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David Pinnegar

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About David Pinnegar

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    Encouraging enthusiasm for organs and their repertoire. Historic tuning.

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  1. Paul - your expertise speaks volumes. With regard to directional responses and the colouration from off axis sounds this has been apparent from the UHER M537 experiment - it is a directional mic but off axis it's the treble in particular that's diminished. Whether there are situations where that can be useful remain to be seen and it may be a better solo mic than in a stereo pair. The M538 is similar to the D200 - D224 family in having a parallel graph off axis to the on-axis response. There may be a reason why the D202 might be a little less tight in the bass than the D200 or the D224 - it uses a larger diameter capsule. I've done frequency measurements on all the mics auditioned, and all the graphs above in this thread are mine rather than manufacturer-doctored idealisms. Nevertheless, with people listening through such diversity of reproducers which are far from what used to be anything like our idea of ideal in the hi-fi decades potentially it's the listener who's setting the standards required nowadays rather than the originator. That's the reason why I'm asking not "which microphone is best" but "which microphone do people like to hear through best". In this century we face the potential collapse of anything that formerly held certainties for any of us and we can only do our best to rescue what we can of what is most of worth and put it on life-support. To convey the message of music best now, its reception is more profoundly important than its transmission. Best wishes David P
  2. When I upload to YouTube it's often not what YouTube does but what the encoding software does when compiling the video so it's worth a five minute listen to the samples. The software I use gives options and I use the maximum audio bitrate and minimum acceptable pixel and frame rate so the uploaded YouTube recording is as accurate as can be through conventional reproduction equipment. Really interestingly a good musician friend likes the £10 TS5 dynamic capsule https://de.aliexpress.com/item/32846074174.html in a cheap body, as does the violinist, who also likes the cheap Frankenmic. But the TS5 would require post processing bass equalisation for organ. Our next performers to record, also a violin piano duo, like the D202 whilst others gravitate to the D224. So what we're seeing is that the conventional bounds of accepted wisdom in the recording industry can be broken and are ripe for re-investigation, and in the 21st Century defined by uncertainties of unstoppable biospheric forces rather than the anthropocene illusion of dominance of the 20th century, all areas of accepted wisdom are ripe for re-evaluation. Best wishes David P
  3. Colin - always the voice of reason. Capacitor mics are often flat, as you say, although there's a fashion for a bit of high top treble boost and it's normally true that dynamics aren't flat. However my interest in the particular dynamics exemplified here is that . . . UHER M537 red and AKG D200 (blue line) and the D202 and D224 are equally flat extending to 12k and the D224 significantly towards 20k. The CM60 - red line has that 8k bump which gives the abrasive quality to the violin - and would do likewise for organ mixtures. Ignore the green line - this is the raw response measuring the D202 without division by the reference measurement mic which I resample on each set of measurements. But the D202 green line shows how remarkably flat the Tannoy 611 speaker is and how the D202 is flat. The green and red lines in the D202 graph represent the measurement of the Tannoy 611 in a different position affected by different standing waves. So these particular dynamic mics really can record organs and the UHER and AKG mics do bring out the bottom octave in the piano recorded in the test samples in the video. Perhaps that may not be apparent on everyone's speakers but that's the importance of taking a poll on what sort of recorded sound people like to be listening to. Best wishes David P
  4. I was really asking for people's opinions on listening to the recordings made with the particular microphones used. Cheap - yes the Takstar CM60s are extraordinarily cheap - and punch above their weight. Cheap but certainly not nasty. But the AKG D224s are and certainly never were cheap and are appropriately sought-after. They were studio-standard in their day and the D202s were so loved by the BBC that upon the 50th birthday of the BBC a commemorative stamp was issued which featured them with other iconic units. The D224s fell out of favour not because of being years out of date but because of fragility of the front capsule in particular, which still plagues extant examples. The technology of these units has not been surpassed by any subsequent dynamic mic. The UHER M537 is not a million miles away from the Sennheiser MD421 which remains a current microphone, not cheap, and still in production. The BM800s are really interesting as donor bodies for upgrade. Their electronics can be upgraded with a handful of components and the availability of 1 inch elektret capsules transforms them. Likewise the same capsules can transform the ugly Behringer C1and C3, transforming the C3 into better than the B2 Pro and the C1 better than the B1. There is quite a fanclub of BM800 upgraders. The comment that these microphones are either (a) cheap and nasty or (b) out of date recalls to mind the story of the composer Scharwenka who upon crossing the Atlantic on a steamer was seen writing out scores of one of his compositions. A fellow passenger asked him why he was bothering to do that as music then was so cheap to buy in the shops. The reason for my asking opinions about these mics is that it's easy to go for capacitor mics nowadays which are top rate but . . . And the Tascam DR40 I've been using for years to great success. But I'm piano tuning now, in a special way, and have had to start producing top rate recordings demonstrating the new methodology, based on organ tuning, to be valid and useful. Tuning last year for the Nice International competition, I needed to record the whole proceedings for a week, with minimum fuss on battery charging, and achieving quality through mic placement disconnected to the operation of the recorder. So phantom powered mics drain the batteries of recorders more. "Use an external battery" the clever people say. Been there, done that, and it's dependant upon the less than robust nature of micro USB leads. According focus on Dynamic mics came to the fore which is why I started exploration of the AKG D200 D202 D224 and UHER M538 family. One of my favourite mics is the UHER M538, similar to the D202, but my second for the pair requires a treble unit upgrade which is why I didn't include them in the test of the recording in this thread. Many recording festival events requiring many hours of recording might find themselves with dilemmas of power. And plugging in the recorders into a mains adapter leads to risk of hum in my experience. The D202s gave best results for where capacitor mics were much more catastrophically prone to wind noise and the D202s recorded with Tascam DR70 gave better noise than the DR40 internal mics. The success of the UHER family is demonstrated by which was hideously difficult to record on account of - well, you'll hear, and doubt if anyone's heard a better recording of such an instrument. A very different recording of a concert for which I'd tuned the piano was made with my UHER M538 and a D200 with new units, both matching to above 10khz and the UHER flat up to considerably further towards 20k. That evening, I'd taken a mic requiring phantom power . . . and had problems with the power supply. Meanwhile was recorded with a pair of D202 mixing in 10% of my Frankenmic to escape the ORTF claustrophobia focus on the orchestra and piano. In fact there is an unintentional comparison to a Decca Tree here and at points one does have the sense of the piano being in the foreground. This recording could not have been achieved with the bare DR40 on internal mics. So some might not agree on my particular rationale for choice of mics, but it's not random nor based on price. The piano on was amplified with a AKG C214, no doubt pleasing brand worshippers, whilst was amplified with a humbler Takstar PCM6100 also used for the soprano. Meanwhile there are some mics which provide better resistance to handling noise than others and the UHER M537 and M538 are exemplary, together with picking out the sound one wants - So this is nothing to do with price but a combination both of horses for courses together with the sort of sound that people like - and specifically the recording at the top of this thread being a good test over the whole frequency range from deepest bass of piano to violin. For me, a violin should sound sweet rather than abrasive. It may be that with equipment that people are using nowadays which is not as fullrange as hifi was in the past, the top frequencies need emphasis and that as a result people like a mic that puts monosodium glutamate into the sound but that others using better equipment or good headphones like a mic known to be flatter. It might also be that people unfamiliar with real sound like the excitement of top treble buzz because they think that that represents quality. I met this issue last year with another test where the D202 gave a more real sound both of the flute, as heard at the recital, and of the cello, and the cellist liked them better. But many liked the brighter sound of the Frankenmic saying it was more alive. The sound for me, however is reproduction on steroids and through my laptop speakers the cello sounds like a bee buzzing in the ears. I also did a test before getting a pair to the D202 using good quality, flat, M-Audio Nova capacitor mics - 1 is the M-Audio condenser, 2 is the AKG D202 on guitar with the SM57 clone on the singer, and 3 is the cheap upgraded BM800 which the singer liked best. Another test looked at L-R placement vs Mid-Side using good capacitor mics - here in a standard setting and here trying to bring out the concept of the Victorian concert hall with an 1859 instrument In my view it's always important to do the experiment, and make no assumptions. I'm infinitely grateful to the wonderful musicians who've been willing to help in experiment On the last recording I later discovered that my D202 in use then wasn't flat, since replaced. There are many areas where the 21st century departs from what I call "white haired knowledge", those with long experience having passed away, that in my view life is all about going back to test assumptions, do the experiments, and find the context - here bringing the sound people want to that audience. People's equipment has changed. One's mics might have to accordingly. Likewise in that vein I heard a nice explanation about the rationale of the Shure SM57 with rising frequency response. Apparently people used to like them on account of their raised treble so that then they could turn down the treble on playback and reduce tape hiss . . . We don't understand that context any more today. Best wishes David P
  5. In this world of streamed performances and increasing reliance on recordings, getting a recording right is pretty important. I've relied for a long time on digital recorders but separate mics can give better results. is a comparison of five mics - Takstar TS5 dynamic Takstar CM60 capacitor Frankenmic home-made/modified UHER M537 AKG D202 AKG D224 It would be really helpful to know which anyone considers to sound best. The recording is irrelevant to organ specifically but violin and piano gives a lot of range to give a good idea. Best wishes David P
  6. Thanks - and glad the examples are interesting. It was especially fascinating to research the origin and context of these pieces and to see how, as originally conceived, they were masterworks of mood-music to accompany the art-installation for which they were conceived. Worthy of The Tate, the installation and accompanying music would be hailed as complete genius but at the time only a matter of curiosity. For anyone with the time and inclination, if anyone downloads the paper, I've detailed this there, and given further leads around and beyond the subject including a bibliographic history of research and publication. For anyone with organ simulation facilities I do urge trying out repertoire you think you know and on types of instruments both familiar and unfamiliar, in different temperaments. In my view there are three families of temperament equal and pseudo equal, including Vallotti which I can rarely distinguish as being unequal (this has 6 perfect fifths) Kellner, which I consider to be well behaved Wohltemperiert and Kirnberger III which moves towards the strength of Meantone but is more subtle Werkmeister III which I have personally found to be extreme, and Meantone, WIII with 8 perfect 5ths and Meantone with 8 perfect 3rds. We've experimented also using the ease with which harpsichords can be retuned - so here Kellner and different instruments in different tunings and here using the Rameau temperament Here meantone - The research and recordings owe much gratitude not only to performers, here Alexandra Kremakova, but also to Michael Gamble who was keyboard technician for Glyndebourne for two decades but who started out life working for HN&B and it has been with his help, interest and encouragement that these instruments have been able to be brought into working condition. One of my favourite performances demonstrating the landmarks that a well-tempered instrument provides in the music is I'm not sure which tuning is used here . . . . but it's likely to be Meantone which I've usually used on this instrument An interesting comparison was with another performer on all three instruments, the small Sperrhake receiving benefit from the resonance of 7 perfect fifths enabling the sound to build to something more than the sum of its parts, really as an organ should. This is where organs in acoustics able to support the instrument benefit from resonant tuning to build power rather than merely the high wind pressures of brute force that we saw in late 19th century and 20th century instruments. Apologies for giving possibly too much to listen to, but it's a distillation of long exploration. Best wishes David P
  7. Please forgive me for what is likely to be a very rough introduction to a thread which could probably be introduced more elegantly. As some know, I have an interest in tuning pianos, indeed an obsession, and this leads me into discussions beyond the confines of organs. Another tuner pointed a piano group to a curiosity of tuning - https://toposmedia.bandcamp.com/album/niels-lyhne-l-kkegaard-a-major-third-consists-of-9-different-notes-for-30-saxophones which personally I have found excruciating. I used to find Messiaen likewise but perhaps when we hear we can appreciate him more. Some time ago I was asked to talk to the friends of the London Mozart players and https://www.academia.edu/37951978/THE_COLOUR_OF_MUSIC_IN_MOZARTS_TIME_A_journey_from_Couperin_to_Chopin_Examination_of_reconstruction_of_Mozart_Fantasias_K594_and_K608_for_Mechanical_Clock resulted, which I hope that members might find interesting. My interest in Meantone then led into an investigation into an 18th century barrel organ formerly at the Colt Collection. is a recording of some Handel, and at some stage I'll put on YT the recordings of the two recorded Handel Organ Concertos. This gave clues as to what Mozart was writing for in terms of his organ fantasias for mechanical clock. Modern performances are so very different to the instrument and context for which Mozart was writing. Contemporary accounts refer to the mechanical clock giving the impression of a couple of flutes and a bassoon. Obviously a short-resonator reed would have been necessary for the bass and at the Colt Collection was a piano-organ, the organ using stopped pipes to save space. So I decided to simulate the Mozart Fantasias as if to be pinned on the Holland Barrel Organ with the addition of extra reeds in the bass. In the 18th century inter-European communication was more widespread than we give credit for, as exemplified by Dr Burney's travels. Looking at barrel organs on YouTube has given opportunities for armchair comparison unavailable to previous generations. As a result I surmise that reproducing mechanisms had elements of standardisation, and as such I assumed that the barrel diameter, surface rotation speed and time of 10 or so revolutions in the Austrian clock might not be very different to that of the barrels of the Holland instrument. And in the 1930s Scholes asked the question of how Dr Burney's piano, in meantone, might have performed the Bach 48. The secret might well be in the use of stopped ranks for the far keys. And interestingly, an 1859 Broadwood piano demonstrates surprising tonal resilience to tuning in Kirnberger III So in the resulting lecture a friend demonstrated what should have been the worst of Bach 48 And the trouble with meantone is in choosing the wrong stops but when used with the right stops can be particularly expressive of emotion - Thanks to all the performers who have gone through years of experimentation with me. Best wishes David P
  8. As one stumbles upon thing on YouTube by accident I've found a series of recordings which are in my opinion truly outstanding. Exquisitely virtuosic andJonathan Scott plays without the flash of either of the American CCs. He seems to have a penchant for instruments with en chamade reeds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP246iXyQ44 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZN6tnEr0aM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9BO1dazswE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLb4_K2aqkI In my opinion he's worthy of special commendation. Best wishes David P
  9. Thanks so much for this. Now searching Iberian Organs on Google you've opened up the can of mysteries. https://www.thediapason.com/content/early-iberian-organ-design-and-disposition has some interesting information about the disposition of the typical instrument. Not wanting to bore everyone in asking questions of interest perhaps only to the most obsessive of organ nerds I'll merely quote a passage which opens up some technical differentiation that looks rather fascinating to me, and perhaps leave others to ask the questions that perhaps all of us may or may not like to know the answers to - In my opinion looking sideways at lineage of other heritage can be really magic in bringing to life instruments as well as other interpretations, and giving expansion to sources and areas of enthusiasm. Best wishes David P
  10. 😉 Not at all! But are there experts on historic Spanish organs here? I've been fortunate enough to be able to look at a simulation of one or two and haven't been able to make much of a head or tail of them. What similarities and potential differences are there between the typical 18th century early 19th century Portuguese instrument and the Spanish? Best wishes David P
  11. Thanks so much. That makes sense. Another puzzle is that the largest pipe of each organ is said to be 7m tall . . . Bottom note on keyboard is C. In addition to ranks labelled 12 there's a Dozena. 8ft or 12th? Then a Quinzena so assume 15th. Then there's fun with the Cornets . . . Corneta real VI Corneta Corneta eco (echo perhaps) And rhyming with that a Rebecao Corneta Inglesa - V and VI versions Some Cimbala seem intriguing too, accompanied by Recimbala and Sobrecimbala. . . At Porto I was able to sneak a visit to the console of the monastery organ and photograph the stops of a more conventional nature than the set of 6. Best wishes David P
  12. Thanks. I thought Aberto was open and Cheio looked like stopped . . . until I saw Cheio IV and Cheio V with Cimbala IV and Recimbala IV And what do the 12 and 24 mean? Presumably the Flautado is a more flutey sort of Diapason like the French. And what might be a Flauto Romano? The appear to be quite exotic animals . . . Best wishes David P
  13. Thank you SO MUCH for the pointer to Mafra. What an amazing place it is - a palace generally unknown that's the equal of Versailles and, yes, six organs in one Basilica designed to be played together. Quite a spectacle. Perhaps one day it might be possible to hear them in person. Other organs in other places have similar en chamade trumpets and oboes. Notably at the university town of Coimbra and in Porto also. Coimbra https://www.centerofportugal.com/poi/st-michaels-chapel-of-the-university-of-coimbra/ 1737 https://myportugalholiday.com/coimbra-portugal/igreja-santa-cruz-coimbra-monastery-church.html - rather an extraordinary claim made there . . . The instrument at the Mosteiro de São Bento da Vitória in Porto is exceptional. The restoration of the six Mafra organs was sponsored by Barclays Bank and won the Europa Nostra Award in 2012 for conservation. A DVD and book is available about the organs with specification of each instrument. If of interest I'll copy out some specs. My knowledge of Portuguese being non-existent what does "Flautado de 24 aberto" and "Flautado de 24 cheio" mean? No doubt others may find others, recordings and specifications but these instruments are clearly a genre worthy of attention. Best wishes David P
  14. Are there any experts on Portuguese instruments? Many are reputed to be old . . . Does anyone have any information on the 6 instruments commissioned for the Palace at Mafra? All 6 appear to have En Chamade trumpets and apparently there was music specifically written for the set of six instruments that cannot be performed anywhere else . . . Best wishes David P
  15. I don't understand the problem with clicks on the Tascam recording. Rather than playing back on the Tascam and recording again on the computer, you should simply be plugging the Tascam into the computer through the USB cable, uploading the file and importing that file into whatever you want to edit it with, and save. A slow computer means only that it takes a longer time. Buffer sizes are of no consideration. Best wishes David P
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