Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival 2017

From 7/29-7/31, I went to Bridgehampton to record live concerts of Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival in New York. I was assisting the Immersive Music Project team who were responsible for the recording of this festival.

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The program was Schumann and Brahms.

We met up in Jamaica Plain, drove to New London, CT and took a ship from there to the Hamptons. The air was so fresh and it felt very nice.

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Someone’s surf board!

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Finally arrived! I think it took about 1.5 hours?

As soon as we arrived, we unloaded the gears, met Marya who was hosting this festival and met other staffs. Everyone was very kind and nice.

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This was the concert schedule. There were a few more concerts but I was able to only assist 1A and 1B because I had to leave to for another gig.

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They told me Alan Alda was narrating, but I didn’t know who he was so I looked him up and found this funny GIF… Haha.

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We set up our control room in the church office. We used Pyramix as the main DAW, Pro Tools and Roland portable recorder for backups.

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Setup sheet for the session. The interesting mics used were Schoeps BLMs (Boundary Layer Microphones). According to Schoeps,

The technique is based on an effect in physics by which sound pressure doubles along a sound-reflecting surface. If a transducer is placed directly on such a surface, or is built within it as with the BLM 3, its sensitivity to direct sound will be twice that of an equivalent transducer in a free sound field. Its response to diffuse sound remains unchanged, however, causing a notable increase in the clarity of pickup for a given miking distance.

In theory an ideal transducer of this type would have a membrane of infinitesimally small size, and would be mounted flush with an infinitely large, perfectly sound-reflecting surface. In practice, the plate in which the small transducer of the BLM 3 is mounted assures reflection of only the high and medium frequencies. To reflect sound at lower frequencies (greater wavelengths), the dimensions of the surface must be correspondingly larger. So the microphone should be placed on a floor, wall or ceiling, or mounted on another surface large enough to reflect the lowest frequencies of interest.

Since the plate of the BLM 3 is only 5 mm thick and the transducer is not mounted at its center, the edges of the plate have very little effect upon the sound pickup. The BLM 3g does not interfere with the natural sound field; off-axis sounds thus encounter very little frequency discrimination. Sound coloration is low, even for moving sound sources, because the frequency response is essentially the same for all angles within the hemispherical pickup pattern.

Microphones used near sound-reflecting surfaces ordinarily produce comb-filter effects. This does not occur with the BLM 3, since at the boundary in which the transducer is mounted there can be no phase difference between the direct sound and its reflection.
Ordinary pressure transducers show a difference in sensitivity between direct and diffuse sound at high frequencies. In a properly placed boundary-layer microphone, however, this difference occurs at all frequencies. The sound pressure for direct sound is doubled at an acoustic boundary (6 dB increase), while the essentially random phase relationships of reflections in the diffuse sound field cause the boundary-layer microphone’s sensitivity to increase by only 3 dB. Thus a boundary-layer microphone will suppress diffuse sound somewhat, even though it is not directional. It will pick up less “room sound“ and the recording will be slightly “drier“ than it would be with an omnidirectional microphone.

The capsule itself is a classic electrostatic pressure transducer, which assures accurate reproduction of even the lowest frequencies along with the high signal-to-noise ratio and stable performance typical of professional condenser microphones. This type of transducer is inherently insensitive to wind and vibration and the BLM 3 is comparatively heavy, so it picks up very little solid-borne noise. For example, when footsteps are recorded, most of the sound reaching the microphone will be conducted through the air rather than the floor.” (http://www.schoeps.de/en/products/blm3)

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Setting up the rig for hanging mics.

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SM81s on the piano, and TLM 103 on the cello.

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This is a view from the balcony. I recorded a snippet of the rehearsal from here with my iPhone and this is what it sounded like:

 

 

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