Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Specifications FAQ | Specs | Apply (pdf)

Suggested performance level standards
While we recognize you or your ensemble may not have the resources to do high-level studio recordings, we do ask that you keep in mind MPR's high standards of performance broadcasting when submitting materials. Do not submit recordings containing the following:

  • —Distracting audience noise, such as excessive coughing, crying or talking
  • —Obvious pitch problems, rhythmic inconsistency or blatant mistakes
  • —Incomplete instrumentation or substandard arrangements


Suggested technical specifications for recordings
Please share these technical specifications with your recording engineer(s):

  • We require DAT masters or clones, or CDRs. Cassette tapes will not be accepted.
  • Stereo image width: MPR prefers recordings that have a spectral balance across the image, have a reasonably believable location of the concert stage, and don't have a "hole in the middle" (too widely spaced microphones can cause this). There should be interesting information in the left, center and right of the image. Recordings should be mono-compatible; that is, when summed to mono the sense of loudness and clarity should not diminish.
  • Movement breaks: leave these as they were originally recorded; we will shorten them if necessary.
  • Applause: include the full applause. Do not fade the applause or edit it in any other way. Also, volume and perspective of the applause should be congruent with the music; the audience shouldnít feel closer and louder than the musicians.
  • Processing: do not use compression or limiting. If you feel the need to add artificial reverberation, use a very light touch, or just include a note for us to add a measure of reverb if you feel the original recording is too dry. Do not use noise removal or any other processing before sending the recording to us.
  • Format: we generally get submissions on 16-bit DAT or CDR. If you work in another format, we may be able to accommodate or convert it.
    • If submitting on DAT, make sure the tape has Absolute Time (ABS) recorded on it. Start IDs or Program Numbers (PNOs) are not required, but if you do use them, make sure they're placed a couple of seconds before the start of musical selections. We donít have gear to accommodate 24-bit DATs recorded on the Tascam DA45s, only the 16-bit standard. We prefer 48K sampling rate, but we can accommodate 44.1
    • If submitting on CDR and you are placing Track IDs, make sure they are placed a couple of seconds before the start of musical selections. Also, make sure your CD mastering software does not insert silent pauses between tracks! Take care to use a blank CDR that has not been scratched and handle it carefully before shipping it to us.
    • We can also accommodate uncompressed (linear) .WAV files submitted on DVDRs, CDRs or via FTP.
  • Reference tones: normally we're looking for a 1kHz sine wave tone 12 dB below the peaks in the audio program. Thus, if you use all the bits and the maximum program peak is at 0 dBFS (dB below full scale), the tone should be at -12 dBFS. More typically, recordists leave some additional headroom, so if your maximum peak is at -4 dBFS, the tone should be at -16 dBFS. One test tone at the top of the tape before the program is fine; we donít need a separate one for each piece. The tone should be equal level to both channels.

Image credits: The Schubert Club, St Olaf Orchestra