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How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

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How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun May 06, 2018 2:08 am

I have this wonderful ProTools patch that I like for the grand piano on my songs, but it uses parallel compression with a lot of gain. During quiet sections I hear a lot of noise from my piano bench when using that patch. Darn. If I concentrate I can play and not have the bench creek, but then again I am not playing the same way. So I'd like to un-creek my piano bench.

My bench is a 'artist bench' like this: http://www.jansenpianobenches.com/janse ... bench.html

I also have a hard plastic sheet that the bench sits on to protect the carpet underneath, so the bench is actually on a hard surface, which does tend to reflect the sound back up.

Does anyone know if over time these benches need some kind of tune up to be less creeky?
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun May 06, 2018 2:57 am

This thing sure has a lot of moving parts.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=15arpz ... OOBQyhGWqt
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sun May 06, 2018 4:17 am

Sounds like it needs a good handyman to identify where the noises are coming from and fix them. Maybe reglue or screw a loose wood joint, oil or grease the lift mechanism etc. Just some maintenance.
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Sun May 06, 2018 7:46 am

I know nothing about piano's, but this looks helpful ?

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/122080.html
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby BigRedX » Sun May 06, 2018 9:08 am

Sit on something less creaky while you record?
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby CS70 » Sun May 06, 2018 10:54 am

DC-Choppah wrote:During quiet sections I hear a lot of noise from my piano bench when using that patch.

Had the same problem once when recording a nylon guitar - odd cracking noise in the recording at unexpected times. I spent an hour recording again and again before realizing it wasn't the guitar but the chair!

For that session, I simply took a different chair with a more rigid construction, a carpet underneath.

If you want a permanent solution it's trickier, basically any two surfaces which aren't really tightened togther hard might (and will) generate a creak under force. Since it's a chair, I'd go over every joing ant junction and make sure it's tight, and use silicon spray or something similar to ensure that if friction happens, it's not that loud.
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby DC-Choppah » Mon May 07, 2018 5:45 pm

Tim Gillett wrote: Maybe reglue or screw a loose wood joint, oil or grease the lift mechanism etc. Just some maintenance.

That got most of the creekiness out. I tightened the 4 screws that hold the wood frame together, and one screw was missing, so I replaced it.

I sprayed all the moving metal parts with lithium grease where metal touches metal.

Much much quieter now.
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby DC-Choppah » Mon May 07, 2018 5:49 pm

CS70 wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:If you want a permanent solution it's trickier, basically any two surfaces which aren't really tightened togther hard might (and will) generate a creak under force. Since it's a chair, I'd go over every joing ant junction and make sure it's tight, and use silicon spray or something similar to ensure that if friction happens, it's not that loud.

It's that parallel compression (upward) patch. It has lots of make-up gain on the compression send channel, so little tiny squeaks sound huge in the mix.

I am realizing now that when you plan to use upward compression, you have to be extra careful during tracking with all the background noise like this creeky chair. Sometimes I can edit it out, but sometimes the creek happens right during a key musical part.
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby CS70 » Mon May 07, 2018 7:52 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:
I am realizing now that when you plan to use upward compression, you have to be extra careful during tracking with all the background noise like this creeky chair. Sometimes I can edit it out, but sometimes the creek happens right during a key musical part.

Indeed. Just yesterday I was reading a blog from a supposedly expert who talked about compression as a way to remove noise. Which made me chuckle because it's the exact opposite, since most of the time after compression one uses makeup gain to get the peaks back towards where they were,and thus raise whatever noise you had..
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby baward » Tue May 08, 2018 7:54 am

Talcum powder removes problems with creaky wood joints.


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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby DC-Choppah » Tue May 08, 2018 11:33 pm

CS70 wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:
I am realizing now that when you plan to use upward compression, you have to be extra careful during tracking with all the background noise like this creeky chair. Sometimes I can edit it out, but sometimes the creek happens right during a key musical part.

Indeed. Just yesterday I was reading a blog from a supposedly expert who talked about compression as a way to remove noise. Which made me chuckle because it's the exact opposite, since most of the time after compression one uses makeup gain to get the peaks back towards where they were,and thus raise whatever noise you had..

This effect may be what limits my little project studio, which is just a converted living room.
Now that I have grown accustomed to using upward compression the way I hear on tracks I like, I realize that I really do need a very quiet recording space to pull that off. I didn't see that one coming.
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed May 09, 2018 2:22 pm

Perhaps the blogger was thinking of Compansion , rather than compression... compansion being the combination of compression of a signal (before a recording/transmission path) followed by expansion afterwards.

Dolby and DBX noise reduction systems for analogue tape are amongst the best known examples, but it is also a widely used technique in analogue radio mic and in-ear systems.

The idea is to reduce the dynamic range of the signal before sending into the recording/transmission medium to keep it well above the noise floor, followed by a restoration of the original dynamic range. The latter part of the process has the benefit of lowering the noise floor introduced by the medium.

For the piano recording room, you might find that using the same elements but in the reverse order helps. By preceding your up-wards compression with some downwards expansion, you can push ambient room noise much lower down so that it is less obvious after the compression. Setting the threshold is obviously quite critical, as are the attack and release times, but it can be made to work well with a bit of care.

It's a technique commonly used in TV studios to help minimise the noise of active lights and video walls!

H
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu May 10, 2018 11:06 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:For the piano recording room, you might find that using the same elements but in the reverse order helps. By preceding your up-wards compression with some downwards expansion, you can push ambient room noise much lower down so that it is less obvious after the compression. Setting the threshold is obviously quite critical, as are the attack and release times, but it can be made to work well with a bit of care.

It's a technique commonly used in TV studios to help minimise the noise of active lights and video walls!

H

Thanks for that!

The ambient noises I get tend to be all above 2 KHz. I know that because if I put a low pass filter on the upward compression track I can make the noises go away, but it muffles the piano too so doesn't sound right.

I use a stereo pair of pencils over the strings, and a mono Blue large diameter cap mic (Al Schmitt style) at the lid/stick point. I use heavy upward compression on that mono mic and blend it with the stereo pair. This gives me a very upfront piano in the mix that I like. I don't do any compression on the stereo mics.

But since that Blue mic is very sensitive it is picking up everything, and then I upward compress it too to make it sound close-up so that is where all the noise creeps in.

So I will try this downward expansion trick on that mono Blue mic track, but wondering if maybe I could just do on the 2KHz and above stuff since I know that is where my noises are? I wonder if that will work?
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby Matt Houghton » Thu May 10, 2018 11:21 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Perhaps the blogger was thinking of Compansion ...

For the piano recording room, you might find that using the same elements but in the reverse order helps. By preceding your up-wards compression with some downwards expansion, you can push ambient room noise much lower down so that it is less obvious after the compression. Setting the threshold is obviously quite critical, as are the attack and release times, but it can be made to work well with a bit of care.

It's a technique commonly used in TV studios to help minimise the noise of active lights and video walls!

So... expansion followed by compression. I suppose we're to call this 'expression'? :beamup:
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby Tim Gillett » Thu May 10, 2018 2:32 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Perhaps the blogger was thinking of Compansion , rather than compression... compansion being the combination of compression of a signal (before a recording/transmission path) followed by expansion afterwards.

Dolby and DBX noise reduction systems for analogue tape are amongst the best known examples, but it is also a widely used technique in analogue radio mic and in-ear systems.

The idea is to reduce the dynamic range of the signal before sending into the recording/transmission medium to keep it well above the noise floor, followed by a restoration of the original dynamic range. The latter part of the process has the benefit of lowering the noise floor introduced by the medium.

For the piano recording room, you might find that using the same elements but in the reverse order helps. By preceding your up-wards compression with some downwards expansion, you can push ambient room noise much lower down so that it is less obvious after the compression. Setting the threshold is obviously quite critical, as are the attack and release times, but it can be made to work well with a bit of care.

It's a technique commonly used in TV studios to help minimise the noise of active lights and video walls!

H

Yes compansion was a well proven technique for reducing tape noise for example. The programme was automatically compressed above tape noise. There were no judgement calls involved regardless of programme content.

But trying otherwise to separate out unwanted quiet noise from wanted quiet noise can be much more difficult. For example, how will the expander know that piano stool squeaks arent actually harmonics on treble key notes?
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 10, 2018 3:05 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:[...wondering if maybe I could just do on the 2KHz and above stuff since I know that is where my noises are? I wonder if that will work?

Yes, no reason why you shouldn't side-chain the expander process so it only pushes down the upper mid and high end... but I don't see what the benefit would be. A broadband expander will help reduce subsonic rumbles from traffic or central-heating plant as well. I don't see what you'd gain by stopping it doing that...

H
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 10, 2018 3:05 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:So... expansion followed by compression. I suppose we're to call this 'expression'? :beamup:

Not yet... I haven't completed and filed the trademark forms yet... :lol:
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 10, 2018 3:13 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:...how will the expander know that piano stool squeaks arent actually harmonics on treble key notes?

Hopefully the unwanted squeaks will be sufficiently lower in level compared to the harmonics while playing to allow adequate threshold deteminations, but there will obviously be a crossover range where the expander will start to detract from the piano tone and speed the decay of notes. Hence my suggestion that it might help rather than cure...

Obviously the configuration need some experimentation and care to set up for optimal results, but I've used this arrangement a lot to help minimise the intrusion of unwanted background sounds in live broadcast/recording situations -- although not, I must say, for solo classical piano -- but I have used it in on-stage band situations very effectively.

The correct approach is obviously to replace or fix the squeaky bench... but over-the-top technological solutions to simple mechanical problems always seem more popular than the bleedin' obvious... so who am I to argue! :lol:

H
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat May 19, 2018 12:02 pm

baward wrote:Talcum powder removes problems with creaky wood joints.


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I had some residual creeks still. Opened up the wood frame by loosening the screws and put talcum powder in there - also where the legs are fastened to the frame. That worked great! Thanks for the tip.
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Re: How to tune up creeky piano bench for recording?

Postby baward » Sun May 20, 2018 10:21 am

DC-Choppah wrote:
baward wrote:Talcum powder removes problems with creaky wood joints.

I had some residual creeks still. Opened up the wood frame by loosening the screws and put talcum powder in there - also where the legs are fastened to the frame. That worked great! Thanks for the tip.

You're welcome! :thumbup:
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