrack and since a few years back always in high resolution up to DXD or DSD256.
Per's background is in acoustic research with a focus on room acoustics and signal processing, and had gained his PhD in 2003 after working for a number of years as an acoustic consultant. A special interest is the design of recording studios and control rooms. He regularly gives lectures in subjects related to acoustics at different universities, including Audio Technology, Music Acoustics and Technology, Electroacoustics and Music Production.