View Full Version : Recording classical

12-09-1999, 05:17 PM

I'm new to recording classical pieces. I am about to record solo and duet. What are the proper ways to record them? For example, do I record them in stereo (two mics) on each instrument? Or one mic on each instrument? Is reverb necessary? Which mic is good for them? Is ambiance mic a must? What else there is?
Your help would be greatly appreciated.


12-09-1999, 10:38 PM
What kind of room are you recording in? If you can give more detail on the acoustics of the room then better ideas can be given.

[This message has been edited by blairl (edited 12-09-99).]

Didier de Roos
12-10-1999, 09:21 AM
The first parameter to consider is, indeed, a good room, with the proper size and reverberation time for the music to be played. Most classical engineers will tell you to record with a couple of top-quality microphones, positioned according to the kind of stereo image you (and the artists!) desire, and to experiment with the mics-to-source distance until you get the right sound and balance. The goal in classical music is usually to get aa accurate sense of "volume" and position of the musicians in a real space; I personally find it usually best to use the coincident method on small ensembles or solo performers instead of spaced microphones, which give a deformed and exaggerated width to the sound stage. Don't get any accent mikes (proximity) unless you absolutely have to, in very difficult acoustics for instance, and use the best preamp and analog to digital converter you can find. Don't use EQ, compressors, or artificial reverb until the very last moment, after editing, and even then avoid using them if they're not absolutely indispensable.

Hope this helps.


12-10-1999, 01:47 PM
Thanks for the great tips. As far as room is concern, it's a faily large sized practicing room. I don't think the room will provide much ambiance. I'm not familiar with the technical terms of microphone though. what do you mean by coincident method?

Didier de Roos
12-10-1999, 04:21 PM
In this context, "coincident" means that both microphone capsules occupy the same position in space. In practice though, this is nearly impossible to achieve with two separate microphones, for obvious reasons, and quite difficult even with "stereo" microphones since the capsules have a finite dimension. Only a few (and very expensive) mikes such as the Calrec Soundfield achieve this with their 4 capsules arranged as a tetrahedron; some other mikes come close when using one cardioid and one figure-of-eight capsules, or two fig.-of-8 (Blumlein). If you don't have access to those, you can approximate the effect by mounting two cardioid mikes with their capsules very close, but not touching, crossed at a 90 angle. The goal is to minimize the phase difference between microphones: this is called "intensity stereo" by opposition to the "phase stereo" obtained with more widely spaced apart capsules.
If you are interested in the subject, as you obviously are, you could consult the excellent (though rather old) book written by John Eargle: The Microphone Handbook.

Good luck!