Recording Classical Music

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Product Overview

Format: Softcover

Recording Classical Music presents the fundamental principles of digitally recording and editing acoustic music in ambient spaces, focusing on stereo microphone techniques that will help musicians understand how to translate "live" environments into recorded sound.

The book covers theory and the technical aspects of recording from sound source to delivery: the nature of soundwaves and their behavior in rooms, microphone types and the techniques of recording in stereo, proximity and phase, file types, tracking and critical listening, loudness, meters, and the post-production processes of EQ, control of dynamic range (compressors, limiters, dynamic EQ, de-essers), and reverberation (both digital reflection simulation and convolution), with some discussion of commercially available digital plugins. The final part of the book applies this knowledge to common recording situations, showcasing not only strategies for recording soloists and small ensembles, along with case studies of several recordings, but also studio techniques that can enhance or replace the capture of performances in ambient spaces, such as close miking and the addition of artificial reverberation.

Recording Classical Music provides the tools necessary for anyone interested in classical music production to track, mix, and deliver audio recordings themselves or to supervise the work of others. ©2019, 168 pages


Part 1, Fundamental Principles

1 Soundwaves

Enclosed Spaces

Performance Venues

2 Audio Chain from Sound Source to Listener

Integrity within an Audio Chain

Basic Concepts and Terminology

Part 2, Production

3 Microphone Types

The Behavior of a Pure Diaphragm

Condenser Microphones

Dynamic and Ribbon Microphones

4 Microphone Characteristics

Frequency Response

Directional (Polar) Patterns

Random Energy Efficiency

Distance Factor

Proximity Effect


5 Stereo Microphone Techniques

Coincident Pairs

Near-Coincident Arrays

Spaced Microphones

6 Tracking

Critical Listening

Setting Levels

Room Ambience

Part 3, Post-Production

7 EQ – Frequency Balance

Digital Filters

Common Practices

8 Control of Dynamic Range



Dynamic EQ


9 Reverberation

Digital Reflection Simulation


10 Delivery

File Types

Loudness and Meters

Part 4, Common Recording Strategies

11 Solo Piano

Recording in Stereo

Unfavorable Room Acoustics

12 Soloists with Piano Accompaniment

13 Small Ensembles

14 Sessions

Solo Piano

Solo Cello

Double Bass and Piano

15 Studio Techniques: Re-Creating the Aural Sense of Historic Spaces




Robert Toft teaches in the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University, Canada. His interests revolve around the notion of research informing practice, and he specializes in both recording practices and the history of singing. He has written five books on historically informed vocal performance and has given master classes at leading conservatories and universities in Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and the USA. Robert’s production company, Talbot Records, released its first recording in 2017. Inspired by the intensely dramatic performing styles of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, its main series, Radically Hip, connects modern audiences to the impassioned eloquence of the past.