From David Lewis: "...I guess it was inevitable that multi-miking of
classical recordings would eventually supplant the traditional one mike
After growing up reading about the "'horrors" of multi-miking classical
music in record reviews, I finally met some of the producers and engineers
around ten years ago and learned more about what was actually being done.
In most cases there was still a main pair or trio of mikes that was
providing most, if not all of the sound. The extra "spot" mikes were mixed
in only during specific passages to bring melody lines into better focus.
This was often done at the conductor's request after hearing the first
playback. It was also cheaper to just bring up a spot mike than spend time
rebalancing the main pair with the meter running during a union recording
session. There was also an issue of musicians believing that lots of
microphones meant they were part of a more "serious and professional"
In other words, it turns out that most of the mikes we've seen in pictures
were probably not in use and I was told it was virtually unheard of to use
all of them at once like a pop record!
So why didn't the recordings sound better? Most likely compression,
equalization and EMT plates were the main culprits. I'd be very interested
in reading any interviews with producers or engineers that contradict this.
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