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Jim's Bach Bouree Project Blog
Creating a Violin & Piano Duet
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (53 votes) 
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Jim Dunleavy
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January 16, 2022 - 8:36 am
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Right: so this should be the final test before getting the proper mics and audio interface set up with my laptop to capture high quality sound.

So this test has:

- Freshly tuned piano
- Violin part recorded with metronome at 112
- Piano part played while listening to violin part with metronome in my ears

Definitely needs to be a bit brisker I think.

It's quite a chore carrying all the necessary audio gear downstairs and it takes up a lot of space in the dining room (therefore making me somewhat unpopular) so I will have to pick my time when it causes the least household disruption. Then there's quite a lengthy editing process while I match up the video clips with the separate audio.

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Mouse
January 16, 2022 - 8:53 am
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Very nice.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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ABitRusty
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January 16, 2022 - 10:57 am
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Jim great playing and the recording sounds very warm for lack of better word..  so whatever youre doing on mic levels and such its perfect.   great job and glad youve went through the trouble to do this and share.

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SharonC
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January 16, 2022 - 8:45 pm
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@Jim Dunleavy  Great playing on both instruments! You’ve got the page turning edits right on!  The audio is sounding pretty good right now--

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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Mark
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January 16, 2022 - 9:16 pm
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Jim Dunleavy

For a test run that was very good, looking forward to the final take.

Thanks for allowing us to watch this process.

 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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ELCBK
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January 16, 2022 - 9:33 pm
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@Jim Dunleavy -

 I can see where you might be happier at 116 BPM, otherwise sounds FABULOUS! 🤗

- Emily

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JohnG
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January 16, 2022 - 10:07 pm
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Love the way this is coming together. AND, the piano sounds great after your work in tuning.

The old curmudgeon!

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Jim Dunleavy
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January 17, 2022 - 7:28 am
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Thanks all.

Here's a few pics of the gear I'll be using to record the main event:-

1. A pair of Rhode NT5s with omni capsules. For the piano these will be in AB configuration as shown - this gives a nice spacious sound. For the violin, I might do the same, or I might try using an XY configuration with the cardiod capsules for those mics; allegedly you get a more focussed sound that way, but you can lose the bass if you're too far away from the mics. - I might do a few tests to see if it's worth bothering first.

Microphones.jpgImage Enlarger

2. Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface. The mics plug into this, and it provides the phantom power they need as well as having high quality preamps (well, it's hobby grade really, but they're pretty good for the price and more that adequate for what I'm doing). I'll use my laptop to power the interface up and record onto.

Audio-Interface.jpgImage Enlarger

3. My trusty old Canon HV30. It only does HDV, which is a bit compromised compared to full HD but the optics are great and I know where I'm at with it. It records on mini DV tapes!

Camcorder.jpgImage Enlarger

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Jim Dunleavy
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January 17, 2022 - 7:30 am
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Does anyone know if there's a way of stopping the text wrapping round your photos on here? It makes the post a bit confusing.

EDIT: sorted, thanks to @ELCBK  !

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ABitRusty
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January 17, 2022 - 8:42 am
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Jim.. tapes! i didnt know you could even find these anymore.  It looks like in the transfer to youtube somewhere its scaling up to 1080p anyway so no loss.  The picture thing is something thats annoying for me.  I havent spent much time trying to figure out so Ill be watching for a solution there.

I was going to purchase a stereo set of the NT5's but about the time I went to purchase sweetwater had a sale on a pair of lauten's.  pretty much same mic though.  Theres times i think i shouldve just got the nt5's.  I think the stereo works best for the backing instrument..and with a real piano probably a must.  Thats the one thing about setting up to record that can be a pain for me with a stereo track is placement.  especially since I tend to move around too much.  ill pull up a phase meter plugin which is usually included in a daw and strum a few times with headphones while listening and watching meter....trying not to go negative or to the left on my particular meter.  Like I said youre recording is sounding really good so all thats not intended as advice just sharing experience for anyone else reading.   That seemed related at the moment and certainly not trying to derail your post.  

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ELCBK
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January 17, 2022 - 1:32 pm
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@Jim Dunleavy -

Text/page layout has been my nemesis, since each post automatically tries to conserve space. 

Try this:

  1. click on 'Edit' to reopen your post 
  2. click on your 1st attached photo to highlight 
  3. click on 'Align center' in tool box - this will center it, but may not appear done until after you completely finish and 'Save Edited Post' - so just continue on like it happened... 
  4. click on next space to un-highlight your attachment & hit 'Enter' to start a new line 
  5. highlight/copy/paste your next group of text - you may not have to highlight and 'Align center' this group of text, but may be more visually appealing to do so - if it's only a small number of words. 
  6. hit 'Enter' to start a new line
  7. click on your next attachment to highlight
  8. repeat from No.3 (above), click on 'Align center', etc... 

Don't forget the 'Undo' arrow up in the tool box - use if you accidentally lose something.

Best of luck in trying to decipher my instructions. 🥴

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Jim Dunleavy
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January 17, 2022 - 1:43 pm
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@ELCBK  - Thankyou! I'd tried all sort of formatting without success, but I must have missed that one.

 

@ABitRusty  - Yep, tapes still exist (or at least they did a few years ago, so I bought a couple of packs of them), and still work fine (fingers crossed!).

Don't worry about derailing the thread - it's all relevant to making a recording. I'm not familiar with the Lautens; at the time I bought them, the NT5s were about the only thing in my budget that people on recording forums seemed to think were decent for the money; I'm pretty happy with them. Note though, that all the recordings on this thread so far were made with the video cam internal mics. I have a few recordings of the piano I did shortly after I rebuilt it on Soundcloud; those were done using the set up I described above - if you're interested, this is an example: 

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ABitRusty
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January 17, 2022 - 4:44 pm
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i listened through my phone speakers but yeah your piano playing blew me away and the mics make a difference.  youre gonna make a wonderful recording when its said and done with that setup!

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Jim Dunleavy
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January 18, 2022 - 6:03 am
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Thanks @ABitRusty . I wish I could still play all that stuff - I've neglected the piano since I got my back trouble.

I never got satisfactory results using the original cardioid capsules (bass was always lacking) for those mics so I bought the omni capsules; it made a huge difference.

If I'm fit enough this afternoon I'm going to try a comparison between the capsules and stereo configuration for recording violin. I'll post my results once they're all done and edited together.

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Jim Dunleavy
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January 18, 2022 - 1:48 pm
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Here's the result of my sound test.

I tested omnidirectional mics in AB configuration against cardioid mics in XY configuration.

If you skip to 5:55 there are some direct A-B comparisons of the two configurations.

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Mark
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January 18, 2022 - 3:31 pm
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Jim,

Great comparison, 

While the camera mic is not bad, a little chocked sounding, the other two are noticeably better.

If your looking for an opinion the cardioid X-Y configuration was the winner in my book, it was just a bit warmer all around with good clarity and definition. That's listing with ear phones. Either way will be a great recording. 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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ABitRusty
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January 18, 2022 - 9:34 pm
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Jim I think Im liking the sound of the xy config better but only slightly.  Maybe a little more warm but at the same time seems more open sounding.  I have omni capsules with the lautens but havent tried them.  Stereo seems tricky to record but Im right with you on seeing whats what and how it all works.  Very interesting to me and youve done a great job setting up the comparison video.  I think it will be helpful to people.  Good idea and fun project to follow.

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ELCBK
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January 19, 2022 - 1:42 am
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Well, it just goes to show how bad my ears are - Camera mic & XY crossed, sounded equally great. 

What I don't understand why stereo isn't recorded with 2 mic MUCH farther apart.  My thinking is do we listen to 2 good stereo speakers right next to each other? 

...I'm sooo confused. 🥴

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Jim Dunleavy
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January 19, 2022 - 5:57 am
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Thanks for the comments on my little comparison guys.

Emily, I don't have a firm grasp of the theory of stereo sound, but my understanding is that with AB miking it's not about the distance between the speakers (which could be anything from a few inches to many yards - the recording engineer has no control over that) but about the width of the sound source being recorded. The wider the source the wider the spacing of the mics needs to be; eg an orchestra they would be widely spaced, a string quartet (say) medium spaced and a single instrument just a few inches apart (mine are 6 inches apart as it happens).

I deliberately didn't give my opinion on the results before so it wouldn't prejudice anyone else's opinion, but I actually had a hard time telling them apart. If anything, the XY config gave (I thought) a more spacially focussed sound, with the AB spreading the sound out across the stereo field more. However that's the textbook result, so I might be imagining that because I know that's how it's supposed to be.

When I used the omni XY config on my piano the results were very disappointing, with poor bass response; when I bought the omni capsules and tried those, it was like chalk and cheese. But of course the violin only goes down to a G, while the piano goes down almost another 3 octaves below that (and that's where the problem was for XY recording of the piano).

The camera mics are pretty good for what they are (they're condenser mics) but the main drawback with them is it's not usually possible to get them in the ideal place - they need to go where the camera goes, which is more about getting the picture right.

Anyway, all very interesting and I enjoyed doing it.

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ABitRusty
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January 19, 2022 - 5:57 pm
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ELCBK said
Well, it just goes to show how bad my ears are - Camera mic & XY crossed, sounded equally great. 

What I don't understand why stereo isn't recorded with 2 mic MUCH farther apart.  My thinking is do we listen to 2 good stereo speakers right next to each other? 

...I'm sooo confused. 🥴

  

you can start getting an effect where the sound to one mic is delayed enough in comparison to the other that you can cancel out each other and get some weird filtering type sound. plus youll start picking up room acoustics.   good thing in a big concert hall...could be a bad thing in a converted basement or bedroom..   Not to derail conversation but if you want to learn more do a youtube search on fabfilter stereo..  they have some great training/marketing type vids.   alot will present a problem and then show how their stuff solves it...but still informative.  kinda like a bbc documenatry with a sales pitch included.

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