Here’s a little experiment I did – I’ve recently transcribed a baroque sonata by Giovanni Zamboni and recorded it twice – once in a high-end studio facility here at University of music in Vienna and once in my home recording studio. Let’s call them Recording A and Recording B.

To make this experiment just a little bit interesting, I won’t tell you which is which just yet. Below you can hear a direct AB comparison of both – excerpts of each movement to be exact. RMS levels might not be 100% equal but you’ll get an overview of the sound.

Please, drop me a comment of what you think, which one you prefer, what timbral qualities they possess, which is to dry or has too much reverb, is overall too dark/bright. You know, this kind of stuff. I’ll comment back in a few days telling the results.

Both times I played on the same guitar – a 2006 Bernd Holzgruber. My home recording was done using only two Oktavas Mk012 worth 350 EUR with the signal going through Metric Halo’s excellent ULN-2 Audio Interface. Mixing was done directly in Mio Console using their Channel Strip for a gentle compression and their HaloVerb. The recording at the University studio was recorded with two amazing DPA 4041 mics (worth 3000 EUR each) and a AKG 414 XLII Stereo Pair (worth 2200 EUR). The results should be obvious, right? Yep, they are, but I’d still like your opinion!

Thanks for your cooperation!


  • Hi Uroš
    A cracking bit of guitar playing Uroš – love this one !!Top class my friend – well done !!No speaking about sound itself: To be honest i preferred second B version more than A due to a reason i love more echo going on while playing. But i have to admit at the same time the first take is more natural sounding. Hope it makes sense haha
    Kind regards

  • Jure Cerkovnik says:

    So, i think the first one is recorded in your studio, and the second one in Vienna. I like the first one more because i think it is more authentic. But maybe just for this style of classical music, i would have to hear other styles played in both studios too, to be more sure what i i prefer….
    … When will you reveal the fact which one is which?

  • Nejc Kuhar says:

    I think A is recorded at your home studio – it has a “studio” quality to it. B feels more as if recorded in a concert hall (which is not bad either). However, I’d still prefer A on a CD.

  • Hi Uros! You’ve done a good job, played with excellent taste!

    You asked about opinions. I have to say I like both recordings. As you wrote, the difference is quite hearable, what I think the decision is also a matter of taste.

    Room properties: (There was no hall effect used, was there?)
    It seems to me that at A you had the mics more directed to the guitar, and you didn’t want to have that much of the room. (In this case, it was a little similar to a mono recording.)

    At B you probably had the 2 DPAs (already with “Kugelcharakteristik”) and in addition 2 AKGs (also) so the stereo depth and hall is probably collected very well from the room itself. (For my taste the hall is already too hearable, not just feelable – I have the feeling of a live recording from the audience.)

    Tone quality
    A has got a tone that I would say, knowing you: it is your taste. You also form nails, play a way to gain such a color just acoustically.

    At B the sound is more present. It is I think a very quick reaction (is it called transient?) of the mics and the slight difference of higher frquencies, coming from the hall properties and the mic characteristics.

    So for me:
    excellent work both times, the decisions are also a matter of taste; very well played, and:
    The A wins in the Klangfarbe, because it is your tone. Room properties won by B.

    Best regards & thanks for sharing!

  • I would agree with Laszlo!

    The sound is definitely clearer in the A recording. I wouldn’t be able to decide for either of them though. I feel that music from Zamboni can indeed use natural room reverb (as in the B recording). That just gives it a special feel. Churches or big halls can go nicely side by side with early music…

    One thing that struck me was that in the A recording I felt the sound being more balanced than in the B recording. Some high register notes in the B recording had a resonating-ringing vibe to them, which inevitably effected your overall gorgeous ton production color.

    Anyways, I am eager to hear which is which. Amazing playing and just so beautiful musicianship.


    • Thanks everyone for your participation and kind comments!
      Recording A was recorded in my home studio while Recording B was done in the University studio.
      Rob, you got it right (considering the FB comment as well) but unfortunately I don’t have a prize this time… But I’ll keep it in my mind for my future shootouts!
      Nejc, Jure, good point! B was indeed recorded in a concert hall that itself sounded great (Karl Öhlberger Studio) while A was recorded in a bedroom-size room, only to add some artificial reverb later.
      László, spot on! As mentioned above, A was done in my studio where I had two of my Oktavas, this time with cardioid capsules, close-miking my guitar (about 40 cm away) but pointed slightly away from the guitar to smooth out the sound a bit… I did add some discrete reverb and compression later in the studio, but not too much. Both mics are panned wide left and right to produce a wide stereo image. In this aspect (and since my stereo technique was AB) the sound is probably a bit more “unreal” or to better put it – not the kind you’d expect to hear in a concert. But like you said – it’s my taste. B was recorded on the University – the DPAs are really amazing detailed mics, even just turning the angle a bit changes everything.
      Mak, agreed – a large part of the reverb used in Recording B is natural. I’m planning a big mic-positioning shootout in the following weeks to choose between several stereo recording tecniques for my upcoming Baroque music CD, so stay tuned!

  • Per Lindhof says:

    Excellent job Uros.
    I had no doubt – I preferred B all the way. The Octavas do a serious job, and I think you could get an even closer competition by placing them further away. You do get some proximity effect from the 40 cm distance which leads to a bit boominess (can be eq’ed away).
    The professional recording is hard to beat though. But considering the difference in cost and location you come really close – very impressive – surely helped by your excellent playing.

    Kind regards
    Per Lindhof

  • Stumbled on this well after the fact, but interesting none the less. I preferred B, and rightly identified A as your home recording, but I’d seriously like to hear another take with your home setup, except putting some more distance between the guitar and the Oktavas. I’m using KM184’s, and I do not like them any closer than 3 feet. If my room was bigger, I’d go more.

    • Thanks, Ken! You’re absolutely right, this was one of my first recording tests, nowadays I’d definitely go for a longer distance (in my small studio, 4-5 feet seems to work best for classical guitar).

Leave a Reply