AES Virtual Vienna Student Prize Award From Merging

Kseniya Kawko wins two awards for projects recorded on Pyramix

Puidoux: July 2020 - Merging Technologies has supported the AES Student Recording Competition for many years, both at the European and US Conventions, by donating a prize of a Pyramix Native license to the top student in the appropriate category. The situation was rather different this year with the Vienna Convention being virtual; no Merging employee could present the prize. Nevertheless, the competition went ahead as normal and produced an excellent result for a student from the Detmold Hochschule für Musik. Kseniya Kawko was awarded the Gold Award in the Traditional Acoustic Category for the recording of the piece by Michio Miyagi “Haru no Umi” and Silver Award in the Immersive Category for the recording of the Mendelssohn String Quartet No.2 in A Minor. It is perhaps not surprising that Kseniya recorded and mixed both projects on Pyramix since Detmold and McGill University, where Kseniya did her previous studies, have been equipped with Merging products for many years. Merging operates a generous student purchase program that is designed to assist those looking to make their career in music recording.

The main motivation this year was to enter a piece for a new Immersive Category. However, there was enough time to prepare an additional submission for the Traditional Acoustic Category. The piece that was chosen for the competition was composed by Michio Miyagi in 1929 and belongs to New Japanese Music. He was influenced by his childhood memories of the sea of Tomonoura. “Haru no Umi” translates as “The Sea in the Spring”. It was important to bring this image to the interpretation. The recording was made with main pair and spot microphones: Schoeps MK2 as AB, Schoeps MK4 for a flute and Schoeps MK21 as a pair for a piano. The recording relied entirely on the natural acoustics and there was no artificial reverb used. The main tools used were a bit of EQ and some delays. The project was recorded, edited and mixed in Pyramix. Here Kseniya Kawko takes up the story: “The original composition was for koto and shakuhachi and for my sound aesthetics I kept in mind this reference. One of the judges mentioned that without seeing any documentation, she thought it was a submission from a sound engineer from Asia who can understand this kind of music really well. I would like to thank the musicians: Yuki Isami (flute), Natsuka Hiratsuka (piano) for a collaborative attitude which allowed me to be very creative as recording producer and engineer.”

The second submission for the Immersive category was an AURO 3D 9.0 recording of a string quartet, which was recorded and mixed in Pyramix. The combination of natural acoustics and reverbs Stratus 3D and Phoenix Surround, allowed the creation of a new reality-related space, which enhanced the impact of the music. The main array consisted of nine Schoeps MK2s microphones. Additionally, 4 Neumann TLM170 were used as spots set to cardioid polar pattern. Kseniya adds; “There were no negative comments from the judges except that it is a classical recording! It is not my first time in a 3D Audio competition and this genre is totally underrepresented in this area. I hope soon I will be able to share with you my new immersive releases.”

This year has been very difficult for anyone involved in the music world. So many events have been cancelled and this has a knock-on effect for recording projects, despite much creativity being applied to streaming. It is always interesting to know how individuals have spent the last few months. “During the pandemic, the tempo of my life didn’t change a lot, only that I spent more time at home instead of making trips. Of course, things were cancelled but I tried to stay optimistic and continued focusing on the post-production of some recordings. I also spent this time experimenting a lot with binaural audio. Moreover, my semester continued in online mode, so I have been kept very busy.”

Kseniya Kawko has been virtually presented with her copy of Pyramix Native Standard by email!


Kseniya Kawko Kseniya Kawko

Kseniya Kawko Kseniya Kawko

Merging Technologies SA is a Swiss manufacturer with over 25 years of experience in developing groundbreaking, professional Audio and Video products for a wide range of entertainment and media industries. With a dedicated user base in the elite end of the music, film, television, mastering and performances industries, Merging is committed to developing product ranges with unrivalled quality and flexibility, no matter what the application. Merging builds tools for people who want more from their systems, have an inherent need to push boundaries, and believe that quality always comes first.

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