Once a subject is chosen the most important consideration is the space selected to record in. There are many considerations to think about in selecting a recording location. Every space will have its own unique character finding a space with an open ambient quality is a good place to start. The usable positioning area in which to locate the ensemble is as important as the space itself. Without the ability to position for acoustical balance True Stereo recordings will be impossible to complete to any real satisfaction. It would be great to have a huge budget and ideal space in which to record, but this is the exception not the rule. Once you have found a great space keeping a good relationship with those in charge is a must. Having alternative spaces available is also an important element to consider. Great spaces are often used by many and availability can always be a practical consideration.
Spaces of Consideration
Concert Halls- Concert halls often are the most ideal spaces to record in. Designed properly the ambient qualities have been calculated into them. The usable space in which to work in should be adequate, making positioning of ensemble an easier task. Availability and the cost of renting are often prohibitive.
Churches- Churches can be the solution to many True Stereo recording issues. Selected carefully the acoustics can be of concert hall quality, sometimes even more ideal. Look for churches that are not used during the week normally. The cost is generally minimal making two to three day sessions very practical. Things to be careful of are the amount of useable space, often a church having great acoustics may have limited space in which to set up the ensemble. Where the church is in relation to outside noises, street traffic and such is very important to consider.
Rehearsal Spaces- Rehearsal spaces can be practical if the acoustic nature is sufficient and noise factors are not an issue. Band or choir spaces are usually the best in these cases individual rooms are of limited use. These spaces do not generally have concert hall or a good churches acoustical qualities. There are always exceptions and the subject matter may make them a practical consideration.
Other Spaces- If you locate a space that is available with good acoustic properties nothing else really matters. Libraries, lecture halls, even large recording studio rooms can sever as suitable possibilities given the subject matches the acoustic qualities of the given space.
The nature of the subject or ensemble being recorded will dictate the ultimate nature of the space we will use. The intended result will be dependent on this choice and how we use it.
Ken Christianson, Pro Musica, Chicago