Neumann Mics Capture ‘Cold Mountain’ Soundtrack

Jan 20, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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Michael Piersante, recording engineer for producer T-Bone Burnett, used a mix of vintage Neumann and RCA microphones to re-create the sounds for Cold Mountain. Piersante revealed that the songs for Cold Mountain are more simply arranged to capture "the feeling that the music is being played by real people sitting on their porch playing a song on a banjo or a fiddle.”

“It's less of a band and a singer and more like a couple of soldiers sitting in the woods, playing and singing,” Piersante continued. “The music is their few release and their entertainment."

Piersante used his own vintage U47 and U67 transducers, two pairs of M 582s and a pair of CMV 563 microphones. "With those mics, I can record just about anything well," he observed.

To create the sounds of the Civil War era, Piersante traveled to Nashville's Sound Emporium. "The first tracks were used while shooting the picture," he continued. "They were remixed during post-production." According to Piersante, director Anthony Minghella went "for the ultimate realism" with the music in the movie, not only with the traditional compositions but also the musicianship of the performers and vintage instruments. "Some of the musicians have long studied music that is pertinent to the Civil War era. Guitar player Norman Blake and Stuart Duncan, who played fiddle, were involved, as was Riley Bogus, an aficionado of this old-style music, and Ralph Stanley (O Brother) sang some amazing songs with a choir. Mike Compton played mandolin, and Dirk Powell played banjo." Jack White of the White Stripes reportedly has a small role as a Confederate Army deserter and will also sing several songs in the movie, which he recorded at the Nashville sessions. Pianist Gabriel Yared plays a song with Nicole Kidman singing, and the Sacred Harp singers of Alabama were also involved with a remote recording done in their church. Darrell Leonard composed a song for a civil war era marching band and was performed by the Americus Brass Band.

For more information about the mics, visit Neumann at For more about Nashville’s Sound Emporium, visit

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