Martin Kälberer "Space"
Martin Kälberer on the handpan: a beautiful picture from the live concert "Raum" in the GROUNDLIFT Studios (Photo: GROUNDLIFT)

The 3D recording of the month: Martin Kälberer “Raum”

Visiting the MSM studios in Munich has become a nice habit for me. Every 6 – 8 weeks, studio manager Stefan Bock invites guests to Theresienstraße in Munich to present an outstandingly produced album with 3D sound in small or very small groups. As a reminder, MSM Studios is one of the most renowned producers, mixers and remasters of recordings in Dolby Atmos & Co. This time, too, he had just completed a real treat: Martin Kälberer “Raum” (“Space”).

Martin Kälberer @MSM Studios
Two masters in the MSM studio: 3D mastering professional Stefan Bock (left) and multi-instrumentalist Martin Kälberer (Photo: H. Biermann)

GROUNDLIFT offered Martin Kälberer “Raum”

Multi-instrumentalist Martin Kälberer chose a sensational location for his latest live recording: the GROUNDLIFT Studio in the old brewery in Stegen at Lake Ammer. There is a concert hall here with a large stage and a real Bösendorfer grand piano, but with very little space for the audience: more than 200 people cannot fit in here. The whole thing is therefore tailor-made for an intimate concert – especially as the operators of the venue can fill this audience area with 48 (!) loudspeakers and create an authentic, immersive impression even in a live recording.

This is where the live concert for “Raum” was recorded, which was fittingly recorded on Blu-ray. The music of “Raum” moves somewhere between E.S.T., Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays and softer tones, but without slipping into the shallow. The music is often spherical, sometimes rhythmic, but almost always moving. Kälberer works the piano just as virtuosically as the handpan, individual percussion instruments or the electronics for the numerous loops that he adds to his music.

The recording of “Raum” really sounds enormously vivid, discreetly room-filling without clumsy effects. I’ve never heard that in such a coherent form before. The applause is also authentic – and comes from the whole hall – great. And the mastering professionals at MSM have used the maximum Dolby Atmos setup with 9.1.6 channels, as the image from the Atmos object monitor from Trinnov reveals:

Martin Kälberer
An analysis from the Trinnov Atmos object monitor: all channels exhausted (Screenshot: R. Vogt)

But the effort was worth it. If you close your eyes, you are standing in the middle of an audience clapping directly in front of the stage. This recording involves the listener in the concert.

Now I could say that the immersive sound is of course the icing on the cake at this concert. Nevertheless, the stereo mix is also great. Incidentally, it is available in HiRes on Qobuz: here is the link. If you just want to listen to it, you can also do so on Kälberer’s homepage.

But back to the Blu-ray and thus to the picture. The lighting atmosphere for the concert is also amazing. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble and underlaid the spherical sounds with a lot of pastel blue. That also fits perfectly.

Martin Kälberer
The Blu-ray of Martin Kälberer’s “Raum ” is available from his homepage or as a HiRes 2-channel downmix from Qobuz

After I had been able to listen to the new Kälberer work extensively under perfect conditions in the 3D studio at MSM Studios, I had the opportunity to chat a little with the artist. Kälberer was, you could tell immediately, proud and very satisfied. What he had wished for – namely an organic integration of the listener into the music – was perfectly realized here.

I also have nothing but praise for this recording. It’s a nice advertisement for multi-channel playback. Certainly one of the best in terms of coherence.



Martin Kälberer
Test result: 4.6


Autor: Holger Biermann

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Chefredakteur mit Faible für feinste Lautsprecher- und Verstärkertechnik, guten Wein und Reisen: aus seiner Feder stammen auch die meisten Messe- und Händler-Reports.