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Behind the Scenes: a "vintage" orchestral recording session.

London 31/01/14 -  Advanced Audio Microphones had a chance to shine in a way they have never before; on a large ensemble in a world class studio, with award winning pro's at the helm!



                                                  "Studio one at Angel Recording Studios"                

 Three sessions, all taking place at Angel Recording Studio's in London, consisted of 40 of the finest London players and a saxophone soloist. 5 time Grammy nominee Chris Walden arranged and conducted the group, while James McMillan brought his award winning producing skills. Mic choices for a session of this size are not taken lightly. So, when James proposed using AA mics it required some discussion. Niall John Acott, the engineer for the session,  and James have used AA microphones in the past, but never on such a large scale.

" We've used Advanced Audio mics in recent years on a few different sources, mainly CM12se and CM47ve on vocals. More recently, we recorded a string quartet using the CM12's on violins, CM47 on viola and a CM67se on Cello, with great results. A stereo pair of CM28's in ORTF performed well as an ambient pair. The 67 is particularly sonorous on cello." - Niall John Acott

Sony Classics was willing to back James and Niall on the decision to utilize the selection of AA mics they had at their disposal in a more vintage set up. (View the official mic sheet here)

"We decided to try two mic set ups, to investigate the possibilities with an entirely Advanced Audio  microphone setup, against our normal mix of Neumann's, AKG's etc" - James McMillan


                                                               "CM67se's in a Decca tree"

 "A Decca tree of CM67se's in omni pattern, with a pair of CM12se's as outriggers in wide cardioid. Augmented by spot mics on harp (CM48), Piano (CM47ve pair), woodwinds and french horn ( CM28's ambient pair) and finally a CM67se on our soloist. I was keen to compare the CM47fetCE with an original 47fet on the cello front desk. Also the CM87se up against a non ai U87 on the basses."

The session had double mics on everything, a sign of the initial worry many have with AA microphones in comparison to the, " usual suspects, mainly Neumann, with Royer and AKG making an appearance." The CM67se's were up against a triplet of M150 valves, " to give an expansive (and expensive) main sound to the orchestra."                               

                       "CM87 and U87 on bass"                                "CM47 and M147 on piano"

"The AA mics added a fullness, a thickness to the overall sound that wasn't apparent in the main set up. It certainly didn't get any thinner! I was impressed with the 67's as a Decca tree - well defined, classy sound, good sensitivity at a distance from the source, controlled low end and no perceptible noise level.

All the spot mics worked a treat, with the CM47ve being pressed into solo on one cello piece and the CM87se for viola ( viola solo!?) The CM47's were predictably delicious on piano."

The surprise of the day: The CM48 on harp!

"Excellent presence and transient response, and brought out the notes beautifully. The CM28's also sounded very nice. They filled out the woods and horn sound and gave some distance to the close mics - a great section sound"


                                                     "CM28's in the woodwind booth"

A big risk for any engineer on a session of this size is choosing a microphone that is reliable. The big names are tried and true, they know what they will get. If an AA mic had failed or if the sonic value had not been up to par, well, who ever made that call would likely not work again.

"All the mics that AA provided worked perfectly throughout the 12 hours - no technical failures, no popped valves, no noisy cables, no drooping mounts. They pay attention to detail at Advanced Audio." - Niall John Acott -  Engineer.

The final verdicts all rang with the same glow of approval:

" It sounds like a 300 piece philharmonic orchestra, you are onto something special here." - Sony Classics rep.

"All in all, the Advanced Audio Microphones proved to be up to the challenge. None of us could be any happier with the result" - Niall John Acott ( freelance recording engineer)

"The AA setup sounded fabulous, particularly a 'decca tree' of three CM67se's." - James McMillan ( Producer)

"All I can say is that it sounded really great." - Chris Walden ( Arranger and composer)