A pair of “twin” Sennheiser MKH800 variable-pattern microphones served as the primary central array during the recent Deutsche Grammophon recording session held in the Walt Disney Concert Center. Note the two cables suspending the microphones provided discreet outputs from the forward- and rear-facing condenser capsules.
Photo: Mel Lambert/content-creators.com
A recent recording project at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (L.A.) marked the first Deutsche Grammophon tracking sessions with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the new venue, which serves as the orchestra’s winter home. It was also the first time that the label had used a pair of specially modified Sennheiser MKH800 studio condenser microphones, which had been converted for the sessions to output signals from its pair of forward- and rear-facing condenser capsules. The MKH800 features five switchable pickup patterns and selectable highpass filters.
“By blending outputs from the two capsules in post-production and adding phase inversion, we can continuously adjust the pickup patterns of our central pair from omni-directional through figure-8 to cardioid and hypercardioid,” says Rainer Maillard, head of recording services with Emil Berliner Studios, a division of Deutsche Grammophon. “And to help match the sound of the performances in Walt Disney Concert Hall during live concerts with an audience, and then with an empty hall during subsequent patch sessions, we can favor the front or rear capsules and control ambience pickup.”
In addition to the pair of MKH800 mics spaced about six feet apart over the lip of the stage as the primary pickups, a pair of Sennheiser MKH30 figure-8 outrigger mics were flown above stage left and right, spaced 35 feet apart. The stage-edge array was augmented by an MKH30 and an MKH50 hypercardioid arranged one above the other as an M/S pair, and suspended above the up-stage edge of the conductor’s podium.
Three MKH30s covered the woodwinds, with MKH800s above the brass section and tubas. Four additional Sennheiser MKH50s covered the percussion and timpani. Used with Schoeps and DPA models, these spot microphones helped augment stereo and multichannel balances via short delays to provide time synchronization with the primary array.