Capturing Timeless Classics
To ensure acoustic consistency for hundreds of thousands of samples – including the vast spectrum of technical nuances, articulations and volume levels – each instrument must be recorded at an accurate and constant distance from the microphone. This fixed distance combined with an ultra-amplified signal – used especially for pianissimo sounds – can lead to unwanted environmental noise. No existing professional studios could offer the noise absorption we needed for this caliber of recording.
Naturally, we had unique space requirements for larger ensembles, acoustic prerequisites and needed 24/7 availability. That’s why in 2001, our custom recording facility, dubbed the “Silent Stage”, was built in Ebreichsdorf, 25 kilometers south of Vienna. With an ambience of 0.8 seconds, it’s neither a “dry”, nor a “wet” environment, and it provides well-balanced reflections that the instruments’ sound can evolve and the musicians can hear themselves well.
The walls of the recording hall consist of three layers: an outer shell, an inner shell – both constructed of massive brickwork and each with a foundation of its own – and a third interior shell of gyprock panels. The interior to exterior isolation achieved with this design is more than 90 dB. Environmental noises, both natural and human made, affecting even the best facilities, especially at amplification levels greater than 60 dB (e.g., with pianissimo samples), are completely non-existent at The Silent Stage. In one of our more ambitious tests, even a helicopter hovering overhead remained soundless. The only thing for which there is no remedy yet is the rumbling of musician’s stomachs, which explains our strategic scheduling of lunches and dinners.
The Silent Stage was expertly designed for recording individual instruments and orchestral ensembles. The chief goal is to precisely capture the sound of a recorded instrument to such an accurate level that the listener feels as though he or she were standing right in front of the musician.