Choice of Real Pipe Organ Accompaniments

Original Electronic Pipe Organ Accompaniments

Some of the original hymn recordings made as part of the Phase I work at Bias Recording Studio used electronic keyboard simulations of pipe organ as the accompaniments. That was because those keyboards could be brought into the studio.  However, for sonic sound quality reasons in phase II, in consultation with the Associate Producer Mr. Bill McElroy, it was decided:

There are at least two pipe organs in churches in Ashland. For a variety of reasons the final choice was to record the pipe organ at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church, on the campus of Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia. They have the 35 rank, 2,086 pipe, Scribner-Keeble Memorial Pipe Organ by the Schantz Pipe Organ company.

Many thanks are extended to the Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church for working out arrangements for making the on‑location recording of their pipe organ as the accompanying pipe organ instrument on this album.

Technical Details for Recording Real Pipe Organ

The live recording was made using two different microphone placement concepts.

First.  The pipe organ chambers in Duncan Memorial United Methodist church are located high on both sides of the chancel.  Additionally, pipes for the Great Division and non-sub-bass Pedal Division are located on the back wall of the chancel facing the congregation.  In order to record a relatively "dry" recording (meaning with little room echo), four microphones on separate recording tracks were placed high in the chancel close to each set of pipes.  Two were placed on each side of the chancel, high and close to the pipe chambers. That also meant two of the microphones were close to the exposed pipes on the back wall that face the congregation.

Second.  While it is not a great cathederal with enormous room reverberance, we still chose to place two microphones on separate tracks for a stereo recording of the room. Those were placed in the middle of the main body (the nave) of the church to capture a stereo recording that includes the room’s reverberances.  All those tracks were mixed to create the final warm sound representing this very fine pipe organ.


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