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Old December 13th, 2014, 11:49 AM   #46
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin McDonald View Post
I'll stick my head above the parapet. :-)

It think it boils down to it being a matter of preference. For me, there's too much mechanical noise in both recordings, particularly the second one. I suppose it is really about how much one considers the sound of fingers moving about to be part of the tone of the guitar. I wouldn't thank anyone for a recording of a bassoon or bass clarinet where the keywork could be heard moving, but those close enough to a performer (beside, behind, in front of) in an ensemble can hear all sorts of sounds from instruments and their players that are not normally audible to the audience or considered desirable to record. Breathing sounds from singers in opera/oratorio/lieder are generally not a feature of recordings any more than wind and brass players breathing or brass players putting mutes in or out or emptying water keys.

Having said all that, thanks for posting all the guitar pieces I really enjoyed watching and listening to them, and some other recordings you have posted elsewhere. Your guitars are clearly superb instruments.
Again I agree Colin, the first according is too hot, and Michael chooses to put the mics way too close for my taste. The second recording keep in mind was done on a Sony hand held PCM-D50..... and it really doesn't pick up any detail, it picks up the aftermath of the attack not the beauty. Both of these recordings were not done by me I just did the video..... although I did provide the Sony D-50 and gave the file to Michael to edit at home.

When I record I place the mics further away thus picking up less nail noise.

The Church was challenging because it was an old Spanish mission located in Cerrilios, New Mexico..... with ancient floorboards that creaked with every step...... I literally couldn't move!
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Old December 13th, 2014, 12:12 PM   #47
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Thanks Garrett, a lot to cover, but let me start by saying for me personally I don't care what recordings sound like on a pair of $20,000 monitors I only care what it sounds like on an iPhone with ear buds, or computer speakers, I know that sounds nuts but most people use these devices to listen to music these days. After recording one guitarist I sent him the video and he only listened to it on his iPhone.

It's actually weird to walk into someone home and see a good stereo system any more. I have built in Bose speakers in the ceiling and I can't remember the last time I turn them on maybe 5 years ago? Everything is on my computer speakers. I also watch all my videos on the computer as well so for my videos..... all I care about is what it looks like on YouTube.

Regarding un edited direct to disc recordings...... sounds like fun! However, I think this is the exception to the rule.

No I don't get paid anything for making these videos, unless you consider the money I make selling guitars, I'm basically promoting my products and the pay off has been incredible so I'm good with it.
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Old December 13th, 2014, 12:51 PM   #48
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

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Originally Posted by Michael Thames View Post
It's actually weird to walk into someone home and see a good stereo system any more. I have built in Bose speakers in the ceiling and I can't remember the last time I turn them on maybe 5 years ago? Everything is on my computer speakers. I also watch all my videos on the computer as well so for my videos..... all I care about is what it looks like on YouTube.

Regarding un edited direct to disc recordings...... sounds like fun! However, I think this is the exception to the rule.
We all run in different circle. Yes, it is not the norm to walk into someone's house and find that they have completely arranged their living space around their audio equipment, but there are more than you would think. I used to be one of those people, until the boss (translation wife) refused to live with it. It was a tough decision but ultimately I think living with my wife was the right decision over my room filling speakers.

But, I still do know people who have their $100K+ systems and are willing to spend $30K on a turntable. Many of the ultra-high end audio-files I know are classical musicians. It is always interesting talking to them about what, in their mind makes a superb recording. They often talk about the interaction of the instruments with the environment and each other. I was talking to one violinist and I thought that she would like to have a mic close in on her so that we could hear the subtle details of her fingers and vibrations of the bow on the strings (I've always been a sucker for recordings with a lot of detail). After listening to it she said that it was all wrong. She said what we really needed was "to be able to hear the instrument sing". After some discussion and discovery it was the nuances of things like the texture the wood gave to the sound and the way the waves transformed slightly with interactions in the hall that she wanted. That is what she heard when sitting in the audience listening to a violin and that is what she wanted to capture. So it turns out that the best sound for her was about 1/4 way up in the concert hall with a stereo pair. Granted, this was a world class concert hall that was designed to make music sound great. But, in the end I have to admit it was a superior recording to close mic'ing. That would have been apparent on any device. So, again, there is no one best or even one better way of recording. All situations need to be evaluated on an individual basis.

As for direct to disc recording I've never done one but after speaking to some who have it is a maddening exercise in achieving the right balance. It takes a long time to get everything set up correctly and then its a nerve racking experience until you get to hear the results. Imagine you had one take to shoot a 25 minute scene. Then you had to wait a week or so to be able to watch it. Probably wouldn't get too much sleep for a week if you were the DP or Director. It also takes a lot of trust between the artist and the engineer. Fun, maybe.
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Old December 21st, 2014, 07:19 PM   #49
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Hello Jonathan. Kudos to you for asking questions! There is a lot of speculation here. To anyone accustomed to pop recording, the arrangement may look odd. For those in the classical world, it is much less shocking, even mundane (but the art is in the details...). I record big orchestras and solo artists, and I've had the privilege of working with performers and music directors in many spaces. There is no one-size-fits-all, but you must be sensitive to the artist, the instrument, the repertoire.

The church in your pictures is in St John Chrysostom Church in Newmarket, near Toronto, and is a favorite spot of the producer/recordist Norbert Kraft. Many guitarists work with him and the recordings are distributed by Naxos. Here is a recording in the same space:


The mics in the video look like Neumann u87s or u89s, the same seen in almost all of his videos. The ones in your picture look different, but the balance won't be dramatically different when recording in the same space. It may be cleaner though, as u87s are colored off-axis.

Recording in a studio isn't morally wrong of course, but a super close, dry recording is unlikely to be what is expected. Instead, classical musicians and engineers often milk the room. Indeed, the musician will play differently depending on the room. That said, you will find many guitarists who are very happy with a sound closer to their instrument. After all, they are always a foot from their instrument, and that is the sound they are used to.
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Old December 21st, 2014, 07:22 PM   #50
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

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Old December 24th, 2014, 01:22 AM   #51
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Hi Michael

A bit late getting back to you (been traveling a lot.)

I kept thinking while watching the living room recording that I would also have stepped back a bit. But unlike some, I really do like to hear the fingers sliding on the strings - I think it's part of the character of the instrument. A zillion years ago I tried to learn classical guitar. I soon concluded that it would be better for everyone if I ceased and desisted but I gained an appreciation for the instrument that I never would have had if I hadn't tried. My teacher also had a lute and he let me play (with!) it. Wonderful wonderful instrument. I've never had the opportunity to record one, unfortunately.

I'll definitely get in touch next time we head to your neck of the woods.
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Old December 24th, 2014, 09:52 AM   #52
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Guitarists can spend years searching for the perfect instrument which are typically selected for having uncommon tone. When recording in a large venue the tone of the instrument is masked by the tone of the hall and you're hearing the reflections of the room rather than the timbre of the instrument. Even worse is when an engineer adds reverb in post. Furthermore, the technique of a player is also masked when you start hearing reflections. The greatest players go to great lengths to insure their finger nails are filed and polished like glass prior to performing and the range of tones can be extraordinary which again is lessened in an echo laced recording. The greatest players can make their instrument sing in a broom closet. Many of the older Christopher Parkening recordings, which are among my favorites of all time, have very little room reflection and you're therefore hearing the guitar and the artist and little else.
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Old December 26th, 2014, 07:34 AM   #53
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Just a matter of personal preference but when I listen to a classical recording I like to hear what I imagine I would be hearing as a member of the audience sitting in the best seat in the house at the performance venue.
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Old December 26th, 2014, 01:51 PM   #54
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

One thing to keep in mind is the likely scale of the performance venue. For epic horns and percussion, the venue is likely a large concert hall. Recorded dry, the sound will be small and weak. Record it well in a grand hall, and the power resonates.

A small chamber orchestra is likely to play in, well, a chamber, or smaller hall. A string quartet might play at a wedding reception. A solo guitarist might play in a coffee shop.

To me, Mahler would be straight-jacketed in a small venue, while Segovia would be swallowed alive in a 5,000 seat pavilion.

So in addition to artistic choice, there is the context. Solo instruments are more intimate by nature than large ensembles.

I think the presence of an audience affects the choice as well. A studio-style recording can be relatively dry. Add the sounds of a live audience and a dry recording would just sound wrong.
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Old December 27th, 2014, 08:37 AM   #55
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Speaking of venues, for those who enjoy classical, the Berlin Philharmonic is streaming its entire concert season and library of previous seasons by subscription on the web, www.digitalconcerthall.com
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Old December 30th, 2014, 10:16 AM   #56
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Thanks again all.

Christian,

Yes I believe that Adam is recording with Norbert Kraft. He is supposed to be one of the best and yes also that Adam is recording for Naxos.

The response on this thread has been amazing! I even forwarded this on the my nephew and he is blown away as well!

Happy New Year everyone.

Jonathan
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Old February 8th, 2015, 08:28 AM   #57
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

One more!

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Old February 9th, 2015, 03:12 PM   #58
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Note also in those original photos that it was not by accident that there is a carpet under the performer and all the way out to the mic stands and the edge of the stage. This was almost certainly intentional to reduce near/fast reflections and reverb in preference to the "room tome". And of course the room was chosen to provide the ambience not only for the recording, but also for the performer to hear himself.
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Old February 14th, 2015, 07:50 AM   #59
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian Brown View Post
Hello Jonathan. Kudos to you for asking questions! There is a lot of speculation here. To anyone accustomed to pop recording, the arrangement may look odd. For those in the classical world, it is much less shocking, even mundane (but the art is in the details...). I record big orchestras and solo artists, and I've had the privilege of working with performers and music directors in many spaces. There is no one-size-fits-all, but you must be sensitive to the artist, the instrument, the repertoire.

The church in your pictures is in St John Chrysostom Church in Newmarket, near Toronto, and is a favorite spot of the producer/recordist Norbert Kraft. Many guitarists work with him and the recordings are distributed by Naxos. Here is a recording in the same space:

Anabel Montesinos plays Dance of the Corregidor - YouTube

The mics in the video look like Neumann u87s or u89s, the same seen in almost all of his videos. The ones in your picture look different, but the balance won't be dramatically different when recording in the same space. It may be cleaner though, as u87s are colored off-axis.

Recording in a studio isn't morally wrong of course, but a super close, dry recording is unlikely to be what is expected. Instead, classical musicians and engineers often milk the room. Indeed, the musician will play differently depending on the room. That said, you will find many guitarists who are very happy with a sound closer to their instrument. After all, they are always a foot from their instrument, and that is the sound they are used to.
When I listen to this I'm hearing too much room sound. It isn't bad but the quality of the guitar seems to get swallowed up in room sound.
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Old February 14th, 2015, 08:07 AM   #60
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Re: Recording Classical Guitar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Adam View Post
Guitarists can spend years searching for the perfect instrument which are typically selected for having uncommon tone. When recording in a large venue the tone of the instrument is masked by the tone of the hall and you're hearing the reflections of the room rather than the timbre of the instrument. Even worse is when an engineer adds reverb in post. Furthermore, the technique of a player is also masked when you start hearing reflections. The greatest players go to great lengths to insure their finger nails are filed and polished like glass prior to performing and the range of tones can be extraordinary which again is lessened in an echo laced recording. The greatest players can make their instrument sing in a broom closet. Many of the older Christopher Parkening recordings, which are among my favorites of all time, have very little room reflection and you're therefore hearing the guitar and the artist and little else.
I wrote my last post before reading your post. Yes, exactly! The room and reverb on these recordings are too much! That's why I prefer a controlled environment. Either you add some reverb in post, or you have to accept and use the natural reverb you end up with in a massive sized church..... and then add more apparently... LOL! It's like filming in C-log or standard, C-log is better because you can do more in post.

Unless you are a touring concert guitarist playing in huge halls on a nightly basis, these huge spaces sound very foreign to the guitarists ear, and quite frankly the recordings in the church by Norbert Kraft, as good as they are do not in any way reproduce the sound as the audience hears it. It's odd I find them to sound distant.
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