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Open Access Anechoic Recording System for Symphony Orchestra

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A method for recording symphonic music with acoustical instruments in an anechoic chamber is presented. Excerpts of approximately 3 minutes were recorded from orchestral works representing different musical styles. The parts were recorded separately one at a time in order to obtain perfect separation between instruments. The challenge was to synchronize different takes and parts so that they could later be combined to an ensemble. The common timing was established by using a video of a conductor conducting a pianist playing the score. The musicians then played in an anechoic chamber by following the conductor video and by listening to the piano with headphones. The recordings of each instrument were done with 22 microphones positioned evenly around the player. The recordings, which are made freely available for academic use, can be used in research on acoustical properties of instruments, and for studies on concert hall acoustics. This article covers the design, installation, and technical specifications of the recording system. In addition, the post-processing, subjective comments of musicians as well as potential applications are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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