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Recording a Symphony Orchestra in a Rehearsal Room

The best rehearsal room is the concert hall itself in which the orchestra works on its quality and develops its reputation. Which small rehearsal room can provide this? Not the broadcasting music studio in which the recording is the most important feature. Here the positioning of the microphones, the arrangement of the absorbing materials, the separation of the orchestral groups, and the requirements of the recording techniques take precedence. Theater orchestras have been smaller rehearsal room sin which sound recordings are made, sometimes together with a choir. The Staats-philharmonie Rheinland Pfalz (The Rheinland Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra) acquired its own base in Ludwigshafen in 1985 with a large rehearsal room of 5500 square meters. Since Spring, 1987, the Stadthalle in Oberursel (a multipurpose hall) has served as the rehearsal room for the Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSQ) of Hessicher Rundfunk (HR) (Hessen Broadcasting Corporation); this hall also has a volume of 5500 square meters. The concert hall of the RSQ is at present being rebuilt. Its acoustical properties have been well known since it was first opened in 1954. The hall had a volume of 12,000 square meters and seated 1200. All three above-mentioned rehearsal rooms will be described with respect to reverberation times, ratios of direct to reverberant sound, sound levels, the exposure to noise of the musicians, the ability of the musicians to hear one another and the orchestra layout. When an audience is present, other expectations are discusses, for instance, the spatial impression and the balance of the sound picture. Recordings made in a rehearsal room place different requirements, the number and disposition of the microphones, the addition of artificial reverberation and others.

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