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CSO Goes Digital with Neumann

The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) has started recording performances with Neumann digital microphones.

Resident conductor Scott O’Neil conducting the Colorado Symphony OrchestraDenver, CO (July 27, 2012)—The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) has started recording performances with Neumann digital microphones.

Gene Sobczak, president/CEO of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra has instituted a new program of performances featuring pop and rock artists, recordings, webcasts and educational outreach, also forging relationships with Mike Pappas, a Denver-based recording engineer, and Sennheiser Electronic Corporation.

The CSO has already shared the stage this year with Trey Anastasio of the rock band Phish; Denver-based multi-instrumentalists DeVotchKa; and Boston-based alt-rockers Guster. In his role as volunteer engineer for the CSO, Pappas captured all three shows with an slew of Neumann digital microphones.

Pappas used 56 KM D series Neumann digital mics in a variety of omni-directional, cardioid and hypercardioid polar patterns. The mic list also included a Neumann KU 100 dummy head binaural stereo microphone for hall ambience, and a KMR 82 D shotgun for spot miking.

“In a conventional analog mic setup,” says Pappas, “mix 24 channels together and the noise floor comes up by 15 dB. Now, take 56 analog microphones and you’re looking at the noise floor coming up by 20 or 25 dB. This is significantly lower when using digital microphones.”

He continues, “The workflow is easier because there’s less stuff you need to worry about when you use digital mics. You plug them in, fire up the software and the system pretty much runs itself. Plus we don’t have problems with things like hums and buzzes.”

Since Pappas received his first batch of Neumann digital mics back in 2004, he hasn’t looked back. “When we switched over to full digital, the first thing we noticed was that we could hear the hall very clearly. We couldn’t hear this with analog gear because the noise floor of the gear was significantly greater than the noise floor of the hall.”