I'm thinking of Mercury's Living Presence and RCA's Living Stereo catalogs.
I'm not saying the ONLY factor in their overall value or their sound value is their minimal micing, but each of them used only 2-3 mics, and there are *lots* of people who seem to love the way the engineers captured the sound of those ensembles and their halls. (Certainly, other engineers of the time were similarly restricted in terms of available tracks, and mics, so I'm also not implying that the Mercury or RCA techniques per se were solely responsible for their superior sound.)
Are more modern recordists missing something when they use different techniques and/or multiple mics? Or, are there really relatively few people who like the *old style* sound, with far more people preferring the modern multi-mic sound? Put a different way, is it more often the audiophile listener who prefers the old style, minimalist recording, while the [more numerous]mainstream music buyer is not USED to that sound, and prefers the modern multi mic sound?
I'm befuddled every time I hear someone extol the sound of the older recording methods, then never see anyone trying to do it the same way. Example: Mercury's typical left-center-right mic setup, with L and R down 4dB from Center. (Maybe there are lots of newer recordings that DO try to emulate the old sound, and I just haven't seen them.)
There are more than you would think, they just aren't marketed that way!
The Paavo Berglund Sibelius Symphony series with the Ch. orch. EU is a prime example: engineers like Onno Scholze and Tony Faulkner, great, not futzed-with recordings. And a fresh, lean take on the music.
But audiophiles do not in general buy serious classical music, especially newer recordings by un-hyped artists. If you want to dispute that, please use facts, not epithets, and remember how I have spent the past 18 years... oops, 19.
So when it comes time for Finlandia to market such recordings, they slap a 24-bit logo on the tray card and leave it at that. People who buy such recordings are more interested in how many first violins there are than microphones.
But to restate, the number of conductors who prefer simple miking and setting the balances themselves would surprise you, but you have to truffle-pig to find those records.
Try the ECM label from Germany. :-)
They're the pioneer, and have been doing it for 30+ years.
Mike, as you know, it is happening. Perhaps a viable way to market them is around the corner.
Recouping cost of these projects has made it very difficult to do it full scale. Perhaps 100 pressings at a time for audiophiles is not too bad.
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