The heart and soul of any recorded sound must surely be the acoustical properties of the room or hall itself, and the microphones being used within that acoustic. I designed the acoustics of the VTL studio in Chino, California, for ‘purist' recording-techniques only, with all the music being played ‘live' and captured straight on to 2 stereo tracks...
Measuring 40 ft x 30 ft with a cathedral-peak ceiling of 16 ft height, the entire acoustic treatment is finished in Oregon Oak and Douglas Fir timbers with continuous Helmholtz tuned resonance absorbing slots. The floor is rubber over high-density particle board over concrete with a resultant reverberation time of approximately 11⁄2 seconds, providing a totally neutral and resonance-free acoustic.
Every single piece of equipment in the (entirely tube, entirely analogue) recording chain is of my design and is built in our factory in Chino. Somewhat unusually, this includes the microphones themselves.
The MANLEY `GOLD REFERENCE' STEREO CONDENSER microphone is the centre-piece and the single microphone used for this recording. No other additional microphones were used at all. It is of the so-called `large capsule' variety, having a diameter of 11/4 inches with 3-micron gold-deposition mylar diaphragms.
The stereo version has one fixed capsule and one rotatable capsule with the `pick-up pattern' being continuously variable... my most often-used choice being that of `figure of 8' in the classic Blumlein coincident crossed-pair mode. For our own recordings we use custom-versions of the `REFERENCE GOLD' microphone, in that the entire vacuum tube amplification is built into the microphone body, (8 triodes in the stereo microphone!), and no transformer coupling or external amplification is used at all.