July 19, 2020

11.1CH Immersive recording at Sibelius Hall in Finland - GENELEC and UNAMAS Label Music Production

By Mick Sawaguchi C.E.O UNAMAS Label

1. Background and purpose of project realization

Late Genelec founder Ilpo Martikainen is also of the same generation with me, so often exchanged information. I have participated in the 2008 GENELEC 30th year anniversary ceremony, then asked him to guide and rode his boat to take a field recording around the town. I have memories. When the GENELC team came to Japan in 2017, his son, Juho, accompanied him and Mr. Seiji Murai from Syntax Japan was played back F.Shubert {Death and Maiden} recorded in UNAMAS album UNAHQ 2009 from the Dolby Atmos BD disc in the viewing room. 

He plays a contrabass, so immediately asked Seiji after listening to it, 
(This is a score that is not played with the original score. What is the score? 
 If I could get the score because I want to play it?)
After that, I sent him a score arranged by UNAMAS and performed at that score in Finland. Mr. Juho liked the policy of UNAMAS LABEL, which produces many albums with spotlights on double bass, and sincerely agreed with each other.

In addition, at the AES INT CONFERENCE held in Tokyo in August 2018, I gave a lecture on the musicality of IMMERSIVE MUSIC RECORDING and the UNAMAS Label method as an example of the approach of height miking at the workshop, and at the same time at GENELEC DEMO ROOM. UNAMAS Label’s IMMERSIVE AUDIO music was demoed on 11.1CH.

During the period, GENELEC CEO Siamäk has a plan to create IMMERSIVE AUDIO reference music at GENELEC that will be helpful for users; He asked if UNAMAS Label would also cooperate with the sound source. I said that it would be happy to cooperate with you, but GENELEC has a great bass player Juho, so why don't you make a new recording? 
You can have your own sound source.

After that, it seems that GENELEC consulted with a label that is producing several Immersive Audio albums to provide sound sources, but abandoned realization in terms of rights contract and cost. Mr. Juho, who started this project and was in charge of the director, selected the music and members suitable for organization with Cb and examined some recording venues as a result finally in Sibelius Hall of Lahti where on the lakeside outside Helsinki. In 2019 7 27-28th of a month Equipment preparations 29-31st day of recording will be done. The recording equipments were from Japan, and members from Japan and Germany formed the production team.

2. Music Production crew and performance members
2-1 The songs and artists

Franz Schubert Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 Trout
MOV-01 Allegro vivace (A major) time: 13'41”
MOV-02 Andante (F major) 07'04'
MOV-03 Scherzo Presto (A major) 04'11”
MOV-04 Andantino Allegretto (D major) 07'44”
MOV-05 Allegro giusto (A major) 09’51“

Juho Quintet
Joonas Pohjonen Apf
Petri Aarnio Vn
Ezra Woo Va
Sami Mäkelä Vc
Juho Martikainen Cb

Giovanni Bottesini
Elegy for double bass & piano No. 1 in D major 04'22”

Joonas Pohjonen Apf
Juho Martikainen Cb
Jean-Baptiste Barriere 
Sonate No10         09’59”

Sami Mäkelä Vc
Juho Martikainen Cb

2-2 production crew and main system

Executive Producer Siamäk Naghian: GENELEC
Producer Juho Martikainen: GENELEC
Production Coordinator Seiji Murai: Synthax Japan
Music Director Tetsuro Kanai
Recording/mix/mastering Mick Sawaguchi: UNAMAS Label
Assistant Engineer Jin Itoh: Synthax Japan
System Engineer Takeshi Mitsuhashi: Synthax Japan
Rec. Date
29th-31st July 2019 At Sibelius Hall in Lahti Finland
Rec systems
MADI Rec by DMC842/Micstasy/MADI face XT
 (Synthax Japan Inc)
Digital Mic KM-133D as Main Mic and Apf
Mic Cable: The Chord Company
DAW: Pyramix V-12 192-24 Rec-Master (Merging Technology)
      Magix Sequoia V-13

3. Details of Recording 

This is the first overseas recording with me who usually produces an album based on the Ohga Hall in Karuizawa. What kind of environment is Sibelius Hall? I was wondering what to do with the photos or Documents of Sibelius Hall alone, but in a timely manner in May 2019, Mr.Seiji Murai went to Germany and dropped by Sibelius Hall .He gave me a video as actual venue. 
The configuration was as shown below. This time, the main theme was the setting of the main mic that satisfies all the balance, performance, and communication for the composition of piano and string 4 this time.
All of the main equipment was brought in from Japan, so we were very grateful to Syntax JAPAN for carnet application and customs clearance procedures.
On the afternoon of July 27, we opened the equipment at Helsinki's GENELEC OFFICE and checked the equipment, and confirmed that there were no problems and prepared for the 28th.

Since this hall was a typical shoebox shape found in Europe and the sound was attenuated quickly, the gain of the height mic was set as large as possible. Also, when I talk about that story as an engineer of the hall, when the BIS label records here, it opens the side reflectors to reinforce the sound, so we opened the reflectors this time as well. When listening to the height component of 4CH solo, the 2CH in the middle is rich, but the 2CH at both ends face to the side, so it seems that the attenuation was fast, so this reinforcement is very effective, He said that recordings of classical labels in Europe are frequently made.

Piano Quintet and Spider Tree 7.1CH main miking

Trout is a composition of Apf and Vn Va Vc and Cb. When recording in Europe etc., they use a many spot mic to reduce a bleeding from Apf. That’s why Apf does not open the lid too widely. This time, we have devised to make the UNAMAS Label policy of 7.1CH+4CH set up. For Apf, I made a custom piano push-up PROP STICK and brought it to the hall to diffuse it into the hall. Also, the main microphone was a miking with a narrower height and distance than usual, focusing on string.
There is a Spot mic in Apf, but this is a miking that is placed on the FL-FR of the height, and I referred to an example of using the FL-FR of the height well as the Atmos mix sound design of the movie.

In this recording, the main 7.1CH was set up with a miking called Spider Tree, and the artist surrounds the main microphone, which I call Subjective Surround. This is because the recording is a kind of art that uses a microphone as a tool. I asked Mr. Juho in advance why I would record in a circumferential arrangement and asked him not to be confused on the day of recording.

The ceiling height from the stage is 11.1m .the C key of the piano is 443KHz.
show the 3 miking as follow.

● The 4CH height microphone needs a good S/N ratio. 
I chose OC-818. In the previous plan, I was considering the SONY C-100, which had good results when used in the Ohga Hall recording, but decided to use this microphone, which had a good S/N in the catalog specifications and my listening test. If the capsule has a 2-way design, self-noise will be added only because the two are combined.

For reference, this is an example of self-residual noise characteristics and price list that I have compiled as candidates.

Model Self noise
C-100 SONY   18dba
OC 818     9dba
EHRLAND her-m 7dba
MKH 800 TWIN 12dba
UM-900     16dba
CUX 100K   17-22 dba  
M-102 11dba
Equivalent noise level(A-weighted)

● Few tips for Cb and Vc
Kanai Seisakusho KaNaDe The strings 1 insulator is installed in Cb and Vc to reduce the reflection from the floor of the hall called wolf and let the sound fly to the microphone. Because I've used it in Jazz Cb recordings, etc.

● Europe's power supply voltage is 230V, so equipment that supports this is 230V.For 100V compatible equipment used in, we brought in a 230V-100V step down device. The importance of the drive capability of the power supply is keenly felt in Japan, but the drive power of 230V was found great at the moment the sound was first heard from the speaker.
At the time of recording, I saw noise up to 100 KHz on the spectrum analyzer, but it was a very beautiful waveform compared to Japan.

4. Recording extra stories

From the day of recording, participants from Genelec, Vienna, and the video shooting team gathered, and some of them were recording experience classical music often. I'm listening to the conversation they're talking about together after seeing our miking. (I saw it for the first time, is it possible to record with this kind of miking? Is it all right?)! I was intimidated by myself (look forward to the results later...).

The direction of classical music is very important, and I would like to thank Tetsuro Kanai from Germany, who is fluent in German and English, I am grateful for the smooth progress while recording. Ezra Woo was an alumnus of Detmold, Germany with Tetsuro, and at the time of the tea break, they could have enjoyed a conversation in German.

The recording was quite tight because there were a total of 9 compositions on the schedule of recording. We spent 2 days for Trout then rest of 1 day; we spent 2 duo songs in the morning and afternoon of the rest of the day. 
But Mr. Kanai, who is in charge of the direction, gave us proper instructions. We were able to finish at 15:00 on the last day. Mr. Kanai brought back the sound source, edited it, confirmed it with Mr. Juho, sent it to me via a server, and proceeded with Final Mix based on the 192-24 WAV data after DL.

5. Final Master completions

Final mix also produced 48-24 MQA and 44.1-16 WAV on 192-24・2CH・5.1CH・11.1CH. This time, I made a 32BIT FLOAT master with the album publishing function in Pyramix DAW (currently this function only supports up to 5.1CH master), but I tried making 192-24 WAV again from there. Compared to the sound source that did 192-24 MIX directly, 32BIT FLOAT workflow enable to preserve the rich sound and I thought it was a very useful function for classical music.

At the end

We would like to introduce to you all the useful comments from Mr. Asakura who listened to the album and wrote the liner.

Mr. Sawaguchi, who has made many immersive surround album productions and produced highly immersive albums, he recalls: ``The idea that the label started producing the classical genre since 2014 was because I wanted to see what the expression possibilities of post 5.1 channel immersive audio could have as music, not by research or studying it actually I thought that the rich ensembles of the performance and the spatiality of the sound were suitable for that.''

In this project, all immersive channels are 7.1.4. The main 5.1 was recorded with a microphone arrangement that spreads all around like a spider called a Spider Tree. This is the first method used in the "Four Seasons" recorded in December 2018 at Ohga Hall.

Regarding this method, Sawaguchi said, "I call this Subjective Surround. The recording is an art that uses a microphone as a tool." This comment is worth watching.

With Subjective Surround, we took a step beyond the norm of reproducing the actual sound field as it was, and stepped into "the recording person creates a new sound field". Instead of objectively cutting out the sound field as it is, the instrument is localized in such a way that you want it to be heard. 
In the era of 2CH stereo sound field, even with such ideas, it was impossible to actually create a sound field in two channels. However, immersive surround was put into practical use, and it progressed from "delivering the sound field of the recording site as it is", making full use of the sense and artistry of the creator, not just reproducing the live sound field, but producing sound all around. The placement makes it possible to create a new, more moving, literally IMMERSIVE sound field. It can be said that this is a new recording style that utilizes the new technology. The master will be 11.1CH, but 5.1CH and 2CH newly mixed from here also retains a wealth of information, and there is the real pleasure of comparing and listening to the same music.

The following is the impression of Mr. Juho published in GENELEC NEWS release as a Producer 

“It was a very natural process and there was a lot of freedom for me to decide with whom I would like to play and which type of repertoire we would record,” “Mick really loves the sound of the double bass and wanted classical performances, because he felt this type of music really suits the immersive audio format. 

“I went through many options when choosing the pieces but decided to play it safe and go with Franz Schubert’s Trout Quintet for the first piece as it is an all-time favorite for me, also, we then chose Jean-Baptiste Barriere’s Sonate No: 10 which is a Baroque piece, originally composed for two cellos, but we played an arrangement for a double bass and cello instead. And then of course I had to play one piece composed by Giovanni Bottesini as I think he was a true master of the instrument. So I chose maybe his most famous piece, Elegy.” 

“I think in general nowadays, many recordings are too polished and end up losing the vibe and the atmosphere of the actual moment”. “For us, it’s all about the music and this is the point we were trying to make. It’s about the creativity and to be there to help inspire the best possible level of musical ability. I was very happy when I heard the tracks and I think the system has captured this vibe brilliantly!” 

Looking back fondly on the experience, “Working with Mick Sawaguchi and Tetsuro Kanai on this project was a once in a lifetime opportunity. As a musician, it was a great thing to be a part of, and I feel incredibly lucky to have played with great colleagues in a great hall with great equipment - it doesn’t get any better than that!” 

The sound source has been used a seminar held by GENELEC CHINA as part of BIRTV's Immersive sound production event held in Beijing in August 2019, GENELEC demonstration at AES NY in October, and GENELEC ROOM at Inter BEE in November in Japan. It will be used at events such as the GENELEC SHOW ROOM, starting with the demo. (End)

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