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A brief music commentary


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Hi there;

When this opportunity came up, I was so thrilled.

A fellow member, Joe Nino Hernes, has a talent for recording music and vocals.

I was going to try to write-up my comments of the 6 recordings he loaned me.

But, I am at a loss for words.

I cannot sing, nor do I know how to play any musical instruments.

There was only silence when there was no music or singing.

Transparency, transient response, bass and highs, crystal clear, wow.

At times I would look up, expecting the artist to be in front of me in my living room.

I have owned direct disc recordings and these are in that same caliber.

I would appreciate Joe stepping in and giving a more detailed report if you would, please, Joe.

While I was waiting for the cd to arrive, Joe kept me up to date with the recording equipment and techniques.

He uses AR-3 speakers as his recording monitors, it doesn't get any better than that, in my opinion.

I knew that Joe really wanted me to enjoy his work, by the words he used.

Before it had arrived, I knew I was in for a very special treat, and I was not disappointed.

Thank you very much, Joe, for a look into your recording world.

It was like I was there with you, Joe.

What an experience.

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Thank-you for the kind words, I appreciate it very much.

As for my technique, it is quite simple. One must first have a target. This requires knowledge of the musical form and its associated aesthetic. One must use the recording technology available to serve the music. Too often today, engineers use far too much processing, this shows off their knowledge of the gear but not their abilities as an engineer and or artist. I am not saying that I am a minimalist, but just because you know how to use hundreds of pieces of gear does not mean that you use them all on every project that you work on. EQ, compression, reverb etc are tools that in many cases must be used but they must be used in such a fashion that they help deliver the musical message, not hinder it. The acoustic tracks on the CD I sent Vern were recorded direct to two track high resolution digital with no compression and minimal EQ. For bluegrass music and most other acoustic music, there is no need for excess processing. These wooden instruments are harmonically rich, and even the best signal processors will filter some of these complex harmonics resulting in a recording that lacks the subtle nuances that make this music so emotionally involving. I wish that Vern could have heard the high resolution digital master. It has a level of detail that the CD simply does not. I really wish that I could have tracked those tunes on analog tape. In my opinion, analog recording is capable of capturing far more than even the best digital systems can.

Microphone placement and selection is another thing that I spend a lot of time on. Many times, engineers are using EQ to fix poor microphone placement. When I start a tracking session, I never know where I am going to place a microphone. I have a general idea, but to say that I know exactly where it is going to go is ridiculous. To say that you know where it is going to end up is just silly, its different every time! I will generally listen to the instrument, and move my head around it until I find a place or places where the entire sound of the instrument is, and that is where I put the mic. Selection is a little bit more difficult. This just comes with experience. After a while, you learn what most of the mics out there sound like, and you make your selections accordingly. For example, if you have a male vocalist who has load of 2,500 Hz in his voice, you are not going to use a mic like the Neumann TLM-103 which has a bump at 2k5. A more appropriate choice would be a Neumann U47 which is very smooth in the 1k to 4k range.

Making good recordings is very simple. If it aint broke, don't fix it. Don't use processing just because you can. If it is the desired aesthetic, go for it, but if not, stay the hell away from those signal processors!!! (even though they look pretty with their flashing lights and meters!!)

I have been rather general above. Vern, do you have any specific questions regarding the recordings? If so, feel free to ask! This goes for everyone else as well. If there are any questions regarding any part of the recording process I will do my best to answer them.

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Hi Joe;

I am interested in your AR-3 monitors.

Are they stock AR-3's or have they been modified?

Which version of woofers do they have?

Obviously all these years later, you have had the opportunity to hear many other speaker systems.

Which other speakers would you, disregarding price and budget, consider as a nearly perfect monitor system, Joe?

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>Hi Joe;


>I am interested in your AR-3 monitors.


>Are they stock AR-3's or have they been modified?


>Which version of woofers do they have?


>Obviously all these years later, you have had the opportunity

>to hear many other speaker systems.


>Which other speakers would you, disregarding price and budget,

>consider as a nearly perfect monitor system, Joe?

My AR-3's have been rebuilt. All of the drivers are the original Alnico type. Caps have been replaced with Solen poly caps. I have not done any modifications to them. I like them in their original form.

There is no perfect monitor, but my favorite studio monitor is the Rogers LS3/5a. It has been out of production for many years, but it is now again available from Stirling Broadcast http://store.acousticsounds.com/browse_det...?Title_ID=16618. I really love mixing on these. Unfortunately, in today’s studios, most engineers are using powered monitors. While I understand the advantages of powered monitors, I don't like them. I don't want the amplifier to be attached to the speaker. Amplifiers are microphonic devices, and the speaker is vibrating that amp all over the place. Genelec powered monitors are very popular in studios today. They are rather expensive. They don't sound bad, but I would much rather have the Rogers. The studio that I work out of has both, so I generally mix on the Rogers.

On the budget side, I am a huge fan of the new ERA design 4 loudspeaker http://www.upscaleaudio.com/updates/era.htm. They are $600 a pair, and they are fantastic! Ordinarily, in a hifi system, I would not even consider a speaker that is under $1000 a pair, but these are truly different. There is none of the harsh grainy characteristics generally associated with sub $1000 speakers. They are also tiny! Don't let the small size fool you, they really sound large! I highly recommend them. Upscale Audio caries them www.upscaleaudio.com Get yourself a pair, you will really be impressed!

Now, on the ultra high end, the best loudspeaker I have ever heard are the Venture CR-8 Signature loudspeakers. They have no sound of their own at all. In my opinion, they are as close to a perfect speaker as it gets. http://www.venture-audio.com/default.aspx?catid=55 They are around $35,000 a pair.

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