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Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:24 pm

Re Arpangel post. " Obviously audible w & f " even on top, well maintained machines may have been your experience. But my general impression is that other weaknesses in cassette recordings would usually outstrip w & f. Poor signal to noise and print through come to mind. Loss of highs after multiple plays esp. with Type 1 formulations. Tape dropout. Dolby tracking problems so bad that many gave up on Dolby and put up with the noise and distortion. Not issues for you?
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:44 pm

Using mobile here in Sydney so limited posting ability. Arpangel, do you still have any such cassette recordings with said w & f? Tim.
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:20 pm

The Elf wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote::-) Good spot Martin. It's exactly that kind of careful thoroughness from reviewers that has given SOS the uniquely well deserved reputation it enjoys. When I read some reviews in our competitors' magazines I sometimes wonder if their reviewers even unpacked the product and plugged it in!
I can recall one review I did for SOS where I can be very sure the previous magazine's reviewer never even powered the device up!

And I recall one large distributor telling me that the review hardware sent to one UK magazine and reviewed favourably was returned with its shrink wrap intact!

:headbang: :headbang: :headbang:


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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Arpangel » Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:40 am

Tim Gillett wrote:Re Arpangel post. " Obviously audible w & f " even on top, well maintained machines may have been your experience. But my general impression is that other weaknesses in cassette recordings would usually outstrip w & f. Poor signal to noise and print through come to mind. Loss of highs after multiple plays esp. with Type 1 formulations. Tape dropout. Dolby tracking problems so bad that many gave up on Dolby and put up with the noise and distortion. Not issues for you?

Strangely, noise, print through, didn't bother me that much, as long as they were within reason. The main use I had for cassette was recording albums for listening elsewhere, from a turntable, or CD, or for making compilations.
I stumbled over a JVC KD-11 cassette deck, and despite its low end price, sounded amazing and was my favourite cassette deck.
I'm particularly sensitive to wow and flutter, I used to record a lot of organ music, and it's difficult to believe, but this JVC out-performed high end decks in this respect, and I never had any cause to complain. Denon weren't bad, OK, but the worst I found was Nakamichi, great powerful up-front sound, but not good for critical applications like recording organ, piano etc, Nakamichi were great if you were into rock.
The only cassettes I have now are recordings I made of family members before they died, transferred from my Tascam 32-2B reel-to-reel, and tapes of my own music recorded on my portastudios. I never bothered to keep any of my mix tapes, or CD transfers.
It's quite ironic that I love wow and flutter now, and I'm constantly trying to make my piano recordings sound more distressed, turning down the varispeed on my portastudio.
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Tim Gillett » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:58 am

All the brands you mentioned made fine decks, but w & f depended on model and equally condition. Cheap Naks were nothing special. A cheaper good Nak such as the 480 performed well (0.06%) but Nak's Dragon had the lowest w & f of any cassette deck, period (0.04%). Your JVC was 0.15%, over twice as bad as the relatively inexpensive Nak 480. But without maintenance w & f performance deteriorated in all decks. It's the same today.
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Arpangel » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:37 am

Tim Gillett wrote:All the brands you mentioned made fine decks, but w & f depended on model and equally condition. Cheap Naks were nothing special. A cheaper good Nak such as the 480 performed well (0.06%) but Nak's Dragon had the lowest w & f of any cassette deck, period (0.04%). Your JVC was 0.15%, over twice as bad as the relatively inexpensive Nak 480. But without maintenance w & f performance deteriorated in all decks. It's the same today.

I know, I'm as puzzled as anyone, I can remember standing in my local hi-fI shop as I'd just bought a Nakamichi Dragon and brought it back, one of the salesmen was puzzled too, and another just said "look, FFS just give him his money back it sounds awful" that's exactly what he said. We tried alternatives with no success, so I got a top of the range Denon instead and that was OK. I have owned various Nakamichis, an early one was the best, a 600, but it developed a fault and I couldn't be bothered to get it repaired.
That particular Dragon I had obviously wasn't right, and had a major fault, but this was cropping up on them all too regularly.
I used to know lots of happy Nakamichi owners, and they do sound good generally, but honestly, not for what I wanted them for, if they did, I'd orobably still have one, as they are design classics, beautiful things.
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Tim Gillett » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:04 pm

It only takes one minor fault, one adjustment slightly out, even a tiny piece of cotton accidentally left on a shaft or roller after cleaning can be enough to ruin performance. Its often that simple.
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Arpangel » Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:59 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
John Willett wrote:Do you have the original Earthsounds version? or the Classic FM one?

This one: Image

Mine arrived this morning! after being hidden from me by the caretaker for days!
He puts our post in draw, but he put it in a different one this time, I was just about to contact Amazon to ask them where it was!
It's the same one as Hugh has, John is engineer, I didn't know Tony Faulkner was editing too.
Can't wait to hear it!
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Arpangel » Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:40 pm

I just listened to this CD, lots to do, so just got around to it.
First thing that struck me was a lack of ambience, it's very dry.
Also the rendition is strange, the pianists grace notes are way too staccato, they need to be more legato.
Apart from that, the actual recording quality is difficult to judge, as there is so little ambience.
This approach doesn't suit Saties work at all, exactly the opposite in fact.
Sorry to all involved, but that's just my opinion.
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Dec 08, 2019 11:32 pm

To quote the former BBC DG John Birt, I fear you are "tainted by experience". :D

Your expectations and presumptions of the work obviously don't sync with those of the performer and producer. But that's fine -- it's your point of view, formed by your personal experiences.

For what it's worth, my personal opinion is that I really like the intimate setting, which I think suits the works perfectly. And I like the interpretation and performances too -- staccato grace notes and all...

But the bottom line for me, is that it is the most enjoyable of the four CD versions of Satie's works I have available here.

Although those DC offsets are still very distracting... :lol: :bouncy:
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Arpangel » Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:01 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:To quote the former BBC DG John Birt, I fear you are "tainted by experience". :D

Your expectations and presumptions of the work obviously don't sync with those of the performer and producer. But that's fine -- it's your point of view, formed by your personal experiences.

For what it's worth, my personal opinion is that I really like the intimate setting, which I think suits the works perfectly. And I like the interpretation and performances too -- staccato grace notes and all...

But the bottom line for me, is that it is the most enjoyable of the four CD versions of Satie's works I have available here.

Although those DC offsets are still very distracting... :lol: :bouncy:

First let me say that this is just my view, I'm not being critical of anything or anyone in particular, this isn't a general review!
I have preformed ideas in my head about all sorts of classical recordings, those ideas were shaped in the 60's/70's and I think the first recordings we hear of works we love are always the best, in our minds, and become yardsticks, and recording techniques, production and fashions regarding classical interpretations are always changing.
The way I see it is that Saties music is extremely ethereal, other worldly, and the production needs to reflect that, it needs a dream-like quality. Distant mic's, in a large space, and a very laid back smooth playing style.
This documentary has some excellent musical examples...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4LYRufaWpbk

I have an affinity with Satie, I know what he would have liked, I've always felt connected with him, in a very strange way, there's no need to call the "men in white coats" Hugh...

:)
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:31 am

But they've brought a lovely new Christmas jumper for you with really long arms that tie up round the back and everything.... :bouncy: :lol:
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby John Willett » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:40 am

Arpangel wrote:I just listened to this CD, lots to do, so just got around to it.
First thing that struck me was a lack of ambience, it's very dry.
Also the rendition is strange, the pianists grace notes are way too staccato, they need to be more legato.
Apart from that, the actual recording quality is difficult to judge, as there is so little ambience.
This approach doesn't suit Saties work at all, exactly the opposite in fact.
Sorry to all involved, but that's just my opinion.

The producer specifically asked for an "intimate" recording with close mics.

Satie's piano pieces are "chamber music" and written to be performed to a small audience, rather than in a large hall.

Personally, I find a lot of Satie recordings too reverbarant and want less.

This recording really needs to be listened to on loudspeakers in a room, where you get the natural reverberatiuon of the listening room as well.

I agree that on headphones it can seem too close - but played on loudspeakers in a room it really comes into its own.

When I listen on headphones I feel I want a bit more "room", but on loudspeakers I still find it magic and it is one of my most listened to CDs - just because of John's playing. And, most importantly the performer and producer were delighted and so were Classic FM as they bought the master from Earthsounds (the original record company).

But I agree with Hugh that if you are so used to hearing Satie in a concert hall or CDs made that way, then this one will seem a bit close on first listening.
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:36 pm

Another reason perhaps to listen on speakers and with some room reverb. It might help cover up some low level technical flaws I heard on headphones: a click around 0:01, a "plop" just near the fade out, a strange low level breathing sound through much of the track, something like analog DBX NR on some material, and right at the end, the sound of a vehicle accelerating.

A fine performance though by a fine pianist.
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Arpangel » Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:19 pm

I did listen on speakers, in my room, but it's not particularly large, so.
I think Satie never really heard how he'd like his music to sound, half the time he got other people to play it in less than ideal conditions, he didn't even play the piano towards the end of his life, he had an upright, but he used it to dump mail in that he never opened.
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