Piano Society
Free Classical Keyboard Recordings
It is currently Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:34 am

All times are UTC - 1 hour




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 99 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Boston
Hello Monica, and yes, "Zoinks" would be the operative word. :) I am looking to get back in the piano mode again, hopefully soon. I just downloaded the Chopin Waltz No. 16 in D-flat, just to get the fingers going again. I've always liked this piece, but never had the music. Good thing I found it on the PS site! BTW, is Paris on the horizon for this year?...


Hi Didier, absolutely, I have also stated that the pianist, piano, and space are the most important factors in any recording in my opening paragraph. This thread is intended mostly for the musician-audiophile who enjoys recording, gear, and recording technique. It's a specialty thread, and not a "most people" thread. I agree, 5% is subjective only to reinforce the fact that gear accounts for a small, but perceptible amount in a recording. For critical listening, that 5% is everything for some and could be the missing link to make a good recording into a great one. How accurately does one want to capture the sound and at what price? That is the first question. For some it's worth it, for most it's not because they may not hear the difference or care, and everybody can move on. I am not advocating that people should buy the items in the "Equipment List." It's not consumer or even a prosumer grade list. I've merely stated what professional studios use to record piano. It's up to the reader to decide if it's worth it or not based on personal preferences, finances, levels of expectations, experience, interest, etc.

One of the most important variables is mic placement. I covered that briefly as and that is an art onto itself and draws upon many aspects of which many years of experience is paramount. That's why there are recording engineers. I am still learning... As you know, EQ, reverb, or other processing is the icing on the cake as it pertains to tailoring the final sound.

If someone does record often enough and have access to a nice hall AND piano, e.g. conservatories, schools, colleges, church halls, community centers, concert halls, etc., then good gear might be an investment, as the recording chain become more relevant with a nice hall and piano. In most cases, all one has to do is to introduce yourself to management of these facilities and work out a reasonable arrangement. But, if recordings are solely delegated to the living room with 8ft ceilings and there is no attempt to treat the room acoustically, then its useless to spend more than a $300 digital recorder and $200 stereo mics. Along the way, I've suggested using a Microtrack II with a pair of small condenser mics, like Shure SM81 or KSM141. I personally use a Microtrack II and love it!

Yes, the M50 has been long discontinued as it was produced from 1951-1971 and the M150 is its current replacement - Thanks, I made a note of the M150 on the first thread. I included the M50 because it's the real deal - some studios still have and use these legendary mics because it's the tube AND transformer that makes these mics sound so legendary. The M150 lacks the transformer, and hence lacks the character of the original.

Thanks for posting the recordings - nice nocturne! To my ears, I found the Schoeps to have a slightly more open, airy sound in the highs. The mids are warmer, and the bass sounds fuller - collectively a more refined and more natural sound. The Samson CO2 sounds thinner, rough rendition, closed in - almost compressed and more clinical/digital sound. (Listened with Beyerdynamic DT-770 phones through Audigy sound card).

Have you tried the open cardiod MK22 capsule as well?...

_________________
"Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition." ~Riccardo Muti


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:14 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8463
88man wrote:
Hello Monica, and yes, "Zoinks" would be the operative word. :) I am looking to get back in the piano mode again, hopefully soon. I just downloaded the Chopin Waltz No. 16 in D-flat, just to get the fingers going again. I've always liked this piece, but never had the music. Good thing I found it on the PS site! BTW, is Paris on the horizon for this year?...
.


Hi George. Oh, that waltz will surely get your fingers moving again! I'm surprised you found it on our site - I thought we took down all the sheet music.

Paris - no, not this year. Target date is spring or summer or fall of 2012.


Also just another thanks to you and Didier for providing so much great information about making recordings!

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

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:44 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Boston
Quote:
...that waltz will surely get your fingers moving again! I'm surprised you found it on our site - I thought we took down all the sheet music.


Hi Monica, I realized that I had downloaded the piece a while back into a folder and forgot about it until I came across it while cleaning out my files on the computer. I just printed yesterday. It's too bad, why did PS remove all sheet music?... I found it to be a great resource at the time. I just wish I downloaded more pieces.

Ideally, I should be practicing my Isidor Phillipe or Hanon, but at this stage, practicing technique is like going to Dullsville! Or watching paint dry! I figured, if I am going to practice any form of technique, let it be in a new piece with the little time I do have. The tricky part, as always, is the fingering - I'll sort it out. As with almost all of Chopin's posthumous works, there are so many discrepancies in various editions. This piece is no exception. I realize that this edition is different than my recordings with Agustin Anievas and Claudio Arrau. On the sheet music, there is a break in the chromatic ascending passage to the lower octave in measure No. 31. On my recordings with Agustin Anievas and Claudio Arrau, the passage on measure Nos. 30-32 are continuously ascending which I like better. I just heard Ashkenazy on the classical radio in my office play the passage in the broken manner. I still like it continuously ascending, ending on the high A-flat. That's how I'll practice it. I wonder if there is a definitive publication which shows how the early editions were noted on measure No. 31?...

_________________
"Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition." ~Riccardo Muti


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:17 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8463
88man wrote:

Hi Monica, I realized that I had downloaded the piece a while back into a folder and forgot about it until I came across it while cleaning out my files on the computer. I just printed yesterday. It's too bad, why did PS remove all sheet music?... I found it to be a great resource at the time. I just wish I downloaded more pieces.


Oh, that explains it. :) We took down the music mainly because we were trying to conserve bandwidth. But also it was added work for us, and Robert and Chris felt that since ISMPL has just about everything we had (plus thousands more), we'll direct our visitors there, instead.

88man wrote:
Ideally, I should be practicing my Isidor Phillipe or Hanon, but at this stage, practicing technique is like going to Dullsville! Or watching paint dry! I figured, if I am going to practice any form of technique, let it be in a new piece with the little time I do have.


I hear you! I have been advocating working on technique by way of learning new pieces versus the boring Hanon exercises in my own practicing. But I will say that I found my lessons with my most recent teacher to be invaluable in terms of learning some things that I probably wouldn't have figured out on my own.

88man wrote:
The tricky part, as always, is the fingering - I'll sort it out. As with almost all of Chopin's posthumous works, there are so many discrepancies in various editions. This piece is no exception. I realize that this edition is different than my recordings with Agustin Anievas and Claudio Arrau. On the sheet music, there is a break in the chromatic ascending passage to the lower octave in measure No. 31. On my recordings with Agustin Anievas and Claudio Arrau, the passage on measure Nos. 30-32 are continuously ascending which I like better. I just heard Ashkenazy on the classical radio in my office play the passage in the broken manner. I still like it continuously ascending, ending on the high A-flat. That's how I'll practice it. I wonder if there is a definitive publication which shows how the early editions were noted on measure No. 31?...

Yes, fingering is key!!! As far as looking up that measure 31 in early editions - do you know of this site?

http://www.cfeo.org.uk/dyn/index.html

It shows the publications of Chopin's music in the very first French, German, and English editions. I think it's neat and have looked at it several times while working on the mazurkas. When you open the site, look toward the top at the tabs and you'll see "view Chopin's first editions".

And speaking of traveling, didn't you go on a safari or something like that recently?

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

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:01 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:53 pm
Posts: 467
Location: France
Quote:
Have you tried the open cardiod MK22 capsule as well?...


No, I did'nt get the opportunity for. It would sound like the 21 with a tighter directivity.

About the samples of my previous post, I don't think they can be perceived as being in a different league if you are not able to compare them. Even when comparing them, many people would not care about the difference. It even happens than some people expected being skilled in audio prefer the Samson to the Schoeps in this blind test.

Note that the TLM50 might be more used than the M150 for classical music, especially piano, recording. They were used for the recent live recording of the piano sonatas by Daniel Barenboim in DVD; one can see them on some images in the placement shown in the attached drawing, first experimented by Decca sound engineers.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Boston
Thank you, Monica, what a great site of Chopin first editions... Takes one back to a much simpler time in history seeing all those front covers! However, I couldn't find that particular waltz, but I found other pieces which I've always had questions about concerning certain passages, such as in Waltz No. 7, Ballade No. 1, Prelude No. 20, etc. For some reason, the ISMPL site looked familiar, maybe I followed a link in a PS thread when initially downloading the Waltz No. 16? I can't remember now...

Great, you have 2yrs to prepare for that trip to Paris! I am sure that you'll need more than an entire thread to show all your musical discoveries... :)
And yes, my 2wk photographic safari/vacation to the Amalfi Coast in September was amazing! I sailed along the stretch of scraggy coastline from Ravello - Amalfi - Positano - Capri - Sorrento; Went hiking in Capri, and saw the Grottos; drove along the Amalfi Drive - crazy thin, winding street that's as wide as one's "driveway" with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean below AND near deadly site of oncoming traffic ahead in those mountain pass turns; Visited Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum; Saw the Allied landing sites in Salerno. I also treated my parents on the trip - quality time!

--

Didier, thanks for the photo - looks like the ideal placement for that mic to balance the treble rise by keeping them away from the treble strings. The TLM50 has a rise of +2dB from 2-10kHz, with smaller peaks @ 3kHz, and 8kHz. Barenboim is a Steinway artist, so the bronze timbre would create a sound too bright if the mics were positioned in the common position near the curve of the piano. Ultimately, the mic selection would depend on the the pianist, instrument voicing, timbre, and tone, and hall. Marketing might have a say as well, since it's a DVD, the selection of mics tend to have a livelier sound for 5.1 or 7.1 Surround Sound appeal. What recording are you referring to, I am curious of the final result?...

Yes, the M150 is not common for piano. However, it still has a place in classical music - it shines as an orchestral mic when used in a Decca tree.

Mic preference, even in blind test is all subjective and not scientific unless you're measuring it on a FFT scope. Even then it doesn't tell you anything about the sound we perceive. Whether it's a Samson or Schoeps, it's all a matter of personal taste - what's warm to one, sounds dull to another; what's lively to one, sounds harsh to another. However, there are differences in the quality of manufacturing and design. One is made in China and the other in Germany. There are pros and cons to each. The best way to hear each mic is at a recording studio - well worth the $100 to record samples of several mics at once and then make notes on each one.

I've never tried a Samson, so for the sake of objectivity and fairness, I just looked up the specs on your Samson CO2. It's a "cardiod" pick up pattern. Your Schoeps MK21 is a "wide cardiod." To some degree, it's comparing apples to oranges. The difference in sound between your clips that I described in an earlier post would be relevant to the respective sonic signatures of your "cardiod" and "wide cardiod" mics. That being said, your mic shoot out is actually unfair to Samson. A shoot out comparing apples to apples might be the Schoeps MK4 "cardiod" vs Samson CO2 "cardiod" mics?... Then it would be more difficult to tell them apart since they would have similar frequency responses. Personally, I think Schoeps are overpriced at $3700/pr - they are far from a bargain, n'est pas?

At 1/3 the price of Schoeps, the MBHO (Haun) from Germany is an excellent choice for piano. Have you tried these mics?... These are handmade mics. Leave it to the German Ton Meisters! The chief engineer studied with Dr. Schoeps and draws upon many sonic attributes of the Schoeps mics - a sound that's transparent, fast, neutral in tonality, slight amount of air, and is slightly on the warm side of neutral. For my taste, it's the perfect sonic recipe to capture the sound of piano. Like Schoeps, they have a body + capsule design allowing for changes between omni, cardiod, or wide cardiod capsules. For piano, the mic body with the transformer (MBP 648) allows for a smoother response than their transformerless circuit.* I recommend these mics for someone looking for high end mics with interchangeable patterns on a budget.

http://www.mbho.de/index.htm



* Generally true for most mics as in the case of old Neumann mics (with transformer) vs new Neumann mics (transformerless). Manufacturers won't admit to it, but this change came about due to rising labor costs as it became costly to match tolerances between high quality mic transformers on a consistent basis. Also vacuum tubes were being replaced by transistors which eliminated the need for transformers. Again manufacturing cost was the issue with tubes, and the issue of component size and reliability were secondary early on. Hence the dawn of modern analog and then modern day digital recordings - that's a discussion all onto itself... Aside from the source, many recording engineers and audiophiles agree, that tubes with transformers color the sound in a way that is favorable, smooth, and musical - consistent with the natural harmonic series where even number harmonics are more emphasized; Transistor based circuitry emphasizes the odd number harmonics which don't sound as favorable or musical to our ears.

_________________
"Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition." ~Riccardo Muti


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:38 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:53 pm
Posts: 467
Location: France
The choice of the TLM50 in Barenboim's is likely a purely technical choice not related to any marketing consideration. I did not check but I guess that it is not even mentioned in the booklet. The microphones can be seen on some images without being on focus. The choice of the Decca placement is much suitable to a live recording because it's not obstrusive for the attendance. The DVD sound is recorded in stereo. So I guess that only this pair was used. It's far enough from the piano to get enough room sound.

You may be in confusion between the Schoeps MK41 cap, which is hypercardioid, and the MK4 cap, which is cardioid. I don't think that the wide cardioid directivity of the MK21 makes a significant difference with respect to the other ones being cardioid, and still less that it would be a drawback, in the shoot-out of which I gave the link in my previous post. Actually some very well educated ears, who demonstrated their skill in listening not only in this blind test, could pick it up as being the best one.

There is no doubt to me that the Schoeps is better than the Samson. But I think the quality difference is not determining for the kind of amateur recording that I'm doing for Pianosociety and that if I would use such well selected low-cost mics, it would not change the comments about the audio quality of my recordings, mostly determined by the quality of my piano. I put these recordings with the Samson and the Schoeps here for people could realize what is the sound improvement between a good low cost microphone and a high-end one like the ones that you listed in your first post.

I know the MBHO mics but did not test them. There are a lot such mics, intermediately priced with respect to the low end like the Samson and the high end like the Schoeps, and many of them are good choices AFAIK (AKG C480, Audio-Technica 40xx range, Beyerdynamic MC4** range, Neumann KM 1** range, Avenson, Violet Finger, Josephson C42 etc. ).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:40 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Boston
Quote:
You may be in confusion between the Schoeps MK41 cap, which is hypercardioid, and the MK4 cap, which is cardioid.


Yes, Didier, you posted just after I made the correction.
BTW, my new DAV BG 1U mic preamp arrived Friday and it's still in the box. I can't wait to use it tonight! I'll follow up on it's sound and let you know how it compares with the Avalon AD2022 mic preamp. Time to practice, so that I can record something soon...

_________________
"Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition." ~Riccardo Muti


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:53 pm
Posts: 467
Location: France
The preamp impact on the sound is much less than the one from the microphone. You've got two good preamps anyway. Please post some samples for comparative listening. I've been interested in the AD2022 for a long time because it's a so beautiful machine.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Two Mic Preamps Compared: Avalon AD2022 and DAV BG No.1U
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:43 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Boston
The Sonic Signitures of Two Microphone Preamplifiers:
-Avalon AD2022 Pure Class A FET Microphone Preamplifier
-DAV Broadhurst Gardens No. 1U Microphone Preamplifier


Setup: (Photos attached)

-Gain: 30dB Sample 1, 34dB Sample 2.
-Microphones: AKG C414B-XLS - Omni pattern. Spaced 18in stereo pair. Placed 3ft away between curve and tail of piano, 5.7ft high. Fixed position through all samples.
-Avalon AD2022 impedance setting: 150 ohms (selectable 50, 150, or 600 ohms)
-Recorder: Yamaha CDR1000 internal 20bit ADC and Apogee UV22 dithering to 16bit CDR
-No special effects or EQ was added.
-Sample Crops from Chopin Nocturne, Op. 48 (Sample1), Chopin Nocturne, Op. 9a (Sample2)
-Each sample group recorded non-simultaneously

Here are 2 different samples between the Avalon and DAV preamps.
Photo shows setup: mics, piano, mobile recording rack.


Subjective Observations: (samples attached)

After compressing the .wav files to .mp3, unfortunately (or fortunately), the slight differences in seemed to vanish, even at 320kbps. I wasn't going to bother posting my findings, but for those golden eared audiophiles who care to know the differences between these 2 preamps, I am going to describe the subtle differences based on my original .wav files, which are more accurate. Didier, I really had to split hairs on this one. All my statements are relative to the comparisons to only to these mic preamps and no other comparisons can be assumed.

The Avalon AD2022 is slightly more forward in its presentation, only evidenced in larger and more complex dynamic passages. There is a little more midrange glare creating a slightly overetched sound to the bronze timbre of the Steinway. One can hear this on the opening Cm chord in sample 1. It's good on the bass notes, but may sound slightly more clinical, detailed, and analytical than the DAV. This primarily due to a faster transient response in the Avalon. This is quite an accomplishment since the unit has transformer fed inputs (which tend to slow and filter the signal). The Jensen transformers at the input seem to add more character to the sound which also contribute to slightly increased saturation across the entire frequency spectrum. The Avalon seems to stress slightly more timbre than tone.

The DAV is less forward in its presentation, making the unit sound warmer and more laid back. The sound field is more unified with all the frequency elements coming together more cohesively. There is a slight amount of syrup in the midrange, helping to sweeten the sound by diminishing the transient response. But, it never is overly done to the point where the details become smeared in any way. The highs are very silky, and slightly recessed, rendering a natural amount of compression. The DAV is a very smooth sounding unit for a transformerless design, and unrelated to this type of design, it seems to stress slightly more tone than timbre when I compared with the Avalon.


Afterthoughts:

In my room, these two different preamps, exhibited litttle differences in their sonic signatures, as they should. Both are tonally transparent, the slight timbral differences are due to their different circuitry, which is beyond the scope of this discussion. I will only add that the DAV is based on OP amp chips. The DAV was founded by Mick Hinton, chief engineer who designed the Decca mic preamps at the time when Decca's Neve preamps had to be replaced. The Decca pedigree continues in the current range of preamps. The Avalon is based on Class A FET Transistors with Jensen input transformers allowing for changing mic input impedances for different types of mics: 50, 150, 600 ohms. This loads the mic differently with each setting, in essence it alters the EQ response of the preamp, giving you additional flexibility to tailor your sound for a brighter or darker timbre, depending on your piano.

The Avalon is slightly more strident with good timbral presence. This preamp might be a good balance for a piano that has predominance of tone rather than a bright timbre, like the European pianos. It would make for an amazing vocal amp or an instrument that will be complimented with a good low midrange presence like acoustic guitar. The DAV might be more forgiving for a piano that is slightly brighter, again this is comparing it only to the Avalon. Since the DAV is more laid back and neutral, one may be able to bring the mics closer to the source, and not run the risk of harsh sounding midrange. All these slight differences can be controlled with careful EQ during the mastering stage.

Overall, one can't go wrong with either mic preamp sonically, but the DAV BG No.1U costing $2000 cheaper, presents a better value at $890 - Spend the money on mics. Which will I reach for? It will depend on the genre and mood since they're are both good. In any case, it's always good to have additional channel for vocal duets, two pianos, or ensembles.

BTW, my recent recording of Chopin Waltz No. 19 in A Minor was with the DAV BG No.1U and the AKG C414B-XLS mics in the exact location, except they were raised to a height of 6ft.


Attachments:
Recording Set Up.jpg [160.71 KiB]
Downloaded 562 times
Mobile Recording Rack.jpg
Mobile Recording Rack.jpg [ 177.68 KiB | Viewed 4816 times ]
Avalon AD2022 Preamp - No EFX - Sample1.mp3 [2.13 MiB]
Downloaded 334 times
DAV BG No.1U Preamp - No EFX - Sample1.mp3 [2.07 MiB]
Downloaded 352 times
Avalon AD2022 Preamp - No EFX - Sample2.mp3 [3.65 MiB]
Downloaded 348 times
DAV BG No.1U Preamp - No EFX - Sample2.mp3 [3.65 MiB]
Downloaded 327 times

_________________
"Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition." ~Riccardo Muti
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:22 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:53 pm
Posts: 467
Location: France
Hi George,


great playing that makes me keen to listen to you more often on Pianosociety. It sounds like your piano would prefer the DAV. I think that most people who are not crazy about audio gear like both of us are not going to care so much about the difference between the Avalon and the DAV. And I think that they are right as far as music only is of concern. Nonethelees I was much interested by your samples. I was expecting the Avalon being smoother.It might be closer to a Millenia than to the DAV.
Well you have got now more than required for making great recordings. Just do them for us!
Al the best,
Didier


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Boston
Quote:
Great playing that makes me keen to listen to you more often on Pianosociety. It sounds like your piano would prefer the DAV... I was expecting the Avalon being smoother.It might be closer to a Millenia than to the DAV.


Thanks Didier. Owning a large dental practice keeps me too busy from my piano practice. The irony is that when I was a student, I had more time to practice, but couldn't afford a nice piano. Now that I have a nice piano, I don't have time to practice. It's tough to just keep up with my old pieces, let alone learn new ones. Do you find time to practice with your profession?...

Yes, the Avalon is closer to Millennia in sound. I got the DAV to expand my palate of sound apart from what the Avalon was giving me. It's nice to have a choice as there are times when the Avalon might be appropriate especially in a nice hall where you might want to regain that low midrange presence or use it with other musicians in a mix. But for 2 channel home recording environment, the DAV will see more action for classical, even though the piano is well balanced in tone and timbre.

_________________
"Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition." ~Riccardo Muti


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:19 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:58 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Glendale, Ca
Nice playing and recording 88man, really enjoyed that.

I'm trying to tweak my recording setup a bit. I just started learning about and trying to record my D early last year. Even though I've been a Pro player for over 40 years with a lot of session work background , doing/recording it yourself is a whole other experience.

I have a pair of the DPA 4011s that were going into two different front end sources--at least until last week when I sold my Cranesong Spider 8 channel pre, A/D , mixer. Right now I'm just using an Audio Upgrades/Jim Williams modded Soundcraft Delta 200 8 channel board. My recorder is the Tascam DV-RA 1000HD in which Jim Williams also modded the A/D D/A converter chips with the Analog Devices. I think it sounds great, especially for the price. :)

I'm looking at possibly getting a pre amp to patch into the Delta insert points or just go straight into the Tascam. I'm not too swift with computer recording has of yet.

I'm thinking of taking some of the Cranesong funds and investing in the Fearn VT-2. I know Didier from the Gearslutz forum and have heard a few of his wonderful offerings with the VT-2 and his great sounding Steingraeber over there.

I'm primarily a Jazz guy so I've been doing more of the close micing technique common to Jazz, but do enjoy reading the different ideas on mic placement and preamps here. Also hearing all the great talent on the forum--some serious Classical players here.

_________________
http://www.myspace.com/daveferrispiano

2005 NY Steinway D
1997 Yamaha Gt-1 "Gran Touch"


Last edited by Dave Ferris on Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:47 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Boston
Greetings Dave! I followed the link to your site and having only listened to your "Road to Boston" and "Ballad," I think you're a fantastic jazz composer and pianist! Most composers seem to reinvent the "compositional wheel" all the time, however, your music carries great soul, driving rhythm, and sounds new and fresh every time one listens to it. Let me know if your CDs are for sale?...

1. Dave, before you spend a cent, my advice is to look into acoustic treatment for your recording room. The single most improvement you can make is treating your room. You have a fantastic piano, but on the picture I saw 2 bare drywalls and a corner. Yikes! This will wreak havoc on the room's EQ response, flutter echo, comb filtering, modes, etc... All the small room acoustic phenomena that will go against making a good sounding recording. I would look into bass traps for the walls and corner, especially. Contact Ethan Winer of Realtraps or Glenn Kuras of GIK Acoustics next time you're on Gearlutz. Or you can do what I did, DIY bass traps for fraction of the cost. Let me know if you're interested on how to make camouflage acoustic panels yourself. All you need is a saw, staple gun, and drill.

2. I would invest in a room calibration software to create a real time analysis of the EQ response of your room. You can use your DPA 4011 mic for calibration purposes. Personally, I use a Behringer DEQ2496 with has an EQ and RTA to plot where my peaks and dips are in my room. The software will do a better job for you. Some rooms can vary as much as + or - 10dB, that's a range of 20dB.

3. After you treat the room, you will effectively increase the damping factor of your acoustic space and you will lose it's reverb. Don't worry, it's not the kind of reverb you want anyway.

4. Once you treat the room and examine its waterfall EQ plots, you may have to experiment with more/less bass traps and/or rearranging them to get the flattest EQ plot of your room. THEN you can apply EQ in your editing software to further tweak the room to flatten the EQ response and save it as a preset for that room.

5. To regain and even get more ambience, you can add reverb now in your editing software, dedicated reverb software like Altiverb 6, or go with hardware reverb like TC electronics 2000, 3000, 4000, or Lexicon PCM96, or Bricasti M7 and send it to your soundcard. No two reverbs sound exactly the same because each one uses a different algorithm. It will be a matter of taste.

As far as preamps go, well, I record 2 channel classical, you record multi-channel jazz. I may be comparing apples and oranges here as far as the character of sound goes. Even though we both play on Steinways, and even if you want to record 2 channel jazz at home, our ideal for the "right" timbre and tone will surely be different. This will impact your preamp choice. If you like the sound of your mics, then use them. However, it's more difficult to attribute a sonic signature to a preamp. The differences are subtle, as it's the mics that color the sound to a greater degree than a preamp. Having said that, there are some who can hear different textures in sound. Subjective appraisals in sound character also differ. For example, if the preamp has a fast transient response, one may interpret this as too forward or harsh; and another may interpret this as clear, transparent.

I don't know what your ideal "sound" is for jazz sound character, so I can't make definitive suggestions for a preamp.
Here are some potential preamp recommendations:

-DAV BG No. 1U: renders accurate timbre/tone to piano, just right amount of "syrup," slightly more laid back timbre.
-Avalon AD2022: more forward timbre, fast transients, better suited for pop, voice.
-Thermionic Culture Earlybird 1.2 - tonally transparent, lush, saturation, majestic color on piano. Rivals with VT-2.
-D.W. Fearn VT-2: lush, saturation, most love it but few say less than spectacular on piano (sounds like proximity effect). I don't own one, ask Didier.
-Presonus ADL600: smooth, slight color, saturation.
-Pendulum MDP-1 - more character


As far as recorders are concerned, we seem to be on the same path. I am also going mic-to-preamp-to-recorder. Keeps it simple, pure, and clean. I also just bought a Tascam DV-RA1000HD, but haven't had the time to record with it yet. I am very curious how the converters sound before and after Jim Williams' mods?... How expensive were Jim's mods?...

I have a NY Steinway B, and it's very full in my 35'x17'x8.5' room. I've been itching for a D more and more now... How do you like the sound of your Steinway D?...


I hope some of these ideas I've stated help. Good Luck and let me know if you have any questions. Best of luck composing! :D

_________________
"Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition." ~Riccardo Muti


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:11 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:58 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Glendale, Ca
Hi 88man-

Hey thanks so much for the kind words--greatly appreciated here. Yeah, I've been at it a very long time and continue to try and move forward everyday in all aspects.

Regarding the room acoustics--I'm very aware of the acoustics or I should say lack of in my space :)
Really for what I'm doing it's sounds pretty good. That blank space/corner you mentioned now has a floor to ceiling corner book case that acts as a fairly nice diffuser. I also have about 15 1"thick 3' X 5' fiberglass carpeted absorption panels interspersed throughout my 20 X 20 room.
Still I need more absorption/diffusion as I definitely have that wicked slap back/flutter echo thing going on with the parallel surfaces has you could probably guess.

However--With the close micing under the lid and the SDC cardioid DPA 4011s, I don't really hear much of the room--at least on the recordings I've made in the past year. I think having the higher "A" type frame ceiling (15' at the peak), coupled with the piano on hardwood floor and the other 60% of the space with low nap industrial type carpeting, help tone down the liveness of the room.

Of course the biggest battle I feel is won....the piano. I was lucky to find it barely used (9 months old) for a once in a lifetime price. It will be 4 years this May since I took delivery and I would say I wasn't really happy with the sound until around this time last year. It took a LONG time to break in and a lot of money spent on voicing, regulation and tuning. Previously I had the Yamaha S6 which was a fine piano, really perfect from a Jazz players standpoint in relation to the the action and evenness of sound. Of course it wasn't the "Steinway Sound". So getting my ears more used to that different sound took a few years. I guess I've turned into a piano snob of sorts because now the Yamahas sound a bit thin to me. My only wish is I had a larger space for the D than 20 X 20. On the other hand, the sound is not like a huge sounding D you would choose playing a Concerto on a big stage with an orchestra. The fellow I bought it from was a Jazz player like myself so he picked it out from about ten different Ds at Steinway Hall in NYC. It definitely has a darker more introspective sound. That sound actually bothered me at first being used to the clarity of the S6 but playing it everyday the past 4 years, it has blossomed VERY nicely. I can honestly say, I haven't come across any piano, with the exception of maybe one, a 9' Fazioli that belonged to dealer Rick Baldassin of Salt Lake City, that I would swap my piano for. That includes any recording studio I've been in here in town.

Back to the recording---I should just hire engineer extraordinaire Rich Breen, have my D carted onto Sony Soundstage and start carving. :lol: Seriously, like I mentioned earlier, I'm quite happy with the sound I'm getting. Maybe 75-80% happy. It's just that last little bit that you would agonize over is the hardest part. I think my key is "matching" my DPA 4011s to the best preamp and tweaking my mic placement.

If you go to the "MYspace " page and check out the solo pieces (I would post individual links here but I feel the Myspace page doesn't compress the mp3s as dramatically has the file sharing site I use) they are:

"Joy Spring"--first recording I did with the 4011s. I was blown away at how much difference really good mics made after using lesser quality, night and day. These are into a lowly Mackie 1202 VLZ mixer > Marantz CDR300 CD recorder. Not bad considering 16 bit, the inferior converters on the CD recorder and a Mackie. Again the piano and mic quality speaks volumes.

"Whisper Not"--the first recording I did with my (just sold) Cranesong Spider. This was with the Spider set @ 16/48 going SPDIF again into the Marantz. This really shows the high quality of the Cranesong.

"Falling Grace"
This was with the two Jim Williams modded pieces. The Tascam DV-Ra 1000HD and the board pres of the Soundcraft Delta 200 console.

"Taking a Chance on Love"---this is the same setup but with vocal and piano played and sung simultaneously---no overdubs.

Even though the Cranesong pres have more depth and detail, I think JW's stuff has a "sweeter" maybe more "open" sound to it. Sound is always highly subjective though. That's the reason I sold the Spider in addition to the 8 channels on the CS being overkill for my purposes.

Jim makes what he calls a Audio Upgrades 2 channel "high speed mic pre" that sells for less than half of what something like the Fearn VT-2 retails at. Im trying to work it out so I can rent the Fearn, borrow Jim's pre, maybe rent the Pendulum all on the same day to do a comparison. I would very much like to hear the Forssell SMP-2 and Earlybird 1.2 has well. It's just very hard to audition all this stuff, even in a large city like LA.

Lastly, this was made about ten days ago, actually about an hour before the buyer came by to pick up the Spider :cry: I hated to see it go, it really is a nice piece but I couldn't justify keeping it when all I needed was 2 or 3 channels.

The Spider SPDIF > the Tascam
http://www.divshare.com/download/10240059-dfe
A little bit brighter sounding

For the time being I like the idea of going direct from the pre to the 2 track recorder. This is simple as I'm a computer idiot. However someone sent me some Jazz Quartet recording with the new and much talked about Metric Halo ULN-8. I must say the group sound and piano sounded stellar in every way! It made me re-think my plan of attack here---going with a computer interface as opposed to the more intuitive analog thing. I'd have to learn about the software program, find someone to explain to me Logic 8 (whih I already have)....no fun, I'd rather be practicing.

Anyway, thanks again 88man for all the suggestions. This is a great thread here.

_________________
http://www.myspace.com/daveferrispiano

2005 NY Steinway D
1997 Yamaha Gt-1 "Gran Touch"


Last edited by Dave Ferris on Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 99 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are UTC - 1 hour


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group