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Hi,

 

I'm doing research on the english concertina and need some information about the physics and sound creation on a concertina. I would also like to read some views on concertina recording thechniques.

 

Can anyone help?

 

Thankyou.

Edited by Simon Alves
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Your question is a little vague and you do not say if you play the concertina so where do you require us to start.Assuming you know nothing, the recording of playing on an English Concertina would be the same as any concertina.

The concertina being played with bellows in and out means that the mikes one each end are not placed too close to the concertina, as when the bellows are extended the sound will be loud and alternativly when the bellows are closed the sound will be quieter.Two good quality mikes placed about 500mm away from the ends would be about right.

The reeds design and construction and how they work are covered in various places on this site.

If you come back with specific details there are a number of people who will help you further.

Al

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Thankyou for your reply Alan Day,

 

I'm sorry I was a bit vague so I'll be more specific.

I'm a recording technitian and I have some work coming up where I will be recording an english concertina. Because I never recorded a concertina before I was doing some research and found this wonderful site.

I would like to try several different recording techniques to test different sound quality.

 

Thanks in advance for any other replies.

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I would like to try several different recording techniques to test different sound quality.

 

Another approach worth trying is to place a stereo mic in front of the concertina, and a similar distance away to that suggested by Alan.

 

Keyboard rattles can seem more pronounced on a recording. That effect can also be reduced by a bit of distance between mic and concertina.

 

Theo

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Simon,

You may want to check "Miking Concertinas" on the concertina FAQ web site: http://www.concertina.info/ - I have experienced good results with the the single mic technique outlined there, and with two mic technique as suggested by Alan.

 

Also consider checking the discussion topic: "Recording Technique....Suggestions?" under General Concertina Discussion in this forum.

 

For mic-ing in a live performance, my preference is the Microvox system: www.microvox.com - this is one example of available systems. My second choice in a live situation would be to use two microphones as suggested by Alan.

 

After your recording session, we'll be interested to hear what worked best for you.

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For mic-ing in a live performance, my preference is the Microvox system: www.microvox.com - this is one example of available systems.

 

My experience of Microvox in live situations is poor. I do sound for our band and two band members use microvox, one on concertina, one on fiddle. The pre-amp boxes are a constant source of trouble from poor connections. That said they are cheap, and I suppose you get what you pay for.

 

Certainly go for instrument mounted mics, but unless you already have Microvox kit, look for something else.

 

Theo

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There are several factors to consider. As Alan mentioned, having two mikes, one at each end creates potential problems, because, most players (anglo players at least) move one end and the other end is stationary. That means that at times, one end of the concertina is further away from its mike than the other end, causing uneven sound. One really good mike, somewhere at the centre can work really well. This is what we used for the "Bridges" recording. With the mike we used for that recording it was placed about six inches away and a bit below the bellows for the best sound. For the most recent recording ( for the concertina project CD) one mike was again used, but because of its sensitivity it was about two feet above the centre of the concertina. The resulting recording quality was great. I'm sorry that I don't know the kinds of mikes used in each case, but when I play out, I use one Shure Beta 56. One mike at the centre also seems to lessen button and mechanism noise.

Edited by Frank Edgley
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There are several factors to consider. As Alan mentioned, having two mikes, one at each end creates potential problems, because, most players (anglo players at least) move one end and the other end is stationary. That means that at times, one end of the concertina is further away from its mike than the other end, causing uneven sound. One really good mike, somewhere at the centre can work really well.

I agree with this. Another disadvantage of two mikes is that you end up being very aware of the mikes as you play, which can be very distracting, or so we found the first time we were miked up that way. We never let there be a second time ...

 

When we recorded, the engineer used a really high quality mike for each of us positioned about three feet away. We were happy with the sound, but then Doug had been recording concertinas for years.

 

Chris

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I would chime in with both Chris and Frank. I have moved to the use of single mic for performances for my band (four instruments and voices) and have found the recordings made from the live situations very satisfactory.

 

To record for posterity I am leaning toward aquiring another Shure and set them up as suggested at 3 feet from us and 3 feet apart so that a proper stereo effect can be achieved. I'm now at home and don't remember the model Shure I use, but it's very clean and powerful (takes a pre-amp).

 

The clacking and tapping on certian recordings with the close mics on each end disturbs me. My oppinion is that this technique has mared an otherwise wonderful recording Big Day In.

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Perhaps I have been lucky, in light of others' reports. I have been routinely using three Microvox preamps at once (for an English, a duet, and a button accordion). I had to solder the nut on the back of one phono connector to keep it from loosening, but I have not personally encountered other connection problems.

 

I probably should have written that in less favorable acoustic situations I prefer contact microphones over stationary microphones. Microvox is the only system that I have experienced.

 

Regarding uneven loudness due to movement when close-mic-ing: for me, close-mic-ing with only one stationary microphone causes even greater problems than close-mic-ing with two.

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The best recording I ever made of a concertina used a directional stereo mike placed a few feet in front of the concertina player.

 

But, this was in a big empty square room, so that the sound from both ends must have been reflecting off the walls and back to the mic.

 

Caj

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Thankyou all for the help. I tested your suggestions and arrived to the following considerations:

 

1 - Recorded placing a mike in front of the concetina

2 - Recorded placing 2 mikes, one at each end

3 - Recorded using Microvox system

4 - Recorded using techniques 1 and 2 at the same time to then mix them together

 

The recording with only 1 mike was quite good and "balanced", although I did think it made it loose a bit of characteristic in a dynamics point of view.

The recording with 2 mikes was quite good but very difficult to deal with afterwards since there are considerable changes in the amplitude of recording, needing a good amount of effects.

The microvox system (if it doesn't fail during the recording) is probably one of the best solutions since it keeps quite truthful to what the player played, but has the disavantage of not being able to use the acoustical properties of the room where it is recorded. (I would probably use this system for live performances).

When combining techniques 1 and 2 together I got a very rewarding result; I mixed the recordings together and got a stable balanced sound, but still with all the dynamic variations technique 1 lacked. (Created a stereo impression by using the 2 end mikes as left and right mixed with the central recording in each. Allows some movement of the sound in the stereo spectrum but without exagerating)

 

So for personal or studio recordings I would recomend no 4, and for live no 3. While recording in the studio AKG condenser mikes worked better for me.

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Aiyee! I had that one coming Stephen! The photographer was leaning a bit. Guess she thought that was being "edgy".

 

I've yet to hear the recording of this concert. I'll then be able to tell about balance. The trouble we have encountered is that both "Tina", the "Sunflower" and my voice are very present in relation to my compadres. On all my backup stuff on both instrument I have to dance away and stand as far back as possible.

 

For balance I show me an' the Sunflower. While looking unhinged, I promise I was not slobberin'!

Edited by Mark Evans
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