Stavanger Symphony Orchestra — CD Sessions

CD recording with the SSO

I’ve had a really amazing opportunity this past week to sit in with tonmeister Ulrike Schwartz and professor/engineer Jim Anderson while they record the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra’s (SSO’s) next CD release. Being around engineers with so much experience is really amazing, plus the symphony and hall are world class. It’s a real treat.

I’ve also had the opportunity to listen the last album they recorded with the SSO  of Brahms Symphony No 2 in 5.1. The surround channels really add a lot to the overall sound, especially considering how great the hall is. They did record it (and are recording this time as well) in 9.1, but a 9.1 version has yet to be released. The setup for the 9.1 is different from what I’ve seen before. We are using a traditional decca tree with surround mics, but we are only recording the height channels for the front here, and even those are not directly above the LCR. The rear channels are being recorded at the 3rd row of the symphony, above the room microphones. We only have a 5.1 playback in the control room, but I’m really curious to see how this sounds with the microphones so spread out. I suspect it will create a natural rear reverb. It would be interesting to try this and compare it with using an AB cube like the one 2L is using.

I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say about the music they are recording as the CD won’t be out for a while, but it is a symphony by a Norwegian composer and more modern than Brahms. We are using over 40 microphones in total with some very nice ones including TLM50s on the decca. Most of the spots are KM 140s and 84s which I found surprising because I expected more diversity between the choices for winds and brass, etc; however, it did make our lives much easier when we had to strike everything in the middle of the week and then reset it the next day because of another event in the hall. Also, the gear was rented and brought in, so this makes sense.

I can’t wait to hear the finished result. I’m just helping out with setup and running around as needed, but watching the interplay between the composer, engineer, tonmeister, and Pyramix operator is really interesting. Also, there are lots of gummy bears, which if you ask me, are super important for any audio work ;).