Hollywood, CA – Scoring engineer/mixer Shawn Murphy has employed Sanken’s new CO-100K microphone for two notable projects: John Williams’ score for Munich and Mark Isham’s score for Eight Below. An Academy Award-winner, Murphy has recorded and mixed the scores for more than 250 feature films, and has been using Sanken microphones for more than two decades.
“I enjoy working with orchestras the most,” he remarks. “Because of the sonic colors available and the dynamics of the playing. The fashioning of the sound has the most variables when you are working with a live orchestra.”
The orchestras that Murphy records typically comprise more than 100 players and are recorded on large scoring stages such as Todd-AO, the biggest in California. For Munich and Eight Below, Murphy tested the new 100 kHz microphone from Sanken.
“I used the new Sankens in a position we call a “string booster,” which is the wide left and right microphones over the violins on the left and the celli and viola on the right. I used them to provide a nice ambient airy characteristic to the strings that could be added to the main pickup, which was a three-mic Decca Tree arrangement. Without seeming edgy or bright, the Sankens provided a great characteristic of air and top end which was smooth and natural. The microphones required no processing or EQ, which is the way in which I like to work.”
Regarding a microphone capable of reaching up to 100kHz, far beyond the range of human perception, Murphy comments: “We hear that sound as ‘air’. A few years ago in digital recording you couldn’t hope to print something like that. In analog recording, you would have a machine that might extend its response up to 30K or higher and then you had a smooth roll-off that would let you add ‘air’ to the recording, even if it had theoretically unheard elements.
“Now that we are recording our orchestras at 192K, which was the case for Munich and Eight Below, you have the ability to record frequencies that are way up beyond the audible range. The ear interprets that as an openness, or an airiness, and not a brightness or a harshness, which would tend to migrate down into the audible range. Anything which is going to excite your ear down at 10K or below is going to be read as harsh, but something at 40K, 50K or even 100K in this case, doesn’t migrate below but still holds up that top end in a very high range. You perceive it as ‘air,’ which is desirable. It’s simply a nice open sound.”