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December 29, 2011 / Randy Coppinger

Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers

At the beginning of December I was invited to a recording session at the Eastwood Scoring Stage on the Warner Brothers Lot. This is a world class studio with a truly large format console and an enormous recording space.

At the helm: legendary recording engineer Armin Steiner, who was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about how he was recording that day. My first assumption was incorrect: I saw three microphones behind the conductor position and assumed they were the main stereo array. No, they were the left surround, right surround and the center mic was for the LFE.

On a break I walked through the room and noticed an interesting progression of players in the center. The first two rows were woodwinds, then a row of horns (or for the uninitiated “French” horns) then some baffles and percussion behind that. Why were the horns behind the woodwinds? The bell of a horn faces away from an audience (or conductor) and bounces off of the orchestra shell. In this case the horns bounced off of the hard baffles that separated the woods from the percussion — clever.

The vast majority of microphones were Sennheiser, but there were Neumann condenser mikes over the woodwinds that were either KM84s or KM184s. So I asked Armin and he said 84s. I prefer 84s, which Neumann no longer makes, so it was cool to see and hear them again.

It’s always a pleasure to experience top tier professionals in action. Being on the stage that day was a real treat.

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