Recording Strings at Orpheus Studio in Shoreditch

A couple of Mondays ago, we recorded string parts for a client who had composed a 9 minute long piece of music scored for vocals, brass, percussion, strings and woodwind. All in all, 6 first violins, 6 second violins, 5 violas and 5 cellos were recorded, transforming the track with an orchestral depth and richness of sound. The client also asked Tony (cellist) to tune his cello down a couple of tones and record some notes which would normally be below the register of the cello which would usually be between the note C (2 octaves below middle C) and potentially an A string reaching up as high as a D (over an octave above middle C).

The decision was made to stagger this recording session, so the cello parts were recorded in the first two hours, whereas the viola and violin parts took in the region of five hours. The reason we did it this way was to avoid the ‘spill’ that often occurs between microphones when instruments are recorded together with separation, but are intended to be mixed separately. Recording one section after another enabled the engineer (Richard Campbell, who owns the studio and is the in-house engineer and producer) to have full control over every single stem. He was therefore able to process all the various layers individually to create a completely authentic sound as if a whole string orchestra were seated in a much larger studio.

Working with Richard at Orpheus Studios was especially easy as he reads music fluently and had a good understanding of orchestral instruments, meaning that he was able to refer to our notation (and specific bars) when indicating which point we were to come in on a particular take. Richard was so efficient at editing that he was ready to start recording the next take almost immediately.

When we all finished at around 7pm, the composer and engineer were delighted with the end results. Much work is still to be done on the track, but we look forward to hearing the end result.