Debbie Wiseman conducts the National Symphony Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Rosie Middleton for this tribute to Spain. The album includes compositional works by Chabrier, Bizet, and Rimsky-Korsakov.
"The audiophile world involves a staggering amount of minutia. Everything leads, however, to an emotional payoff, as you're constantly reminded while rubbing shoulders with people devoted to good sound. So while, if you study the literature on, say, speaker placement or multichannel audio, you might expect everyone who cares about such matters to walk around with a pencil protector in his shirt pocket, instead you're much more likely to encounter someone whose passion for audio can hardly be contained and who has a lively sense of humor. Those points were underscored when I began correspoding with Mike Valentine, the owner of the UK audiophile label Chasing the Dragon...He isn't afraid to say something controversial (certainly his statement, "The sound quality here...is better than sex!" could spark a heated debate), and because he's filmed underwater sequences for over 90 films, including five James Bond movies, you quicky understand that he knows how to pursue lofty professional goals and have fun." - Jeff Wilson, The Absolute Sound Read more!
"The orchestra rehearses downstairs while upstairs the mastering room engineers record and play back a test lacquer. Finally, it's time for a recorded take of the "Carmen" excerpts with Mezzo-Soprano Rosie Middleton. The tension is palpable in both the control room and upstairs. It's quickly clear that the free-spirited rehearsal has given way to a darker, more constrained performance that satisfies no one, especially Ms. Middleton. The second take is better but is still missing the required "magic". Take three is "the one". Everyone is relieved and it's technically perfect."
"Then, after a lunch break, it's on to the Chabrier "España". After a recorded rehearsal playback, it's time for a take. The first performance is spirited but an orchestral crescendo causes the cutting stylus to crash through the groove wall into an adjacent groove, requiring a second take. There's another great performance, but higher drama could be found in the mastering suite, all of which is captured on the video. Quick, decisive thinking and gutsy actions by mastering engineer John Webber saves the lacquer from disaster (as you'll see) but a third take (not shown) proves to be by far the best and it will be the one you'll hear on the final vinyl record. Please keep in mind the sound you hear on this video was captured by an Audio-Technica "shotgun" microphone attached to a camcorder and is not the actual recorded sound (given what it is, though, it's pretty good!)." - Michael Fremer, analogplanet.com
"Using the legendary valve Neumann U47 microphone and plethora of microphones including DPA, plus the famous Decca-Tree set up of three omin-directional microphones, this was a well set up recording. What is very important in this new disc is that as well as producing it on Direct Cut Disc it will also be released on double DSD (5.6MHz), and for headphone lovers like myself as part of a binarual album using the excellent Neumann KU100 binaural microphone, carefully placed above the conductor. Listening on Sennheiser HP600 cans the "out of the head" effect of the dummy-head-stereo recording was like being on the conductor's rostrum... This was a brilliant day with great performances and great balancing." - HiFi Pig Magazine, February 2017 Read more!
Binaural recording for headphones
Mastered on Stax 009 Headphones
Musicians: Rosie Middleton - mezzo-soprano The National Symphony Orchestra Debbie Wiseman, conductor Selections: Georges Bizet (1838-1875) Carmen 1. Habanera 2. The Gypsy Song
Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894) 3. Espana
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) 4. Capriccio Espagnol