During recording sessions of classical music, one of our prime aims is the capture of a balance which reflects that created by players and conductor on the day of the recording, rather than one fixed up later during post production. Once a balance is achieved, and agreed upon, it is maintained throughout the session. This is the best method for ensuring the musicality of a performance is preserved.
This is important, because the choice and placement of microphones is only available to the recording engineer at the time of recording, but not afterwards in post-production. Making relevant adjustments to this aspect of microphone technique is vitally important in blending both instruments and acoustic, and giving a three dimensional sense of the recording space, with a depth of nearness and farness. The way in which the acoustic of a venue is integrated into a recording, lending its own unique signature and enabling a sense of proximity and distance, is an essential part of classical sound recording. Poor microphone placement can't be fixed in the mix. Any adjustments made in the positioning of microphones has a corresponding effect on microphone levels, and so the whole process is addressed at the recording stage - while the performers are still present.
Soloists too benefit from this approach. Their sound can vary significantly, for good or ill, dependent upon microphone choice and placement. Editing is dealt with in post production along with any signal processing considered beneficial.
Recordings of live events and of ensembles such as big bands, are sometimes made using digital multitrack, if an initial live balance needs refining this is done later during post production. In the case of big bands, care is taken to preserve the internal balance of each instrumental section created by the players themselves, with techniques employed that will achieve a sense of space, so that the end result is a musical experience for the listener.
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