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Thread: Harpsichord as a touchstone for recording engineering.

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    Senior Member Ariasexta's Avatar
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    Smile Harpsichord as a touchstone for recording engineering.

    Unlike the piano only valueing the dynamic, harpsichord need layers of sound to make musical integrity, it is very sensitive to evaluate the recording quality with harpsichords. Harpsichord for me is a touchstone to test a labels recording quality.I personally also avoid vocal and other instrumental music from the labels that fails harpsichord.

    Apparently some recording engineers who are repulsed by the harpsichord are given the task of recording its sound. From my purchases I found very bad sounds from labels Ambrosie, Satirino France. Similarly Richard Egarrs HMF solo recordings is an strange exception of the mostly good sounds from HMF, I can not stand that culled reverbs or the lack of ambient reverberation on Egarrs solo recordings, it was a waste for Egarrs beautiful instrument. The Bad recording of sound results in the destruction of harmonic landscape of the music, I feel like these sound engineers hate the sound of harpsichords, so they try to save the audience from listening to it too.Or they think harpsichord produces too much noises, so they filtered the noises according to their understanding.

    I have a limited collection of music, from what I found, here is a list of labels that perform disappointingly on harpsichord:

    1-Ambrosie (Christophe Rousset recorded Bachs suites in that label, avoid this label, or you will be given a version of dwarfed down Bach, the sound engineering is as bad as it can gets. I throw away all Ambrosie records, what a shame it is a very expensive label. The sound is like being recorded from a keyhole of a closed door.)

    2-Satirino (Kenneth Weiss recorded Rameau and Bach on that Label, also bad sound recording, the sound of harpsichord is like being overheard outside an opera house from a ajar door. )

    3-Budget Reissues of all labels, also beware of the budget sets of a series of original recordings, they can sound like haters recording too. Do not waste your money on recordings that do not record the tone in full. (EMI Veritas duo sets is an exception, they are good.)

    4- Warner classics & Jazz, after listening to latest Olivier Baumonts French suites from this label, I throwed it to the dump yard.


    Here is Some good labels for harpsichord music to hear:


    1-Mirare, Decca, Virgin, EMI, DHM, NAXOS, ERATO, Accord, ASV, Hyperion, Alpha, Tactus, ARTS NOVA, AEOLUS, Centaur, Astree, Naive,Opus111, Chandos, AEON, Stradivarius, Sony BMG, Vivarte,
    Metronome.( No needs to describe them, simply good)

    2-Some club reissues can sound better than the originals. Why the big companies all are tended to dwarf down their own recordings on reissues? Like Orfeo and BMG Direct.


    I hope haters do not try to record anything, they will spoil music of all kind, they may not understand music and the instruments. Music media like CD is an important part of modern music making, it is still necessary to stick to traditionalism, individualism should not go too far to interfere with the music. I also hope Mr Richard Egarr see this, I am very disapointed with his recordings on HMF, his instrument can not be heard in full beauty, I dumped his solo cds from HMF. Please choose a better sound engineer next time.

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    harpsichord is about frequency response and mike distance

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    Senior Member Ariasexta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    harpsichord is about frequency response and mike distance
    Labels have distinctive sound quality to each, s few of them sound claustrophobic, strangely miked, when recorded with the harpsichord the bad sound got annoying. Try Aeolus harpsichord cd and buy a Satirino, compare the two, it will a butthurt difference.

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    I will update the list of bad and good labels when I find missing or new labels.


    Good:

    Old DG or Archiv, (not their reissues.)

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    Maybe small labels might have a house sound because they're all done by the same people in the same place, but I don't know how you can generalize about larger labels that record in hundreds of venues all over the world with an army of different engineers.

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    I guess the OP wouldn't have cared for Sir Thomas Beecham's comment that a harpsichord sounded to him like 2 skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariasexta View Post
    Unlike the piano only valueing the dynamic, harpsichord need layers of sound to make musical integrity, it is very sensitive to evaluate the recording quality with harpsichords. Harpsichord for me is a touchstone to test a labels recording quality.I personally also avoid vocal and other instrumental music from the labels that fails harpsichord.

    Apparently some recording engineers who are repulsed by the harpsichord are given the task of recording its sound. From my purchases I found very bad sounds from labels Ambrosie, Satirino France. Similarly Richard Egarrs HMF solo recordings is an strange exception of the mostly good sounds from HMF, I can not stand that culled reverbs or the lack of ambient reverberation on Egarrs solo recordings, it was a waste for Egarrs beautiful instrument. The Bad recording of sound results in the destruction of harmonic landscape of the music, I feel like these sound engineers hate the sound of harpsichords, so they try to save the audience from listening to it too.Or they think harpsichord produces too much noises, so they filtered the noises according to their understanding. e

    I have a limited collection of music, from what I found, here is a list of labels that perform disappointingly on harpsichord:

    1-Ambrosie (Christophe Rousset recorded Bachs suites in that label, avoid this label, or you will be given a version of dwarfed down Bach, the sound engineering is as bad as it can gets. I throw away all Ambrosie records, what a shame it is a very expensive label. The sound is like being recorded from a keyhole of a closed door.)

    2-Satirino (Kenneth Weiss recorded Rameau and Bach on that Label, also bad sound recording, the sound of harpsichord is like being overheard outside an opera house from a ajar door. )

    3-Budget Reissues of all labels, also beware of the budget sets of a series of original recordings, they can sound like haters recording too. Do not waste your money on recordings that do not record the tone in full. (EMI Veritas duo sets is an exception, they are good.)

    4- Warner classics & Jazz, after listening to latest Olivier Baumonts French suites from this label, I throwed it to the dump yard.


    Here is Some good labels for harpsichord music to hear:


    1-Mirare, Decca, Virgin, EMI, DHM, NAXOS, ERATO, Accord, ASV, Hyperion, Alpha, Tactus, ARTS NOVA, AEOLUS, Centaur, Astree, Naive,Opus111, Chandos, AEON, Stradivarius, Sony BMG, Vivarte,
    Metronome.( No needs to describe them, simply good)

    2-Some club reissues can sound better than the originals. Why the big companies all are tended to dwarf down their own recordings on reissues? Like Orfeo and BMG Direct.


    I hope haters do not try to record anything, they will spoil music of all kind, they may not understand music and the instruments. Music media like CD is an important part of modern music making, it is still necessary to stick to traditionalism, individualism should not go too far to interfere with the music. I also hope Mr Richard Egarr see this, I am very disapointed with his recordings on HMF, his instrument can not be heard in full beauty, I dumped his solo cds from HMF. Please choose a better sound engineer next time.
    You may have just destroyed all the joy I was getting from Egarr's Gibbons and Purcell and Louis Couperin. It's strange how I can adjust to bad harpsichord sound when the performance is good - I listen to Kenneth Gilbert with great pleasure.

    It's also true that I got less pleasure from Weiss's Rameau transcriptions than I did from others (Sempe and Hantai for example, or the one that Menno van Delft did with someone whose name I can't remember.) Maybe sound has something to do with it.

    I'd be very interested to get your opinion of Siegbert Rampe's recordings for MDG, which struck me as a very realistic representation of what it's really like to sit in a audience listening to a harpsichord. There's Froberger and Peter Philips and a really strange one of Georg Muffat: strange because the instrument is "unique." Another one that impressed me is published by The Musieum of Musical Instruments in Brussels, of Bob van Asperen playing early music.

    Many people rate highly the final Forqueray recording that Leonhardt made, I leave it to you to decide how truthful you find it. It wa recently rereleased. A couple of weeks ago I was enjoying the sound Teldec gave Leonhardt for Georg Böhm.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jun-09-2015 at 21:43.

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