[LAU] New Early Music made with Linux

Giso Grimm gg3137 at vegri.net
Wed Sep 1 20:06:51 UTC 2010

fons at kokkinizita.net wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 01, 2010 at 04:57:28PM +0200, Giso Grimm wrote:
>> A new Early Music CD has been produced using FLOSS on Linux, mainly Ardour:
>> Sound out my voice - Italian madrigals and bastarda music for viol consort
>> The CD is played by the viol [1] consort "ORLANDOviols". It is
>> available via http://www.orlandoviols.de/.
>> A video, more or less the making of the CD, is on youtube:
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUx_UIcht2Y
>> The video is completely made with Blender on Linux.
> Just saw the video - absolutely great, congratulations to all
> involved in making this. And I immediately orderded a copy of
> the CD !

Thanks a lot!

> Did you (Giso) make the audio recording ? You could tell a bit
> more on how it was done ?

Yes, but the way to this CD was not as straight as it could have been,
which also influenced the way it was recorded:

Our original plan was to make this recording together with a small label
 with its focus on early music. He is a professional recording engineer
and would have made the recording. Every detail was fixed. But then,
about 30 hours before the first recording session, during rehearsals,
one member of the group became sick. We spent the whole night with
finding someone to fill the place, which is of course not so easy with
this very special repertoire, special instruments, little budget and no
time to rehears. The next day we had a concert where we also invited the
recording engineer (and label owner). After this night with little sleep
 the concert had to be a bit of improvised - which caused the label to
cancel the whole production. Only 18 hours before the first scheduled
recording session.

Since I do run a (very) small mobile recording studio, based on ardour,
of course, we decided that I will do the recording. I usually never play
and record at the same time - I cannot concentrate on all the technical
details like mic positions etc, and the music simultaneously. This is
why I took a set of microphones, four Neumann KM183 omnis and a pair of
Neumann KM184 (cardioid), and I tried to find three stereo positions
which allow me to blend between more or less room afterwards. I decided
not to use any support mics, because that would have required to much
setup work. The setup was a paire of KM183 and KM184 at accoustically
matched positions (membranes next to each other, ignoring any HF
influence by reflections, but same ITD for all instruments) in about 2 m
distance, and a second pair of KM183 at a higher and a bit further
position, to provide more room. (during the editing/mastering I realised
that the closer omni-position is the best, so finally it was only 2
channels of omni, with a 40 Hz high pass filter).

When I started the recording I realised that I left my
libardour_tranzport.so on a network drive at home, which made my very
nice Frontier Tranzport device completely useless, and my attempts to
contact the Linux Audio World for help through a small mobile phone
failed (the recording was in a small church of a former monastery, on a
hill, surrounded by wheat fields and woods, but no civilisation nearby.
Ardour did a very great job, no failures at all, in all five days of
recording, and very very few xruns (it was an RME hdsp9652 card running
at largest possible block size, on a VIA Eden board with 1.2 GHz clock
and an IDE hard drive with 5400 rpm, nothing special, but rock solid).

The wheat fields turned out to be a big problem: The harvest began in
exactly that week, which meant huge combine harvesters, which you can
hear from a distance of several kilometres! On some bits of the
recording they are still audible, because there where no takes without...

Than it took one year to edit and master it (well, there are lots of
other things to do, and our smallest kid was born in the meantime).
Again, ardour was perfect. The CD cover was made with gimp and scribus,
based on mosaics from Ravenna. We took the photographs after LAC2009 -
without LAC there would not have been this artwork.

And why is the video a making of? It shows a few pictures from the
recording, and it shows the wind and rain we suffered from during the
recording, and one of our supporting column just broke down which turned
the whole action into a great experience.

And of course, it is just fun to work with all these tools like blender
and ardour...

That was the long story of the making of our CD.

- Giso

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