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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentTechnology(Moderator: john sandhagen) Home Recording Studio Discussion
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #80 on: Sep 24, 2017, 10:42AM »

I estimated that Mike has about $10K worth of sound equipment. Is it worth if for us average home recording "artists"?

I think Dusty is getting a GREAT bang for his buck! We can, too.

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« Reply #81 on: Sep 24, 2017, 01:32PM »

I estimated that Mike has about $10K worth of sound equipment. Is it worth if for us average home recording "artists"?

I think Dusty is getting a GREAT bang for his buck! We can, too.

...Geezer

Thank you Geezer!

Yesterday, I experimented with the RealBand program to do more integration. I was right in that you don't need to take you BIAB files and create a WAV file at all. Open RealBand, and open up one of your BIAB files. It will take a couple of minutes to generate each track, but then in the end, you will have about 10 or 11 separate tracks from your BIAB file that can be mixed separately.

You then just record all of your audio files that you want. For me, it's just trombone and piano.

Then final mixdown, and export to a WAV file. 

 
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« Reply #82 on: Sep 24, 2017, 05:13PM »

Mike would be able to sound just as great using lesser gear.

Altiverb shouldn't be limiting Harrison any, it's plenty professional. I reckon it's just a learning curve, as is the problem with most software these days, worrying about adding features to be able to market and hook purchases instead of usability and interface.

A few other thoughts I had today:
Processing on just the reverb track isn't unheard of. A lot of times it can be useful to layer different reverbs, and process some of them, adjusting stereo width. We're recording mono here, but after the reverb it goes stereo. There's usually a width adjustment affecting the size of the field. It can be useful sometimes to bus the main signal into 3 different, and separate reverbs with different tone, damping, and stereo width. You might pan the original signal slightly off center. The main reverb, ie the loudest, should be the narrowest, so you don't get a weird "soloist surrounding you" kind of sound. Add a second reverb, at a far lower output level, though still driven the same on the input, but with different reflections and less highs and lows. A third reverb can be even lower in the mix, and affecting only part of the original signal, maybe with lots of compression or a telephone style eq. You'd want this to be barely perceptible to the listener, and very wide, with more focus on a mid range frequency, about 1.2-2k. Some very subtle chorus, or a muted delay on just this third reverb can add sparkle. You don't want to be able to hear this, it's just to enrich and liven the sound, making the virtual room seem more interesting and complex.
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #83 on: Sep 24, 2017, 05:44PM »

That is a very interesting concept and the possibilities seem endless. Thank you!

...Geezer
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harrison.t.reed
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« Reply #84 on: Sep 24, 2017, 07:15PM »

One thing I had thought of was having the unprocessed raw audio come through the mix, and the Altverb track set at 100% wet as a second track, and then adjusting the levels with the DAW.
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #85 on: Sep 25, 2017, 04:33AM »

I was going to go stereo, but I think I will detour from that and record with one mic for an experiment. I'll try copying the mono track over to two other tracks and tinker with EQ's and reverb on two of them, leaving one "raw". If we experiment like that, we will doubtless have to cut the gain on all three tracks or the combined effect will be much too strong.

I like his concept of having a different quality of sound on each track to make a very broad and vibrant sound when mixed down.

We should be careful to save the raw solo track first, though.

I have to disagree with his statement that Mike would sound AS good on lesser equipment. No one would. That's why there IS the best equipment out there for those who can afford it.

...Geezer
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« Reply #86 on: Sep 25, 2017, 05:47AM »

I remember on one of my trips to Nashville back in the 70's we went to Porter Wagoner's personal studio. What stuck out in my mind was he had a row of mics (at least 50) lined up against the wall on mic stands. Each mic was a different brand and model, no two alike.

I asked about why he had so many mics like that, and he said that in every recording session, they would go down the line and test each mic until they found the one that sounded the best for each singer. I guess when a singer made a return trip they could cut to the chase, and use the one they had before. But back in those days they didn't have the sound processing to change things up like we do now, so they basically got the sound by looking for the right mic.

 
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« Reply #87 on: Sep 25, 2017, 08:46AM »

I was going to go stereo, but I think I will detour from that and record with one mic for an experiment. I'll try copying the mono track over to two other tracks and tinker with EQ's and reverb on two of them, leaving one "raw". If we experiment like that, we will doubtless have to cut the gain on all three tracks or the combined effect will be much too strong.

Just to clarify, I meant that only one of the raw solo track would end up in the final mix, and to do additional processing/layering on just the wet reverb signals. Just to make the reverb more complex, if you're using a simpler style reverb. I've known more expensive reverb plugins that just do this layering and tweaking by default on certain presets to achieve a more vibrant and interesting sound. A convolution verb will be doing much more, and can get very complex sounds on it's own, though it's all just a means to an end. You would only have to turn down if the loudness of the reverb was pushing you up too high, but I end up setting the main wet signal around -20db from the dry, so it really isn't that big of a level push, as the additional reverbs are even lower than that.

I have to disagree with his statement that Mike would sound AS good on lesser equipment. No one would. That's why there IS the best equipment out there for those who can afford it.

Well... I have to disagree with your disagreement. Hopefully I can make a better argument.

The more expensive equipment is often bought because it makes it easier to get the sound that you want, not necessarily because it can get a sound that is impossible to get by other means, up to a certain point. Sometimes it's bought simply because that's what others are using, and you need to sound like the standard to sound "good". There is no best sound or setup, only different ones depending on how the finished product needs to be. It is all in how it conveys differences in performance. As you've heard yourself, different mic placement by a couple of inches or a slight angle or moving between multiple page charts will make more of a difference than a change in mic, if you have a reasonable quality microphone already. No expense spent on a microphone can FIX the sound if it was recorded in a way that isn't conducive to the sound you want to capture.

On your own playing, you are often much more discerning with regards to what you want to sound like, and will hear things that other listeners will not. Sometimes these factors are what drives an upgrade in gear, as it's easier to make good music if you're satisfied with how it sounds. But it's absolutely susceptible to diminishing returns, and there's so much processing available now in the box for free, that I can't imagine it would be unattainable to achieve a sound that is not noticeably different than one recorded with more expensive gear, provided that the basic signal integrity is there in the first place. It's just a difference in how you get to that sound, and how close you can get relatively simply with different gear, as opposed to introducing complex signal chain elements and emulation to achieve the same effect. You're working with a relatively simple waveform represented by a voltage that's quantified by a single number at a single point in time 44,100 or more times a second.

If you know what sound you desire, there are only so many changes you can make to the waveform that keep it in the realm of your trombone sound, and better playing, performance practices, mic technique and better sounding rooms will make more of a difference in the end recording than a couple thousand dollars more on a microphone.

I asked about why he had so many mics like that, and he said that in every recording session, they would go down the line and test each mic until they found the one that sounded the best for each singer. I guess when a singer made a return trip they could cut to the chase, and use the one they had before. But back in those days they didn't have the sound processing to change things up like we do now, so they basically got the sound by looking for the right mic.

This rings true, but if a singer was doing different styles or had a different vibe, or their vocals had improved since their last recordings, or their voice aged, or even just if other studio equipment had changed, I reckon that the preferred mic on the last trip might not be the best mic on this one, even if the vocalist insists. In that case, you do what they want anyways, but if you are your own engineer you have to consider everything. I bet often they wouldn't end up with the most expensive mic in the studio, so it's not as if the best equipment is only there for those that can afford it. Michael Jackson did thriller with the SM7b that's now "only" $400.

One thing I've learned recording others on different styles throughout this year is that there is no best mic for a given source even in all studio situations on the same song. E.g. if you change the drum sound, maybe you have to change the bass, and where the piano/guitar sits with that, and consequently you need a different sound on the vocals now. It can be a lot easier to have different microphones that suit the changes you want, but often basic free plugins are capable of a good enough sculpting of the sound if you learn how to use them and know what you want. Having different players on the session in the band will change how the vocalist needs to sound, unless you work backwards through the band starting from the vocals, though I haven't known any vocalists so far that want to work that way.

Often after extensive live performance the vocalist will have developed a certain mic technique with their handheld stage mic that works really well in maintaining the balance of the band and the vocals in the different sections of the different songs in a live situation where there's minimal processing. It can end up being a lot easier to balance the band in the end by just letting the vocalist who knows the band and the songs and how they play, a lot better than you do I might add, just "perform live" for you rather than setting up a condenser in front of them and spending hours adding compression and automation all over the track to make sure the important parts the band wants are coming out where they're supposed to.

In home studio, it can sometimes become a justification of the purchase. I can't remember exactly where I heard this or if I'm repeating it correctly but there's something along the lines of, "If you spent half as much on a microphone as you would've remodelling your bathroom, you darn well better be using it on everything you do, because chances are you spend more time in the bathroom than you do in front of the mic." Being consistent and controlling all the variables can make it clearer what effect the changes you make are having, but if you didn't start with a clear idea of what you wanted the sound to be, you're just constructing it as you go using what you have to work with. The studio professionals work with a sound they want, and then match gear to achieve that sound the easiest way they can. I wouldn't think there is a such thing as a best piece of gear, and definitely gear isn't better just because the price tag is higher. There are plenty of multi thousand dollar "custom" preamps that the part of the circuit affecting the color of the sound isn't very different from a $5 tube radio from the 40s.

If you had a list of the importance of things in your recordings, and in playing, the microphone is somewhere down in the list where the mouthpiece would be. It makes a difference which one you use, but if you use the same mouthpiece as your favorite player, it won't make you sound like him/her. You need the one that fits you and what you're trying to accomplish. Same with gear. If you don't know what you want from your sound, how can any mouthpiece/microphone be better than another? It's a means to an end, and there are infinitely many ways to get you there. You will still sound like you and you need to work with that, however it changes from day to day and song to song.
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Geezerhorn

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« Reply #88 on: Sep 25, 2017, 09:01AM »

Okay guys. Good stuff all 'round!  Good!

I did some tinkering. I put another large rectangle of indoor/outdoor carpeting up on a remaining bare wall in my music studio. Then I did a recording by playing square into the mic, about 14" (or so) away. It made a difference. I don't hear the room dynamic bleeding into the solo track on louder passages. That is a distinct improvement.

Misunderstanding, I copied my solo track over to three tracks. I had to reduce the gain WAY down, but that's okay. All I did to the top track was to add some reverb. I ran the second track through a low-pass filter. To the third track, I added some EQ to take off some low, add a bit of middle and add some high. Then I mixed them all down with the accompaniment track.

Here it is: Stardust

You may think my solo is too prominent and/or the reverb too strong. Those are style points, as is the way I play. But I belief I have captured a higher fidelity recording.

OBTW: for new eyes on this thread, I took this hobby up when I retired a few years ago.

...Geezer
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« Reply #89 on: Sep 25, 2017, 03:43PM »

I guess Harrison is gone.  :(

Anyway, that book - "Home Recording For Dummies"; I didn't learn much. But one thing it did argue is that cheap cables either work or they don't and it would take a tech with very keen ears to hear any difference between cheap ones and "better" ones. So I'm siding with Dusty on this...

Since I use Audacity, I ordered "Audacity 101". I need to understand what all the different values for all the different settings on EQ and Reverb are supposed to do. And I think there is a whole lot more functionality I have no clue about. Also, that Dummies book mentioned to use whatever wave editor we like, regardless of all the hype.

So I guess there IS value in that Dummies book in that it will keep me from squandering money on things that will not help my efforts much, if any.

I'm basically happy with my home recording efforts, so everything from now on will be gravy on the cake. 

...Geezer
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« Reply #90 on: Sep 26, 2017, 01:10AM »

I tried to do some home recordings and this is how I do it. I make the background music with band in a box. I put it into my old cubase software. I have rather old computers both at home and in work, but I do it simple. The mics are rather cheap ones. At home its Apex 205, very good for the money. And I also use Shure 58 at work. Both my rooms are very dead so I record rather close to the mic. Before I had a bigger room and put the mic further away.

Then I use earphones and play with the background music. Sometimes there is problem listening both what I do and what the background music is. But mostly it goes OK. Then I put a little compression and reverb. Dont know if they are good but they works. Never tried EQ or the other effects.

Well, Im fare a way from knowing much about this but have found a way that works for my home use. In my experience the mic placement and the room is the most important factors. In a big hall like a church I found out that just two stereo mics (zoom) in rather long distance, can record nearly everything very nice. In a little room its more sensitive for mic placement. And of course if I one day sound **** out of the bell, there is not much to do other than wait for a better day.


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« Reply #91 on: Sep 26, 2017, 07:01AM »

I'm still here Geezer. I'm just doing a lot of listening. I won't be recording for a few months, because we have to move first. This is a great thread. I'll listen to your Starlight when I get some time on my monitors and not phone speakers.

I want to improve my ears and hear the differences between the recording quality of the BIS CDs and my feeble attempts. I have many great ideas, and some really insane ones (like recording the Rach Piano Concerto 2 with just piano and trombone) , but my end goal is to create a few professional level piano/trombone albums of the repertoire and some of my own music for that instrument combination. If I can pull that off, I want to get the vienna solo strings library and do some recordings with a digital chamber ensemble of the classical rep. It might well take me years and years, but I'll be better for trying it out. Sound engineering is very interesting!
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« Reply #92 on: Sep 26, 2017, 07:22AM »

I'm still here Geezer. I'm just doing a lot of listening. I won't be recording for a few months, because we have to move first. This is a great thread. I'll listen to your Starlight when I get some time on my monitors and not phone speakers.

I want to improve my ears and hear the differences between the recording quality of the BIS CDs and my feeble attempts. I have many great ideas, and some really insane ones (like recording the Rach Piano Concerto 2 with just piano and trombone) , but my end goal is to create a few professional level piano/trombone albums of the repertoire and some of my own music for that instrument combination. If I can pull that off, I want to get the vienna solo strings library and do some recordings with a digital chamber ensemble of the classical rep. It might well take me years and years, but I'll be better for trying it out. Sound engineering is very interesting!

Whew! I thought we lost you!

By "monitors", I hope you mean a decent set of headphones. I guess I date myself.  :/

Anyway, disregard my clumsiness in playing, I'm just learning this articulation, intonation, phrasing, style, timing thing. Focus on the quality of sound. I think it's pretty good for a home recording. And at this point, I believe the best thing I can do to get a better quality home recording is to continue on my playing/learning curve. Oh, and maybe something from the "Audacity 101" book on order.

I admire your aspirations! There are plenty of excellent examples of recitals of classical pieces with trombone and piano. It can work marvelously.

Good luck with your move. I would volunteer to help you, but you see - my back...

...Geezer
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« Reply #93 on: Oct 03, 2017, 02:49PM »

If anyone is using Audacity, then "The Book Of Audacity" is the one to consult, not the Dummies book. "The Book Of Audacity" is pretty thorough.

...Geezer
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« Reply #94 on: Oct 22, 2017, 09:36AM »

Well, just sold my town home! Looks like I'll be getting a single family home, possibly on the Air Force Academy!  :-0

Home studio, here I come!

PS, did you know that a lot of Alessi's non-orchestra recordings were made in his basement? ?!!

 :-0
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88HTCL - Griego 1C
36H - DE XT105, C+, D Alto Shank
3B/F Silversonic - Griego 1A ss
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« Reply #95 on: Oct 22, 2017, 11:37AM »

 
Well, just sold my town home! Looks like I'll be getting a single family home, possibly on the Air Force Academy!  :-0

Home studio, here I come!

PS, did you know that a lot of Alessi's non-orchestra recordings were made in his basement? ?!!

 :-0

 Good!
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