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Old September 4th, 2012, 09:30 PM   #46
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

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Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
...I noted you didn't mention EXAMS! (Yea!)
Demonstrating mastery, which I *did* mention as a class requirement, can take many forms. Showing skills in projects, contributing to classroom discussion, individual and group assignments; there are many assessment methods... including exams!
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Old September 5th, 2012, 02:34 AM   #47
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

I was interested in John's comments about omnis for piano - For the past six months I've been recording a grand piano for a specialist CD release - that needs a very specific 'sound'. Most piano miking techniques are to make the piano sound realistic on a conventional stereo in a home, or on headphones. My project was to make a CD replayed in a dance studio, sound like a real one. Dance studios, in the UK have a very tight ballet examination system that for the popular exam boards needs a pianist for the exams - however, a musician for a day is a very expensive component that they cannot afford for rehearsing. The CDs are sold to studios to use for the rehearsal phase. Recorded piano, often recorded in a nice live room sounds a real mess because dance studios have 6 large reflective surfaces - floor, ceiling and 4 walls. The CD needs to be recorded with a minimum of reverberation, so when replayed it sounds 'right'. John prefers a pair of omnis spaced about 20cm - which produces a soundfield similar to human hearing, and left to right separation introduces subtle time shifts which our brains easily interpret as location. I bought a while back a one piece stereo mic, consisting of a fixed omni/fig-8/cardioid element, with an identical one immediately above that can be rotated which works for me at about the same distance from the piano. However this doesn't work for this particular recording - it's too live and realistic, so I experimented with close mics, as you'd do for a pop style recording. This too didn't sound quite right until session 3, when by mistake, I used the same large format mics in their elastic cradles, but upside down, pointing up towards the lid, on full stick. Perfect, and the reflected sound blended really well. Close miking often sounds very odd when you run up and down the keys, as the string distance to the mics goes down, then up then down then up and finally down - the soundboard helps smooth it out, but my new 'mistake' technique works well. Piano mic technique also needs to be subtly or radically changed between makes. I was working on a show where there was a German pianist who specialised in playing very loud energetic pieces. He had a deal with Yamaha, and they delivered a concert grand, brand new, a week before the event with the request to allow as many amateur pianists to play on it as possible, to break it in. This wasn't a problem as during that week we had a number of events - one of which was Roy Chubby Brown - who specifies a grand piano in his contract rider!

My task on the day was not to record it, but simply to make it louder for the PA. The pianist stated bluntly that the lid would stay shut - and the idea of wrapping a mic with foam and finding the right place wasn't something I was looking for, but the pianist seeing my expression said "do you have a hyper-cardioid - zese vill be most suitable". I was confused to say the least, but I dug out an old and trusty Beyer 201. The pianist then put it over the main timber front to back strut, just behind the pedal board frame underneath, he dropped it about 18", then bent it back up so it was around 12" from the sound board and all the two cables and mic simply taped together. He then said "zis vil be sufficient!"

I was extremely suspicious, but he was the sort of musician not open to compromise, so I tried it. Amazingly with only a tiny bit of eq right at the bottom to get rid of the rumble from the pedal rods, it sounded excellent. I told him and he explained that Yamaha had showed him the trick, that works on C series Yamahas - on every other piano, even other Yamahas it sounds horrible.

Good sound is rarely down to absolute rules, it's usually a mix of skills, experience, equipment and experimentation. Somebody once told me that in sound, the only rule is there are no rules. Like John said, video is easy by comparison. With enough light, virtually anyone can get a pleasing picture. This is certainly not the case with sound. Stereo sound introduces a huge variation in available techniques which then need an operator with good ears. When I was involved with designing the UK exam spec for music technology, one area was always handled very badly, year after year. We gave marks for use of the soundpsace - one task was a pop recording, multi-tracked and the other, more linked to what we're talking about here, was what was called the natural acoustic - a recording made in stereo of a real event. It could have been a choir, and orchestra, barbers shop, folk music on acoustic instruments, a string quartet, that kind of thing. I used a plug in on my computer system to let me see the soundfield. A great tool to back up your ears. Whenever I heard something 'wrong' the meter could instantly show you what was happening. The worst thing was that the recording was totally or almost mono - a straight line on the meter, or worse still, they'd recorded stereo but one mic was inverted (usually a wrongly terminated cable). The weird hollow sound was the clue, the meter the evidence. Others had very strict left right separation. The best ones sounded realistic and you could with your eyes closed, point to where the musician was. It was very clear that stereo live recording was done pretty poorly in general. After I stopped my involvement, they scrapped this part of the exam as something not needed - a very poor decision I think. Video people are attempting to produce these kinds of recordings all the time - hence why I feel so many do it badly. Many of the students would read the books and do internet research and attempt to use very specific techniques - The Decca Tree being a favourite, but very few actually had microphones other than cardioids, so their attempts were usually horrible sounding.

Most video people when they've finished editing the picture feel it's complete, just the sound to tidy up and it's done! Sound does seem to be recorded almost by accident, based on what we read on forums.

There's an interesting video about recording grand pianos here

Not the kind of mic most of us have, but he does explain how difficult recording pianos can be.
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Old September 5th, 2012, 02:57 AM   #48
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

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Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
Our upright is open in the back but due to time and space limitations I just did the take where it was at. The next time my talented talent comes to visit I'll pull it away from the wall and do a proper lighting and mic-ing setup.
One thing about upright pianos which even many pianists don't appreciate is how much their tone varies when heard from the rear rather than the front. Most of us who are challenged for space (and money!) for a piano in the home choose an upright model and put it up against a wall and think no more of it. I have asked pianists to listen to their instrument from round the back and quite often their perception of how the instrument sounds is changed by doing so, because (not unreasonably) they have never actually heard what it sounds like to an audience when they are playing it. Apart from anything else, many pianos used in schools in the UK at least are much louder when heard from the back so even experienced accompanists sometimes have to be told gently that they are actually playing far louder than they think.

One advantage that upright pianos do have when recording from round the back is that there is less chance of creaking pedals and rustling pages being faithfully recorded along with the music.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 05:44 PM   #49
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Just thought I'd try to wrap up this tread and I really owe it to the last two posters for their informative replies. There is a huge amount of new information there for me to digest as I delve into the area of making videos of someone playing an instrument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
I was interested in John's comments about omnis for piano - For the past six months I've been recording a grand piano for a specialist CD release - that needs a very specific 'sound'. Most piano miking techniques are to make the piano sound realistic on a conventional stereo in a home, or on headphones. My project was to make a CD replayed in a dance studio, sound like a real one. .
This is an area that I hadn't considered before. So, not only do we want to have an audio track that replicates how the sound is perceived, but in some cases the room where the sound is heard can change how it sounds. That is an awesome leap forward in complexity for the person recording the audio. What this means is it isn't all about just having or selecting a "good mic" to make the audio track, it's about the selection of the mic(s), it's/their positioning, where the video or recording will be listened to, etc. There is just sooo much to know.

Back to the hofbrau sign: "Zu zoon vie geht alt, unt zu spate vie gehet schmart."

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Close miking often sounds very odd when you run up and down the keys, as the string distance to the mics goes down, then up then down then up and finally down - the soundboard helps smooth it out...
One of the problems with internally mic-ing an accordion is that very same thing. Accordions in the 1950s were acoustical but when the electric amplified guitar came along (Elvis, Beatles, Bill Haley, etc.) they were able to play to a large audience. More people = more money. (Money can't by love but it can make you rich.) Accordionists with their reeds buried inside a small box couldn't compete income-wise to the electric guitar so they started experimenting with installing pickups inside the box. First it was one pickup per side then two. Because the reed blocks are long rectangular blocks the pickup would be necessarily really close to some reeds but distant from others. For those with a good sense for the sound this was unacceptable.

As time and technology moved along there were new developments. One option was to install one micro pickup per key and another was to actually have a reedless accordion, essentially like an electronic keyboard. The problem persists, though, that these new developments do not, to sensitive ears, sound as nice as the acoustic reed accordion. It's that little nuance in how a reed sounds that makes the difference.

Another alternative is to have a couple external mics attached to the accordion. These are quite small and extend out about a foot from the box on each side in a V formation but provide pretty good results. The nice part is the artist can move about and the mics stay at the same distance, but there are drawbacks.

For myself, and for the moment, I'll be living with a single mic on a mic stand and a boom pole. The artist won't be able to move around but that's one of the drawbacks. The audio will be far from perfect but I can only use what I have and then be on the lookout for how the audio can be improved without braking the bank. Maybe I can get the video part so good that they won't notice the bad audio???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Good sound is rarely down to absolute rules, it's usually a mix of skills, experience, equipment and experimentation. Somebody once told me that in sound, the only rule is there are no rules. Like John said, video is easy by comparison. With enough light, virtually anyone can get a pleasing picture. This is certainly not the case with sound. Stereo sound introduces a huge variation in available techniques which then need an operator with good ears. When I was involved with designing the UK exam spec for music technology, one area was always handled very badly, year after year. We gave marks for use of the soundpsace - one task was a pop recording, multi-tracked and the other, more linked to what we're talking about here, was what was called the natural acoustic - a recording made in stereo of a real event. It could have been a choir, and orchestra, barbers shop, folk music on acoustic instruments, a string quartet, that kind of thing. I used a plug in on my computer system to let me see the soundfield. A great tool to back up your ears. Whenever I heard something 'wrong' the meter could instantly show you what was happening. The worst thing was that the recording was totally or almost mono - a straight line on the meter, or worse still, they'd recorded stereo but one mic was inverted (usually a wrongly terminated cable). The weird hollow sound was the clue, the meter the evidence. Others had very strict left right separation. The best ones sounded realistic and you could with your eyes closed, point to where the musician was. It was very clear that stereo live recording was done pretty poorly in general. After I stopped my involvement, they scrapped this part of the exam as something not needed - a very poor decision I think. Video people are attempting to produce these kinds of recordings all the time - hence why I feel so many do it badly. Many of the students would read the books and do internet research and attempt to use very specific techniques - The Decca Tree being a favourite, but very few actually had microphones other than cardioids, so their attempts were usually horrible sounding.

Most video people when they've finished editing the picture feel it's complete, just the sound to tidy up and it's done! Sound does seem to be recorded almost by accident, based on what we read on forums.
Paul: thank you very much for your post, it was really informative. Let me see how much of this I can capture. One of my accordion playing friends works at a local dance studio and I'll ask her what they do for music. If you have any CDs or DVDs you can recommend please feel free to contact me off-line. Thanks.

For me, the audio needs to be as good as I can get it. I'm going to be putting a lot of time and effort into the video as it is and I want it to sound good, too.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 06:06 PM   #50
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Among other things as mentioned at the top of my previous post, I've made two "takes" of my talented talent playing the piano and they are so different even though they were made with the same recording gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin McDonald View Post
One thing about upright pianos which even many pianists don't appreciate is how much their tone varies when heard from the rear rather than the front. Most of us who are challenged for space (and money!) for a piano in the home choose an upright model and put it up against a wall and think no more of it. I have asked pianists to listen to their instrument from round the back and quite often their perception of how the instrument sounds is changed by doing so, because (not unreasonably) they have never actually heard what it sounds like to an audience when they are playing it. Apart from anything else, many pianos used in schools in the UK at least are much louder when heard from the back so even experienced accompanists sometimes have to be told gently that they are actually playing far louder than they think.

One advantage that upright pianos do have when recording from round the back is that there is less chance of creaking pedals and rustling pages being faithfully recorded along with the music.
The rustling pages did show up in my recordings where the piece wasn't memorized memorized.

I haven't tried recording from the back of the piano yet but will give it a try. In hi-fi/stereo they say that the bass is "omnidirectional" while the higher frequencies are more directional (like from a tweeter, for example). What I was trying to do is mic the treble end of the piano so the mic could "see" the strings while allowing the bass to be picked up more from the side, if you will.

I realize this is a far cry from the way a pro recording would do this but given the one mic I had it was an attempt to see how good I could get it. I could post a couple clips here of the upright (one with lid closed, one with top lid open) but there are a multitude of issues. Once I can get some more meaningful records I'll come back with a whole new thread just for this one topic.

In the meantime, I really want to thank everybody for their input. The replies to this thread has been a real education for me and there is so much to adsorb.

With regard to the original thread, "If 2/3rds of good video is audio..... ", I hope the webmasters here take a look at the "Audio" section and consider having a few sub-sections. Do some number counting of numbers of viewers, numbers of posts, what subjects the posts are about, etc., and consider adding some subsections. One, for sure, would be "What is the best mic for....." After that, I don't know but I'm sure the experts here could come up with come categories.

Until then, I've got enough stuff to keep me occupied for a while:

need a ConnBox for my Rycote Windshield,
Trying to get my new Toast 11 copy registered through Roxio and Corel (this has been an ordeal),
There are a couple new (used but new to me) backdrops I'm trying to buy,
The videos I have to edit are stacking up....
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Old September 12th, 2012, 08:47 AM   #51
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

I guess the powers that be would, on seeing a very large number of posts in the audio section all on different topics, set up some new sections - which is after all pretty easy to do. Maybe they just feel the amount of audio topics doesn't warrant the expansion ......... yet?

We have some sections where sub-sub-divisions really don't make finding things easy, so surely, content drives the spitting of a section. What makes anyone think splitting into sections, before the section questions are posed will make any sense. If somebody uses an ipod to record stereo audio, as I discovered they can do when plugged into a proper dock - would this be sufficient to warrant a section,or would we wait until we suddenly realise we had lots of people recording audio on ipods before the split takes place.

Let's just encourage more audio topics in general and see where it leads us?
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Old September 13th, 2012, 06:56 PM   #52
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
There's an interesting video about recording grand pianos here
How to mic up and record a concert grand piano - YouTube
Not the kind of mic most of us have, but he does explain how difficult recording pianos can be.
Interesting video...
As often seems to be the case with Nigel Cooper, there doesn't seem to be any worry about the cost? ---
--so that's £125,000 worth of piano ( model D Steinway) -- £2,700 worth of microphone (Earthworks PM40), plus another few hundred for the recorder (Roland R44)

It ought to sound b****y good!

This part of the thread brought back a rather poignant memory for me...

There are essentially 6 distinct aspects involved in recording a piano well. If any of the parts are 'below par', then the recording is basically stuffed.
These are, in order of importance:
1- the pianist. 2 - the piano. 3 - the piano tuner! 4 - the recording engineer 5 - the microphones 6 - the recorder.
I made a recording in the mid 1970's of a friend of mine - a fine pianist, playing a model A Steinway.
So the first two parts were fine. Unfortunately, the piano needed tuning, I didn't really know what I was doing, and it was recorded onto cassette tape. So not good.
We always said we would redo it -- but----- well, you know how these things drift on -- and now of course my friend can no longer play (severe arthritis).

These days, only the first part is difficult. Modern decent electronic pianos, those with 'proper' piano weighted actions, and decent multi level sampling, record way better than 90% of 'real' upright -- and most grand --pianos.
So it's really only the pianist that's the difficult bit to get right these days.
No point in trying to record a real piano , unless it's a really top quality model - andproperly in tune!
A decent electronic equivalent will usually give you a better result.

And you won't have £130K in equipment cost!.....
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Old September 13th, 2012, 09:48 PM   #53
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

.. voiced properly too. O/T but we were involved in the Sydney Piano Competition. The Australian distributor for Steinway a sponsor, was just up the street and I got quite involved with them over the years. Hand crafting Steinway pianos in New York - YouTube

They sold us our ex demo studio Yamaha C7 grand and to get time with it we offered free rehearsal time to the SPC entrants in studio down time. It was amazing how various pianists got a 'different sound' from our baby. Even piano benches are chosen, we were loaned 3 for their use.

The Russians were incredible I saw a few really get carried way with the light in the southern hemisphere and Sydney, and it inspired them big time.
A few paid us to record them as each entrant hopes to reach a peak with 30 mins of note perfect music in the heads, in case they win their stage to move up. No time to learn a new piece.

Every 4 years, the Sydney Piano Competition is rated as one of the best in world. For the final in the Sydney Opera House, the competitors have a choice of a Bosendorfer, a Yamaha and a Steinway D, a New York model. The Russians choose the Yamaha because they supplied all the Russian music conservatories with grands, free of charge.

The SPC is broadcast by ABC national stereo radio and they use a spaced pair of DPA 4011 cardioids. For students of the piano it's a master class,
you could probably listen in.

There is an Australian made grand piano using Aussie timbers from Tasmania and I believe that's going to be made available.
Imo the Steinway sound is hard to beat, but like Rode mics, we have a go.

Cheers.
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Old September 15th, 2012, 08:57 AM   #54
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

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Originally Posted by Greg Bellotte View Post
See John, there is your answer...after three really good responses look how many mentions of camera/lights/meters creep in for this question about audio. picture picture picture....thats all some people can think about.

So back to your original thought...WHY is audio giving you fits? I know a lot of us don't really share the "secret sauce" too often but most audio issues are pretty easy to overcome if given a little effort.
Greg, great perspectives. But I think audio is a concept that not everyone can learn. I've tried to explain simple concepts to some pretty smart video people and they just don't get it (or don't want to get it.) Others get, appreciate my effort and add those "tools" to their arsenal.

I gave a few "audio for video people seminars" about sound and got a very good reaction from video people. One participant asked if I had any of the info written down. I said I didn't and that it was just part of general knowledge between my ears. They STRONGLY suggested I write it down. Nine months later I published my first edition of the Audio Bootcamp Field Guide.

I made a real effort not to use physics or math and to try to use visual analogies to communicate the information because I wanted video people to "get it." I took a little flack from people because it wasn't a textbook and wasn't technical enough, but honestly, I didn't think that was the best way to convey the information.

The most important tool in audio are your ears and brain. It's all about how you mentally process what you hear. You need to be able to make critical decisions about EQ, echo, reverb, distortion, volume and clarity on the fly. My brain is wired that way. So much so that if my wife turns on the TV while I'm in the same room reading a book, I can no longer read. My "hearing brain" is captured by the TV audio.

Due to the great and generous video people here in Baltimore and DC with whom I work, I have learned a lot. I now shoot, light and edit. A number of these folks, or folks who come in from out of town and pick me up for audio, mention that they started with audio and moved laterally to shooting, producing or editing. I can't know how good their audio chops were or if they are just trying to say they understand and support me in my efforts to give them the best sound I can.

Interestingly, I don't hear, "waiting for sound" if I find a problem and need to correct it. I think I did when I started out in this, but not in a long time. I'm obviously communicating something that says I'm trying to give them the best I can and they apparently respect that. I'm never "a sound Nazi with attitude." If something about the setup doesn't result in audio I like, I hand the producer my headphones and tell him/her hear what I'm hearing and ask if that's OK with them.

--------------------------------------

"Saying you're going to be a one-man band no matter what and a boom operator is a luxury is like saying a light-balancing filter for your old 35mm camera is a luxury when the truth is if you're going to shoot tungsten film under daylight illumination you just can't do the job properly without it."

Yes, I'll agree with this. I also like, "You can adequately play a round of golf with just one club."

Sure there are jobs one person can do, but people who have hit the "One Man Band" barrier need to be helped past it. There is no pride in being a one man band if your product suffers. Hollywood is tighter on the dime than anywhere. If they could do it with one less person, they would. This is a mental block and suggests is that the person doesn't communicate well, is too controlling or is otherwise insecure in his/her work.

Maybe you tried it in the past and it didn't work out, so you never want THAT to happen again. Why didn't it work out? Figure that out and move on. Grow your brand!

Oh, yeah, the why only one forum thing. How would you like to see audio forums split up? Production and Postproduction? As a mostly audio guy, I don't really care as long as people get the right information. Maybe try it and see. There's a lot to post audio that I never see here. Are people really getting the best mixes? The sound guys I talk with (a lot) do say sometimes they can't believe what post does to their sound. (and not in a good way).

I mixed 99% of the audio for a two camera, half-hour TV pilot in FCP 7.3 last year. I also edited the video. Some video editors were surprised that I did the audio in FCP. Granted the tools are limited and slightly weird, but it was because the field audio was good. (I hired one other guy and he and I did the audio - two audio guys, one lashed to each camera.) And there were several occasions where I had to talk the director (whom I also hired) into another take so we could get the sound right. Several times he questioned why we needed to do it again, but we've known each other for over 20 years and he knew I wouldn't be wasting time if I really needed a better take. Since I knew I was going to edit it, I knew what I wanted to hear and what would be a problem.

Have a great weekend!

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old September 17th, 2012, 10:22 AM   #55
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Shore View Post
Interesting video...
As often seems to be the case with Nigel Cooper, there doesn't seem to be any worry about the cost? ---
--so that's £125,000 worth of piano ( model D Steinway) -- £2,700 worth of microphone (Earthworks PM40), plus another few hundred for the recorder (Roland R44)

It ought to sound b****y good!
Why?

He used a cheap recorder and miked the piano too close.

Excellent though the Earthworks Piano Mic. is, no doubt, for a solo recital on a concert grand you really need the room, rather than miking the strings like the earthworks does.

I would have used a pair of good omnis further back into the room and a very much better recorder than the Roland.

My kit would still be the HD 25 headphones, but I would use decent mic. preamps - like those on a Nagra VI or AETA 4MinX and a good pair of omni mics like Gefell M221, Sennheiser MKH 20 or 8020 or Neumann KM 131-A(D).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Shore View Post
This part of the thread brought back a rather poignant memory for me...

There are essentially 6 distinct aspects involved in recording a piano well. If any of the parts are 'below par', then the recording is basically stuffed.
These are, in order of importance:
1- the pianist. 2 - the piano. 3 - the piano tuner! 4 - the recording engineer 5 - the microphones 6 - the recorder.
Agreed, though you would normally use a piano technician, rather than a tuner, at a recording session - and he/she would be around all the time to make any adjustments necessary.

When I record solo piano, the technician is normally there all the time - a morning check and the piano is rechecked every time we take a break.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Shore View Post
No point in trying to record a real piano , unless it's a really top quality model - andproperly in tune!
A decent electronic equivalent will usually give you a better result.
I disagree - you need a real piano in a real room.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Shore View Post
And you won't have £130K in equipment cost!.....
But the piano is hired, so not part of the equipment cost.
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Old September 17th, 2012, 10:59 AM   #56
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

I can't imagine not using a real piano for any project if it's critical. I've got some quite expensive piano samplers, one so big I can't even load it up into memory, but as a solo instrument they're never as good as even a modest piano - but they're passable in a mix.

I think John's point about the room is important, and often missed. The sound is not just the instrument, it's what the instrument sounds like in the space. Close mic techniques may well capture a more accurate rendition of what the instrument produces, but it also picks up things we're not supposed to hear - like the mechanics up close. It also doesn't take into account the fact the sound comes from a number of places that merge and blend together. Microphones at a small distance can hear all these sources and sound more real.

The various internal mics on pianos have always had a place in live, amplified music where distant mic techniques just don't work, but I suspect Nigel just like the sound of these - maybe because as a pianist, he always hears the close perspective as the performer, and maybe feels the more audience based sound is not what he likes?

I always love it when in the studio the trumpet player tells you his trumpet sounds wrong. He's never, ever heard what he really sounds like in his life! So when he does, he may hate it!
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Old September 17th, 2012, 12:36 PM   #57
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
I can't imagine not using a real piano for any project if it's critical. I've got some quite expensive piano samplers, one so big I can't even load it up into memory, but as a solo instrument they're never as good as even a modest piano - but they're passable in a mix.

I think John's point about the room is important, and often missed. The sound is not just the instrument, it's what the instrument sounds like in the space. Close mic techniques may well capture a more accurate rendition of what the instrument produces, but it also picks up things we're not supposed to hear - like the mechanics up close. It also doesn't take into account the fact the sound comes from a number of places that merge and blend together. Microphones at a small distance can hear all these sources and sound more real.

The various internal mics on pianos have always had a place in live, amplified music where distant mic techniques just don't work, but I suspect Nigel just like the sound of these - maybe because as a pianist, he always hears the close perspective as the performer, and maybe feels the more audience based sound is not what he likes?

I always love it when in the studio the trumpet player tells you his trumpet sounds wrong. He's never, ever heard what he really sounds like in his life! So when he does, he may hate it!
Very true.

I will say that I do specialise in recording piano, mainly for CD release.

For a solo piano recital, the room is just as important as the piano and the mics need to be placed to get the best balance between the piano and the room.
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Old September 17th, 2012, 12:53 PM   #58
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
I can't imagine not using a real piano for any project if it's critical. I've got some quite expensive piano samplers, one so big I can't even load it up into memory, but as a solo instrument they're never as good as even a modest piano - but they're passable in a mix.
I am pretty impressed by the Synthogy Ivory piano synth. Even as a solo. It has controls for the room as well as for the instrument (and samples from three different brands: Bosendorfer, Steinway, and Yamaha).

http://www.synthogy.com/demos/grandpiano.html
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Old September 18th, 2012, 07:04 AM   #59
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

While I am of course reluctant to criticise expert opinions, such as those we have from John and Paul, I have to disagree on one level.....

Of course, the 'real thing', in a decent 'space,' with a fine instrument, a good pianist, and technicians (piano and recording!) who know what they're doing, is an unbeatable combination.

But in the real world, it's only those of you at the top of the profession who often have the opportunity to work at that level.
For those of us a bit down the 'food chain' so to speak, the majority of 'real' pianos we encounter simply don't record as well as the best of the modern sampled instruments. Many uprights are not in ideal 'spaces,' and unless they are of the best quality, simply don't sound that good, when recorded.
And baby grands are often overrated, in my opinion.....there are exceptions of course....

The very best of the modern sampled instruments - like the new Yamaha Avantgrand range for example -- are extraordinary instruments. Their sampling techniques include many of the mechanical effects that previously detracted from the 'real' piano feel. Sound board reflections --key 'off' characteristics -- resonances in the upper registers from having no dampers --- etc, etc, --- Their keyboards feel and respond like real piano keybeds.. with extraordinary nuances of touch response available. There are serious reports of people playing these instruments, for some considerable time on occasions, without realising that they are not 'real' pianos!

Companies, like Yamaha especially, have a fine heritage themselves with real pianos. Their CFX grand, for example, is a real contender at the level of the finest instruments in the world.

They have put a lot of effort into giving those of us further down the ladder a chance to make at least 'reasonable' piano recordings with their digital pianos.

Sorry to disagree with such expert comment, but I do feel that there are really not that many'real' pianos that can compare, recording wise, with the finest of the modern 'sampled' pianos, with decent piano keyboard actions. Only the very best models, in really good spaces, in my opinion.

Playing live however may of course be a different thing.... there, the piano, the space... etc... all contribute to the 'feedback' the pianist receives from his or her surroundings....and so to the performance.
Still doesn't mean it will necessarily record that well....

Just my own views of course.....
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Old September 19th, 2012, 06:15 AM   #60
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

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Originally Posted by Roger Shore View Post
While I am of course reluctant to criticise expert opinions, such as those we have from John and Paul, I have to disagree on one level.....

Of course, the 'real thing', in a decent 'space,' with a fine instrument, a good pianist, and technicians (piano and recording!) who know what they're doing, is an unbeatable combination.

But in the real world, it's only those of you at the top of the profession who often have the opportunity to work at that level.
For those of us a bit down the 'food chain' so to speak, the majority of 'real' pianos we encounter simply don't record as well as the best of the modern sampled instruments. Many uprights are not in ideal 'spaces,' and unless they are of the best quality, simply don't sound that good, when recorded.
And baby grands are often overrated, in my opinion.....there are exceptions of course....

The very best of the modern sampled instruments - like the new Yamaha Avantgrand range for example -- are extraordinary instruments. Their sampling techniques include many of the mechanical effects that previously detracted from the 'real' piano feel. Sound board reflections --key 'off' characteristics -- resonances in the upper registers from having no dampers --- etc, etc, --- Their keyboards feel and respond like real piano keybeds.. with extraordinary nuances of touch response available. There are serious reports of people playing these instruments, for some considerable time on occasions, without realising that they are not 'real' pianos!

Companies, like Yamaha especially, have a fine heritage themselves with real pianos. Their CFX grand, for example, is a real contender at the level of the finest instruments in the world.

They have put a lot of effort into giving those of us further down the ladder a chance to make at least 'reasonable' piano recordings with their digital pianos.

Sorry to disagree with such expert comment, but I do feel that there are really not that many'real' pianos that can compare, recording wise, with the finest of the modern 'sampled' pianos, with decent piano keyboard actions. Only the very best models, in really good spaces, in my opinion.

Playing live however may of course be a different thing.... there, the piano, the space... etc... all contribute to the 'feedback' the pianist receives from his or her surroundings....and so to the performance.
Still doesn't mean it will necessarily record that well....

Just my own views of course.....
It all depends on what you are recording and what it's for.

If it's a solo piano recital then you really need a proper grand piano in a proper room.

Yes, you can keep the price down by just having it tuned before the event, rather than a full-time piano technician.

But doing it with samples is really a waste of time, IMHO.

If the piano is being mixed in with other instruments and is not the main part of the recording, then a sampled piano can be fine - but not for a solo piano recital.

You can often hire a reasonable hall complete with piano for a reasonable amount - and if you are recording a solo piano recital it's well worth doing.
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