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PIANO RECORDING

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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Ariosto » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:52 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:Yes it's stereo now, but strangely at 2:00 it goes mono, reverting to stereo at 2:13 for (I think) the rest of the piece.

That's interesting! That exact section is an edit - but the whole file was panned L & R 100% including the edits, and then rendered. Other edits (there were two more) were not affected.
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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:12 pm

hobbyist wrote:It is hard to do a piano in stereo and have it sound natural.

That could apply to anything. Most people record piano with a view to it being played back in stereo and there are some very good recordings out there. Stereo recording with mono-compatibility is still the industry standard.

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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:19 pm

Ariosto, do you have the MixPre standard or M?

The standard creates a 'Poly WAV file' which needs to be converted to its individual components for our sort of work. Sounddevices have a free app to do this if your DAW doesn't. I import Poly WAVs straight into Logic which automatically splits them into their component parts. I then discard the stereo (summed) parts and mix the individual components as I would if I had tracked them individually, and yes, that would mean panning tracks as necessary.

The M standard records individual tracks (as well as a stereo summed track if you want it), so not in the Poly WAV format, and so these are a straight import with panning done in the DAW.

Not sure that's very clear, but hope it helps!

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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Ariosto » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:53 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:Ariosto, do you have the MixPre standard or M?

The standard creates a 'Poly WAV file' which needs to be converted to its individual components for our sort of work. Sounddevices have a free app to do this if your DAW doesn't. I import Poly WAVs straight into Logic which automatically splits them into their component parts. I then discard the stereo (summed) parts and mix the individual components as I would if I had tracked them individually, and yes, that would mean panning tracks as necessary.

The M standard records individual tracks (as well as a stereo summed track if you want it), so not in the Poly WAV format, and so these are a straight import with panning done in the DAW.

Not sure that's very clear, but hope it helps!

Bob

Thanks Bob. Yes, I have the standard MixPre-3 and I use the Wave Agent from Sound Devices to split the files, discarding the stereo and using the two other tracks. My mistake was in not panning these tracks to 100% Left and 100% right.

I think I have now fixed this as the previous renders were parallel mono but now are coming out as stereo with the panning. I monitor and edit with headphones so I tend to listen for the sound and playing accuracy and not so much the stereo soundstage.

But I'm hoping its fixed and I also know what I'm doing now, after all the help everyone has given me. I'm extremely grateful.
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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Bob Bickerton » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:34 am

That's great news.

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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:47 am

Ariosto wrote:Sorry to be a pain - but I've now panned each mono channel hard left and hard right and the goniometer is showing an entirely different display (more like clouds) and the rendered file is playing with much more separate movements L and R - so I think this must be OK now.

First, you're not a pain -- this is precisely what this forum is about -- helping people to develop their skills and understanding!

The good news: it's definitely no longer mono (apart from the odd mono edit as already noted)....

I'd hesitate to call it true stereo -- as you have observed there is a lot of separation between left and right, so the piano scale and playing across the keyboard is somewhat exaggerated.

This is an inherent problem when close miking because each mics tends to hear only a very local portion of the full sound board, and so there is little coherence between the two channels. This is revealed instantly on the goniometer as 'clouds' and 'rings' which are predominantly horizontal rather than vertical, and the phase meter spends a lot of time at zero or moving towards -1.

Of course, some people like this ultra-wide effect and it can be useful in some applications. But for a classical piano solo like this I'd suggest not panning the mics fully left/right -- it would sound more natural if you narrow the image a little -- pan the two mic channels in from the edges -- and then fill out the outer space with some subtle artificial stereo reverb of a suitable character -- in your case, mostly room reflections rather than a long reverb tail.

But pleased that you've got to grips with the stereo panning in the DAW now, anyway.

Like most recorders of this kind, the MixPre records a stereo mix file, and then individual 'iso' tracks from each separate input. The stereo mix file will comprise whatever panning and level settings you dial into the mixpre as you record/mix, but the iso tracks won't -- so if you are using them as the basis for a mix externally -- in Reaper or whatever -- you'll need to pan and set their levels appropriately in the DAW.

The MixPre is a powerfully versatile unit, so it is inherently complex, but I think it is well organised and you'll find it easier to use with familiarity. I don't have the daintiest of fingers myself but I've had no trouble with the touchscreen -- again, familiarity is your friend here. I didn't have any trouble with the on-off switch either.

The Zoom models are much the same as regards small, fiddly controls, and you'd still find yourself wanting to put your fingers in a pencil-sharpener... ;-) That's why I use a nice, chunky Nagra VI ! :lol:

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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:01 am

Yes, rendering in Reaper can, occasionally, be 'interesting'. When cutting/editing a track to a fixed time for a competition dance for my wife (pupils, that is, she's a dance teacher). I used to move the 'spare' audio around to spare tracks until I discovered that if you have a muted track that is longer than the final edited track the render will include it as silence. Example, I take a 4 min track, cut and paste sections into a new track which is my 2:30 final edit then mute the original before rendering I end up with a 4:00 track with 2:30 of audio and 1:30 of silence at the end. Simple to solve by deleting the original track before rendering but it took me a while to understand.
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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Kwackman » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:02 am

Mono or stereo (I listened to the stereo), it's a relaxing listen. :thumbup:
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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby blinddrew » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:37 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Simple to solve by deleting the original track before rendering but it took me a while to understand.
Or just render a time selection. :)
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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:57 pm

Yup, never got that far once I found something that worked. TBF I've never been a 'power user' :smirk:
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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Ariosto » Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:03 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
First, you're not a pain -- this is precisely what this forum is about -- helping people to develop their skills and understanding!

H
Many thanks Hugh. Great advice and I think I have learnt a tremendous amount about recording piano. I will try out all your suggestions. Also thanks to Mike, Bob, Tim and all who gave advice.

This is such a great forum!

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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby hobbyist » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:33 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:
hobbyist wrote:It is hard to do a piano in stereo and have it sound natural.

That could apply to anything. Most people record piano with a view to it being played back in stereo and there are some very good recordings out there. Stereo recording with mono-compatibility is still the industry standard.

Bob

Well it *is* stereo but what is the width of the piano viewed from the mikes' location and what is the width the mikes captured?

How would that sound in your LR played on speakers that are farther apart. Especially if the file had been edited to make it sound as wide as possible.
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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Ariosto » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:35 am

https://soundcloud.com/user-607637178/t ... dth-reverb

This is a new version with Hugh's suggestions - i.e. narrower panning and width and with some small amount of reverb added.

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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:55 am

Definitely getting there! :D

I appreciate it's a work in progress, but at the moment the peak level is around -24dBFS, and your R128 loudness is -44 LUFS.... which means I'm having to crank up my monitoring level almost to maximum just to achieve a sensible listening level, let alone getting it comparable to a commercial CD piano recording.

The stereo width and reverb is entirely down to personal preferences, of course, and I don't know what kind of character you're looking for. However, for me, it's now a little bit too narrow -- but much more natural than the fully wide version.

And the reverb makes it sound a little bit like an empty school hall, so I think I'd be looking for something that adds a little more bloom and warmth at the low end, and a softer, wooden room kind of character without too much in the way of distinct early reflections.

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Re: PIANO RECORDING

Postby Ariosto » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:08 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Definitely getting there! :D

I appreciate it's a work in progress, but at the moment the peak level is around -24dBFS, and your R128 loudness is -44 LUFS.... which means I'm having to crank up my monitoring level almost to maximum just to achieve a sensible listening level, let alone getting it comparable to a commercial CD piano recording.

The stereo width and reverb is entirely down to personal preferences, of course, and I don't know what kind of character you're looking for. However, for me, it's now a little bit too narrow -- but much more natural than the fully wide version.

And the reverb makes it sound a little bit like an empty school hall, so I think I'd be looking for something that adds a little more bloom and warmth at the low end, and a softer, wooden room kind of character without too much in the way of distinct early reflections.

H
Many thanks Hugh.

My LUFS readings on my meter are -15LU and Peak level -8.3 dBFS and LR range 18.9LU

On my little mixer (PROFX8) out of the computer I have the levels slightly less than half way and headphone output half way or less and that gives plenty of volume. I'm wondering if the Soundcloud output is responsible? I have it on Dropbox -
https://www.dropbox.com/s/h0fxrjkdir3yo ... B.wav?dl=0
and I find that OK volume wise (It's a 24bit file at 96KHz).

The reverb is just a Reaper reverb, so probably not great. I actually prefer it without reverb, but that's probably because I like the clarity of solo instruments and also even orchestra and find a lot of commercials CD's have to much room sound and/or hall reverb which makes them mushy. But many people like plenty of reverb, so maybe I'm not typical.

I could widen the panning a little, I chose 50% as a sort of compromise.

Edit: I'm trying to persuade the performer into recording it again at a slightly faster tempo and have a new version, but not having too much success at the moment. She would rather be on holiday ...

Congratulations by the way on your doctorate at the University! Could not have gone to a more dedicated person.
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