We associate early jazz sound with vintage equipment, and visualize musicians grouped around a microphone. From such sign as, radio-phonograph consoles reproduced full, smooth sound. Then as now, we settle in, relax and listen, yet today's tightly balanced or "spoon-feed" recordings haven an opposite character, as they often reveal much at first encounter but offer little more for future listening.
The large Studio A at Fantasy Studios and underground sound chambers at the facility have an ongoing legacy in popular music and jazz that we find ver attractive. Immediate sound is full and clean followed by a signature wave-like echo we have all heard from millions of records. The Hot Club sound needs both venues - the historic relaxed setting so that musicians can communicate, and ability to produce a full sounds like that before the age of popular digital.
Our setup put musicians somewhat near one wall and grouped in a near-circle, facing each other. Small non-directional microphones just overhead produce an overall space/stage setting, while directional accent pickups are placed quite near all instruments for articulation and solo balance. All microphones, including the accents, are matched stereo pairs that have adjustable time and response corrections to produce left-right and front-back perspectives to the recording. This natural binauaral-like technique places instruments in space as we hear them and eliminates constriction and multi-path problems from traditional panning techniques. Like all RR recordings, microphone signals are passively mixed to prevent circuit losses, and balancing is accomplished in a living-room type setting to closely match listener environment.
Fantasy has three underground sound chambers. Of these, an older chamber was chosen to add phrase livening and flourish at ends of tracks. Accent microphones provided signals for speakers in the studio, and outputs from these delayed speaker signals became part of the final mix. Powered monitor speakers placed with the musicians were fed these room signals to give subtle enhancement as well as an upbeat performance sense.
Four Pacific Microsonics Model 2 converters were used to encode the two-channel release as well as six-channel components needed for high resolution surround media.
Labels: Hot Club of San Francisco HRx, Hot Club of San Francisco LP, HRx, Oppo Sale, Prof Keith O. Johnson, The Hot Club of San Francisco