04 November 2006
I really hate the way solo tuba CD's are recorded. It would guess that it is an effort to recreate the sense of space and reverberance from a recital or concert hall, but instead, what you get is a recording where you have to turn the volume way up just to be able to hear it, and where the piano is, if not louder, than at least clearer and "closer" sounding than the tuba. I have personally always been partial to the sound obtained from placing the mic much closer, about a foot above the bell of the tuba; that point, however, brings us to the real issue here, which is that the closer one mics the horn, the more audible every little mistake becomes. I think tubists are sacrificing that more "immediate" sound that I prefer in order to appear "perfect." With digital editing and what not, the pressure to eliminate any perceptible mistake in the performance is indeed high. Add to that the fact that these recordings are going to be heard by lots of other tuba players, and one almost has no choice. Nonetheless, I'd like to see that change. In the end, it is futile to try to appear perfect; it is equally futile to try to create the impression of space on recording. That, I would argue, is not the point of recording anyway.