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Pretty good for a bunch of kiddies...

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Pretty good for a bunch of kiddies...

Postby MASSIVE Mastering on Sun Jan 15, 2006 2:43 am

Like usual, not exactly looking for critiques (as there's really nothing I can change) - Just sharing some recent two-trackin' stuff.

Had to record a local youth orchestra's chamber strings section last week. 12 pieces - To wit, 4 first violins, 3 seconds, 2 violas, 2 cellos, 1 contrabass.

All on a very noisy stage... The noise floor was normally *above* -40dBFS. That's not a good thing when it comes to classical music, but that's what was there.

Just the first movement of one piece - Here it is - Around 10MB, 5+ min @ 256kbps.

W. A. Mozart: Serenade in G Major "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik", K. 525 - Movement 1, Allegro

If that sounds foreboding, don't worry. Once you click it, you'll go "Oh yeah - I've heard that a million times" as it's one of the most overplayed pieces in classical music. And "happy" and "sweet" and all that goofiness. Personally, I loved Mozart's "darker" side myself, but I didn't write that evening's program.

Tech note - There are a few clicks in the MP3. Sorry about that. Don't know where they came from.

On the tech rider - My usual - A pair of M-Audio Solaris LDC's, around 16 feet directly above the condutor. I like recording the conductor's point of view... The purists bug me about it, but really... Who gets a better listen than the conductor, right? "Eyeball ORTF'd" diaphragms around 6" apart and at maybe 100 or 110 degrees from a custom clamp I made just for that space to reduce the mechanical noise (the mics are hung from a tail-down pipe on a fixed grid system 20' 6" from the stage surface). Cardioid pattern, low rolloffs engaged (again, to reduce physical rumble).

Ran those through 300-and-some feet of cable into my Apogee MiniMe and straight USB into my laptop. No EQ, no compression, no nuthin' at 44.1 24-bit.

Loaded into the DAW and applied UAD's Precision Multi Band.

WHAT?!? JOHN USED A MULTI BAND?!?

Not really - The noise floor was SO incredibly high and with only 12 instruments, I decided to utilize the MBC as a four-way GATE to soften the room noise. I've never really done that on an orchestral recording before, but I've never had the unique properties of this new UAD unit at my disposal before. It worked out quite well thanks to the "MIX" control on the PMB. Leave it to the UAD guys to take what I generally consider to be a farily useless tool for everyday use and make me eat my words again... Sort of... I guess it's still not for "everyday" use (unless I was recording a 12 piece chamber orchestra in that particular room every day, but I digress - Like that surprises anyone :lol: ).

Also added some "room" using Samplitude's native convolution system. A little "over the top" but if you heard how incredibly dry this room was... Phew... Like an ambience desert. Plus, the verb was very helpful in masking the gates a little more.

Anyway - out of the DAW through the analog chain - All Crane Song this time (transparency was pretty important). Four 1dB, fairly narrow adjustments on the Ibis EQ and just the tiniest bit of leveling on the STC-8M using an attack time of "next Thursday around noon" and a release time of - Come to think of it, I don't think it's finished releasing yet. :shock:

Anyway - After five weeks of "winter break" from rehearsing, these kids got together for this concert and rehearsed once on Monday for the concert on Wednesday. It's anything but a perfect performance, but to see how well some of these kids do... The hours they must put in... This isn't even the advanced group - I don't think there was one person on the stage (except for the condutor) that even had a driver's permit, much less a license. "Sniff" - I'm so proud of 'em. 8)

And not one of my better recordings - But I thought this was another one of those "stand-out for something" results... Low rolloff, too distant mic placement, too few musicians, VERY high noise floor, too much processing to get it under control, and definitely compromised the audio to do it. But a sonically acceptable result in spite of itself.
John Scrip - Massive Mastering, LLC
Chicago (Schaumburg / Hoffman Est.), IL - USA

IF YOU DIDN'T NOTICE, this place is sort of dying. Feel free to sign up at http://www.recordingstudiocentral.com if you'd like to help us start fresh!
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Postby pianomiano1 on Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:01 pm

That is freakin amazing for some younger aged kids to sound that good. When I was playing in high school band, I remember that one of the things that nobody could grasp (including myself) was the use of dynamics in piece. These dudes and dudettes understand that fully and use a full range of loud and soft and all in between.

I'm really impressed with the cellos and the bass guy, as they hold a very firm bass foundation.

Kudos to them....I hope they know they did a great job.

Recording I have nothing to say. You know what your doing better then me. I'm amazed of how you got rid of the noise (practically *completely*) without compromising the sound. Awesome!
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Postby MASSIVE Mastering on Sun Jan 15, 2006 5:15 pm

Thanks - Yeah, those kids never cease to amaze me. I work with them (SYO is actually four different orchestral "subgroups") several times a year and record and archive most of their performances for several purposes.

Boy that noise though - It's actually still there - When they're playing "loud" :?: it isn't as noticable, but the S/N is still only around 40dB. It's when they get quiet though... Ooooy... Not good. Not good at all. But yeah, the MBG helped out a lot. I saved it as a preset for a starting point for next time.

If I get a chance though, I'll put up an A/B of a loop of just the room noise before & after...
John Scrip - Massive Mastering, LLC
Chicago (Schaumburg / Hoffman Est.), IL - USA

IF YOU DIDN'T NOTICE, this place is sort of dying. Feel free to sign up at http://www.recordingstudiocentral.com if you'd like to help us start fresh!
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Postby Tweak on Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:01 am

Wow! That's a beautiful recording! So let me get this straight. The Mics were hanging 16' from the floor in an sort of XY, pointed inward to each other or outward away from each other? It sounds closer, which makes it so amazing. I'd also think at such a distance the room would be major trouble. I can't even hear the MBC working, just a tiny hint of room tone here and there. Nice job!
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Postby Tweak on Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:08 am

Ok , I see you mentioned ORTF, so that would be the mics are pointed away from each other. Just curious, do you find that superior to XY?
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