I have marveled at Malcolm's performances on many large scale productions, where full orchestras were recorded on the best recording stages. The sound of a trumpet playing with a full orchestra is so beautiful; emulating emotional musicality and audio clarity like no other instrument. That sound is what we were looking for when we set out to record Exquisite.

The question was this: how do we get that sound without going to a big stage? This was an independent project, recorded at Malcolm's home studio, Dreadnought Studios. The answer was to record each section of the orchestra separately, using outstanding musicians and making sure that each section was recorded beautifully and consistently. Looking back, I have to say that the key technical element to the recording turned out to be our Royer SF-24 stereo ribbon microphone, placed 10 feet high in the room, where it brought a sense of perspective and cohesiveness to each of the separate tracks. I used Neumann TLM 170's as spot mics on individual instruments and a Royer R-122 on the bass trombone, but 70% of the orchestra mix on the CD is what was recorded on that one SF-24. It became the critical piece that unified the sonic quality of the recording. The clarity and ambiance of this method helped create the illusion of a much larger orchestra.

Malcolm's solos were recorded using two microphones simultaneously; an RCA KU-3A ribbon mic (circa 1950) 2 feet away, and the Royer SF-24. Because the SF-24 was so much of the orchestra sound, keeping it up for ambiance on Malcolm's trumpet overdubs maintained the acoustical environment common to all of the other tracks, giving the illusion of Malcolm standing in front of the orchestra and playing together with them. In the mix, Malcolm's trumpet balance was about 60% RCA - 40% SF-24.

The entire project was recorded into Digital Performer HD-192 (24 bit, 88.2 frame rate), with the exception of 'Saloon Music' (featuring a 9 piece orchestra, including Malcolm), which we recorded in Pro Tools HD at Fox Studios. The CD was mixed in Digital Performer HD-192. I used three different reverbs while mixing; a Lexicon 960 digital, a Lexicon 480 analog, and a TC Electronics M-6000 - all wonderful sounding reverb units.

The coolest thing was that once I started mixing, I didn't have to EQ anything. There is no EQ anywhere on this recording! The sound was all there in each section I brought up - no extra sparkle or low end boost needed - it was just there. It was much easier than I expected to achieve proper balances between the sections in the mix, because we had such natural, full sounding tracks. Since everyone was recorded in the same room and the input levels were the same, I was able to capture the natural dynamics of the musician's performances, similar to when a full orchestra is recorded.

We didn't want anything to sound in-your-face; we wanted the CD to sound like it was recorded in a large hall, and I think we accomplished that. We felt like pioneers doing a classical record in this manner and in the end, we achieved what we were looking for.

Gary Grant - Producer, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer