CD Recordings

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by yorkyboy, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. yorkyboy

    yorkyboy Member

    I am just looking to conduct a little bit of research regarding recordings that your band may have had done or may wish to do in the future.

    If people could give there experiences and thoughts about the process that would be great.

    In particular I am looking at whether people feel they are paying too much, do you get enough support and do you feel that there is opportunities out there that are not really been taken.

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts
  2. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Competition? ;)
  3. yorkyboy

    yorkyboy Member

    Maybe? Who knows!
  4. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    The more the merrier - competition = lower prices = more bands recording (so long as the quality remains the same...or better!)
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - did U read Steven Mead's comments in the Bandsman about recordings?
  6. Melph

    Melph Member

    One recommendation - if recording over more than one day, make a strict rule that band does not go out for curry \ drinking at end of first day....... the amount of coughing and spluttering and sore throats the next day spoilt some otherwise good takes (I was as guilty as everybody else)
  7. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    But probably more so than most. Should have stuck to Slim Fast like I did! :biggrin:

    I felt when we recorded our cd we were helped no end by the recording company. They helped with everything from advice on repetoire to graphic design etc.,

    As it was our first recording their help was essential. However if only they had told us to keep our wayward soprano out of the pub.......
  8. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    No - I stopped subscribing when I stopped playing. What've I missed?
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - basically he thinks bands are not getting a fair deal! This is in context to the number of mics used to help with the basic mixing of the sessions and the lack of tools available (or used) to enhance actual performance (e.g., the plugins used for pro-tools). He thinks that band representatives should have more input to decide the final master before commercial production begins. The plugin scenario has maybe answered a huge question I had concerning the multi-tracking for his 'Euphonium Magic' CDs. Although it is possible to play the pedal (bass) lines supporting the music with the articulation and anticipation required at these low ranges, I was scratching my head over some of the recordings. I reckon that the Waves pitch change plugin (SoundShifter) was used to drop the part down an octave with no loss of tempo! (... I could be wrong though but don't think so).

    - the article is now on his website ...
  10. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    There's a caveat that needs to be applied here.

    There are essentially two and a half kinds of recordings - there are those that are multimiked, there are those that essentially rely on stereo mic techniques and those that are a sort of halfway house. What you'll tend to find is that most things fall into the back two of those.

    For instance, a fair few recordings are still made with Decca Trees - check out the Neumann M149s on the photos of the YBS website - and done properly there's absolutely nothing wrong with going that way. Reinforce with spot mics if necessary. Alternatively, use M-S and spots, or XY and Spots etc etc. An ORTF pair can sound great on it's own.

    If a band isn't (to a certain extent) self balancing, shouldn't that be being addressed in the rehearsal room? Surely by use of the word 'band' we should be aspiring to be balanced, together and in tune?

    As to post-production, then I don't have a problem with doing things such as applying plugins etc. If they could aid at the recording stages, then I'd use them (again, though, this would go against my personal philosophy but you've got to be customer focussed). there are a few alternatives to the Waves plugins - Melodyne, for instance, would be something that springs to mind for a solo line. There are a few ways to crack a nut.

    In terms of Band input, my preview CDs go to the MD and representatives of the Band (usually someone like the Chairperson and / or Secretary, but usually only playing members) once the particular edit master has been passed by the producer. Changes are then made according to their feedback, assuming that it's possible. You have to accept, though, that not everything is possible. For example, if the balance is agreed on the session by all concerned parties then it should really be acceptable that you go straight to stereo. the implication of this is that things like "the troms are too quiet at letter Q" should really be addressed when it arises. So a lot of it is down to preparation and response to challenge on the session. I'd also caution against getting too many people involved in the process or it could become never ending (with the best will in the world). I'm quite prepared to reach double figures in CD issues until we get to the Final Edit Master, but there may always have to be compromise.

    These ideas are nothing new, either. I've got an interview that my Dad did with Alec Greenhalgh on BBC Radio Manchester in 1985 stating similar discrepancies between 'pop' music and band recordings - and at that point, Besses were one of the more lucky Bands in terms of their output as they were still recording with Chandos....

    It'll be interesting to read in this thread what it is that people want - thanks to the original poster for, er, posting it :D
  11. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    One of the other comments early on in Steven Mead's article refers to falling concert audience numbers, and questions whether people prefer to get their "fix" via recordings instead. Whilst I agree that recordings should present the music in the best light, I must confess that I am not in favour of excessive editing and manipulation in the studio: if a soloist needs a little boost then all well and good, but you sometimes get such an unnatural perspective - especially in orchestral recordings where you can find an oboe, for example, suddenly drowning out the rest of the band. I also wonder whether reliance on studio techniques when producing recordings can also have a detrimental effect on live performances, in that bands often seem to put too little effort into getting the balance right, especially when accompanying a soloist.

    If an audience gets too accustomed to an artifical sound produced in a studio, then there is a danger that they will be disappointed when confronted with "the real thing", complete with the odd wrong note and imperfect blend at times. Having said that, a studio recording can sometimes come across as a little too clinical and mechanical, and I for one would go for YBS's live "Apocalypse" over the (albeit very fine) studio recording any time.
  12. Melph

    Melph Member

    "complete with the odd wrong note.." Quote.

    Umm, i must say that during our recording I might have put a few more in than the"odd wrong one".
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    What I feel Steven Mead is really getting at is bands should really try and get the best presentation of their recording efforts, even if it means artificially improving things. It is not uncommon now that sections of works or even individual entries can be re-recorded and merged into the main recording. Downside of that it is more time-consuming and as they say ... time is money! My personal gripe with some recordings (and not just brass bands) is the amount of reverb that can be added, distancing the sound image and hiding detail. It would be great to listen to a balanced recording when the horns and baritones are not hidden away. Okay, it can be said that on many occasions they blend into the band's sound and become hidden in real live performances, but it would be interesting to hear the results coming from a studio? (tricky question here!). I'm sure that some solo efforts in recent recordings have been enhanced, adding harmonics to improve the sound either in depth or width ... but that's another can of worms!
  14. tim

    tim Member

    As a music technology student the most interesting point as far as recordings are concerned is the aesthetic produced. Steve Mead points out the in some recordings you "feel" like you're in the middle of the concet hall some fromt eh conductors perspective and others from the 3rd cornet seat!

    Personally I am a fan of live recordings and also studio recordings that have that ambient live feel to them. In my opinion the listener should feel like they are in the optimum spot for hearing the music in the concert hall not as htough they are sat in the band!

    Also the listener should feel like they are in a large enough space rather than a small room. This is all to do with location and is the difference between recording in a practice room and a concert hall.

    Would be intereted to hear other peoples opinions on "where" they like to hear the from.

    A final point is having watched a DVD of stravinsky recording his symphony of psalms it is interesting to watch the producers talking about the merits of the performance. There problem was multi tracking was not possible!

    They were working with a mono sound with no panning and balance possible so the orchestra had to do it all. Fortunately the seating layout for an orchestra has evolved over time to produce the best balance and sound possible (the band has in the same way) so with good musicians balance should be ready from the performers.

    The producers however could over dub a recording and they did stop the orchestra to re take a section several time and were clearly planning to record this section over the complete first take they made.
  15. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    I'd totally agree that Bands should get the most for their money. Things like the individual entries and other bits and pieces are common place as you say - and you're on the nose (as usual :D ) in terms of the time is money comment. Editors and mastering engineers usually charge upwards of £35/hour as I went into in the CD Prices thread - and if you go above your contracted time it can soon get very expensive, so the more you're prepared the better.

    Again, the reverb comment is highly relevant. The are two sides to this argument - one is that the room is bad, and you can't really remove reverb (although careful mic choice and positioning can minimise the room effects). The second is that someone somewhere along the recording chain has added artificial reverb, thinking it sounds good. Prior to a recording earlier this year I was sent a reference CD that was idiomatic with the repertoire we were recording. This CD contained a large amount of out of the box reverb - so much so, that it actually had a reverb swell on some pieces. For me it detracted from a really nice programme. It could be that the room was much too dry, but the settings were (for me at any rate) wrong - I guess the use of a convolution reverb could now be better.

    Another thing I'd say is that not all studios are dry ;)

    Just to stray backwards to the number of microphones question a bit...I've got a meeting with the Technical Manager of Sennheiser UK tomorrow, who also happens to be a respected Classical recording engineer. His personal preference is to use the minimum number of micophones (for those with "The knowledge" as Mr Mead likes to say his personal preference is for an M-S pair of Sennheiser MKH 30 and MKH 40, or for pianos an AB pair of MKH 20s) - and I certainly wouldn't call his recordings lacking in detail. This is all about perception, I think.
  16. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    The BBC's occasionally rather interesting coverage of the Proms this year is illustrative of the first point. They (normally) use different mic configurations to suit the audience - which implies that the TV balance is different from the radio balance. Some of the BBC1 transmissions were a bit dubious to say the least (as they followed the camera angles - or were at least supposed to ;) ) with things exactly as Peter has described. FWIW, I'd either list to the Radio 3 over the top of the visuals (if it's in sync), or look at BBC4 (which apparently uses the Radio 3 feed).

    With a recording I made this year I purposefully went for a listening audience's perspective - the material recorded was all easy listening, and I though that this approach would sound better. The feedback I got was mostly positive - certainly comments about being able to hear all the sections and depth of the Band sound (TBH there were acouple of balance points that should've been addressed by the production team), but it was recorded with 2, 4 and 5 mics. In terms of the splits - I'd usually edit them out or use a retake (I have been known to use half a minim!), but again it's down to preference - I've heard that certain production team leave the occasional thing in because it 'makes' the performance, in a round about way.

Share This Page