Massed violins sound on recordings

Why do massed violins sound so distant compared to live on recordings?

Do they? If so I imagine it is microphone placement or mixing (or both), and of course live may depend on the venue and your position. Perhaps some specific examples of such recordings and maybe your live listening experiences would help.


Thank you for your reply.

What I have noticed is that on most orchestral recordings the violins when compared to other sections of the orchestra have much less prominence and presence proportionately than their sound in the concert hall.
I am wondering why the sound of massed strings seems to be harder to capture on recording than other sections of the orchestra.

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I mostly listen to classical music. I find it frustrating that the sound engineers often don’t balance the sound of the orchestra properly. Solo instruments are often given a spotlight which creates an artificial picture. One of my bugbears is that when a conductor places first and second violins on either side to most clearly show the interplay between these two sections of the orchestra, the sound engineers don’t give sufficient balance to the second violins. Perhaps the conductor is also to blame here for allowing it?

The venue and acoustics also play a part. Also the listening room acoustics and sound system used will have an effect. A recording, no matter how good, is a poor substitute for hearing an orchestra live.

Totally agree with you.

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