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Recording techniques

Discussion in 'General' started by In-Flight Piano, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. In-Flight Piano

    In-Flight Piano New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I've been trying to get my own recording system set up at home. That way, I can record and improve my recordings on my own time instead of having to schedule a session at my instructor's house. I went to an electronics store and told the salesperson that I wanted a recorder to record piano music. He strongly suggested the Samsung C01U USB condenser microphone. I bought it and have been trying it out, but the sound quality isn't too good - sounds kind of tinny. As for the recording program, I have trying using both SONAR LE (came with the mic) and Audacity, but even after converting the files to MP3 format, the sound isn't so great. Do you have any suggestions on mic settings/placement or optimization of settings on the recording program?

    Thank you very much,
    Samuel
     
  2. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    If it is a man why do you de-sex him? Wny not call him a salesman?

    Excuse me, but when PC gets in the way of good English I get on edge.
     
  3. In-Flight Piano

    In-Flight Piano New Member

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    Seriously, I was not thinking about political correctness at all when I wrote that, I just happened to think of the word when phrasing my post. Just wondering though, sense you seem to be very particular about good English, did you look at your post a second time?
     
  4. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Typing error at 3 am. why :D

    I hope someone can give you a hint on your problem. I too have mine with my setup.
     
  5. In-Flight Piano

    In-Flight Piano New Member

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    I've been working with the microphone some more. I'm trying to figure out what the problem may be. Generally, is it possible to get relatively good sound with a single condenser mic? I've read that many members here use MP3 recorders, what advantages would those have over an external USB condenser mic? Or, is it a matter of getting the right settings on a sound editor program?

    Thanks for the help,
    Samuel Chetty
     
  6. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    I use a small, portable MP3 recorder, but to me it seems its only advantage is its price. The main problem with this type is that one cannot edit the files unless one imports them into an editing programme and then reexporting them and losing quality in the process.

    Of course there are bett3er MP3 recorders around, but I am not familiar with them.

    Are your microphones stereo?
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    If you record to WAV format there should be no loss of quality.
    If you record to MP3, then edit that on the PC (which means first uncompressing to WAV) then compressing to MP# again, yes
    that may lose quality. Not sure if it could be heard though. Most MP3 recorders can record in WAV format.
     
  8. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Absolutely; even free software like Audacity allows you to edit in WAV format before exporting to MP3.
     
  9. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    My "equipment" is that basic: it records to MP3 only. I notice a bit of a loss.

    In olden days, whenever I downloaded something in MP3 format and it needed editing, I would import it into Audacity, edit it and reexport it in MP3 format. I noticed a slight fluttering. Now, unless I need something in MP3 format, I save these imported MP3s in WAV format. If I put them on CD I defy anyone to tell me they started off as MP3s.
     
  10. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Samuel,

    I am assuming you mean Samson and not Samsung?... I am sorry to say that you'll never get any good sound from that mic for piano. Try returning the mic because you were misled. The C01U USB mic is a podcaster's mic. Its sound field pattern is hypercardiod, i.e. very narrow and directional mic that will never capture the full sound field of the piano. It sounds tinny because hypercardiod mics have a deep roll off of bass frequencies, not to mention other sonic anomalies. You need at least a cardiod pattern mic (not as directional as a hypercardiod) when recording in a less than ideal space, or an omni-directional mic when you're in a nice hall.

    Don't bother with "mp3 only" recorders. Record you files in .wav, as Chris stated, THEN you can render them to mp3 to post them online or on an ipod. Why?... mp3 compresses, introduces artifacts, and discontinuity in recorded music. Over extended periods of listening, our brain tires from the effects of mp3 compression because it is not natural for music to have missing components as one gets in the mp3 format. Audicity is junk when working on wav/mp3 conversions. It's range of effects are also sonically inferior. The included Sonar LE would be better to edit, record, and add effects. The best value based program is Adobe Audition 3.

    As for USB mics, the AT2020 USB (cardiod mic) would have been a better choice. My cousin uses one and she likes it. However, it would be better to go non-usb for mics and invest in a portable recorder like a Tascam DR-100 or a Zoom H4n as these are the 2 most readily available recorders which allow you to use studio condenser mics for the future. My past favorite, was the Microtrack II which was $140 cheaper than the other two, but is no longer made.

    Remember, don't stick with a single mic - go for stereo mics to have a naturally ambient recording. As far as mic placement goes, it depends on the piano, room, and style of music.

    Good Luck!
     

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