On 02/01/08, Charles Lawson wrote:
> Bob Olhsson writes:
>> Most contemporary music
>> producers are musicians. This is a lot of why so many of today's pop
>> records
>> have been massaged with digital technology until they sound like a
>> sampling
>> keyboard that is being run by a MIDI sequencer. 
> Any "producer" who does this sort of thing can hardly be classified as
> a musician. Such people are mere technologists.
> By and large, hands-on conductors and musicians tend to hamper
> recordings rather than help them. Exceptions exist, of course, but the
> musician/conductor operates according to certain expectations that do
> not necessarily translate well to recorded sound reproduced in a
> typical listening environment.
> My goals have always been to give the end listener the experience of
> being in the best seat in the house. That does NOT reflect the
> perspective of the conductor on the podium or the oboe in the
> orchestra (thank goodness!). It does represent the best balance of
> orchestral sections to one another and direct-to-ambient sound that I
> can achieve in whatever venue I happen to be working in. In a Joshua
> Bell situation, the violin line should certainly float above the
> orchestra so that it can be clearly heard (since it is so incredibly
> clearly rendered by Mr. Bell!), but the huffing and wheezing (should
> it occur) must never be so prominent that it is noted by a listener.
> Mr. Bell has never generated such noises on any recording I have had
> the opportunity to make and I am very sorry to hear that there may be
> one out there that exhibits the distressing hyper-accuracy that modern
> technology can allow.
> If anything, as the technology improves, microphones should be placed
> farther from the source.  We no longer need to compensate for noisy
> electronics and storage media.  In a digital world, less is better.
Mercury seem to have been able to get a good perspecive in concertos
without using a close-up mic.

Incidentally, one of the best recordings I have heard for a natural
perspective on the orchestra is of Benjamin Britten conducting the
"Fingal's Cave Overure" of Mendelssohn. This is a BBC recording, it was
probably a routine all-in-the-day's-work job for the engineer, and the
mic-ing is obviously simple. (The whole CD is worth hearing.)

Amazon link:

And then, a reviewer on Amazon doesn't like sound at all ! So much
depends on playback conditions.

At least Britten was a "good conductor".

Don Cox
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