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Old 25th March 2015, 01:42 AM   #1
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Default What genres and recording techniques can be expected to display a soundstage?

Since I know that much of the music I listen to is close-miked in the studio, I'm doubtful that I can reasonably expect anything more than left-right discrimination.

So I can see having an orchestra in a room is going to give more ambiance, and maybe some 3D effect, especially if you have some kind of binaural recording arrangement, but am I just wasting my time looking for this effect in an old Hendrix recording, where I know that the vocals have multiple tracks of Jimi doing la-la's with himself in the background?
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Last edited by counter culture; 25th March 2015 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 25th March 2015, 02:42 AM   #2
rayma is offline rayma  United States
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Originally Posted by counter culture View Post
am I just wasting my time looking for this effect in an old Hendrix recording, where I know that the vocals have multiple tracks
of Jimi doing la-la's with himself in the background?
Your suspicions are right, most recordings are 100% artificial in this respect. Listen to live acoustical music carefully,
do you hear an "audiophile" sound stage? The real thing is very different.

Most recordings are made by mixing together a mono channel of each voice or instrument, and have no actual "stereo" at all.

Last edited by rayma; 25th March 2015 at 02:50 AM.
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Old 25th March 2015, 11:18 AM   #3
DF96 is online now DF96  England
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Yes, you need a good recording of real instruments in an acoustic space, perhaps using a simple stereo pair mike setup. Even then some fill-in mikes will probably have been used.

Many years ago I used to attend the Prom concerts in London, and also listen to them on the BBC. In those days their sound engineers knew what they were doing, so when I listened to a broadcast I heard the same hall that I had been actually present in on the previous evening.

To "display a soundstage" you need to start with a musical performance which had a 'soundstage' to start with. That more or less rules out all popular music of almost any genre. A genuine 'unplugged' set would be OK, but my definition of unplugged is somewhat tighter than most peoples!
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Old 25th March 2015, 12:22 PM   #4
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Many recordings, especially classical, done in the ‘60’s are made with a few carefully placed mics.
This gradually disappeared when multitrack mixing and recording became available.
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Old 25th March 2015, 01:45 PM   #5
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Depends on the genre to some extent, as to what is available.

Most of the Chesky catalog, the Dorian Catalog, and some others that do not come to mind at the moment are modern recordings done with minimalist, high quality recording techniques.

All of the Rudy Van Gelder jazz recordings were done with 3 mics. Mostly on Blue Note.

Trying to remember his label, Pierre Despray I think... got his name wrong I expect.

There are quite a few "boutique" labels these days too. And, nothing prevents one from spending a few dollars to acquire your own digital recorder and make your own recordings at the local jazz club, chamber recital or choral concert, etc...
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Old 25th March 2015, 01:48 PM   #6
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I recently read a book that was a hagiographic account of a well-known recording engineer, Bruce Swedien. In it, he (through the ghost writer) described all sorts of manipulations of multi-miked and multi-tracked recordings that were designed to give various illusions of space, depth, and ambience. Philosophically, there was no real "space" to begin with, so the question of "accuracy" is moot but the recordings do indeed give something beyond simple left-right panning.
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Old 25th March 2015, 02:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by counter culture View Post
Since I know that much of the music I listen to is close-miked in the studio, I'm doubtful that I can reasonably expect anything more than left-right discrimination.

So I can see having an orchestra in a room is going to give more ambiance, and maybe some 3D effect, especially if you have some kind of binaural recording arrangement, but am I just wasting my time looking for this effect in an old Hendrix recording, where I know that the vocals have multiple tracks of Jimi doing la-la's with himself in the background?
I remember TAS going gaga over an early Island pressing of Bob
Marley (awesome LP IMHO), to me it sounded like every single member was in their own space. When I saw a documentary they were, in a big warehouse individually miked with big acoustic baffles between each other.
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Old 25th March 2015, 02:39 PM   #8
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I've seen sketches by Paul McCartney which he done to show the engineer where in the virtual stereo space he was supposed to place the individual, close mic'd parts during mixing.

Don't remember for which album they were. At the time I didn't care since I don't actually like Paul's music so I never checked how successful the engineer was but it is not that difficult to massage a sound so it appears to be more distant or closer, left, right or centre.
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Old 25th March 2015, 03:51 PM   #9
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Apart from panning L/R, you can also run an instrument as a stereo channel, and add a little delay to one side. Combining the two can be very effective. The relative levels and delays gives the brain much more information to recreate the acoustic space.

I'll play around and see if I can knock something together to show what I mean - could be an interesting experiment.

Chris
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Old 25th March 2015, 11:59 PM   #10
fas42 is online now fas42  Australia
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All genres and recording techniques will yield a soundstage, as in that the sound elements will exist in spaces beyond the speakers, to the left and right of them, behind them to very great distances, even vertically positioned. The one place where the sounds won't be, is "in" the left and right speakers!

Of course, a very high percentage of systems aren't sufficiently "debugged" for this to be perceived, the sound "collapses" into the positions of the speakers unless one goes to all sorts of other efforts to try and build up some sort of illusion. The information always exists within recordings for all the behaviours of soundstaging to occur, but most of the time this data is too unclear for the ear/brain to unravel, the background sounds of the musical event are just heard as "messy", because the brain has rejected them as making sense.

Recordings which have been very carefully engineered to yield lots of obvious soundstaging information allow conventional systems to get the job done for the listener - all other tracks will require a "better" setup to make it happen ...
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