Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by 88man, Oct 12, 2008.
Professional Quality Home Recordings - under Useful Resources
Wow! Who are you? This is a lot of nice information! Just so happens, last week I was lucky to go with a friend to watch him record a professional CD at a professional studio and I recognize many of the names on the equipment that you mention here. So thanks for the info - there are some members here who I think will be interested in this.
Well, you have a nice room !
The surface of my whole house is less than half of that. :cry:
To be or to be, that is the question...
I apologize for the jokes. We have always good wine on Sunday diner (Bourgogne, that is Burgundy, Hautes-Côtes de Nuits, 1995, from Naudin-Ferrand, on this evening), which explains my humor. :wink:
Let me now tell you what I think really. I was much interested, but also uncomfortable while reading your post. I cannot disclaimed the statement that an expensive piano, a good room and expensive audio gear would be required to produce professional quality recording. But shall this be our goal on Pianosociety ? Many people here know what is the order of magnitude of the cost of a Steinway B. (For those who would be on the point to buy one, I would suggest to consider the Steingraeber 205 as a valuable alternative. :wink: ) But not so many people may know the cost of what you are proposing : one AKG C414B-XLS costs about in Europe 800 €, about 2000 € for a matched stereo pair, an Avalon AD2022 2500 €, an Apogee Rosetta 2000 € ... So once one would have bought a Steinway for achieving the sound quality that you are promoting, one would have to spend about 10% more for the recording gear. I do not need this quality to appreciate piano music. I acknowledge that I am interested in the audio sound and use, at least partly, the kind of gear that you are proposing, which may explain why my sound is often well credited here. But this is only a way to combine two passions : piano music and sound. When I listened to piano recordings from other people, who mostly are better pianists than me, the sound is rather secondary. How proud I would be if I could propose here the Schubert Moments musicaux with the same stellar musical and indigent sound quality, with respect to current amateur home studio standard, than the ones recorded by Edwin Fischer for EMI on 18 May 1950 in Abbey Road studio!
Nevertheless, I was much interested by your post because of my personal interest for audio. I do not share your appreciation about the AKG C414B-XLS. I have one in my microphone collection and also an AKG C 414 Ltd, which is an anniversary edition having the same specifications like the C 414 B-XLS. I used both as a stereo pair. In the same price range, I much prefer the Audio Technica 4047 or the Avenson Sto-2 (only by pair). I never was impressed by the 414. This is just my opinion, which doest not mean that they are not good. Indeed they are considered as workhorses by many sound engineers.
I noted that all the preamps that you are mentioning are made in USA. Let me mention an European one (which I use :roll: the DAV Electronics BG1. Just google it and you will see that some professionals, USA sound engineers are among them, consider it as a top choice for classical instrumental recording. By the way, it is two or three times less expensive than the ones that you are proposing: just my two cents.
PS I suggest that we discuss that rather in the Resources forum than here in the Audition Room
Just a few comments in response. First, thanks for presenting your findings. They're quite informative.
I agree with your philosophy that recording classical piano music is more effective with mics placed away from the piano. Four feet is generally considered minimum, although in my living room, I find that a distance of eight feet better ensures a fully formed and blended sound. (Close-in recording is best left for pops and jazz where great value is placed on the percussive sound of hammer on string.)
Everything I've heard is that small diaphragm condenser mics are better suited to recording piano, while large diaphragm condenser mics are more effective recording voice. So I'm surprised you recommend large diaphragm mics.
Today preamps tend to be built right into some of the recorders. For example, that is the case with my fairly new Korg MR-1000 DSD. That eliminates that problem and additional expense. Similarly phantom power has replaced external power supplies, and mixing box functions are now built into recorders as well. With the recorders on the market today, all anyone should really need to record is a fine quality recorder, external stereo mics (usually superior to on-board mics), and higher end mic cables. Anything else should already be inside the recorder.
Alas, I don't have a 2,500 sq ft living room. Wish I did!!! The entire main floor footprint of my home is 2,100 sq ft! The living room is somewhat open (through two sets of French doors) to the family room, and directly open to the dining area and foyer. Ceilings are standard 8'. Homes in my region (eastern central Maine) are built smaller than the McMansions of the Southland for better heating efficiency during our brutal winters, especially where over 80% heat by oil. So I don't have the space for a Steinway B (or preferably a Baldwin SF10). My Baldwin Model L (6'3") does fit in nicely though.
I consider my living room to be "acoustically treated", i.e., wall-to-wall carpeting and stuffed furniture. I have not experienced the "harsh sound" you refer to, while using stereo small diaphragm condenser mics with omnidirectional capsules. Although I do have cardioid capsules too, I find the sound to be richer with the omnis. I use A-B configuration, 8' distant from the piano with 12" mic separation to good effect. (The 8' distance from the piano shows once again that all rooms are different, which requires much experimentation in mic placements.) I did experiment with XY configuration and found it lacking and obviously more suited to close-in recording, which I avoid now. I admit I have not tried wide-angle cardioids, but where I don't experience that harshness you mention, I probably don't need to.
Finally, you place great emphasis on the quality of the piano, room, and equipment. The one element you neglect is the most important one of all--the pianist!
Wait, wait, wait!!!!! ..... aren't I supposed to be the one stalking him???!!!!!
*sigh* I can't get a break! :lol:
Who am I? I am a dentist by profession. So, when I am not doing surgery, I love playing classical piano music, among other serious hobbies - landscape photography, traveling to Europe, and sailing. This being my first thread on this forum, I wanted to share ideas that I've learned over time about recording pianos with fellow musicians on this forum. I am glad to be of any help to anyone wanting to record on their own.
Rachfan, I tried a small diaphram mics and was not pleased - too dry, focused, and direct. Large diaphram mics give up a little bit of that directness and focus, but can yield a more musical and lush character with more tone and air coming through. Again it's a matter of taste, as well as the room, piano, and musical style. Please, audition or rent before you buy any major equipment.
I almost forgot that I posted this thread on this page too, because at the time, I thought it might be appropriate for both pages. If anyone would like to respond, please write in the [Useful Resources] page. Thank You.
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