Zelda: A Link Between Worlds team never considered using a live orchestra for the game’s music
Using a live orchestra for the music in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was never up for consideration. Composer Ryo Nagamatsu told ONM this month that doing so wouldn’t have provided suitable sound for the 3DS speakers.
For A Link Between Worlds, Nintendo hoped to appeal to those who play the game with and without headphones. As such, the team wanted “orchestra-quality sounds that had the appropriate reverberation and instrumental arrangement for the Nintendo 3DS speakers.”
Nagamatsu’s comments in full:
By “orchestra”, I assume you mean live orchestra. We never intended to use a live orchestra for the development of this game. There are various reasons to this from a development perspective.
The most prominent reason is that we wanted to create optimal sound for Nintendo 3DS. Live orchestras are definitely impressive, but they produce too much reverberation and include too many low-pitch sounds to be suitable for the Nintendo 3DS speakers.
This time, our goal was to create sounds that satisfied both players who use headphones and those who don’t. We wanted, therefore, orchestra-quality sounds that had the appropriate reverberation and instrumental arrangement for the Nintendo 3DS speakers. We concluded that the best approach would be to use the high quality sound resources that are now available to us.
Thanks to joclo for the tip.