What do you think of this minimalist recording?

Hi all,

I'm new here to Audiogon.  I am a classical musician and have been a recordist for 20+ years as a serious hobby. My interest is in minimalist recording techniques. I enjoy the challenge and the natural sound stage it provides. 

I feel a certain kinship with audiophiles since they are among the few in society that appreciate what many recordists are seeking to accomplish.

Hence this post!

Since you all have stellar systems here, I am interested in any feedback you may have on a recording I did that was a bit of an experiment in minimalism. Here's the background - I wanted to see if I could record a jazz combo using only two microphones in a nice concert hall. I asked a jazz combo if they were interested and they agreed. 

I took my cue from the techniques used prior to multi-tracking in which the musicians were arranged on both sides of the mic ('in the round' as we say) and for balance moved closer to or further away from the mics. In other words, no mixing or panning.

FYI, the recording was done in December of 2015 and I had not seen the One Mic recordings of John Cuniberti yet, though the technique is essentially the same. I just wanted to throw that in there! haha

There is absolutely no processing except a bit of eq on the bass to bring it up a touch. Next time I will raise the bass player up on a riser - live and learn. Instead of using compression, I brought down a few of the drum spikes manually and was able to bring up the overall levels. But other than that, all original dynamics are perfectly intact. 

The equipment includes two Royer ribbon microphones in Blumlein array (one on top of the other facing at 90 degrees). With a figure 8 polar pattern in each mic, it captures a 360 degree sound stage with excellent stereo imaging.  The mic preamp was designed and hand built by Dan Kennedy who owes Great River electronics, a high end mic pre company. This was the company's first mic preamp. They discontinued it because it couldn't be mass produced - it can only be put together by hand - and so too expensive to offer. The next in the audio chain was a Mytek ADC (many of you probably own a Mytek DAC) recorded at 88.2/24 bit.  And that's it. 

Below is the soundcloud link or you can go to SoundCloud and search for 'robbie ree kosta' and it should come right up.


Too bad it streams at 128kb. It still sounds acceptable, however. I can link to a video if any are interested to see how it was done.

Very interested to hear how it comes across on your systems.  Thank you!

I think it’s great that you do your own recording, and it’s long puzzled me that more audiophiles don’t do the same. When you make your own recordings, you’re in the best position to judge how your system sounds. After all, you were there at the original event.

It seems to me that it was much more common for audiophiles to make recordings in the early days of hi-fi, but of course the whole hobby was much more DIY then. But, today’s recording equipment is much less expensive! While good microphones remain pricey, the rest of the gear isn’t, especially recorders ... it’s amazing what a good digital recorder can do today. (I’m still an analog/vinyl guy, but digital surely has its place.)
So I hope I don’t offend when I say that a 128kb mp3 file just isn’t sufficient, imo, to offer a meaningful answer to your question. Perhaps that’s why others haven’t responded to you. Is there a way you can share a higher quality file, such as through Dropbox? That would be a big help and I promise to listen and provide feedback if you can make that happen!
Okie dokie,

Here is the full resolution. 88.2 24 bit. The track is downloadable in its original res.


If you want 44.1 16 bit the other link has been set to downloadable.

Just click ’more’ and select download.

It’s only for you all! No sharing.
It's probably a conundrum because most probably don't want to download a file onto their computer nor feel like 128Kb streaming audio is worth the time.

Nonetheless, I think the 128Kb captures enough of the essence of the recording to get a decent idea. Also, ribbon mics roll off around 10-15 Kh. The Royers roll off around 15Kh, I believe, which is about where 128Kb mp3s chop off the frequency response to save data. So that part is unaffected. Though, of course, there is less crispness and all that in the 128Kb, which is kind of a bummer. 

I downloaded the hi res digital and think it's a very nice recording.  It has a very analog feel to it and the soundstage is indeed well defined.  My only comment (not a criticism) is that drums seem a bit further back in the soundstage than I am accustomed to in a small jazz combo.

If you sold recordings, I would be one of your customers.
I agree with cedargrover - this sounds good, natural, analog.

Maybe a bit flat, but that may be just me, now - it is often how this type of thing sounds on first hearing. I think two things are important: 1) do everything possible in the analog domain to get the sound as good as possible before introducing any digital correction, and 2) record to the best digital format (like double speed DSD). I have good experience using a Tascam DA3000, and there is advice at a-gon and on the web on how to modify it to even better performance.

 Thanks for listening and for the comments and compliments. Much appreciated.

Yes, ribbon mics have, IMO, an analogue sound - smooth, warm, silky - which is why I use them a lot on strings but also think they are great on sax. Ribbons, by necessity, also employ transformers to boost their very low output.  The mic pre also has input transformers, all of which creates an analogue quality.  The 'analogue sound' isn't just from the use of tape but also the transformers in the recording chain they used to use 'back in the day.'

A little explanation about the drums - because the recording didn't use any mixing and no spot mics, the drums are indeed further back for the sake of balance. It can, on the other hand, create a greater 3 dimensional soundstage instead of two dimensional when using a mixer and spot mics.  

Thank you!

Thank you also for the compliments and your input.

Yes, the ribbon mics don't have the sparkly character of condenser mics and may come off as a bit dull or perhaps I should say understated, but I still love them for their warmth and silky quality. I could give them more sparkle in postproduction but then I think...but why use them?  It's another character that has its own beauty....at least that's how I look at it.  

Yes, I agree to get everything right when recording, especially the acoustics, so you don't have to correct in post. That is what I always aim for.  Less is more!

I'll look into the Tascam.


Glad my impressions of the soundstage are consistent with the actual arrangement; a credit to your recording and my Vandersteens.  :)