Berlin Philharmonic Records Releases "One Point Microphone" Simon Rattle Vinyl Beethoven Cycle

Here's another interesting recording project from Berlin Philharmonic Records: a "one-point" microphone Beethoven Symphonies box set with Sir Simon Rattle conducting, on 10 180g LPs, priced reasonable at $299 (plus shipping) including a hardcover 52 page book as well as a download card for the original 192/24 bit files. It's available directly from the Orchestra's online music store.

Though it's not clear from the site's descriptions it appears that these are culled from live 2015 performances. The set is also available on five CDs plus three Blu-ray discs as HD video, in uncompressed audio resolution and DTS surround sound. Extras include a video introduction with Sir Simon Rattle and a documentary about the making of the recordings with many interviews and behind-the-scenes glimpses.

Most interesting is that the CD/Blu-ray set was recorded with multiple microphones. Only the vinyl features the one point microphone technique also used for the Brahms Direct to Disc cycle. A reader who compared the vinyl to the digital says the one point microphone produced a far better focused sonic picture.

foxhall's picture

I own the high resolution download of the cycle which is definitely conventionally recorded and not unique sounding.

Personally, I think the best performances of Rattle's BP recording are in the Schumann cycle -really good.

madfloyd's picture

I was a bit tempted by the Brahms, but if I'm honest with myself, Brahms & Beethoven symphonies bore me to death. So many other composers I'd personally prefer...

Neward Thelman's picture

To death. Only Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, and guitawr-screech-hippy rock are any good.

Rock on.

supamark's picture

it's one point, probably a poor translation of "coincident" which is how we say it in English. The recording MF referenced as being recorded in the same manner was recorded with a Blumlein pair (2 mics, figure 8 pattern, oriented at 90 degrees to each other).

There are two other common coincident techniques - crossed cardioid, which is like Blumlein but with cardiod pickup pattern, and mid-side. Mid side is generally a mono mic (or cardiod can work) recorded equally to both channels, and a figure 8 pattern mic with the null pointing towards the thing you're recording. bring the figure 8 mic on two channels and flip the phase of one (there are also boxes that do this, as well as "all in one" mics like the Shure VP88). The best thing (and possibly only really good thing lol) about mid-side recordings is its full mono compatability.

dcbingaman's picture

I have the DTS-MA 5.1 A/V recordings on Blu-ray. Excellent sound and performances. Sir Simon is not Abbado or von Karajan, but he is not at all "bad", and the orchestra's musicians have never been better. This particular ensemble has been together for many, many years and it shows.

As Foxhall noted the Schubert recordings are also really good. There is also a new BPO John Adams set which is worth a listen, (if you are into 21st century music, LOL).

dcbingaman's picture

Oops - meant the Schumann set !

PeterPani's picture

Would love to buy this one. But not with Rattle. Such a humanistic soul. I respect him as person and artist, but his conducting is sadly quit boring. They should do this with Thielemann!!!

foxhall's picture

Could not agree with you more.

I'm a fan of Brahms, specifically the four symphonies, but I've never been so captivated by them until hearing the Thielemann/Dresden DG cycle. The video performances are so interesting as well.

swimming1's picture

Senor Fremer,you're email at AP does not work?

feinstei's picture

I bought the LP set after viewing it on the Berlin Philharmonic website and I was the one who alerted Mr. Fremer to its existence.

First of all... DO NOT order it from even though it's available there. While they charged me for the LP set, I received the BluRay set and had to go through the hassle of returning it. Apparently, they have it confused in their warehouse.

If you are in the USA and you order it from the Berlin Philharmonic website, it will be shipped from the USA from Naxos Records in Tennessee, so, unlike the Brahms LP set of a couple of years ago, you won't have to wait for international shipping and customs.

I just listened to the "Pastoral" and found the performance to be very competent (although not as "soulful" as Furtwangler's RIAS performance).

These LP's were cut from 24/96 digital files according to the accompanying 12"x12" hardcover book which accompanied the set.

The directionality of the two-mike "M/S Configuration" (that's what the book called it) was superb. You can use this two-mike recording to place your speakers very precisely, even if you're not an audiophile and don't have "golden ears".

When playing back the 6th Symphony, side 1, if your speakers are not placed properly, there will be a "brickwall" stereo effect with the violins hard left and the cellos/basses hard right with no middle. By making fine adjustments to your speaker position, as soon as the "middle" appears, you're in great shape and the winds/horns will magically "fill the middle" and give a perfect 3D layout of the orchestra performing in front of you (about 10 rows away).

All-in-all, despite the derogatory comments about Sir Simon Rattle, I am enjoying this set immensely. I listen to a lot of live music (I have subscriptions to the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera of Chicago) so being able to enjoy this non-multi-miked set was a refreshing change from what is the usual method of recording orchestras these days.