Recording and Production in the News
Prism Sound helps John Barnes and Luiza Borac capture a critically acclaimed performanceCambridge, UK - January 2007: News that Romanian pianist Luiza Borac's recording of Volume 2 of George Enescu's published piano music has been nominated for a prestigious BBC Music Magazine Award has delighted staff at Prism Sound because the recording chain included the company's AD2 and ADA-8 analogue-to-digital converters.
Producer John Barnes captured Borac's performance at St. Dunstan's, Mayfield, in July 2005 during a project to record all of George Enescu's published piano music, including several works that have hardly ever been heard before. The project began when Borac received a grant in Germany to research the material for performance. The subsequent recording was issued as a hybrid SACD by Avie Records Catalogue Number AV2081 and has received ecstatic critical acclaim throughout the world. Its nomination in the Instrumental Category of the 2007 BBC Music Magazine Awards will extend its appeal to an even wider audience.
Pianist Luiza Borac
"In addition to the acclaim given to the inherent musicality of Luiza Borac's interpretation, this recording has been highly praised for its sonic transparency, in which the piano sounds completely natural without harshness or distorted dynamics," John Barnes explains. "The acoustic of St. Dunstan's, Mayfield, was ideal for a large-scale piano recording of this kind and it was possible to make use of a very fine Steinway Model D grand piano for the project. Good piano recordings are difficult to make because of the wide frequency range needed to handle the dynamic transients. It was therefore necessary to use equipment of extremely high quality in order to achieve satisfactory results."
Barnes used four microphones including a pair of direct-coupled DPA 4006TL omni-directional units near the piano and a pair of transformer-coupled DPA 4006 omni-directional microphones further back in the church to provide natural ambience.
A four-channel 1024 Earthworks microphone amplifier was used to provide transparent analogue paths to the Prism Sound AD2 and ADA8 analogue-to-digital converters. These converters were operated in PCM mode at a sampling rate of 88.2 kHz and a resolution of 24 bits. The resulting digital PCM data was routed through a Lynx AES16 PCI interface into a very fast computer and the session management was carried out with Steinberg Nuendo Version 2.
"The entire system, including the computer, was synchronized to the low-jitter word clock of the Prism Sound AD2 converter and this resulted in a very clean transfer of the digital data," Barnes adds. "The Prism Sound converters were an essential part of the recording set-up. Their bandwidth, coupled with their extremely wide dynamic range, permitted the use of reasonable headroom whilst preserving a very low noise floor."
Ian Dennis, Technical Director of Prism Sound, says: "We've worked with John on a wide range of projects since the earliest days of Prism Sound. He has fantastically high standards and a keen eye for detail, which have been a great help to us in the development of our converters. It's good to see him and Luiza getting the credit they deserve for these magnificent recordings."
Voting for the BBC Music Magazine Awards is now open to the public via the magazine's website. Each nomination is accompanied by a CD clip, giving voters the chance to listen to the music in each category. To cast a vote - or simply to enjoy the nominees - please go to www.bbcmusicmagazine.com/awards before February 8th, 2007.
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