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Any Tips/recommendations For Creating English Concertina Audios And/or


mrubin
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Hi,

 

I'm a former student of Boris Matusewitch, having studied with him from 1969-1971. Over the years, I have thoroughly enjoyed playing all the music I had received from Boris, supplemented by a large repertoire of classical music for violin. I've played for family, friends, colleagues at work, and public events and remember fondly the days when I played 1st and 2nd violin in string ensemble groups.

 

Today I would like to record many of the pieces I play, classical and popular, as audio and/or video files, to supplement the number of English Concertina classical music recordings on the web. Can anyone give me tips and recommendations on the best way to do this? I have an MS Windows computer, so my tools are currently limited to that operating system. Here are some questions:

  • To get the best quality recording, can I use the default music recorder application that comes with Windows, or should I be using some other software?
  • What is the best way to record a video of me playing the concertina? Is doing it at home sufficient, or is it best to do it in a hall that resonates? What is the best backdrop to reduce visual "noise"?
  • I'd like to offer the listener a copy of the music being played. Where is the best place on the web to store an image or PDF of the piece being played?
  • Where should I upload audios / videos to? concertina.net? YouTube? An online audio distribution web site like soundcloud.com?
  • Has this question been answered anywhere else in this forum?
  • Can you think of any other practical tips?

I'd really appreciate hearing practical tips and tricks from readers -- many thanks in advance!

 

Moshe Rubin

Jerusalem, Israel

 

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I'm far from an expert, but I have some opinions.

  • To get the best quality recording, can I use the default music recorder application that comes with Windows, or should I be using some other software?

For the best audio quality, I'd suggest buying a small, high quality recorder with XLR inputs - like the Zoom H4n - and two high quality mics. A single mic and a computer will just not give you the same quality.

  • What is the best way to record a video of me playing the concertina? Is doing it at home sufficient, or is it best to do it in a hall that resonates? What is the best backdrop to reduce visual "noise"?

I don't do much video, but I suspect the answer to your question is this: experiment. Try different settings and see what works best.

  • I'd like to offer the listener a copy of the music being played. Where is the best place on the web to store an image or PDF of the piece being played?

Probably Dropbox. Works well for PDFs, JPGs, as well as audio files.

  • Where should I upload audios / videos to? concertina.net? YouTube? An online audio distribution web site like soundcloud.com?

YouTube or Soundcloud seem like the best options. Set up your own channels so you can gather together your recordings.

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@Jim: Many thanks for your prompt reply. I'm a tyro when it comes to sound engineering, but your suggestion of the Zoom H4n, coupled with RatFace's delightful post, has opened a new world for me. Searching the web for a list of affordable and quality audio recorders found me this page on WireRealm.com, with the Zoom H4n getting hearty accolades. And thanks for the other suggestions, they'll certainly come in handy.

 

@RatFace: As I wrote to Jim, I found your post delightful. The idea of front-back versus left-right makes sense to me -- someone sitting to the left of a concertina player will get louder left-side notes than right-side ones. The photograph says it all, and adds information to boot: I see you have sound absorbing cushions behind each mike, presumably to prevent back echos (remember, I'm a sound recording tyro, so I might have the lingo wrong :) ). There are two devices on the floor in front of your fire place: what are they, and what are their functions?

 

Many thanks to you both,

 

Moshe

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The silver box is a DMP3 pre-amp, used to provide power to the mics and to combine the two signals to a single stereo signal.

 

The smaller black box is a Tascam DR-07 recorder. When using the internal mics it's not great quality, but when recording using the line input the quality is (I think) as good as anything significantly more expensive.

 

I can't comment on whether the quality of the pre-amps in the Zoom H4n is as good as the quality of an external pre-amp like the DMP3...

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Hi

 

Some nice thoughts from different people, I am in uk and also like to record both my EC and Melodeon, I use Audacity "which is freeware" and great @I don't have to sit in the hall to records@ it has all the effectS that you

could wanr, Echo Reverb ect., and all recorded on a cheap "supermarket microphone - Tescos/Walmart Technika Mike with foam hood £3.99 "about $4.00 I guess" plugs into mike socket on my PC, I have used a couple of

expensive "pro" mike but they were "crap" this setup does actually give me a true sound to my Brass Reeded EC , save and then export as MP3 and copy to CD welcome to my new album.

 

It does not have to be expensive equipment, because people want to hear the music and the sound, not how difficult or how much it cost to produce.

 

Regards to all, hey hope your all getting ready for your Xmas Albums

 

Regards Dave

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I'll second Jim's recommendation of a small recorder like the Zoom H4n (I have an older model Zoom H2 that's seen heavy duty), and just add that since you already have a computer, it's not even necessary to acquire a new, separate recording device, unless you want to maximize your mobility. The computer itself works quite nicely with the addition of an analog-to-digital interface into which you can plug your good microphones. There are dozens if not hundreds of these on the market; you'd just need to choose one with a couple of XLR inputs. After trying a number of makes and models over the years, I prefer this one for sound quality and simplicity of operation:

 

http://us.focusrite.com/ios-audio-interfaces-usb-audio-interfaces/itrack-solo

 

This particular model has only one XLR input, but there are other, more versatile models in the line. They have the added advantage of being optimized for use with an iPad, should you decide to go that route at some point. It's all I use for recording (and mixing/mastering) now.

 

Once your sound file is on the PC, whether you record it there directly or transfer it from another device, don't overlook (as voyager says) the free program Audacity for editing and enhancing it. It's powerful, versatile, and even fairly intuitive as such things go.

 

Regarding your recording environment, once more Jim gives good advice. You can do a lot with mic placement and subtle sound treatments to make nearly any room in your house a passable studio, but in the end your ear has to be your guide. Of course a room with excellent acoustics will produce the best results, but a judicious amount of reverb and other effects can be added in postprocessing on the computer.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel
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@mrubin:

Moshe, I salute your endeavors and look forward to the results. I can't answer all your questions am no expert on the rest but can toss in something that might be work considering.

 

To get the best quality recording, can I use the default music recorder application that comes with Windows, or should I be using some other software?

What is the best way to record a video of me playing the concertina? Is doing it at home sufficient, or is it best to do it in a hall that resonates? What is the best backdrop to reduce visual "noise"?

This is a complex question.... First off, let's consider the end product. If you want to post videos on YouTube, understand that system pares down quality to below what any decent modern video camera is capable of recording. Thus, there's no need to get any fancier than any decent modern video camera with built-in microphone. Even a little GoPro will be more than enough for the job.

Which brings up the next point. The quality of the recording is dependent on the hardware used to record it. The sound system of your computer only matters for playback of the finished product. And I HIGHLY recommend using a video camera with its own microphone (built-in or, if you want to spend the extra money for not much return on quality) a plug-in microphone for it. That way, the video and audio tracks are synched up properly and automatically, without you having to fit separate video and audio tracks together during editing.

As to recording venue, that's personal preference. I prefer the great outdoors myself. That way there's no echo. If it's windy out, however, you'll need a wind shield on the microphone. And if the camera is in the shade pointing at sunlight, or you're in the shade with sunlight behind you, you'll want a polarizing filter on the camera lens. If you're indoors, you won't need either of those attachments, but you'll have to find a room where the sound seems best to you. Folks here make videos in their kitchens a lot :).

But really, making the recording is the easy part. The tricky part is editing the recording prior to publishing it. But OTOH, that's not really a big deal, either, because the editing software that comes with modern cameras is pretty easy to use. Besides, you shouldn't be having to make any major changes. Just cutting off the ends where you're leaning over to turn the camera on and off, maybe increasing the volume of the sound track if you find it too quiet in places, etc.

  •  

    I'd like to offer the listener a copy of the music being played. Where is the best place on the web to store an image or PDF of the piece being played?
  • Where should I upload audios / videos to? concertina.net? YouTube? An online audio distribution web site like soundcloud.com?

Flikr does a good job with pictures. It also does videos but I think specialized video-hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo make the videos more accessible. For PDF files, I recommend Dropbox. Don't put videos or sound files in Dropbox, however.

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Whatever you do, resist the urge to place mikes on either side for maximum stereo separation - I had a recording engineer do this once for his initial setup, and although it wouldn't be too bad for an Anglo, for EC the playback felt like being hit on both sides of the head with a ball peen hammer!

Gary

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Hi

 

Some nice thoughts from different people, I am in uk and also like to record both my EC and Melodeon, I use Audacity "which is freeware" and great @I don't have to sit in the hall to records@ it has all the effectS that you

could wanr, Echo Reverb ect., and all recorded on a cheap "supermarket microphone - Tescos/Walmart Technika Mike with foam hood £3.99 "about $4.00 I guess" plugs into mike socket on my PC, I have used a couple of

expensive "pro" mike but they were "crap" this setup does actually give me a true sound to my Brass Reeded EC , save and then export as MP3 and copy to CD welcome to my new album.

 

It does not have to be expensive equipment, because people want to hear the music and the sound, not how difficult or how much it cost to produce.

 

Regards to all, hey hope your all getting ready for your Xmas Albums

 

Regards Dave

 

Hi Dave,

 

Many thanks for the interesting response that one can get satisfactory results with inexpensive equipment. I have used Audacity in the past so I'm cool with that. I am curious: do you feel you need a mike pre-amp?

 

Thanks,

 

Moshe

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Moshe

 

If you want to make some recordings to leave as part of your legacy then have you considered using a professional studio so that you can focus on your performance and leave the technical details to a sound man? (Or a sound woman for that matter, but that is unusual).

 

I don't know about Jerusalem, but most towns have small studios. If you attend a concert and like the sound then go and talk to the sound engineer on the boards - they usually love to talk about what they do. I tell them that they are really a member of the band then they usually open right up.

 

Don.

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@Bullethead:

 

I thank you for the encouragement! I think you guys on this web site are doing wonderful work and I'd like to be part of it. Your post is chock-full of great points, specifically re videoing -- many thanks.

 

Moshe

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Moshe

 

If you want to make some recordings to leave as part of your legacy then have you considered using a professional studio so that you can focus on your performance and leave the technical details to a sound man? (Or a sound woman for that matter, but that is unusual).

 

I don't know about Jerusalem, but most towns have small studios. If you attend a concert and like the sound then go and talk to the sound engineer on the boards - they usually love to talk about what they do. I tell them that they are really a member of the band then they usually open right up.

 

Don.

 

Hi Don,

 

Very interesting alternative! Although it would incur a cost, it would certainly solve many technical issues. I don't flatter myself that I"m on a professional level, but the idea is an excellent one.

 

Many thanks!

 

Moshe

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Whatever you do, resist the urge to place mikes on either side for maximum stereo separation - I had a recording engineer do this once for his initial setup, and although it wouldn't be too bad for an Anglo, for EC the playback felt like being hit on both sides of the head with a ball peen hammer!

Gary

 

Hi Gary,

 

I think is what RatFace was suggesting above -- great minds think alike!

 

Thanks,

 

Moshe

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@Bob: Great post, lots of practical information. Searching for PC alternatives to iTrack Solo found several software product, although the reviews admitted they were not as visually elegant as iTrack Solo. Such an application would enable me to record duets with myself.

 

A big thanks,

 

Moshe

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I do songs with concer accompaniment and have found the best solution for me is to have the mic about half a meter directly in front but angled up towards my voice. I'm using a reasonable quality mic, a Sennheiser Mk4 condenser so I have to put it through a mixer as it needs phantom power. Then into the computer where I use Cooledit, similar to Audicity. For video you have to sync but that's not hard, just do the clap at the beginning then edit it out.

 

Works well enough for me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLyUNv6bxPo

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I do songs with concer accompaniment and have found the best solution for me is to have the mic about half a meter directly in front but angled up towards my voice. I'm using a reasonable quality mic, a Sennheiser Mk4 condenser so I have to put it through a mixer as it needs phantom power. Then into the computer where I use Cooledit, similar to Audicity. For video you have to sync but that's not hard, just do the clap at the beginning then edit it out.

 

Works well enough for me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLyUNv6bxPo

 

Hi Steve,

 

Your YouTube videos are excellently done and entertaining -- nice tips on making them. You even got two likes from me! :)

 

Thanks!

 

Moshe

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