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Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

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Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby pianoworldstage » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:20 am

Hi

Will soon be writing solo piano tracks for an album using the Garritan CFX Concert Grand in Garageband, and will be needing advice in regard to the recording process. Apart from choosing a piano preset and convolution reverb, what mic position, recording volumes and bit depth would be recommended? Would using a filter or compression be needed? I know it all comes down to personal choice and preference, but professional advice would be helpful.
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby pianoworldstage » Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:27 am

I take it then know one records solo piano? Never mind, thanks anyway.
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:02 am

You pretty much answered your own question in the original post :)

There is no 'right and wrong' here. It'll depend on your playing style, the nature of the material and your own requirements and tastes. Having the CFX concert grand you are unlikely to find any combinations that don't sound nice, to be honest so really it'll come down to trying some things out and going with the one you like the most.

As for compression, my advice is to apply it on mixdown rather than recording as you can experiment non-destructively with it. With piano especially, compression can do strange things to the sound if not done carefully and piano music tends to work better with a higher dynamic range anyway so I probably wouldn't bother with compression unless you need some very gentle application on mixdown to raise the average level of the performance.

That said; I'd worry about that later and focus on getting the recording right in the first instance!
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby pianoworldstage » Wed Jul 08, 2020 2:15 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:You pretty much answered your own question in the original post :)

There is no 'right and wrong' here. It'll depend on your playing style, the nature of the material and your own requirements and tastes. Having the CFX concert grand you are unlikely to find any combinations that don't sound nice, to be honest so really it'll come down to trying some things out and going with the one you like the most.

As for compression, my advice is to apply it on mixdown rather than recording as you can experiment non-destructively with it. With piano especially, compression can do strange things to the sound if not done carefully and piano music tends to work better with a higher dynamic range anyway so I probably wouldn't bother with compression unless you need some very gentle application on mixdown to raise the average level of the performance.

That said; I'd worry about that later and focus on getting the recording right in the first instance!

Thank you,

The genre of music is soundtrack, ambient nature, simular to Yann Tiersen piano works. You are correct, compression can conclude an audio file to sound unnatural (depending on its purpose) i think for the best part the CFX with one of it's warm pre-sets and a choice of one of three mic positions in an ambient setting is all that would be needed for a quality solo piano recording? Without the need for compression or a limiter. In particular the only digital processing i was considering was to normalize all tracks at the same volume level..

Not sure if that's recommended?
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jul 08, 2020 2:43 am

pianoworldstage wrote:i think for the best part the CFX with one of it's warm pre-sets and a choice of one of three mic positions in an ambient setting is all that would be needed for a quality solo piano recording? Without the need for compression or a limiter. In particular the only digital processing i was considering was to normalize all tracks at the same volume level..

That sounds fine to me; just pick the mic position that sounds best to you. One thing though, when you say "the same volume level", do you mean the same peak level or the same average level? Is the recording intended for streaming, youtube video, CD or something else?

That's not really of primary concern until you have done the recording but I would recommend capturing the performance as MIDI as well as audio if possible as it gives you more flexibility later.
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby IAA » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:05 am

I agree with Eddy, avoid any tampering with signal until you’re happy with your straight sound and importantly your playing. Given its midi, and I’m assuming you’re recording a midi track, then my approach is to use a standard patch, play my piece, listen back, correct any mistakes, either re-record that midi section or if it’s a single bum note (or two!) use the piano roll to alter. Then I listen to my velocity and pedal work, again if that’s not right I re-record or in small cases use the piano roll. Only when I’m confident of that base piano performance do I then start auditioning the “best” sound from the libraries I have - or in your case CFX patches. I’ve found this way I rarely need any compression on piano passages, or even much eq.
Too often I hear poorly played and phrased piano parts left to be sorted out by radical eq or compression, it never sounds good to me.
You’ve a great library there, you shouldn’t go far wrong if you’re as good a player as that library warrants.
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby pianoworldstage » Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:45 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:
That sounds fine to me; just pick the mic position that sounds best to you. One thing though, when you say "the same volume level", do you mean the same peak level or the same average level? Is the recording intended for streaming, youtube video, CD or something else?

That's not really of primary concern until you have done the recording but I would recommend capturing the performance as MIDI as well as audio if possible as it gives you more flexibility later.

I mean the same average level, therefore all piano tracks having the same ambient volume, is that recommended?

The album is intended for streaming and retail.
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby Trevor Johnson » Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:47 am

i've played the CFX a couple of times live and once it was recorded with DPA mics, possibly 4099s or similar, very discretely placed. Sounded good with those.
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:51 pm

pianoworldstage wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:
That sounds fine to me; just pick the mic position that sounds best to you. One thing though, when you say "the same volume level", do you mean the same peak level or the same average level? Is the recording intended for streaming, youtube video, CD or something else?

That's not really of primary concern until you have done the recording but I would recommend capturing the performance as MIDI as well as audio if possible as it gives you more flexibility later.

I mean the same average level, therefore all piano tracks having the same ambient volume, is that recommended?

The album is intended for streaming and retail.
Yep, this is 'loudness normalisation' and it's very much recommended for streaming. Do a quick search on this, or for an article that was called The End of the Loudness Wars (or something like that) and it'll give you all you need to know. :)
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby pianoworldstage » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:02 am

blinddrew wrote:
pianoworldstage wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:
That sounds fine to me; just pick the mic position that sounds best to you. One thing though, when you say "the same volume level", do you mean the same peak level or the same average level? Is the recording intended for streaming, youtube video, CD or something else?

That's not really of primary concern until you have done the recording but I would recommend capturing the performance as MIDI as well as audio if possible as it gives you more flexibility later.

I mean the same average level, therefore all piano tracks having the same ambient volume, is that recommended?

The album is intended for streaming and retail.
Yep, this is 'loudness normalisation' and it's very much recommended for streaming. Do a quick search on this, or for an article that was called The End of the Loudness Wars (or something like that) and it'll give you all you need to know. :)

Thanks for your input, helpful.
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:05 pm

blinddrew wrote:...an article that was called The End of the Loudness Wars (or something like that) and it'll give you all you need to know. :)

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/end-loudness-war
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Re: Recording The CFX Concert Grand ???

Postby pianoworldstage » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:33 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
blinddrew wrote:...an article that was called The End of the Loudness Wars (or something like that) and it'll give you all you need to know. :)

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/end-loudness-war

Thanks.
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