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Compressors and Space Designer improve sound - recommendations for a baroque instrument?

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Hello to all,

I'm not new to this rodeo, been recording baroque music, mostly viola da gamba professionally for almost 10 years.

I finally "bit the bullet" and decided to record the three sonatas Bach wrote for the harpsichord and viola da gamba.

My usual equipment that I recorded many other albums with, with the same distance, etc. between the instruments and the microphones.

Same recording venue. Same instruments.

Stereo pair Neumann KM 184 for the harpsichord

Stereo pair AKG 414 S for the viola da gamba

Focus Clarett 4 Pre for the sound card


Now, to the "nitty gritty" of my problem:

I usually have a few sets of reverb that have worked on the almost 300 titles I've recorded.

This time, the higher notes on the viola da gamba sound scratchy and even the whole thing muffled. It had a lot to do with the fact that I should have had the instrument set up by a luthier before recording.

But what is done is done and now IF possible I want to make it sound nicer.


I'll send along a brief clip :

- with zero plugins

- with Space Designer and a reverb I set up for a few other albums

- since this was not sufficient, I added a compressor = Platinum Orchestral

Which is better.


But I would love to have any input that any of you might have as how to get the sound better? Different compressor? Anything? As you see it is mostly 'cello range.

What I don't like is the nasal sounds and the muffled sound. The harpsichord as you can hear is perfect.


I thank you all in advance for your collective wisdom and any tips (no I will not rerecord it, not an option).





Capture d’écran 2023-01-28 à 16.54.03.jpg

Edited by Jonathan Dunford
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  • Jonathan Dunford changed the title to Compressors and Space Designer improve sound - recommendations for a baroque instrument?

And what about a tape emulation plugin (or a real tape recording if you have a reel to reel) on the whole thing? Chow Tape Model is free and can be your friend.

Often the tape eq/compression can tame some aggressiv mid/hi frequencies.

I've not your experience in recording baroque musique but  an other side, for the track itself, from the little snippet I hear, maybe I shoud have separate more the viole de gambe from the harpsichord which takes all the space and "choke" the viole. Maybe the harpsi a little bit on the right and the viole de gambe on the left (or the contrary), like they can be on a real stage? (even if maybe it was actualy recorded on a real stage but the listener doesn't know, the more obvious is the better in some cases)

But It's my own perception and my tastes.

Edited by FLH3
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