Preserving the Sound of Stradivarius

We are honored to be involved in a very unique, first-of-a-kind project by e-Instruments, a German company creating high-quality virtual instruments. They set out to capture and preserve the sound of a range of super rare and precious violins by Amati, Guarneri del Gesù, and Stradivari. The project was initiated by the renowned Museo del Violino in Cremona, Italy. Hoping to explore ways to preserve the unique sounds of certain string instruments, they started working with e-Instruments.

The Recording Process

The recording setup consisted of 32 highly sensitive studio microphones including a pair of Townsend Labs Sphere L22 mics. Sampling these historic instruments in all their detail requires an extremely quiet recording space. At the same time, the concert hall in Cremona is apparently not particularly soundproof. To mitigate this obvious conflict, the producers and engineers had to take extreme measures: they not only shut down the entire concert hall during the recording process but went a few steps further. Surrounding roads and spaces were also closed off during the sessions. In addition, the major and police asked the local community for support in a public press conference to reduce the potential disturbances to an absolute minimum.

Townsend Labs Stradivarius e-Instruments the New York Times Isabella de Maddalena mic setup

The microphone setup including the Sphere L22s. Photo credit: Isabella de Maddalena for The New York Times

Making Worldwide News

Chance had it that the editors at The New York Times became aware of this really extraordinary project. The resulting article about the project sparked worldwide interest in the story behind the project. Articles and features by the BBC, NPR, ClassicFM, and a few others soon followed. You can also read up more about the project on the e-Instruments page here.

Watch this CBS This Morning video report to learn more about the project. You will also see the Sphere L22 microphones set up in the concert hall:

This project is still under development at the moment. We will share more details about the process and how Sphere was used for the recording later. Please check back for updates soon!

The Sphere® system consists of the high precision dual channel L22 microphone. When paired with the included Sphere plug-in (UAD, VST, AU, AAX Native) it accurately models the response of a wide range of mics, including transient response, harmonics, proximity effect, and three-dimensional polar response. Unlock the real multi-dimensional tones of an expanding collection including more than 20 of recording history’s finest microphones.

With Sphere you now can:

  • Record with the sound of microphones many have only dreamt about
  • Change mic type, polar pattern, and other microphone characteristics, even after tracking!
  • Audition the sound of different microphones without tiring the vocalist
  • Reduce bleed, undesirable room coloration, and other common issues using Off-Axis Correction™
  • Record in stereo from a single microphone

You are invited to install the free, fully-featured Sphere plug-in for all major platforms and DAWs. Try it now and reimagine our library of pre-recorded tracks.