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 Post subject: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:47 pm 
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Hi everyone, first recordings since 2008-02-27 so be kind to me ;). I took something technically easy (nothing is easy musically).

I had to restart a lot of other things too but finally found the Edirol, download Audacity and the Lame encoder and I hope I got the ID3 tagging right.

This is a one time shot and in the mode I was today and at least with me, this piece can come out pretty different.

Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K.32

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:44 pm 
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Very well played but I have to say the swimmy sound (pedal or reverb ?) and the creaking bench spoil it a bit. If you could do this in cleaner sound, and maybe a little faster, it would be a good recording.

So it's been almost 4 years since you last submitted ! I hope this is a come-back, not a one-off.

The naming is correct, the tags adequate though not quite complete. See this sticky post
http://pianosociety.com/new/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=5115
We also like the key signature with Scarlatti sonatas.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:20 pm 
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Hello Robert,
Good to hear a submission from you. I must agree with Chris about the reverb, but more so to the point, I feel there should be no pedaling here except to enable an occasional phrasing issue. The step-wise character of the melody and frequent appoggiaturas cause dissonance to the careful listener if performed ohner Dampfer. Regarding your tempo, I think it is spot on. This is a lovely Aria, and one that is at once plain, unadorened yet sadly beautiful. This simple piece is all about musicality. My apporach is one of a singer with lute (perhaps) accompanying. Musically, the most interesting feature is the use of the deceptive cadence 5 bars from the end (to Bb major). If you can feel the denied expectation, you will likely convey it in your interpretation. I for one would really love to hear another attempt on your part that included only occasional touches of supportive pedaling. IMO, the pattern for phrasing is first bar to first beat of second bar, followed by phrased appoggiatura. (For those with Longo's library this is L 423.)

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!
Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:32 pm 
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Thanks and I really hope it is not a one time shot. But I have some work to do to reach a decent technical standard. My joints feel stiff and my touch is insecure, so is the rhythm. I like to recall myself being very even on rhythm, even in fast scales...probably weak memory ;).

Anyway, the chair is annoying and some of the noise comes from the pedal. I have gotten used to it but it sounds more on the recording than I feel it does IRL. Some oil probably fixes the problem. Also, I hear the hammers very loud in ear phones and probably because I placed the Edirol on top of the grand. Chris, you place it on a chair beside you right?

The reverb is a bit too much (like the feeling of being in a church) and not from the original recording but the GVerb in Audacity. Experimented a bit with it and it didn't come out really as I wanted it.

So less pedal...hm...yeah I understand but won't if sound too dry then? I'll try later tonight. About speed, I think it is difficult to play it this slow but when I listen, it feels right. Other recordings I have heard is usually slower, even much slower. Check Carnevale's recording for example (and this is a very well known pianist, from Italy too and a Scarlatti fan). It is beautiful but much slower!

I'll experiment a bit more and re-record it and fix the ID3-tag.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:53 pm 
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robert wrote:
Thanks and I really hope it is not a one time shot. But I have some work to do to reach a decent technical standard. My joints feel stiff and my touch is insecure, so is the rhythm. I like to recall myself being very even on rhythm, even in fast scales...probably weak memory ;).
Yes I know how it is to have been out of it for some years. It will come back, don't worry.

robert wrote:
Anyway, the chair is annoying and some of the noise comes from the pedal. I have gotten used to it but it sounds more on the recording than I feel it does IRL. Some oil probably fixes the problem. Also, I hear the hammers very loud in ear phones and probably because I placed the Edirol on top of the grand. Chris, you place it on a chair beside you right?

Nope, see image which shows my setup (except that I have the lid open when recording). Of all I have tried this seems to give the best results. Yes I heard your hammers too. Not a good idea to have the recorder on the piano. And don't put oil on your chair - get a new one ;-)

robert wrote:
The reverb is a bit too much (like the feeling of being in a church) and not from the original recording but the GVerb in Audacity. Experimented a bit with it and it didn't come out really as I wanted it.
Takes a while to find the reverb you want. In any case it must not be too obtrusive.

robert wrote:
So less pedal...hm...yeah I understand but won't if sound too dry then? I'll try later tonight. About speed, I think it is difficult to play it this slow but when I listen, it feels right. Other recordings I have heard is usually slower, even much slower. Check Carnevale's recording for example (and this is a very well known pianist, from Italy too and a Scarlatti fan). It is beautiful but much slower!
Maybe the tempo is not too slow, but it 'feels' too slow because the playing is a bit stiff. I must admit I had not heard this sonata, and I don't know what the tempo indication is.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Nice to see you recording again, Robert!! :D :D I think this is a pretty little piece and you play it nicely. Some of those suggestions Eddy gave will really make the piece even more special.

But I agree about the sound issues. The creaking chair is what I first noticed, followed by the sort of weird sound. At first, I thought you might be recording on your digital piano, but then I did hear the dampers lifting and things like that so I knew it was your grand. Then I thought perhaps you were recording on the 'silent' setting and maybe that's the way it sounds like that. So now I read that you actually put your Edirol ON your piano and that explains everything!! Try putting your Edirol near the open top of your grand but not too close and not too far. I'm too lazy right now to convert to metrics, but I usually go with placing my Edirol about 4 or 5 feet above the floor, and about 2 feet away from the open top of the piano.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:59 pm 
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Looks like a reasonable position. Tascam? Better sound?

Monica: I hope I am back, but don't expect a flood. Maybe I re-record a few things than I am not happy with and then I maybe take on some more Swedish piano music...let's see about that.

I hope I can make a new recording tomorrow...if people can get quite around me for some minutes.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:12 pm 
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robert wrote:
Looks like a reasonable position. Tascam? Better sound?

Definitely, a couple of people here agreed with me about that. I posted some comparative recordings which I have unfortunately thrown away since, see viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4597

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:42 am 
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Hi Robert,

I had a listen to the recording of your Scarlatti performance. Your playing is good. To me it sounds like you have a good sense of the music, but the dynamics could be made more of (that is, more difference in the softs and louds) I felt like I could hear your fingers on the keyboard, you said you put your recorder on your piano, maybe that is the reason? I have had the problem of practicing too much on a piano and then the pedal becomes squeaky. Though I didn't hear the chair squeak, but my headphones are cheap.

This is somewhat unrelated to this thread so I'll keep it short, I really like your recordings of the Bach inventions :lol:

Hope to hear more recordings from you,

Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:24 am 
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Thanks Riley. With some luck, I'll give this another shot today with less pedal and with the Edirol behind the grand. It is too close as you say...and you can hear my fingertips on the keyboard! I must listen back :).

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Just uploaded a new recording and hope this is better. No effects added, less use of pedal and with the edirol on the ironing board behind the piano.

Only thing bothering me is the white noise which gets a bit high when you listen in earphones. If I did chose a high input level, it got very sensitive and picked up other sounds in the house and this piece hardly every raises beyond piano.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:17 pm 
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Sounds a lot better with respect to reverb/pedal, and already you sound more comfortable playing than the last time.

But yes, the hiss is quite obtrusive, and there are still too some mechanical sounds. I guess you will have to raise the sensitivity
and just make sure everything is quiet in da house .... Or apply a hiss filter but personally I think those affect the sound too much.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:47 pm 
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I agree - your playing is even better on this now, but yes, the hiss is bad. Actually, I could hardly hear the piano because the balance between piano sound and hiss is about equal. I don't understand if you had the input level too high or too low, but if it helps you the way I heard it was pretty soft. I had to turn the volume up all the way - which of course then also made the hiss loud too. I do run a hiss-reduction through my recordings, but I use the lowest setting. I find that it takes away some of the hiss without altering the sound quality that much. I still think you should have your recorder closer to the piano and then use a lower input level. My recorder is near the front and open top of my piano and I use an input level of about 14.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:38 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Actually, I could hardly hear the piano because the balance between piano sound and hiss is about equal.

Oh for the millionth time, don't exaggerate :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:21 pm 
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techneut wrote:
pianolady wrote:
Actually, I could hardly hear the piano because the balance between piano sound and hiss is about equal.

Oh for the millionth time, don't exaggerate :roll:


I am not exaggerating at all!! How do you know what I hear? I guess I can listen to this again when I am home tonight and on my computer that has better speakers and see if I still hear the same amount of hiss.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:34 pm 
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It's not that terrible and if I listen on low volume on my computer, I don't hear it at all unless the house is dead quite. Ear phones is another thing, there you hear it for sure but it is not worse than putting on an old vinyl recording.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:40 pm 
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By the way, what do you mean by hiss? What I hear is a volume and sound constant noise throughout the entire recording. Do you refer to the same or do you hear something else?

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:56 pm 
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Robert,

I listened to your re-recording, and I think your playing sounds even more dynamically varied than your first, more color in the melody, it sounded nice.

About the audio quality of the recording I agree to what you say, that I don't hear hiss when I listen back on my desktop speakers, but on headphones, the hiss is quite noticeable. I was recording a piece last summer and the signal-to-noise of the recorder was so loud someone thought the hiss was a vacuum cleaner in the background. :lol: Anyways I don't usually listen to the piano recordings with my headphones, only when I'm editing and I want to hear the music in detail, so I still am able to enjoy it with the speakers.

Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:34 pm 
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I mostly listen on headphones, and they're much better than what I used so far so I hear hiss more often. I also hear it in my own recordings but in this particular one it seems much louder than necessary - actually quite distracting although I can clearly hear the piano, too :P Did you adjust the input level to the maximum value that just avoids clipping at full fortissimo ? That is the value to use.

Edit - As Riley suggests, you might also want to check the signal-to-noise ratio of your recorder. Could also be you have the Gain setting set to Low ?

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:32 am 
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I listen to most music with my earphones on either my computer, my cell phone, my ipod, or my Kindle. So I listened to this again tonight on my home computer with my good speakers and decent earphones and still I hear a lot of hiss. And yes, to me it is about equal to the sound of the piano. To answer your question about what I hear, or what is hiss - it's the white noise that runs constantly in the background (sometimes foreground) and almost sounds like a heavy rain storm. It's not as noticeable without earphones, but I can hear varying degrees of it in my own home if I transfer a recording of mine onto a CD and then play that CD on different stereos. It's something that drives me nuts, as I don't like it and try to eliminate it the best I can. But it's tricky because you run the risk of altering the sound of the piano if you use too high of a setting on the hiss-reduction functions in editing programs.

Well, what we really need here is Didier to come to the rescue! :wink: And I probably should not comment anymore about sound issues. I'm trying to help, but maybe I hear things differently than everybody else and my chiming in never seems to go over very well. I hope you can find a good recording setup/solution, Robert. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:47 am 
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Very nice piece Robert. Scarlatti has so many gems like this; an under-rated composer. I like the warm tone of the piano. The hard part is having a good piano - no worries there. I do agree with the others that you can improve the sound in terms of noise - that's the easy part.

If you're concerned about hiss, here are some tips:
1. If the hiss you're hearing is for the first time, then it's probably an inadvertent setting on the mic gain.
2. Are you using internal mics? if so, they're notoriously noisy and there's not much you can do about it short of altering the beautiful tone of the piano though the use of EQ.
3. The type of mic can cause noise too - back electret mics are noisy.
3. If you're using an external mic, then check the 3.5mm mic jacks - can form oxides and produce noise. Clean them with 70% alcohol and a Q-tip.
4. Check your mic, and cables, batteries in the mics, etc.
5. As far as swooshing/pumping sounds in the recording - turn off the Auto Gain switch. Set your levels manually according to the loudest passage.
6. Don't use Audicity for editing software because the moment you start editing, adding GVerb, EQ, etc. it introduces artifacts. I only use it to download it into the computer, then export it to another editing program like WaveLab, SoundtrackPro, Sonar, etc. The least expensive software offering full edit capability is the Adobe Audition.
7. Record in .wav if possible - less audible digital artifacts and higher fidelity of high frequencies.

As far as mechanical noises from the instrument is concerned, keep the mics raised in the air 5-6ft high, and about 3-5ft away from the strings as a starting point. Try to keep the mics away from walls as nearby reflections will compete with the direct sound of the instrument.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:21 am 
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pianolady wrote:
I listen to most music with my earphones on either my computer, my cell phone, my ipod, or my Kindle. So I listened to this again tonight on my home computer with my good speakers and decent earphones and still I hear a lot of hiss. And yes, to me it is about equal to the sound of the piano. To answer your question about what I hear, or what is hiss - it's the white noise that runs constantly in the background (sometimes foreground) and almost sounds like a heavy rain storm. It's not as noticeable without earphones, but I can hear varying degrees of it in my own home if I transfer a recording of mine onto a CD and then play that CD on different stereos. It's something that drives me nuts, as I don't like it and try to eliminate it the best I can. But it's tricky because you run the risk of altering the sound of the piano if you use too high of a setting on the hiss-reduction functions in editing programs.

Well, what we really need here is Didier to come to the rescue! :wink: And I probably should not comment anymore about sound issues. I'm trying to help, but maybe I hear things differently than everybody else and my chiming in never seems to go over very well. I hope you can find a good recording setup/solution, Robert. :)

It sounds like a heavy rain storm but unless you listen to it in a really loud volume (I never do), you must have another setting in your ears than I have. As soon as the music starts, I forget about the hiss.

Don't you ever listen to old recordings from Glenn Gould or Horowitz (from 40th 50th)? And if so, how on earth do you survive that if that's the case? The hiss there is 10 times the hiss in my recording but still, the music is so wonderful that it's a must to listen to. Take this recording for instance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-KyL2gMxV8

It's the best of Bach's BWV1052, concerto in D minor recording ever!

But I will try out new settings so that the noise it less from the beginning. I have the mic gain on high but cannot remember the input level right now. About 12-14 I think.

Here is a fixed recording where I have eliminated the hiss, made some EQ and added som reverb. Unfortunately, the noise reduction deforms the sound and I hate that more than the hiss. Do you think it is better?


Attachments:
example1.mp3 [3.36 MiB]
Downloaded 181 times

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:24 am 
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88man wrote:
Very nice piece Robert. Scarlatti has so many gems like this; an under-rated composer. I like the warm tone of the piano. The hard part is having a good piano - no worries there. I do agree with the others that you can improve the sound in terms of noise - that's the easy part.

If you're concerned about hiss, here are some tips:
1. If the hiss you're hearing is for the first time, then it's probably an inadvertent setting on the mic gain.
2. Are you using internal mics? if so, they're notoriously noisy and there's not much you can do about it short of altering the beautiful tone of the piano though the use of EQ.
3. The type of mic can cause noise too - back electret mics are noisy.
3. If you're using an external mic, then check the 3.5mm mic jacks - can form oxides and produce noise. Clean them with 70% alcohol and a Q-tip.
4. Check your mic, and cables, batteries in the mics, etc.
5. As far as swooshing/pumping sounds in the recording - turn off the Auto Gain switch. Set your levels manually according to the loudest passage.
6. Don't use Audicity for editing software because the moment you start editing, adding GVerb, EQ, etc. it introduces artifacts. I only use it to download it into the computer, then export it to another editing program like WaveLab, SoundtrackPro, Sonar, etc. The least expensive software offering full edit capability is the Adobe Audition.
7. Record in .wav if possible - less audible digital artifacts and higher fidelity of high frequencies.

As far as mechanical noises from the instrument is concerned, keep the mics raised in the air 5-6ft high, and about 3-5ft away from the strings as a starting point. Try to keep the mics away from walls as nearby reflections will compete with the direct sound of the instrument.

Thanks for the tips.

I used a everything in one recorder and that is probably part of the problem.

Long time ago, I used microphones and a mixer and recorded it back to a computer but it was always a hassle to get everything ready for a recording, but the sound quality was much much better. I'll check in the basement to see what I have.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:36 am 
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robert wrote:
I used a everything in one recorder and that is probably part of the problem.

In modern portable mp3 recorders the mics are of decent quality, if not comparable to good externals of course.
They do produce some hiss (you can hear it in my recordings too) but it should never be as much as in this recording.
Or is yours a very old recording device ? Then invest in a modern one like the Tascam DR-D1, Edirol R9, or Zoom H4.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:41 am 
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robert wrote:
Here is a fixed recording where I have eliminated the hiss, made some EQ and added som reverb. Unfortunately, the noise reduction deforms the sound and I hate that more than the hiss. Do you think it is better?

No :!: This is positively awful... Wobbly, recessed sound and strange distortion.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:26 pm 
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techneut wrote:
robert wrote:
Here is a fixed recording where I have eliminated the hiss, made some EQ and added som reverb. Unfortunately, the noise reduction deforms the sound and I hate that more than the hiss. Do you think it is better?

No :!: This is positively awful... Wobbly, recessed sound and strange distortion.

I thought so too.

My recorder is an Edirol R-09 and no matter how I place, record levels I chose, there is this constant noise in the background. If I set the input volume to a lot higher, meaning that piano gets much closer to the amplitude peak value, then the noise is lower in comparison to the music...in this piece. Most other pieces have a lot higher amplitude meaning that the input level I could chose for this piece would not be the same as for something else.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:32 pm 
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robert wrote:
My recorder is an Edirol R-09 and no matter how I place, record levels I chose, there is this constant noise in the background.
That makes me think there is something wrong with it. Not even my old Edirol R-1 generated THAT much noise. Maybe you should contact Roland support, or the shop where you bought it.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:12 pm 
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Yeah maybe there is something wrong with it...bought it like 5 years ago though. You used a Tascam right?

Anyway, I made a new recording and set the input level up as much as possible. Got a bit better right (see the initial link to the recording on the site)?

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:25 pm 
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Yes that is better. I'd be happy to take this as a compromise though the hiss is still louder than what is normally acceptable.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:19 pm 
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Maybe this version is better?

Special version ;).


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scarlatti-example3.mp3 [3.24 MiB]
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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:42 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Well now, there you go! I hear NO hiss at all! But I'm thinking that this is you playing on your digital piano?

It is when I switch on to silent mode and take the signal from the headphone connector. So yes, it is digital.
But I ran it through EQ first and added a bit reverb. Maybe it is better to have it like this until I have bought myself new recording equipment.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:25 pm 
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Why does previous post look like it is Monica writing it while it's in fact me?!?!

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:35 pm 
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robert wrote:
Why does previous post look like it is Monica writing it while it's in fact me?!?!

Because... you clicked the 'Edit' button instead of the 'Reply' button. I do that sometimes too. Goes with being an admin :)

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:31 pm 
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That's funny! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti - Sonata, K.32
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:58 pm 
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:mrgreen:

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