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Pop and Dance Music Studios in German Broadcasting Corporations

For the sound recording of pop, jazz, and dance music, certain conditions are required before and following the microphone which lead to that sound impression for the stereophonic and multichannel reproduction which is expected by the listener. One important requirement is concerned with the necessary separation between adjacent microphones, groups of instruments or soloists, and another with the nonreverberant or dead sound recording. This implies for the conditions in front of the microphone a dead studio with a reverberation time of 0.3-0.4 s, the avoidance of sound reflections and the optimum effect of screens. Following the microphone, the sound engineer has to have a variety of aids in the control room, especially 8- or 16-track tape recorders, excellent hearing conditions by mixing several desired sources to the loudspeakers in question, for example to four loudspeakers in the control room, several one-third or octave band equalizers, VU meters for every channel, noise reduction by Dolby system and multichannel feedback for headphone listening in the studio. From the investigations in four dance music studios in Hamburg, Baden-Baden, Köln, and Frankfurt, it became apparent that the acoustical conditions in front of the microphone limit the possible variations to the stereophonic image and require a fixed seating arrangement for the musicians. The musicians must get a balanced sound with reverberation from the headphones. Only by having the optimum conditions in front of and following the microphone can the musicians achieve the highest standards.

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