Thursday, January 24, 2013

Russian for Russian

Recording the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York is a spiritual experience. After Sunday's show I didn't think they could be any better. Nope. On Wednesday they were even more awesome.
I recorded using a pair of Oktava microphones. Fitting, isn't it? Russian microphones for the Russian Chamber Chorus.
One of the mics was an old silver one and the other was a newer black one. Even though the old silver one had been beat up over the years I couldn't tell the difference between the two sound - wise (I flipped them right and left during rehearsals just to make sure.)
For the actual recording they were in an X/Y configuration. You can see that the silver one has taken a hit.
I don't know if I'm becoming grumpy in my old age or I'm just letting myself be swayed by stuff I know intellectually or what but I like these Oktavas better for almost everything right now. They are vastly cheaper microphones than the AKG 460's. But they're smoother both on-axis and off-axis. Yes, the AKG mics have a bit more lift in the upper mids which many people find pleasing. But at the place I'm in with my life right now I like smooth.
It may be that I like the non-lobing off-axis sound the most with the Oktavas. Most directional microphones sound yukkity when you're not directly in front of them. And a lot of sound in a natural recording situation hits the microphones from behind (like all the reverberation from the back of the church). That stuff sounding bassy and squffly can make the whole recording sound less... well less musical.
So yeah. Microphone selection is more religion than science.
Now if we could only do something about the heating valve that was just over a quarter-tone sharper than the key I'd be all set.

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