I forgot to say that Hélène Schmitt plays on a baroque violin....The beauty and complexities of the sound is explained in part by that....
- 103 posts total
- 103 posts total
Still very interesting ------. I wanted to add a bit more to the discussion.
A few posters have mentioned Deutsche Grammophon as one of the greatest offenders regarding string tone and I thought this experience might bring a bit of light to the subject -----.
I was involved in a DG recording session as a performer. Myself and a bassoonist friend were very interested in all audio and recording matters and paid quite a bit of attention to the various techniques that their recording engineers used. One that struck us both as being rather unusual was when we saw one of the DG staff walking about the stage with a book and a tape measure. Of course, we inquired as to what he was doing. He was rather indignant that we'd approached him, but nontheless he tried to explain that the book was a microphone manual and that he had a special function on the team. His job was to check each microphone during breaks in the recording session to make sure that they were still located at a specific distance from the instrument they were meant to capture. The book apparently listed every microphone that DG used and listed its proper placement and distance ! I personally counted over 20 microphones on stage for that session, guaranteeing copious amounts of phase distortion ! I figured that the monitoring engineer simply accepted the placement of the mics that the guy with "Das Buch" had determined, regardless of how it sounded ! So much for the personal imprint of a music-minded engineer. This was no Ken Wilkinson of London/Decca fame in action. This was business, pure and simple !
I also had the great pleasure of recording for London/Decca with Ken Wilkinson as the recording engineer and recall his fondness for his Tannoy monitors. He said he used them on every session, not because they were state-of-the-art, but because he knew them so well and could hear changes as they were made, with absolute clarity. One of the "greats" !
I too have participated in DG recordings and concur with terraplane8bob’s accounts of DG micing technique; multi-micing galore and placement way too close up to be able to capture a realistic sense of instrumental timbre and texture was my experience. If I am not mistaken, at least one poster who considers DG’s string sound to be the best also considers Decca to be the worst. Precisely the opposite of what I hear. Go figure. For me, Decca/London recordings, in general, are among the most realistic sounding and DG among the worst. Kenneth Wilkinson recordings in particular can have stunning string sound.