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Producer John Barnes Records Pianist Luiza Borac

Romanian pianist Luiza Borac’s recording of Volume 2 of George Enescu’s published piano music has been nominated in the Instrumental Category of the 2007 BBC Music Magazine Awards. Producer John Barnes captured Borac’s performance at St. Dunstan’s Church in Mayfield, Sussex, UK in July 2005. The subsequent recording was issued as a hybrid SACD by Avie Records.

“This recording has been highly praised for its sonic transparency, in which the piano sounds completely natural without harshness or distorted dynamics,” Barnes explains. “The acoustics of St. Dunstan’s [were] ideal for a large-scale piano recording of this kind and it was possible to make use of a very fine Steinway Model D grand piano for the project. Good piano recordings are difficult to make because of the wide frequency range needed to handle the dynamic transients. It was therefore necessary to use equipment of extremely high quality in order to achieve satisfactory results.”

Barnes used a pair of direct-coupled DPA 4006TL omni-directional microphones near the piano and a pair of transformer-coupled DPA 4006 omni-directional mics further back in the church to capture its natural ambience. The mics went into a 4-channel Earthworks 1024 preamp to Prism Sound AD2 and ADA8 A/D converters operating in PCM mode at 24-bit/88.2kHz. The resulting digital PCM data was routed through a Lynx AES16 PCI audio interface into a computer running Steinberg Nuendo Version 2.

“The entire system, including the computer, was synchronized to the low-jitter word clock of the Prism Sound AD2 converter, and this resulted in a very clean transfer of the digital data,” Barnes adds. “The Prism Sound converters were an essential part of the recording setup. Their bandwidth, coupled with their extremely wide dynamic range, permitted the use of reasonable headroom while preserving a very low noise floor.”

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