List well mastered, engineered and recorded CD's here please... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 46 Old 04-11-2013, 02:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I hope Im not repeating an old thread, but I looked and couldnt find anything. I would like to use this thread to compile a short list of really well engineered and recorded CD's, as well as some poorly recorded ones. Basically I need some new musical sources of other genres other than what I have in my library. I will be receiving the last part of my system upgrade and I want some diverse music sources to show it off and to also listen to for myself.

Despite listening to classical music on a daily basis, I only own maybe 1 or 2 classical CD's that really arent mastered that well. Can anyone suggest a few, very well recorded, classsical CD's? Perhaps some Jazz as well.
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post #2 of 46 Old 04-11-2013, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffypuck View Post

I hope Im not repeating an old thread, but I looked and couldnt find anything. I would like to use this thread to compile a short list of really well engineered and recorded CD's, as well as some poorly recorded ones. Basically I need some new musical sources of other genres other than what I have in my library. I will be receiving the last part of my system upgrade and I want some diverse music sources to show it off and to also listen to for myself.

Despite listening to classical music on a daily basis, I only own maybe 1 or 2 classical CD's that really arent mastered that well. Can anyone suggest a few, very well recorded, classsical CD's? Perhaps some Jazz as well.

Yes, you are repeating an existing thread.


http://www.avsforum.com/t/1030712/what-is-your-reference-cd-or-sacd
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post #3 of 46 Old 06-07-2013, 06:23 AM
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I recommend the Pieter Wispelwey Bach recordings,both the old and the new one,very well recorded.

for Jazz I'd recommend the High End Downloads from the Amsterdam label Sound Liaison
.I.
here is the review that led me to those recordings,just posted it on another topic as well.
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I've been among the prophets saying that high-resolution downloads are the future of audiophile music sales. Surely it will benefit the majors to make high-quality downloads a first choice rather than an MP3 extra, but I believe that individual artists can benefit as well. Most new-to-the-scene performers have little money for middlemen and disc manufacture, yet can get things together for the Internet.

Frans de Rond and Peter Bjørnild have taken this approach with Sound Liaison, producing recordings available only in 24-bit/96kHz downloads that mirror the master recording. And man, are they ever sweet. I've seldom heard recordings that were so successful in both performance and sound aspects.

De Rond hails from the Netherlands, where he studied double bass at The Royal Conservatory in The Hague while concurrently studying recording techniques. Bjørnild also studied double bass, moving to the Netherlands to continue studies at The Hague. Since graduating, he has played almost every type of music, from classical to jazz. Together de Rond and Bjørnild bring two pairs of golden ears to their label. Bjørnild claims that, "a recording should be as realistic and beautiful sounding as possible. As if, when closing your eyes, you find yourself in the best seat in the hall."

The partners discovered a fine recording hall (Studio-Eleven, Hilversum) and set out to record amazing musicians in this great acoustic place in front of live audiences. It's a daring feat; one take and no place to hide, but the abilities of the musicians involved make it seem easy. I chose to talk about the first album by Carmen Gomes Inc. It was a tough choice because all of the three current albums were worthy of review.

Carmen Gomes has won many awards in the Netherlands and surrounding areas. Like so many new European singers, she sings in English -- excellent English, I might add. She's formed a group called Carmen Gomes Inc., with Folker Tettero on guitar, Peter Bjørnild on double bass, and Marcel van Engelen on drums. Her style is bluesy and intimate with a sexy voice that's sweet as dark tupelo honey, and her interpretations are unerring. The musicians play to her and to each other, and the ensemble is so tight that the four musicians breathe and move as one.

There are some standards on the set that knocked me over with their fresh approach. Any singer can misplace a few accents and rhythms and come up with something that's original, but perhaps also uneasy and a little strange. Not Gomes, who has taken the songs to their bones and then restructured them to suit her style. Thus "Fever" doesn't sound like a cover of Peggy Lee; it sounds like a brand new take on a familiar song. You emerge from hearing it not thinking it's better or lesser than Lee's version, but that it's a valid new interpretation that could have come first.

The same approach works on "Angel Eyes," "You Don't Know What Love Is," and "I'm on Fire." Most of the rest, including the title song, "Oblivion," "Time Will Tell," "Gasoa Blue," and "The Sea," are Gomes originals that fit right in with the standards. The recording achieves exactly what Bjørnild set out as his goal. It can provide the best seat in your listening room. Go to the Sound Liaison site, listen to a few samples, download an album, and see if you don't agree that this intimate effort is one of the best and best-sounding jazz vocal albums to come along in many a day. By the way, the small audience applauds enthusiastically enough after the last chords of a song die away, but the attendees never interrupt or make themselves known while a song is going on. No doubt they were completely mesmerized into silence, as was I.

Be sure to listen to: On "Dock of the Bay," Gomes creates a languid, bluesy version that is a little bit reminiscent of Bobbie Gentry while still coming across as quite original. It'll cast a spell over you.

. . . Rad Bennett
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post #4 of 46 Old 06-07-2013, 06:42 PM
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Virtually ANY of the old Mercury Living Presence classical recordings from the 1960s and late 1950s are excellent.

They are available on CD and most are also on SACD.

Also, ANYTHING from the OPUS 3 label is a 10 on anybody's scale; marvelous stuff. May Audio is the US distributor. These were made in Sweden by an engineering team that were fanatics about using the finest acoustical spaces and microphones. The recordings are stunning.

Also, almost anything on the DELOS label is excellent. The Engineer's Choice I and II CD.s are collections of classical tracks engineered by John Eargle, who is one of the best. Delos 4001 (Joe Williams, Nothin but the Blues), which was made in the early 1980s, is very good. While all the other recording companies were using the inferior Sony digital recording gear in the early days and cranking out crap, DELOS used the SOUNDSTREAM system and made some very nice recordings.

The recordings RCA made in the late 1950s and 1960s with the Chicago Symphony under Reiner are also excellent. Many of the early Living Stereo RCA recordings are very good.

Anything on the Reference Recordings label is excellent.

Check out the Music Direct catalog for a lot of the better stuff, especially the SACDs.

Oh...and THE best classical recording you will ever hear...lol-the Beethoven Symphony #9 recording on the ARTS label (# 47248) by Peter Maag directing the Orchestre di Padova y Del Veneto. You haven't heard the 9th until you hear THIS!!!! ( I have heard it live several times, and never enjoyed it as much as this recording; acoustical problems tend to make staging it very difficult).


For jazz, the OPUS 3 recordings, and the Jazz at the Pawnshop recording, which is amazing.

Most of the albums on Concord Jazz are very well-recorded and mastered.


Some of the Worst classical recordings I own are on Telarc (although I have some very good Telarc recordings too). The engineers who did some of the duds should be banned.
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post #5 of 46 Old 01-19-2014, 08:00 AM
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I'm not sure if anyone is still following but The Eagles hotel California is one of my best sounding SACD's. Also most anything that was originally done at Abbey Road tends to stand up to the test of time, if the original was well dome the remastering process can be made easier and they tend to come out better IMO.
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post #6 of 46 Old 01-19-2014, 11:25 AM
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Almost anything on Delos or OPUS 3 is excellent.
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post #7 of 46 Old 01-20-2014, 03:10 PM
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Reference Recording.
Copland: Fanfare For The Common Man, Symphony #3
Bolero! - Orchestral Fireworks
Keith Lockhart conducting the Utah Symphony
in Symphonic Dances

Sheffield Labs:
Heartbeat Drummers of Japan
Harry James & His Big Band
James Newton Howard & Friends

Mobile Fidelity:
Holst The Planets

Mercury Living Presence Stereo:
1812: Tchaikovsky Festival Overture, Op. 49 / Wellington's Victory: Beethoven Battle Symphony, Op. 91 - one of my favorite versions of 1812, there are two MLP recordings, the Reiner version doesn't have the cannons


Just a few of my favorite
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post #8 of 46 Old 01-21-2014, 07:42 AM
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You may try releases from this http://www.dtrmusic.com/ place. They all were recorded with just two microphones and minimal mastering.
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post #9 of 46 Old 01-22-2014, 03:07 PM
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Wow there are so many I could mention but I'll mention the ones I use for testing my gear.

Pink Floyd-The Final Cut. Good dynamic range, very "warm" sound.

David Gilmour-David Gilmour. Just good over all sound.

The Beatles-Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Just a great sounding album, considering when it was made.

Metallica- Ride the Lighting. A good example of a "loud" album that has dynamic range.

There's countless others but that's the ones I use to show off my gear.

"Then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told when to run you missed the starting gun."
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post #10 of 46 Old 01-22-2014, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

You may try releases from this http://www.dtrmusic.com/ place. They all were recorded with just two microphones and minimal mastering.

Why would that sound good? It's much harder to get an album to sound good with just two microphones, when Pink Floyd started to sound really good they were using 48 channel mixers and 24-track reel-to-reel recorders! Hell The Beatles had 4-track recorders, in the 60's! I don't get the whole obsession with purposelessly using less mics than what's needed, listen to DSOTM then listen to the Wall and notice how much better vocals and drums fit in the mix.

"Then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told when to run you missed the starting gun."
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Not classical, but many audiophiles luv anything released by Steely Dan. 

 

A  great example would be: 'Two Against Nature'

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post #12 of 46 Old 01-22-2014, 05:31 PM
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Not classical, but many audiophiles luv anything released by Steely Dan. 

A  great example would be: 'Two Against Nature'



Agreed, his music has always sounded great.
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post #13 of 46 Old 01-22-2014, 05:35 PM
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Agreed, his music has always sounded great.

Ha, ha. Didn't let you get away with it!

¿lɐɯɹou ǝq ʎɥʍ

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post #14 of 46 Old 01-22-2014, 05:43 PM
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Wow there are so many I could mention but I'll mention the ones I use for testing my gear.

Pink Floyd-The Final Cut. Good dynamic range, very "warm" sound.

David Gilmour-David Gilmour. Just good over all sound.

The Beatles-Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Just a great sounding album, considering when it was made.

Metallica- Ride the Lighting. A good example of a "loud" album that has dynamic range.

There's countless others but that's the ones I use to show off my gear.



I own all those you listed and your right on the money wink.gif
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post #15 of 46 Old 01-22-2014, 07:52 PM
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You may try releases from this http://www.dtrmusic.com/ place. They all were recorded with just two microphones and minimal mastering.

Why would that sound good? It's much harder to get an album to sound good with just two microphones, when Pink Floyd started to sound really good they were using 48 channel mixers and 24-track reel-to-reel recorders! Hell The Beatles had 4-track recorders, in the 60's! I don't get the whole obsession with purposelessly using less mics than what's needed, listen to DSOTM then listen to the Wall and notice how much better vocals and drums fit in the mix.

Pink Floyd and Beatles are not right examples. They are electric bands. So whatever goes to record is synthesized by mixing engineers. When you record acoustic music in live setting, one can choose to capture sound in hall rather than simulate it using FX processors. There just few microphones can be enough. This is exactly what these folks do. Do you recall Mercury Living Presence records and how good most if them sound?
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post #16 of 46 Old 01-22-2014, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

Pink Floyd and Beatles are not right examples. They are electric bands. So whatever goes to record is synthesized by mixing engineers. When you record acoustic music in live setting, one can choose to capture sound in hall rather than simulate it using FX processors. There just few microphones can be enough. This is exactly what these folks do. Do you recall Mercury Living Presence records and how good most if them sound?



Don't kid yourself anything that is recorded is processed in one way or another. Unless your talking about something else?
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post #17 of 46 Old 01-22-2014, 10:24 PM
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Pink Floyd and Beatles are not right examples. They are electric bands. So whatever goes to record is synthesized by mixing engineers. When you record acoustic music in live setting, one can choose to capture sound in hall rather than simulate it using FX processors. There just few microphones can be enough. This is exactly what these folks do. Do you recall Mercury Living Presence records and how good most if them sound?



Don't kid yourself anything that is recorded is processed in one way or another. Unless your talking about something else?

I spoke with engineer behind these (DTR) records. That is why I know what they do.
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post #18 of 46 Old 01-22-2014, 10:36 PM
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I spoke with engineer behind these (DTR) records. That is why I know what they do.



I find that very interesting, I'd like to know what the process is from beginning to end. If it's all acoustical there is no soundboard to tap into, so I get the microphone part. I'm just wondering how they process it and put it on an album. Thanks for your post smile.gif
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post #19 of 46 Old 01-23-2014, 05:19 AM
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I find that very interesting, I'd like to know what the process is from beginning to end. If it's all acoustical there is no soundboard to tap into, so I get the microphone part. I'm just wondering how they process it and put it on an album. Thanks for your post smile.gif

I think he's talking about effects processors, even then musicians use more than two microphones.

"Then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told when to run you missed the starting gun."
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post #20 of 46 Old 01-23-2014, 06:09 AM
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I think he's talking about effects processors, even then musicians use more than two microphones.



Wouldn't there still be a mixing from all the different microphones and it would end up not sounding at all like we heard it live? Being an avid concert goer venue acoustics vary from spot to spot immensely. Or am I off track here?
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post #21 of 46 Old 01-23-2014, 06:25 AM
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I think he's talking about effects processors, even then musicians use more than two microphones.



Wouldn't there still be a mixing from all the different microphones and it would end up not sounding at all like we heard it live? Being an avid concert goer venue acoustics vary from spot to spot immensely. Or am I off track here?

Most of their records are just two microphones direct to hard disk recorder, and minimally processed after that. No compressor or FX used.
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post #22 of 46 Old 01-23-2014, 11:14 AM
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Most of their records are just two microphones direct to hard disk recorder, and minimally processed after that. No compressor or FX used.

For classical that would be fine, but for rock it would be nightmare, just listen to "When the Levee breaks" to get an idea of what that's like.

"Then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told when to run you missed the starting gun."
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post #23 of 46 Old 01-23-2014, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

Most of their records are just two microphones direct to hard disk recorder, and minimally processed after that. No compressor or FX used.

For classical that would be fine, but for rock it would be nightmare, just listen to "When the Levee breaks" to get an idea of what that's like.

Did I say anything about rock? Their releases are classical, with few other acoustic (non-amplified) music. Mostly organ and chorus works.
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post #24 of 46 Old 05-23-2014, 03:55 AM
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Wow there are so many I could mention but I'll mention the ones I use for testing my gear.

Pink Floyd-The Final Cut. Good dynamic range, very "warm" sound.

David Gilmour-David Gilmour. Just good over all sound.

The Beatles-Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Just a great sounding album, considering when it was made.

Metallica- Ride the Lighting. A good example of a "loud" album that has dynamic range.

There's countless others but that's the ones I use to show off my gear.


Finally someone mentions some bands I can enjoy listening to. Just not into classical etc.

 

I have just began to play with ripping my cd's into flac files. Is there any way to know which versions of the cd will produce the better flac file? Most of the classic rock bands have had so many different versions of the same cd released, I would like to make sure Im now wasting my time ripping the wrong versions.


Denon AVR 4306 - B&W 802D - B&W HTM2 Center - B&W CTSW15 - B&W SA1000 - Rotel 1575 - B&W DS3
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post #25 of 46 Old 05-23-2014, 04:07 AM
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I liked to use "Social Studies" as demo disk. Often, track 2 "Copyright Royalties".

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post #26 of 46 Old 05-23-2014, 04:34 PM
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Here you go:

http://www.amazon.com/Orff-Carmina-Burana-Jonathan-Summers/dp/B00001ZSXC

Read the reviews, and you will get some idea of how great it is. It is so good, people complain about it. Seriously. Read the most helpful reviews, and the reviews written by idiots who give it one star because it has too much dynamic range for them to like it.

Just don't expect to be able to use it as background music.

Here is one of the good reviews, which tries to explain the "volume" issues that some people have with it:

5.0 out of 5 stars Dynamic music goes both loud and soft., March 26, 2002
By A Customer


This review is from: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)
Carmina Burana is a very dynamic piece of music that has loud and soft portions. This means that it is not suitable to be used as background music, but it does not mean that there is a problem with the sound levels. Other pieces that come to mind are Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, or, for that matter, Beethoven's Symphonies, all of which are not suitable as backgound music, unless they are performed anemically.

The sound quality of this analog recording is excellent.

The music is alternately sublime and brutal.

The performance is magnificent, with Augér being the standout. Her voice is amazing, and the Dulcissime (track 23) is proof that she was one of the greatest sopranos of all time. The dynamic performance gives the disk a "live" quality, as if one were hearing a live performance rather than a recording. If you go hear an orchestra live, you should not expect them to remain quiet, unless the piece requires that (or it is a bad performance).

The fact that you can get this superb CD for so little money demonstrates that "you get what you pay for" is a lie. It is one of the best CDs I own (I own about 600 CDs).

Buy this great CD. Unless, of course, you are looking for music that will put you to sleep. Then I advise you to pick a different piece of music, not simply a different performance.

For the benefit of a certain other reviewer: Amazon does give a warning about this CD -- see Robert Levine's 'Editorial Review' above, which concludes with: "Warning: The louds are very loud." Word to the wise: Shop at Amazon.com for getting information about a CD before you buy. And buy this great CD unless you want a recording that has been severely compressed dynamically in order to allow it to be used as elevator music. The dynamics of this recording are close to what you would hear at a live performance.

Edited 19 September 2007 to add:

Having attended live performances of symphonic music on many occasions, I can say definitively that it is common for an orchestra to play so loud that one can barely stand it, and so soft that one can barely hear it. Obviously, this will not be the case with every piece of music, but it is the case with music that is very dynamic, such as this piece. This is one of the few CDs that capture this. If the volume control is set properly, and if your system is good enough to reproduce this, it will be so soft in the soft portions that you will barely be able to hear it, and the loud portions will be very, very loud. This means that this is not suitable for background music, nor is it suitable in a room that is not otherwise very quiet (as then it must be even louder for the soft parts to be heard over noise in the room). A concert hall is typically a place of quiet, other than the sound of the performers (and, unfortunately, the occasional cough, but this recording, not being "live", does not have coughs in it). To properly play this CD, you must also have a room that is quiet other than the sound from the CD. Now, if you don't want to listen to music this way, or if your system distorts horribly when the volume is turned up loud, then this CD is not for you. But if you want something as close as possible to what you would get in a concert hall, and if your stereo is up to the task, then this disc is for you.

Unfortunately, these days, most people never hear music live; they only listen to recordings. Typically, recordings are compressed dynamically (i.e., the difference between the loud portions and the soft portions is artificially diminished, so it is closer to the same volume all the time), so that is what people tend to expect. Historically, such compression was necessary in many cases, as LPs have a limited dynamic range. But with CDs, the dynamic range can be very great indeed, and this CD comes closer to giving you what you would have in a live performance than most.

Unfortunately, even if one is used to actually hearing live symphonic music, one still might not like this CD if one's stereo is not very good. This is because low quality stereos often distort audibly when playing very loud, and that is not like a live performance at all. If it sounds very distorted during the loud parts, it is your stereo, not the CD, which is causing the problem. You can verify this for yourself by reducing the volume during the loud portions, and notice how the distortion goes down when you turn down the volume.

If your stereo is clear and undistorted when playing music so loud that you can barely stand it, it is probably good enough for the dynamic range of this CD. If not, buy a better stereo so you can listen to this great recording properly!

God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.
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post #27 of 46 Old 05-26-2014, 11:53 AM
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You may try releases from this http://www.dtrmusic.com/ place. They all were recorded with just two microphones and minimal mastering.

Why would that sound good? It's much harder to get an album to sound good with just two microphones, when Pink Floyd started to sound really good they were using 48 channel mixers and 24-track reel-to-reel recorders! Hell The Beatles had 4-track recorders, in the 60's! I don't get the whole obsession with purposelessly using less mics than what's needed, listen to DSOTM then listen to the Wall and notice how much better vocals and drums fit in the mix.

This is one of my most played downloads at the moment , the sound is absolutely wonderful. I even made a thread comparing it to Pink Floyd ( Pink Floyd's children) .

See the list of microphones they used, and I believe that one mic is one track, so that is a total of ....8 tracks..?

Quote:
Used equipment:

Microphones:
Guitar: Audio Technica 4080
Piano: Neumann TLM 170
Bas: Avenson Audio IsoDI, JZV67
Drums: SE Rn17 - overheads and JZ V67 - bassdrum
Main system - Schoeps MK5 (AB)
Micpre's: RME Micstacy (Analog > MADI)
Microphone cables: Grimm Audio TPR
Speakers: Grimm Audio LS1
Master clock: Grimm Audio CC1
There is a very good description of how they recorded the album on this site:http://www.soundliaison.com/products-from-our-studio-showcase-series/110-batik-flac
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post #28 of 46 Old 05-27-2014, 08:46 AM
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If you are recording (mostly) acoustic instruments and want to capture the sound of the space, classic 2 microphone recording techniques are the best way to do it. Rock records tend to record each instrument separately and then mix them all together after the fact, a totally different process.

My contribution to this thread would be anything from the Water Lily Acoustics or MA Recordings labels. Both use stereo mics and custom recording equipment. In addition, the labels show a very high threshold of "taste" when it comes to what to record. "A Meeting by the River" is Ry Cooder and VM Bhatt improvising guitar music. Despite one being a classically trained Indian performer and the other a blues guitarist,the combination is amazing. "Ganges Delta Blues" is stunning...

From MA Recordings you can't go wrong with Splendor of Al-Andulus by Calamus. It's early Spanish music which includes elements of Flamenco, Arabic, Moorish, and Sephardic Jewish music. Unbelievable performances, exquisite recording! MA Recordings is famous for its huge spaces and recreation of the performance space and this one typifies that. Another one to look for is Sera una Noche by La Segunda. This is an Argentinian, tango inspired album. Great performers and music and also huge, huge sound. You can get this in all sorts of formats, ranging from iTunes downloads to 24/192 DVD from the label. I've been listening to it via Spotify and will get the hi rez one shortly.

The Trinity Sessions by The Cowboy Junkies is another great, minimally miked recording. They used a single Soundfield mic for the band and another plus PA for Margo Timmons to sing into. Beautiful performances, I'm so lonesome I could cry, Walking After Midnight, and Sweet Jane are some of the highlights. One of the few recordings with minimal mics with an electric guitar that sounds great.

I've got more, just let me know if you want to hear about them:)
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post #29 of 46 Old 05-27-2014, 12:08 PM
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Just a few more thoughts as to why use two microphone recording... The original idea behind stereo was not to have two speakers, but to recreate space and sound emitting things in that space accurately. It's like 3d for the ears. In a well recorded stereo recording, you can close your eyes and sense how big the space is, wether it has hard or soft surfaces, and you can place the performers in that space. It has the promise of being able to replicate an acoustic performance in your room. You can see the different kinds of mic arrangements about halfway down this wiki article.
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post #30 of 46 Old 05-27-2014, 12:09 PM
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