Production with the Monstein Ensemble Pt. 2

Hey folks!

This is part 2 of the blog on the recording sessions with the "Dimitri Monstein Ensemble".

The second session was all about strings (*drool*) and before I begin, I want to say something about preparation.
I can't stress enough the importance of good preparation, especially for a recording session. There's so many variables and so many things that can go wrong, it's best to check as much as you can before the session. Time is valuable and sitting around trying to fix a problem is no fun for anyone in the studio. I learned that the hard way...

So to prepare for that session, I made backing tracks of all the material, complete with an optional click track and a good balance. I think it's helpful for someone playing over a backing track to have a track that sounds at least in the ballpark of where it needs to be.
Playing over raw recordings just isn't as pleasurable..
Additionally, I planned out my microphone setup and prepared the gear as far as I could.
Unfortunately, we had the trouble of dealing with several broken headphone extension cables and going back to what I said earlier, I'm definitely going to add that to my pre-recording-checklist.

In terms of microphone setup I went for a stereo ribbon room mic supported by ribbon close mics and a large diaphragm condenser for the cello.
Strings can be tricky, especially if the room isn't very large and experimenting with different positions and microphones is essential in getting a good sound.
In this case, the room was plenty big and the setup worked wonderfully. I just love the sound of ribbon microphones for strings... Here's a picture of the string quartet in action.

Photo by Felix Groteloh

Photo by Felix Groteloh

You can see that even the close mics are still not very close to the instrument. I found that the closer I get, the more I dislike the sound. You also have to account for the movements that the players are making during a performance. There's nothing worse than having a brilliant take ruined by the musician moving out of the microphones "sight".

At the time of writing this blog, the post production is almost done, so stay tuned for the results!

So long,

-Rob