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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Boston
Rachfan, in the days of analog recording, the "swimmy" or "wobbly" character to the sound was caused by Wow and Flutter - slight electromechanical variations in tape speed. Any figure above 0.1% wow and flutter was discernible. It was a bigger problem with cassettes than large format reel to reel machines because of the tape speed. As you noted, digital doesn't have this anomaly and it was a huge leap for me too when switching to digital.

Didier, I have loose acoustic foam similar to the pictured set up that might work. I have some left over from speaker building.

George


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:26 pm 
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Hi 88man,

The final impetus for me to shift from analog to digital was when Type IV Metal cassette tape was no longer manufactured and disappeared from the shelves, leaving only the inferior Type II Chrome, and the horrible quality Type I Normal. :lol: Thanks for that insight on tape speed. It's nice to be part of the digital recording world now.

I use the Korg MS-1000 DSD. The only problem is that I always use WAV format for recording rather than the direct stream digital (DSD) option. Problem is, the format conversion programs available on the Internet that enable one to convert to MP3 for posting purposes on sites like Piano Society, 1) don't seem to even know what DSD is, and 2) have no clue as to how to convert it to MP3! Maybe that will change in the future, but in the meantime it a shame not to be able to use DSD. The reason I went with DSD was to get ahead of the technology curve. It'll sure be nice when the conversion programs catch up!

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"Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities." David April


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:49 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Western Australia
Hello,

I have been keen to play some of my piano pieces on to CD and have been experimenting for several months and feel that I am making some progress. I thought maybe I can get some help in this forum. Tonight I have made a very short .wav file of my playing and wonder if I can include a link here for you to have a listen to the sound file. Are links allowed?

My room is 16 ft x 14 ft with 9ft high ceiling.
Kawai KS3F Piano , sounding very good.
Pianist, try to sound good, up to others to judge.
Microphone: SP B1 Studio Projects Cardiod Condenser Microphone
Pressure gradient transducer
Dual Selectable High Pass Filter
Dual Selectable Pad
34mm diameter capsule 3um diaphragm
TASCAM US-122L Interface Audio/MIDI USB 2.0 connected to my computer.
Microphone is on a stand about five ft high pointing vertically up to ceiling and about five ft from the front of the piano on the treble side almost in line with the C one octave from the top.
There is carpet on the floor and two large windows which have curtains hanging from near the top of the wall to the floor. My house is brick veneer. I prefer to play with the lid of the top of the piano, down.

I would like to strive for the best sound with the resources I have. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in anticipation.


Last edited by bring18 on Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8514
Hi bring18. Welcome to the forum.

Yes, you may put up a link to your recording. Or you can put it up as an attachment. But just to warn you - the 'sound' guys are not always around the forum everyday, so it may take time to get any response. Or not....you never know around here.


p.s. Boo!

(happy Halloween :lol:)

_________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:49 pm
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Location: Western Australia
Hello pianolady,

Thanks for your reply. I will include the sound file as an attachment for the sound people to have a listen to.

I forgot to mention that the software I am using is Cubase LE. Also my piano is an upright Kawai KS-3F.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Boston
Hi Bring18, I recently joined this site too. :)

In getting started, you should continuously experiment with mic placement - vary mic distance, spacing, height. That alone will yield dramatic results than any gear substitution. Record the same 5 tracks, and take reference notes on any changes. Monitor with good headphones. Rules to remember (1) the distance between the mics should be 3 times the distance of the mics from the piano; (2) mic the Right Channel for bass, and the Left Channel for treble - counter-intuitive for a pianist, but makes for a more natural psychoacoustic recording.

The SP B1 is a cardiod only mic, try to get closer than 5ft from the piano for that size room, otherwise the bass will suffer due to proximity effect. Don't mic inside the piano or else you'll get off-axis coloration, especially with cardiods (that "out of tune" sound on certain notes). If you're intent on keeping the lid down, try leaving the lid open at least on the short peg and place the mics 1-2ft from the curve to start. The sound should breathe.

The dimensions of your room are squarish so you might get standing waves at multiples of 70Hz, 80Hz, and 125Hz. The main point of acoustic treatment is to minimize nearby reflections from the source - ceiling and nearest adjacent walls. The curtains and carpeting will help, but try to place absorption on the ceiling and closest walls to tame nodes if spouse doesn't mind... I don't have to worry about that one! Try placing bass traps, e.g. LENRD, at the corners to help with room nodes. A short ceiling is a big culprit in "boxy sound" recordings. But, if you can absorb much of the sound going to the ceiling, then it's like having an infinite ceiling that's not there. Try using diffusers too - it'll make your room sound larger. Who knows, once you treat your room, you might find yourself recording at full lid, unless the piano is too bright for your taste. You may ultimately have to do some EQ at some point, but focus your resources on room treatment.

Try the free sound analysis through Auralex.com to get you started. That's what I am doing. You can also contact Ethan Winer of RealTraps.com as I indicated in my thread - he has some informative videos too. As for me, I am still in the process of acoustically treating my room in my new home - oriental rug, acoustic absorption, and diffusion panels. Once it's done, I'll be able to use omni mics without having to worry about bad room acoustics holding me back.

You can hear the sound I am getting, although with minimal treatment, just to get an idea of the sound with a different mic and preamp. I have a demo thread on [Auditions] "Chopin Nocturne, No. 20." It was never meant to a flawless performance, but rather a 'spur of the moment' demo of my mic-preamp... I'll post a better technical and musical recording once the room is acoustically treated. My goal is to host 'Schubertiades' and record music among fellow musicians and friends. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:33 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
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Location: Boston
Ah, I see you posted an attachment while I was righting my first response... Besides I had to pass out candy at the door - unwillingly as I am a dentist by profession, and music is a hobby. :)

OK, I just listened to the piece. I am hearing the room nodes on the same frequencies that I had calculated in my first response. Based on your room dimensions they should occur at 70Hz, 80Hz, and 125Hz. I've never played this piece, but sounds like it's in E Major and the pedal notes, low E and B are 82Hz and 123Hz respectively - very close to the calculated nodes for that room! To improve the sound and treat the room, the recommendations I outlined before may be a good start.

I also realize in your follow up post that it's an upright. So, you can't mike it the same way you would a grand. Try placing the mics 3-5ft on back of the piano OR Open the lid and place 1-3ft from the top OR Open the bottom lid and mic 3-5ft away to start.

Yes! With the SP B1 mics, you can definitely improve upon the sound even though they may be on the bright side, but they're still transparent and that's a requirement for piano recording. There is a good deal of noise, most likely from the audio interface. Make sure you check input settings, mic cable, phantom power, impedence settings, gain, and power supply for any anomalies on the interface.

If you can't improve the sound from the current audio interface, try a Presonus or MOTU interface if you're intent on a computer based recording system. The threshold for good quality starts at $300. Most interfaces skimp on the analog inputs, and that's where the money is in the "sound" or "color."

BTW - If you're planning on a holiday gift, get the M-Audio Microtrack II recorder - has very good A/D converters, built in full 48V phantom power, and extreme portability - all in a self contained handheld unit for $300. You can use your current mics to it's full potential. I use one, and it's the best value IMHO.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:26 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:53 pm
Posts: 468
Location: France
Hi Bring18,

your recording has a .wav extension but it seems rather being a very compressed MP3. Such an extremely low rate, about 20 kbit/s, is irrelevant for evaluating your recording set up, which looks anyway rather good.

Quote:
try to get closer than 5ft from the piano for that size room, otherwise the bass will suffer due to proximity effect.

The proximity effect is the bass reinforcement occurring when a cardioid microphone gets very close to the source (on the order of 10"). Especially of concern (or of benefit) for vocal recording.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:49 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Western Australia
Hello 88man,

Thanks. Enjoyed the candy bit and the spouse. I don't have to worry either. I like some humour but will have to try to behave myself (control myself) in these forums. Can't quite work out a dentist/pianist but I have only seen a minute part of the world and this is the Internet now. I will have a good read of what you have told me and work out what to try first. I find it difficult to understand some things but will try some basics. I only have one microphone. On reading your message, I realise I might need to have better settings on my Tascam US-122L Interface, the reason being that as much as I tried to understand it I never did. Am hoping you will be able to help there as maybe some of the settings could be improved.

There's only four settings i.e. (1) input L (for the Microphone), (2)Phantom off/on and naturally I have this on, (3) Mon mix and (4) Phones/Line Out.

Re (1) (3) and (4) I am uncertain whether I have ideal settings because I never understood them.

Input R is not used as I am only using one Microphone.

Also I do not have head phones for monitoring. Why would you have to monitor? I always listen to the track when I have recorded it. Do head phones cost much?

I did not understand you when you mentioned 5 tracks. I just do one track at a time for one piece of music.

E major was correct; Triste Coeur Composer Paul De Senneville. This was only the first almost two pages. There's another three and a bit pages to this piece.


Last edited by bring18 on Sat Nov 01, 2008 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:51 pm 
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Location: Western Australia
Hello Didier,

Thanks for your help. You are correct in your assessment of the format of the file because that is what I did. I will keep the sound file in uncompressed .wav format in future. Is that the better way to have the sound file assessed?

On the point about the Microphone being 5 ft from the piano, do you mean that it is better to have the microphone around ten inches from the bass strings?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:17 pm 
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Posts: 468
Location: France
No you shall not upload here wav files, because they are too big. 192 kbit/s stereo MP3, or 96 kbit/s mono MP3 for mono recording like in your case, would be nice.

No I did not mean that you shall get so close to the strings. I was just correcting a bit of confusion about what is the proximity effect, which you should not care about.


Yes I think that 1.5 m may be a little far in your case. But only testing is worth in this matter.

The most effective way to improve your recording quality, if needed, would be likely to get a second SP B1 for stereo recording. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:49 pm
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Location: Western Australia
Hello Didier,

Have been experimenting and learning, and would like you to comment on this sound file in the attachment thanks.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:53 pm
Posts: 468
Location: France
Hello bring18,

that's much nicer. But the piano seems a little far like I would listen to it in a large room and it would be at the opposite side. I would like a little bit more presence on this kind of intimate music. I try to get that with minor processing, which I'm not skill in. Buth this is just a matter of personal taste.


Last edited by Didier on Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 2:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:49 pm
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Location: Western Australia
Hello Didier,

Thanks for your comments. I did notice that I should have had this sound file louder and I can do this on my audio/midi interface at the mic input volume control knob. Maybe you mean something else. I will try this piece again using a higher volume at the mic input control on the audio/midi interface. Am never sure how loud sound files should be.

Meanwhile:- 45 minutes later: - I have just done this sound file again, this time with the mic still approximately above middle C but not so high (around 2 ft above the top of the piano when before it was about 3 ft above the top of the piano). The top lid was open again and a rug folded a few times, was placed over the underside of the lid. I also had used the rug on the previous sound file. This time I turned the mic control knob up a little higher on the interface.

I played the first part of the piece, then I took the rug off and played the first part of the piece again. I think I preferred the sound with the rug on. I have included the new sound file in the attachment thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:53 pm
Posts: 468
Location: France
Hi bring18,

the presence is better here but there are parasitic noises which were not in the previous recording.
What I did in editing your previous recording: gain, noise gate, dynamic compression, attack sharpening. This is at best a possible improvement. But you should not care too much about that because your sound is already good enough for sharing here some music with us. Both microphone setting at 3' and 2' are possible options, among which you have to decide yourself what sounds better to you. But for comparing you have to ensure that the levels are the same. You can modify the level after recording in an audio editor like Audacity, which is a freeware.


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