Post by Kate B Post by Fenny
Ma watches "The Chase", so we watched an episode the other evening.
Quite apart from the volume Ma has the telly , I had to stick a
finger in my ear to reduce the volume of the ambient noise in the
studio over which the contestants had to be heard. I found the whole
show too overwhelming to be able to take much notice of the actual
quiz. Unlike Pointless, where the non-speaking noise is kept to a
decent level and the crowd don't seem to screech so much at every
 She costantly tells me how good her hearing is and complained at
how loud the production of "Kiss Me, Kate" we saw at The Crucilble
last weeek was.
My husband is very deaf, but he too complains in cinemas and theatres
where voices are amplified, because his hearing loss is primarily in the
higher frequencies, and the usual amplification tendency is to boost the
lower ones. So it actually really hurts his ears, and perhaps it hurts
your mother's ears too?
He has excellent hearing aids and is fine with opera and orchestral
music in the raw, but often has problems with broadcast music, because
it inevitably goes through some kind of manipulation. A recent case was
the R4 radio relay of the Kings Carols, which was clearly being tweaked
on the fly for the much touted Sound-Surround Experience. This was
supposed to be only audible on headphones (we were listening on FM), but
something very weird was going on throughout most of the programme -
sometimes the ambient acoustic was tuned out, sometimes you could only
really hear the boys, sometimes the organ appeared to be playing a
sub-sub-bass 64ft stop that really rattled our usually perfectly
adequate Linn speakers. I wished they'd just put one microphone halfway
down the chapel and leave it at that.
I suppose that's impossible? Mike Toodles would know.
Possible, but I doubt it has ever happened since the first sound mixers
were introduced; so we have multiple miking of most events certainly since
the 1940’s if not before. The engineers working for Auntie are probably
recording multi-miked to multiple tracks; from there, they are probably
trying to serve the surround sound service through to much mangled mono
being broadcast on shortwave! When recording events, I tried to produce a
decent balance, a reasonable soundstage with a believable acoustic that
could be listened to on speakers or on headphones - in stereo or mono.
Though I recorded for many years using a binaural pair and occasionally
judiciously added sound from solo mics to the mix, I later adopted using a
mid-side pair for the main sound image plus tweaks provided by solo mics
occasionally. My preferred method works for soloists, small ensembles or
full 100 piece plus orchestras and choir. Having recorded in living rooms,
church halls, small and large theatres, the Royal Albert Hall. St. John’s,
Smith Square, the Festival Hall and many other venues, I can confidently
state that they all have their own ‘features’ and challenges!