The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > RECORD

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
  #31  
Old 09-02-2013, 09:09 AM
Ty Ford Ty Ford is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 1,332
Default

I think -6dB peaks are quite acceptable unless you're trying to record at 8-bit and God help you if you are!
One inadvertent smack and you've flatlined.

Regards,

Ty Ford
  #32  
Old 09-02-2013, 10:13 AM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Posts: 3,411
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gcunplugged View Post
OK, I'm restating my goal, and that is to achieve a clean sounding recorded acoustic guitar, primarily played finger style....

Taking advice from this thread, I broke out the pair of dynamic mics I had on hand, rigged up (an ugly) stand, piped them through a mixer, and into the Q3HD. In my opinion, that is already better than anything I've done previously. Tomorrow I'm headed to the store in hopes of finding something that will allow better placement of the mics. Maybe a drum mic stand per Doug's advice.

...
Another minor shortcoming of the Zoom is that you can't see the meters while recording.

Anyway, I feel like I made progress today, and will continue to incorporate advice found here as time and budget allow.
GC
I agree that you've made real progress.

Being a solo self-recordist or self-videographer is often an exercise in patience. Lots of moving things around and setting things up for the big moment. One trick I use is to place the camera right next to me with the rear screen visible while I adjust the mic position and preamp gain.

Then for framing the video I position a boom mic stand so it "stands in" for my guitar, that is, I place it where the guitar will be when I'm shooting the video. This lets me move the camera to the optimum location with a minimum of trial and error. It doesn't have to be a mic stand, anything that gives an accurate visualization of the subject does the job.

These two tricks have helped me get better video and audio with a little less stress.

Fran
  #33  
Old 09-02-2013, 10:56 AM
JanVigne JanVigne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 960
Default

"I think -6dB peaks are quite acceptable unless you're trying to record at 8-bit and God help you if you are!
One inadvertent smack and you've flatlined."




Nothing will be harmed if the op experiments with levels. It's just an experimental recording, nothing being saved for posterity. If the result of a lower recording level is the need to boost the levels in post recording work and the SN ratio suffers (as it does IMO in the samples provided), then what has been gained by the lower recording level in the first place?

The idea is to experiment. Find out what works for your equipment and your ears. If the recording quality is trash, throw away the recording. I see nothing in the recordings provided which represents wide dynamic swings - quite the opposite. No low bass, no extreme highs which could overdrive the inputs. Push the recorder and determine what's best suited for the situation. A touch of soft compression should make the higher levels safe for any recorder. The idea is to learn from both your mistakes and your success.

It's all an experiment at this point. No studio costs, no engineering hours on the clock, no tape to waste. Hit "Delete" and try again. It even seems silly to argue about.
  #34  
Old 09-02-2013, 10:58 AM
Doug Young's Avatar
Doug Young Doug Young is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 6,636
Default

The -6db isn't a magic number, but it's a good idea to leave some headroom. There's no way you can pre-set record levels to be absolutely sure you'll hit 0 db when you play, and even the tiniest digital "over" is bad news. The idea that you should record as hot as possible came from the days of tape, and still permeates our subconcious. Tape had self-noise, so you needed to print as loud a signal as possible to overcome that. No such issue with digital, and you can record quite low and still have more dynamic range than you will ever need, especially for solo guitar Leaving some space allows for adding things during the mix - EQ, reverb, etc, and gives the mastering engineer (even if that's you) some room to work. Leaving some space also allows for an unexpected loud note, squeak, etc, during performance. 6db isn't even all that much space for such things. On the other hand, extremely low levels like the raw take here, are just a pain to work with, even if you technically still have enough dynamic range left. Just record with a nice healthy level, but making sure you allow for an unexpected loud note to not go over the top.
__________________
Doug Young
----------------
Music on Pandora
You Tube Channel
website: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com
Fingerstyle Christmas Tunes: A DADGAD Christmas
CDs: Closing Time, Laurel Mill
Pickup tests: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/pickuptests/
  #35  
Old 09-02-2013, 02:58 PM
JanVigne JanVigne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 960
Default

It does seem silly to debate this when hands on experimentation would give the best answer.



"you can record quite low and still have more dynamic range than you will ever need, especially for solo guitar."




Exactly! What dynamic range are we talking about here? Did you hear a large dynamic peak I missed in those recordings?

IMO there's no need to allow extra "headroom" in this type of recording. The program material is well known and there should be no surprises. If an "unexpected loud note, squeak, etc, during performance", stop and start the recording over in this situation. No one is charging $200 studio time. No one is waiting to pick up the op in a limo for his performance tonight. The program material is very limited in dynamic range and there's no need to give a cushion for the unexpected. Let the op experiment and learn from what he hears. There are times to raise levels and times to play it safe. I see no real need to be overly cautious in this situation.


"6db isn't even all that much space for such things."


Well, it is four times as much power to reproduce, which means it's also four times as much system noise in the recording when the levels must be boosted. Digital may overload quickly after it reaches its limits but many systems make concessions for this and provide a built in cushion for levels. Unless you know the actual point where overload occurs in this system, you could be telling the op to record at much less than -6dB peaks. No need to play it extremely safe with such systems with a solo guitar as the signal source. Allow the op to experiment and determine where to set levels.



Digital does include dither which essentially throws away several bits of data. Keeping peaks to no more than a true -6dB would be a waste of digital's good points. When the signal falls into the range of the least significant bit, the information can be lost. Subtleties in performance can be lost in the self noise of the digital system. Raise 'em! Raise the levels and determine for yourself what's good and bad. That's the point. Experiment! Just always make comparisons at equal levels to have a fair comparison.





"The idea that you should record as hot as possible came from the days of tape, and still permeates our subconcious. Tape had self-noise, so you needed to print as loud a signal as possible to overcome that."


Analog tape and recording circuits tended to overloaded gently, rather like a good tube amp, and levels could be run above 0dB for momentary bursts. There's nothing "subconscious" about it. It's an audible difference between the two formats and one that makes digital less desirable to some listeners. Which is the superior media is not the point here. Experimentation is.

What does the op have to lose by trying higher levels?

Nothing that I can see. And he has the advantage of reducing system noise in his final product. Or, am I mistaken and the system noise in the second recording didn't bother anyone? To argue against even trying to push the recorder is IMO really ridiculous. I don't think we're trying to teach the op how to be a studio engineer, just how to make decent recordings with his own equipment.




Apply a bit of compression to the peak levels f you are pushing the recording and there is nothing that will exceed the system's limits. Mild compression is undetectable and often used in recording situations where ""unexpected loud note, squeak, etc, during performance" might occur. If you find it objectionable, lower the levels and try again. The point is to learn about your system's capabilities.

Really, guys! what is the harm is allowing - even encouraging - the op to experiment with his system?
  #36  
Old 09-02-2013, 03:34 PM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 12,465
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JanVigne View Post
Really, guys! what is the harm is allowing - even encouraging - the op to experiment with his system?
Very true, and I often suggest to "just try it", though there is no reason to reinvent the wheel and ignore the advice of others who have been there already. BTW Jan, if you have made any acoustic guitar recordings, post a sample. I'd like to hear it.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
  #37  
Old 09-02-2013, 03:34 PM
Doug Young's Avatar
Doug Young Doug Young is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 6,636
Default

Experimentation is great! I don't think anyone is suggesting otherwise. My only suggestion was to try to get more levels than he has. It's also reasonable to try to leave a little room so you don't accidently run over, and also to allow you to easily add a few db of EQ if needed.

But it's just a suggestion, if someone wants to try to nail 0db perfectly, then by all means, go for it. In my experience, -6db is a nice middle ground. It works well, it allows for the occaisonal louder-than expected note, I've had it requested by mastering engineers, etc. But in recording, there are no rules. I was sharing what has worked well for me, but your mileage may vary,and by all means, try *everything* if you have the time. You'll learn what works for you instead of for someone else. However, I'm not sure where all this noise you're worrying about will come from - there's no noise in the digital storage medium, and the digital processing to raise the level won't add any noise - it's just doing some math. Even with the example low-level recording, I suspect the noise is coming from the way it was processed. I can raise that signal without adding any noise. I'd just rather not have to.
__________________
Doug Young
----------------
Music on Pandora
You Tube Channel
website: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com
Fingerstyle Christmas Tunes: A DADGAD Christmas
CDs: Closing Time, Laurel Mill
Pickup tests: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/pickuptests/
  #38  
Old 09-02-2013, 04:19 PM
Gcunplugged Gcunplugged is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 566
Default

OK, for those who aren't tired of my posts yet, here's today's effort. But first a little explanation.

1) I knew the input signal was weak, yielding a bad signal-to-noise ratio. But didn't realize how bad because I couldn't see the back of the Q3HD to view the meters. Good suggestion from Fran on that subject

2) Today, I got rid of the Frankenstand, and introduced boom stands allowing me to easily get the mics closer. Yesterday the stands were 18-24 inches away, and too wide. Today, I have them about 12 inches away and aimed at the Bridge, and neck-to-body joint respectively.

3) I cranked the mixer signals to the max and barely got up to -6db on a loud strum, which as has been witnessed, I don't do doing normal playing. Time to borrow a mic from a friend to determine where the problem is on that front.

Anyway, I didn't want to change too many things at once, so to summarize, today I moved the mics closer, and cranked up the mixer to get as much gain as possible.

Here are the results:

Raw: http://gc-unplugged.com/music/DynMic...aw-VAOM-06.mp4

Mastered: http://gc-unplugged.com/music/DynMic...ed-VAOM-06.mp4

So yes, I realize the input signal is still too weak, just not sure what to do about it, but also didn't want to change anything in the mic input signal chain yet.

From a sound quality standpoint, where yesterday's was bright, and almost brittle sounding, today's is dark, muffled, and muddy. And the Guitar is a Voyage Air VAOM-06, which is actually pretty bright.

Tomorrow, it's back to the day job, but I certainly see the vast difference mic placement makes, and will be looking for something in between the two setups when time allows. Just need next weekend to get here quick so I can continue experimenting

Thanks again for all the advice, and patience!
GC
p.s. And the H4n is starting to look attractive for Christmas as well...
  #39  
Old 09-02-2013, 04:24 PM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 12,465
Default

To the original poster, GC:
I thought your slack key recording you posted on the Show and Tell is the best sounding of the bunch.

Here is the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04Jte1N1Xss


Sounds fine. Mikes seem to love the lower frequencies and the guitar recorded nicely also. So it's the player, the guitar, the particularities of the music, the gear and setup. Oh, and the playback system and the listener.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
  #40  
Old 09-02-2013, 05:07 PM
Gcunplugged Gcunplugged is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 566
Default

Thanks Rick!

I didn't post that one here because I changed guitars, and in this thread, I was following the mantra to isolate the recording equipment and not introduce other variables.

But I also thought it was the best of the bunch. I used a Martin 000-28EC on the slack key number. And in this thread, I am sticking with my Voyage Air VAOM-06 for consistency. The VA is the brighter of the two by far.

Anyway, I absolutely agree with your statement about all the variables. The slack key tune is mastered for PC audio, with junk tiny speakers. I played it back on my stereo and it was bass-heavy.

GC
  #41  
Old 09-02-2013, 05:15 PM
rick-slo's Avatar
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 12,465
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gcunplugged View Post
Thanks Rick!
Anyway, I absolutely agree with your statement about all the variables. The slack key tune is mastered for PC audio, with junk tiny speakers. I played it back on my stereo and it was bass-heavy.
GC
Yeah, that's why I added my comment about playback systems. I listened with Grado SR325i headphones which are quite detailed and transparent. It could come across as bass-heavy and a little lacking in open air on other playback systems. It is an area where you could do some post recording equalization to help out - but that's a topic for another thread.
__________________
Derek Coombs
Website -> Music -> Tabs -> CDs and Youtube
Guitars by Mark Blanchard, Albert&Mueller, Paul Woolson, Collings, Composite Acoustics, and Derek Coombs
  #42  
Old 09-02-2013, 05:28 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Posts: 3,411
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gcunplugged View Post
...

3) I cranked the mixer signals to the max and barely got up to -6db on a loud strum, which as has been witnessed, I don't do doing normal playing. Time to borrow a mic from a friend to determine where the problem is on that front.
It's not a "problem" really, it's an application issue. The information you need is in the specifications of the mics. Condenser mics are as a class much higher in sensitivity than dynamics. This large difference in sensitivity makes a large difference in recorded level.

I think that the wide availability of low cost condenser mics is nearly as important as digital recording in making home recording so compelling. When condensers first became widely available they cost as much as a car. Now they cost less than a meal in a fancy San Francisco restaurant.

Quote:
Anyway, I didn't want to change too many things at once, so to summarize, today I moved the mics closer, and cranked up the mixer to get as much gain as possible.

Here are the results:

Raw: http://gc-unplugged.com/music/DynMic...aw-VAOM-06.mp4

Mastered: http://gc-unplugged.com/music/DynMic...ed-VAOM-06.mp4

So yes, I realize the input signal is still too weak, just not sure what to do about it, but also didn't want to change anything in the mic input signal chain yet.

From a sound quality standpoint, where yesterday's was bright, and almost brittle sounding, today's is dark, muffled, and muddy. And the Guitar is a Voyage Air VAOM-06, which is actually pretty bright.
Actually the first clip when I listened is played on a Martin and is a different tune than the mastered clip. And this one sounds much better than the "mastered" one. I really recommend abandoning your current software and trying some new approach to post production.

Quote:
Tomorrow, it's back to the day job, but I certainly see the vast difference mic placement makes, and will be looking for something in between the two setups when time allows. Just need next weekend to get here quick so I can continue experimenting

Thanks again for all the advice, and patience!
GC
p.s. And the H4n is starting to look attractive for Christmas as well...
I strongly recommend holding out for the H6 instead of the H4n.

Fran
  #43  
Old 09-02-2013, 09:25 PM
JanVigne JanVigne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 960
Default

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=301659
  #44  
Old 09-03-2013, 06:21 AM
adventureboy adventureboy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 66
Default

I've used both LDC and SDC. I started out with two Rode NT1A's (LDC's) and had no end of problems, positioning moving here and there, far and near for weeks on end. I finally dumped them and got a pair of Oktava MK012's (SDC's) and they are a dream to work with. I don't use any science to set them up, I just place them approximately a foot away in XY and they give nice results every time with my Seagull S6. I'm just a basic home recordist and I use a budget Focusrite preamp
  #45  
Old 09-03-2013, 06:55 AM
Luke W Luke W is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Northamptonshire, UK
Posts: 127
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JanVigne View Post
Nothing will be harmed if the op experiments with levels. It's just an experimental recording, nothing being saved for posterity. If the result of a lower recording level is the need to boost the levels in post recording work and the SN ratio suffers (as it does IMO in the samples provided), then what has been gained by the lower recording level in the first place?
I'm sure its been mentioned, but the reasoning is that with most recording rigs now being digital 24 bit systems, theres enough headroom and low enough noise floors to run slightly lower levels as they can be boosted after recording, whereas as soon as signal goes above 0dbfs, it will clip and cannot be recovered.

In practice, setting the gain so that you're right on the limit could mean that one sudden increase in volume while recording could end up ruining an otherwise good take.

Recording a really low level isn't a great idea because it could bring up the problem you mentioned about having to boost the signal so much that the noise floor becomes audible, but it would have to be extremely low for that to become a problem with modern kit.
Closed Thread

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > RECORD

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:07 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=