This all started with my revulsion at the audio on Monday night's live telecast
of the New York Philharmonic, with everything over-miked to the point where the
keys on the bassoons were clicking away and Joshua Bell's sniffles were almost
as loud as his violin playing.
Last night's Vienna concert, on the other hand, sounded great..as it always
does. And after many years, PBS, WNED-TV and my local cable provider have
finally stopped compressing the living daylights out of everything.
Marcos Sueiro Bal wrote:
> Happy New Year
> I found the two threads above related and thought I would combine them.
> In recent years musicians and engineers have become very obsessed with
> "perfecting" sound through micro-editing, using digital tools and
> multi-miking, which allow "greater flexibility" when creating the final
> product. As said by others, this destroys the character of the recording
> and in the long run compromises the musicianship of the artists. I still
> would like to think that most people pick character if exposed to it,
> although there are still those who prefer Velveeta to P'tit Basque cheese.
> For Christmas I got the new Simon Rattle/Berlin playing Haydn's
> symphonies 88-92 on EMI. I do not know if I like the performance: I
> could not get past how bizarrely flat (as in "lacking depth") the
> recording sounded, which seems to indicate multi-miking (and perhaps
> compression)(*). I agree with Peter Hirsch that there is not a "right"
> way to record an orchestra (thank heavens!), but I like a sense of
> place, a character, a uniqueness --what wine growers call terroir. This
> seems to be lost in much modern recording. The "presence" in "Living
> Presence" was about "You are there!", not about "They are here!" (they
> being the musicians), which is what makes those recordings wonderful.
> As a market engine, over-compression and saturation may actually work
> wonderfully, at least in the short run: if I cannot stand a CD after one
> listen, I will go out next week and get me a new hit. This is the
> principle which makes MacDonald's work so well: one is hungry an hour
> after having left the place. You want more.
> I am using food and wine parallels because I feel that music is behind
> the ball in terms of aesthetics (probably due to its reduced relevance
> in our world). Recent trends in food (eat locally; your baker's
> multi-grain is better than Wonder bread; the rise of micro-brewing) show
> that people are finding that the over-sugarized, over-salted,
> brightly-packaged items in our big supermarkets are ultimately less
> satisfying. Yet we are still being fed Froot Loops and Budweiser over
> our speakers.
> I can only hope that the majority of listeners will some day rebel and
> reclaim what makes music exciting. Music will benefit, even if the
> market suffers. Then again, it may be precisely what the market needs.
> (*) Which is too bad, as some of my favourite recordings come from
> (earlier times at) EMI. If anyone has any inside stories on how this was
> recorded, I would love to hear them.