3 time GRAMMY® Nominee Daniel Shores started his professional career with Sono Luminus, first as an assistant engineer, then engineer, then head of the Sono Luminus record label.
In one of my most recent recordings I had the true pleasure of trying out the Sennheiser MKH 800 Twins while recording the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in Reykjavik. The experience was an all-new one, both with the ensemble and with the microphones, and I truly put them to the test with the wide dynamic range of the music and the configuration of the ensemble.
For this recording I recorded the ensemble in full immersive surround to be released on Pure Audio Blu-ray in 9.1 Auro-3D and Dolby Atmos. I achieved this setup by using a central microphone array and then placing the ensemble around the array in a full 360-degree circle.
„We rented Sennheiser’s microphone kit of five to use as the bottom layer of our main array (one microphone to each speaker in a standard 5.1 setup).“
Upon opening the package, I immediately was impressed by the packaging and build of the components. Everything about the construction, and the build of the kit was immediately apparent from the microphone to the shock mount, to the included cable to give you access to both of the microphone’s capsules. My only confusion came with the cable not having matching markings as to which lead was the front and which was the back, though this was easily ascertained upon connecting them.
I recorded the orchestra and 352.8kHz DXD resolution over the span of 5 days (one session per day). Each day we recorded a different piece, and for each piece the setup of the ensemble was different, sometimes with brass in front, sometimes with winds in the rear, and even one time with a fully mixed string and brass section around the array to capture the unique effects the composer hoped for. What I was most pleased by with the performance of the 800 Twin’s is that no matter the change in the ensemble configuration, they remained consistently ready to handle whatever I threw at them. Their sound was full, transparent, and detailed while still being musical and not overly clinical. They delivered supreme detail in the sections that were ppp and fully equipped to handle the impact for the sections that were FFF without exhibiting a change in performance.
I ran the microphones in Omni mode, which was quite easy to setup in the DAW by merely routing both channels (as you are given the feed from both capsules) to the same panning position at the same volume, and though I did not end up changing them in the final mix, with the tight schedule we were on, and the odd ensemble arrangements we were going for, I was very happy to know I had the flexibility to change the pattern in post production through the use of the AMBEO plugin if the need arose.
It was a wonderful experience to have the opportunity to use the 800 Twins, and I would gladly recommend them to any of my colleagues. I look forward to trying them in the future on smaller ensembles and solo instruments.
About Dan Shores
3 time GRAMMY® Nominee Daniel Shores started his professional career with Sono Luminus, first as an assistant engineer, then engineer, then head of the Sono Luminus record label. Now with changes in company structure Daniel is back to doing what he loves best exclusively – engineering. Daniel’s focus for years has been his love of sound and aim to create the most pristine recordings of music possible giving the end listener the most engaging interaction with the music.
While engineering over 150 commercially available records for Sono Luminus, Steinway and Sons, Naxos, Delos, and numerous other labels, Daniel has always had a love for and focus on surround sound, and has for years created recordings in 5.1, 7.1, 9.1 and now 11.1 for commercial release, giving the home consumer the opportunity to experience new and unique listening experiences.
When not in the studio, Daniel is an adjunct professor at Shenandoah University where he teaches remote recording, surround sound, and basic mastering techniques classes in the school’s music recording and production technology department. Daniel is also a musician himself starting life as a classical / jazz pianist and percussionist, then moving to jazz and rock bass, guitar, mandolin and various other odds and ends.
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