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Old January 8th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #1
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Vocalist + piano on SonyV1E?

Please specify 2 mics (or 1 mic, if V1E mic will do for 1) I could use through my V1E to simultaneously record good sound quality of a jazz vocalist and accompanist to allow separate editing with Premiere Elements or Adobe Audition?

I have read several threads here and reports of audio projects, offering sophistication and complication in language I do not wish to learn.
If you can give me the simple life I would appreciate it. Tips within a simple framework would be welcome too. Piano is a good upright. I have a Shure SM58 but I don't know if it's relevant even if I knew how to connect it to V1E.
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Old January 8th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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Brendan,

Without any "sophistication and complication in language" that you do not wish to learn, then I recommend you just use the mic on your camcorder. Audio is a lot more than pointing 2 mics at something and get a better recording. You also do not specify what kind of budget you have. So I will recommend for the vocalist that you use a Neumann U47, probably costing around $4000 and up. That's a standard studio mic for jazz vocalists. Then for the piano, I would actually recommend using two mics so you get stereo. Earthworks has a wonderful piano set that goes for about $3600. Of course, then you would need a mixer, etc. I'm not intending to sound harsh, just wanting you to think through what you are asking a little more. Then MAYBE someone can recommend a couple of mics for helping you get started.

Have fun!

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Old January 9th, 2010, 04:50 AM   #3
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Thank you Rob.

Would someone familiar with the mic inputs on V1E recommend a mic for less than $300, suitable for a vocalist, that might be connected directly or indirectly to the second input, please? If you know the appropriate connector (if necessary) that would help too.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 07:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell View Post
Please specify 2 mics (or 1 mic, if V1E mic will do for 1) I could use through my V1E to simultaneously record good sound quality of a jazz vocalist and accompanist to allow separate editing with Premiere Elements or Adobe Audition?

I have read several threads here and reports of audio projects, offering sophistication and complication in language I do not wish to learn.
If you can give me the simple life I would appreciate it. Tips within a simple framework would be welcome too. Piano is a good upright. I have a Shure SM58 but I don't know if it's relevant even if I knew how to connect it to V1E.
You can have good or you can have simple - rarely can you have both at once. Would you expect to get good quality images from your camera without learning how to use all of its controls, menu options, etc, what all of those technical terms like "iris" and "white balance" and "focus" mean, and also something about the techniques of setting up lighting, picture composition, and so forth? I doubt it. So why do you think you can get good quality sound in a somewhat complex micing and recording situation (jazz vocalist, upright piano) without learning something about the technology and techniques you need to use to accomplish those goals? Your camera isn't point, switch on, and forget - what makes you think sound is any different?

What circumstances are you going be shooting? Is this a concert or recital you're going to be shooting with relatively little control over the performance and staging, a club venue, or is it more of a controlled studio type situation where you can position the performers and mic them to optimum effect? If it's a concert/recital, will there be a front-of-house PA system in use?

What is the intended purpose of the shoot? Do you just want a record of the performance or do you want something you'd watch repeatedly specifically to listen to the music, like you'd watch a concert special on TV or play a music CD?

I'm assuming you want a final product that's stereo. If this is a studio sort of situation where the performance is specifically for you to make the video, I'm thinking you're going to need 3 mics - one for the vocalist and a stereo pair for the piano. Of course, that means you're going to need a mixer and/or a multitrack recorder as well as the mics. You can either mix "on-the-fly" and record a stereo mix in the camera or you can record all three mics separately on a multitrack recorder and then mix them in Audition or some other audio program. If you're capturing an event such as a concert where you have to work with what you find, then perhaps a stereo mic or a stereo pair on the stage lip is going to be more appropriate.

Here's a couple of articles in Sound on Sound magazine on micing uprights...
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr0...ightpianos.htm
Q. How do you record Upright Piano?
Piano Recording
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Last edited by Steve House; January 9th, 2010 at 08:44 AM.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 09:08 AM   #5
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Thank you Steve for encouraging me to think; you wrote ...

"What circumstances are you going be shooting? Is this a concert or recital you're going to be shooting with relatively little control over the performance and staging, a club venue, or is it more of a controlled studio type situation where you can position the performers and mic them to optimum effect? If it's a concert/recital, will there be a front-of-house PA system in use?" ....

Situation will finally be in a recording studio, where I would expect the equipment to be pro standard. Situation I wish to monitor will usually be a 35' x 15' sittingroom during rehearsal. It will never be live public performance. The video content will be less important during rehearsal than the audio which I want to be able to monitor closely, not for sound quality as such, but for the musical (= melody+harmony+rhythm) combination produced by the vocalist and pianist. I will use it to decide, among other things, whether we need bass or guitar and/or brushes and thereafter which combination will work musically (not for sound quality but for musical content).

I will now read the articles you linked though I suspect in advance that they were published to encourage people to spend money on technical sound sophistication rather than quality of music. It is not unusual for the professionals in an industry to be shy to be seen to recommend the basic gear for the small private situation (not the final product). I would still be grateful if some one had a go at it.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 09:20 AM   #6
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... Situation will finally be in a recording studio, where I would expect the equipment to be pro standard. Situation I wish to monitor will usually be a 35' x 15' sittingroom during rehearsal. It will never be live public performance. The video content will be less important during rehearsal than the audio which I want to be able to monitor closely, not for sound quality as such, but for the musical (= melody+harmony+rhythm) combination produced by the vocalist and pianist. I will use it to decide, among other things, whether we need bass or guitar and/or brushes and thereafter which combination will work musically (not for sound quality but for musical content).

I will now read the articles you linked though I suspect in advance that they were published to encourage people to spend money on technical sound sophistication rather than quality of music. It is not unusual for the professionals in an industry to be shy to be seen to recommend the basic gear for the small private situation (not the final product). I would still be grateful if some one had a go at it.
How do you expect to be able to evaluate it musically if what you hear when you listen to the recording isn't up to par technically so what you're hearing is what the music actually sounds like? Could you evaluate, for example, if you need more or less brushes if the recording was made on an old, tinny Edison wax-cylinder phonograph? Extreme example to be sure but there are good reasons that professional recording studios spend $5000 each on "technically sound sophisticated" monitor speakers instead of relying on $20 big-box computer store "multimedia" speakers. As a profit making enterprise if they could get by with cheap they certainly would do it but they can't. You're in much the same situation - you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. To evaluate the musical nuances you must make a good enough recording that you actually CAPTURE those nuances so you can hear them when you listen to the recording. And that means you're gonna have to study up.

Your SM58 is probably going to work well for the vocalist as it is designed basically as a stage vocal mic. I'd suggest removing the back panel of the piano and using a spaced pair of large-diaphram condensor cardioid mics, perhaps something like the Rode NT1a as a high-quality budget mic. Get a small mixer, say one of the Mackie compact mixers, that can handle at least 3 mic inputs and mix to stereo to record in the camera.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 10:19 AM   #7
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Without knowing your level of expertise, If you plan to use the '58 for vocals, and expect it to sound decent, must be relatively close to, (within about 30 centimeters) and pointed directly at the singer's 'pie hole'. (new technical terminology )
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Old January 9th, 2010, 10:47 AM   #8
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To evaluate the musical nuances you must make a good enough recording that you actually CAPTURE those nuances so you can hear them when you listen to the recording. And that means you're gonna have to study up.

I'm sticking to what I know here ... it's the actual sequence of notes as sung and played in combination ... I/we need to consider the choice of notes (small group jazz being so improvisable & largely unwritten) ...

Your SM58 is probably going to work well for the vocalist as it is designed basically as a stage vocal mic. I'd suggest removing the back panel of the piano and using a spaced pair of large-diaphram condensor cardioid mics, perhaps something like the Rode NT1a as a high-quality budget mic. Get a small mixer, say one of the Mackie compact mixers, that can handle at least 3 mic inputs and mix to stereo to record in the camera.
Ok, I'm going to have to study up. I am going to check out Rode NT1a and Mackie compact mixers ... 3 mic inputs must be useful. What you mean by "mix to stereo to record in the camera" I don't understand, yet.

I'm learning from you Steve, thank you.

Placement & pointing of the '58 is good to know, thank you Rick.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 11:23 AM   #9
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For a basic recording you can use what you already have but you will also need some expertise to sort it out in post, recording the vocal on trk1 and the piano on track 2 will allow some flexibility. Better more pro solutions can be done but if I only had an SM58 and a V1 I would do it this way.

The SM58 on the vocal will be fine and it will be used close so you will need to set your levels very carefully an xlr cable will connect this to the V1.

The Camera mic will suffice for the piano but you will need to remove it and mount it on a mic stand to get it close to the piano, once again the levels will need to be right. If you can source a better mic such as a small condenser or even another sm58 that will be better. A rode ntg-1 will be OK as well. Best mic positions for a piano can be found on the web and an xlr ext lead will get it closer.

You will then need to spend some time sorting a good mix out in post, this will need some compression and eq on the vocal mic and some compression and eq on the piano mic.

Adding some stereo reverb or ambience to the mix will open it up and create a stereo image too but this can all be done afterwards.

If you can record the vocal and piano cleanly on the two tracks I could help you out with a mix if you can send me a wav or aiff file of the split tracks, I have a full pro tools rig here so could do you a final mix to add back to your pictures.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 12:39 PM   #10
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Ok, I'm going to have to study up. I am going to check out Rode NT1a and Mackie compact mixers ... 3 mic inputs must be useful. What you mean by "mix to stereo to record in the camera" I don't understand, yet.

...
That's what a mixer does, among other things. It has a number of mic inputs on one hand and 1 (or more) stereo outputs on the other. Each mic input can be directed to output exclusively on either the left channel, the right channel, or somewhere in between - the setting is called the "pan control" and the process is "panning the mic". You would connect the vocal mic to one mixer input channel, and the pair of mics for the piano to 2 more. The vocal mic would be panned to the centre and the two piano mics fully left and right respectively as a starting point, adjusting for the sound you want from there. You set the camera's left and right XLR inputs to "line level" and connect the stereo output of the mixer to them. That particular setup would give you a stereo track in the camera with the piano spread across the soundstage, low registers on one side and high registers on the other, with the vocalist centred on the stage.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 01:01 PM   #11
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This is perhaps a daft question, but if you are shooting it in a recording studio, then could you use their kit to do a live mix - then feed that to the camera? The thing with a jazz combo even if it's piano drums and vocals is that getting the balance right is pretty tricky for a first time audio recorder. Even the drummers kit will make a big difference. I've got a fair amount of experience in recording jazz, and you might find that some kits record well with a single overhead, others need more mics - depends if the skins have the surface still on - sometimes the brushwork is just unheard without it's own dedicated mic. Do you actually want a stereo recording? If so, stereo as in an ambient recording that won't sound 'modern', or stereo as in individually miked, mixed and eq'd sources. Jazz has elements that are quite tricky, and live recording is very difficult. Pop's easy - they mime!

For the studio, it will be an everyday thing, so maybe you could leave the sound with them? any good?
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Old January 9th, 2010, 03:54 PM   #12
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For a basic recording you can use what you already have but you will also need some expertise to sort it out in post, recording the vocal on trk1 and the piano on track 2 will allow some flexibility. Better more pro solutions can be done but if I only had an SM58 and a V1 I would do it this way.

The SM58 on the vocal will be fine and it will be used close so you will need to set your levels very carefully an xlr cable will connect this to the V1.

The Camera mic will suffice for the piano but you will need to remove it and mount it on a mic stand to get it close to the piano, once again the levels will need to be right. If you can source a better mic such as a small condenser or even another sm58 that will be better. A rode ntg-1 will be OK as well. Best mic positions for a piano can be found on the web and an xlr ext lead will get it closer.

You will then need to spend some time sorting a good mix out in post, this will need some compression and eq on the vocal mic and some compression and eq on the piano mic.

Adding some stereo reverb or ambience to the mix will open it up and create a stereo image too but this can all be done afterwards.

If you can record the vocal and piano cleanly on the two tracks I could help you out with a mix if you can send me a wav or aiff file of the split tracks, I have a full pro tools rig here so could do you a final mix to add back to your pictures.
For an amateur like me this is the clearest insight so far. Thank you Gary very much. It's also very decent of you to offer to use your pro tools for me as well. I wonder what it would cost me to learn to use pro tools limited strictly to my purposes, which may well be repeated a few more times with the same jazz combo. Would you offer a basic tutorial at a reasonable price, by any chance? Anyway, for a start I'll be finding an xlr cable and xlr extension lead ... Q. Can an extension lead directly connect the SM58 with V1E ? If it could, I would use extension leads for voice and for piano to keep them a little further apart. What I mean is ... could I also connect the existing V1E mic to the cam with an xlr extension lead?

Paul. What you say about skins is so true; reminded me of the gorgeous lush whisper created by Jake Hanna behind Scott Hamilton. Wish I had noticed whether he was on a separate mic!

Steve. Thank you for taking the trouble to spell out the input/output routes. I need that sort of detail.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 06:02 PM   #13
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I'd suggest removing the back panel of the piano...
Normally we either just open the lid or take take the lower front panel off (if the pedals don't squeak). I don't think I've ever come across an upright where the back comes off.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 06:11 PM   #14
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...Q. Can an extension lead directly connect the SM58 with V1E ? If it could, I would use extension leads for voice and for piano to keep them a little further apart. What I mean is ... could I also connect the existing V1E mic to the cam with an xlr extension lead?...
Yes and yes. Although, the short shotgun included with the V1 is not a faithful mic for music. Its primary virtue is as an ambience mic. It can be at the end of an xlr cable.

SM58 - XLR cable - one of the V1's audio inputs. Settings for that input: Mic/Line=Mic, Att=0, 48v Phantom=off.

Your camera mic would go into the other input, with the same settings, except that 48v Phantom=on. This would be true for any condensor mic that doesn't have an internal battery.

Paul's suggestion of taking a mix from the audio engineer working on the recording would be the best way to capture this audio. In this case, out from the studio's mixer to your V1 via 1 (mono) or 2 (stereo) XLR cables. Mic/Line=Mic, Att=0, 48v Phantom=off.

If the signal seems too hot, adding Att (attenuation) may help.

In either of these cases, or, almost any other music recording, you'll get a much better recording with manual, not automatic, volume control. You have a good audio meter that you can switch in using the "Status" button - use it and adjust recording volume so that each channel peaks at -12db on the loudest sounds.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 05:22 AM   #15
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Normally we either just open the lid or take take the lower front panel off (if the pedals don't squeak). I don't think I've ever come across an upright where the back comes off.
Should have said, record from the back where the mechanism is exposed, rather than take it off. Senior moment! See the third photo on this link

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr0...ightpianos.htm
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