Of course - technical facts arouse one's enthusiasm and can be easily enumerated. Even still, it is true that completely different factors are decisive for the sound quality of a recording:
- in precisely that order!
If the sound engineer's responsibilities are limited to the technical processes of a recording, in the narrower sense of the word, then his area of influence begins with point 4.
At audite, however, the ideal of the "recording producer" is still held in highest esteem. Here, the sound engineer is responsible for all six points.
He is of course in charge of the technical aspects of the recording. But above and beyond that, he works as a cultural advisor to the musicians and exercises an influence on their interpretation. He is often involved in the choice of instruments, also making decisions concerning the recording room or hall and the exact structure of the takes. Only in this way can the optimal result be reached in a recording session; only then do the musicians feel understood and in good hands. Only then does that charged atmosphere develop in which really new things can originate.
The signal chain begins with the microphone, and the most important aspectof sound creation on the technical level occurs here, too. Microphones are autonomous "personalities" -and the most important part of the entire recording apparatus. Even ten-year-old microphonescan be very useful in modern productions. Depending on our specific aim, we use products made by the following firms: Neumann (U47, U87, km130, km134), Sennheiser (MKH20, MKH 40),Schoeps (Mk4, Mk2) and B&K (40011).
For new productions using our own technical equipment we reduce the analogue transmission paths to a minimum: Only for the connection line between microphone and the first amplifier (on stage) an analogue cable is being used. For pre-amplification and analogue-digital conversion we trust the 'Micstasy'-converters of the RME brand.
Between the 'Micstasy'-converter on stage and the studio the signals are being transmitted through optical cables. The technical resolution of our recordings starts at 96 kHz/24 bit minimum. (as of September 2021)
At audite, the recording data are recorded directly into the computer, never leaving it during any stage of the production. Tape is "out." This guarantees the highest quality of digital data as wellas the fastest access times and considerably simplified management of the takes. The reliability and quality of the connection to the PC is a prerequisite for professional work. Here, we rely on products made by the RME firm.
We use the "Sequoia" programme for the montage andmixing of the recorded take; this programme was developed especially for the demands of the classical recording studio. Ludger Böckenhoff is actively involved as an idea man in the development of this important working tool.
Loudspeakers and headphones are the recordingengineer's daily working tools and form the basis of the evaluation of his work. We achieve surround and stereo mixings with a set-up made by the Dynaudio firm(5xDynaudio Air + Air Basel). Moreover, we work with B&W Matrix 801 and loudspeakers by the ATC firm. The headphones we use are Stax (Lambda Pro) and Sennheiser (HD 580).