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Harp and violin, learning in progress (with samples)
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Earcatcher
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30th January 2012
Old 30th January 2012
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Harp and violin, learning in progress (with samples)

Dear all,

Recently I reported about my first learning experiences with recording early classical music in this thread: Early classical music live recording

Today I returned to that same location in order to practice what I learned from that recording. This time it was another live concert (note the slamming door somewhere), but more modern classical: just harp and violin. I'll attach a sample. No EQ, no compression, just levels. Please feel free to comment on anything you like/dislike of it! Questions are welcome as well.
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File Type: m4a Romanian_Dances.m4a (8.49 MB, 139 views)
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30th January 2012
Old 30th January 2012
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Rolo 46 is offline
Very nice
A little 'mono with ambience' but thats live for you
Doorslams ,feet shuffles etc
I love harps n fiddles
Good hall too
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30th January 2012
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I like the sound of the two instruments but I don't like the too much presence of the mono mic on the violin. On headphones the violin lacks spaciouness and it's not coherent with the ambiance around the harp.
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30th January 2012
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It would have been easy to make it more stereo and more ambient, but that didn't match reality as I heard it. Since I come from film editing and mixing this is very close to the ideal as I experience it. Personally I am very happy with the result.
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31st January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathieujm View Post
I like the sound of the two instruments but I don't like the too much presence of the mono mic on the violin. On headphones the violin lacks spaciouness and it's not coherent with the ambiance around the harp.
I've made a special version for headphone listening. I'll attach it hereunder. Please let me know what you think of it.
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31st January 2012
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Variation

And a variation based on Rolo's remarks. I think it's an improvement when detached from the original situation and simply aiming for best listening experience. Please comment!
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File Type: m4a Romanian_Dances_variation.m4a (8.73 MB, 227 views)
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31st January 2012
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Excellent.
(Now I can hear talking outside the hall)
Seriously that is a top sound
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31st January 2012
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I prefer the last version. Nice one
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1st February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Excellent.
(Now I can hear talking outside the hall)
Seriously that is a top sound
Thanks Rolo! It seems we share a taste here as I am also little fond of AB-setups. (I particulary hate the double clicks and footsteps that you get with it.) For the hall I used Blumlein. I also had M/S available, but decided not to use it in the mix as it was not very coherent, probably due to the relatively narrow and long shape of the hall. I got a sort of fuzzy image out of it, not what I am used to from outdoors use. But this hall works very well with Blumlein, so I have nothing to complain about the acoustics.
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1st February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathieujm View Post
I prefer the last version. Nice one
Happy to know that we agree! So you were no longer bothered by the spotmic on the violin? The violin was picked up with a wide cardioid about a meter above the player. I wanted the violing to be well defined in a bed of smooth harp tones, so I used a fig 8 for the harp, with the null towards the violin. The harp spot blends in with the ambience mic very easily this way. A boundary layer mic on the floor helped adding some body to the deeper harp tones without them getting swimmy.
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2nd February 2012
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Earcatcher, great recordings. I've been following since the last thread and find the process very interesting. Your recording M/S, Blumlein and boundary mics all to their own tracks and mixing to taste after the session?

As for these recordings, I'm going to go with the headphone mix and the variation mix. The first mix just seemed like the instruments were one on top of the other. The second two mixes separated the instruments nicely, with the violin as centre voice and the harp surrounding it without invading into the violin's space. Which is really weird, if it was a duet, with one beside the other, you would think the instruments would sound more individually separated to the left and right. What was the instrument placement at the concert?

At any rate, keep up the great work!

p.s. Not so weird now that I really read through your mic placement explanation... wow, now that is some mic technique! That would explain how you got the harp to surround the violin. Amazing!
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4th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neddy View Post
Earcatcher, great recordings. I've been following since the last thread and find the process very interesting. Your recording M/S, Blumlein and boundary mics all to their own tracks and mixing to taste after the session?
Thanks neddy! Yes, I do record different arrays separately and mix them to taste. In the case of the sample in this thread nothing else was done afterwards, except setting levels and some pan potting of mono channels. After my experience with EQ and compression during the previous excersize (the other thread) I decided to take an even more purist approach now. (I'm a big fan of getting things right, straight from the beginning.*) My main problem then was the heavyness in low-mids due to some resonances where I picked up the sound. That's where all the problems started. EQ-ing them down only led to new problems with the placement of the sources and the overall stereo image. So this time I took extra time to place my mics even more precise and as you can hear all my problems went away and the recording sounds very satisfying. I'm looking forward to the next try!

*) In photography I always used to work with slides, where you cannot afford the slightest mistake in exposure, contrast, color balance and framing, as every mistake will come back to you enlarged when you project the image on the big screen. I've always liked the challenge of shooting slide film and I am now using that same approach for my sound recordings. "Get it right when you record."
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18th May 2012
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And now, something completely different!

After having tried a number of different ensemble pieces in the venue above (also see my other learning threads), I now moved to another setting: an old castle with a Henri Herz concert piano from 1861, played in front of 70 elementary school kids. Quite challenging, I thought, and even more so because I never recorded a piano before. Please have some mercy on the pianist having to play this 150 years old piano that 10 year old kids might not fully appreciate. Apart from that please feel free to give me all your (critical) thoughts on the recording quality itself.
Attached Files
File Type: m4a Händel.m4a (7.21 MB, 49 views)
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18th May 2012
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The definition of the piano sound is excellent. There is an obvious limitation from the instrument, which I find not rich enough in the lows. The sound is too dry (I do not hear this old castle) and the piano is too wide for my taste.
However the width is similar in the Haendel recordings from Angela Hewitt and Keith Jarrett. I prefer the sound from Philip Edward Fisher (this piece is at track 15) and Anne Queffelec recordings. I like the piano being further in the latter one.
Might you add some reverb to your recording ?
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19th May 2012
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Thanks for the comments! I would say the Angela Hewitt recording is a lot more wide than mine. Quite absurd to my ears. Regarding the room sound of my recording: it is a wooden room (soft pine wood) without a bright reverb. I have been thinking of taking back the mics a bit more when I was placing them, but both the pianist and the tuner thought that the sound was exactly how the instrument should be. Next time I'll try this out a bit more. What we all observed was that the sound of this particular instrument flew away very easily and didn't leave any lingering tone. They also have an old Bösendorfer there, which I hope to test another time with the same mics.

I don't understand your comment about the lacking lows. The piece just does not use the lower keys so much, but when it does, I feel a lovely low vibration coming from my speakers, with full tone. Tonally the instrument is quite limited in the highs, I think. It's really old and not easy to play lightly. (The pianist hadn't expected this and wasn't quite adapted to it either. As always, all parts of the chain count.)

I can add reverb if I want. This is just the rough untreated recording and I have that Bricasti box, so I may give it a try. My problem with the more distant samples that you linked to however was that they lack a bit of dynamics. I regret that, even though the open tone is nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by didier.brest View Post
The definition of the piano sound is excellent. There is an obvious limitation from the instrument, which I find not rich enough in the lows. The sound is too dry (I do not hear this old castle) and the piano is too wide for my taste.
However the width is similar in the Haendel recordings from Angela Hewitt and Keith Jarrett. I prefer the sound from Philip Edward Fisher (this piece is at track 15) and Anne Queffelec recordings. I like the piano being further in the latter one.
Might you add some reverb to your recording ?
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19th May 2012
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I agree that the limit from the instrument is still stronger in the highs. I was more sensitive to the lack of deep lows when compared to the recording from Fischer.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Herz.mp3 (146.8 KB, 34 views)
File Type: mp3 likely Steinway.mp3 (193.7 KB, 34 views)
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19th May 2012
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Wow, that Steinway sure does sound as if it was pushed through a reverb. And a bad one too. Not sure, but where are the lows in that recording?

Anyway, my first post of the Händel piece was just a raw main pair recording, without any treatment. I also had some room mics set up, so before I'll run for a reverb I'll try a mix first. How about this one? (Just a levels mix without any EQ.)
Attached Files
File Type: m4a Händel_v2.m4a (7.24 MB, 40 views)
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19th May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
Not sure, but where are the lows in that recording?
For instance at 52".

I much prefer your processed version to the raw one. I might prefer still more mine.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Herz_2.mp3 (53.0 KB, 29 views)
File Type: mp3 likely Steinway_2.mp3 (79.5 KB, 23 views)
File Type: mp3 Händel_v3.mp3 (7.33 MB, 31 views)
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20th May 2012
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Didier, the recording has to be used for a video, so the way you put a big hall around it will never work for the wooden room that you will actually see. It has to be believable. Did you use v1 or v2 to add reverb? Try a wooden chamber if you want to find a realistic gloss.

The lows of the Steinway sample have no power at all on my speakers or headphones. All the energy has been sucked out of them, although they have a nice tone, typical for a modern grand.
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20th May 2012
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I used v1. I agree that v2 suites well a wooden room.
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20th May 2012
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With all the remarks in mind I made this third version. Mixed OTB this time and with the addition of a little reverb on the room channels. How do you like it? (Keeping in mind the wooden room in the old castle.)
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File Type: m4a Händel_v3.m4a (7.25 MB, 57 views)
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7th December 2012
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Thanks for sharing your learning process.

I also like your piano more than the steinway.
Steinway sounds somehow thin. Your piano sounds like a very old or/and heavy used piano, but it sounds very natural, the way it is supposed to sound.

I am a professional piano player in first place and now learning the art of recording.

I can imagine the wooden chamber.

However I cannot tell which version I like more between v2 and v3.
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