Jim Stern gets an earful with TASCAM DA-3000
Thu, 20 Apr 2017 11:36
As any audio engineer will testify, recording a live performance is not for the faint
of heart. It's a world rife with unpredictability, from the environment to the
spontaneity of the performance itself. And within that world, even fewer engineers
dare to tread into the realm of symphony orchestras and acoustic performances,
where the demands are even more pronounced.
Jim Stern has been happily inhabiting that world for more than 30 years. The owner
of Earful Recording, Stern spends his days creating scrupulously pristine live
recordings of some of the most challenging performances. "My specialty is
recording symphony orchestras and acoustic instruments - string quartets,
woodwind octets, a lot of classical music," he relates. "My recordings are basically
live to two track - recording it live, mixing on the fly, live. I love it; it's what I live
"I'm very fortunate to work with the level of musicians I record," Stern continues.
"These are consummate professionals who want to have an authentic and accurate
recording of their performance. They don't want to create a multitrack production
with overdubs; they're looking for a real representation of their work."
From symphony halls and church sanctuaries to outdoor band shells, Stern's
environment is always changing. "Every room is different, every ensemble is
different," he observes. "Each one requires different microphone setups, different
preamps, and different peripheral equipment."
But, says Stern, there is one part of the recording chain that doesn't change. "Once
you've chosen those front end pieces, the one constant for me has to be my
recorder. The recording medium is what tells you honestly how the tracks are going
to sound." And for most of his career, Stern's recorder of choice has been Tascam
"I've been using Tascam recorders for years, especially the DA-3000," he confirms.
"It's a one-bit recorder that has really made my life easier. A symphony orchestra
has a huge dynamic range, from the tiniest squeak of a violin to a massive wall of
sound. With the DA-3000's one-bit format, I've got 117 dB of dynamic range - it's all
Dependability is another critical factor, says Stern, and another area where Tascam
delivers. "Because we're moving our systems around all the time, we need to have
equipment that's reliable. If you're recording a symphony orchestra and your
equipment fails, you won't be invited back."
Ultimately, Tascam recorders have earned their place at the core of Jim Stern's live
recording system. "I've been using Tascam recorders for more than 30 years. It just