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  #31  
Old 05-30-2012, 01:30 PM
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I hate to play like a machine...
That's what makes a great musician: always thinking how to phrase things just the right way to bring out the best in the music.

Here's the first half after some processing. I've used a multi-band compressor to try to take out just the low frequency boom without scrubbing all the low frequency energy out of the track.

I've also compressed a high frequency band to tame some of the high-frequency peaks in the signal, but again without altering any more than I absoutely have to. MBC's are enormously powerful tools which give you quite a sophisticated control over the sound but you need to use them carefully.

The high peaks are a different kind of problem, and one where the audio engineer quickly strays into artistic decisions about phrasing. I've tried to subtly knock a bit off the top without altering the feel.

There's also a little bit of reverb.
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  #32  
Old 05-30-2012, 02:56 PM
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Wow...the high end just blew me away.
However, the booming bass seems a bit overwhelming still.
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  #33  
Old 05-30-2012, 03:03 PM
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Yeah, nice job Moon, tho it still sounds boomy to me. This stuff is pretty hard to fix unless it's really minor.
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  #34  
Old 05-30-2012, 03:14 PM
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You're right. I did take out some boom, but it's still too loud overall. Here's another try. I also tweaked the high end up just a touch, and cut out some mid-range "scrunchy" frequencies to try to make it sound a little smoother and more refined.

PS: if you can't download straight away give it a few minutes to finish uploading.

Last edited by moon; 05-30-2012 at 03:23 PM.
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  #35  
Old 05-30-2012, 03:22 PM
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moon, I've send you a file with less boom via email. I hope it'll get to you.
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  #36  
Old 05-30-2012, 04:39 PM
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Original file

http://dcoombsguitar.com/HostedClips/maybe1.mp3


On the above recording I cut some base to lesson boominess, cut the volume on individual high peaks rather than use compresion, balanced the right and left channel volume, made a slight mid frequency boost with a slight higher frequency cut, and added a little reverb.

http://dcoombsguitar.com/HostedClips/maybe2.mp3

I think it now sounds somewhat better but there is still some recording proximity effect blurring of the lower notes and some echo like fizz on the higher notes (I tend to get some of this when recording XY which is why I like the mikes further apart).

When setting up to record, if at all possible listen to the sound live via headphones to help determine where to best place the mikes (or in this case the recording unit).
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  #37  
Old 05-30-2012, 06:38 PM
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moon, I've send you a file with less boom via email. I hope it'll get to you.
How did you record that? I thought the original sounded better. Ignoring the bottom end, there seems to be a better balance in the mid to high frequencies.

I'm out of time for the day I'm afraid. Trying to master a track to get it just right takes a lot of time and concentrated listening.

First thing is to get a really great recording. If the information isn't there to begin with no amount of tweaking and polishing is going to bring it out. Do you have any room treatment? Even a couple of home-made gobos can make a difference.

Experiment with your mics (ie the zoom) until you understand their proximity effect. You need to know the zone to keep out of.

In a bad acoustic space, the closer you get the better because that takes out more of the room - proximity effect permitting. Rather counter-intuitively, omni mics can sometimes have a use here because, with no proximity effect, you can get in really close.

When it comes to fine-tuning a recording, you really need good monitoring gear to hear what you're doing. Ideally you should have proper studio monitors: anything which says "Adam" on the front, or similar kind of quality.

And more room treatment.

Next is a DAW and processing plugins. There are lots of free, or nearly free, tools available online. I use the Ardour DAW which is donation-ware (but a proper, heavyweight audio app). The multi-band compressor was a paid-for item (from linuxdsp) but it's the only one I've needed to buy. There are literally hundreds of other free, open source plugins.

Incidentally, I think the sound you like on the trebles comes partly from adding reverb. I used a plate with a long-ish tail and a separate delay connected to the reverb in a feedback loop. The delay is set at a low level so you don't hear definite echoes just a kind of shimmer in the air like you'd get in a large hall. Usually you don't want to feed very low or very high frequencies to a digital reverb so there's a low pass and high pass restricting the signal bandwidth to 875-3k before hitting the reverb. After I had it set up the way I liked, I turned it down. Then I turned it down again. Finally, I turned it down some more. It might still be a touch too loud.

There are a lot of steps to getting a great recording - some of them quite expensive - but if you keep making small improvements at each part of the process they'll all add up.

Nice tune by the way
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  #38  
Old 05-30-2012, 07:15 PM
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Doug, Rick, moon...thank for your pointers and time and effort !
It seems no matter how I slice it, my conclusion from your comments is that I have to improve my recording setup...mic placement and the room I record in.
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Last edited by Bern; 05-30-2012 at 07:28 PM.
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  #39  
Old 05-30-2012, 07:35 PM
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Hmm...I really can't think of a moody tune like that of hand. Maybe. someone could compare it with something they've heard.
On the Zoom with where you had it placed one of the XY mikes was probably pointed right at the soundhole. Try the Zoom directly inline with the soundhole (could be somewhat above or below the soundhole) and out about 20" as a starting point and adjust the distance to what sounds the best. Things would all sound much better using two external mikes, not the Zoom's mikes. Those are places where I would start. If not happy with that then consider room treatment although it is hard to know where to stop once you start that and it changes the look of the room ( the wife's got to agree to that).
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  #40  
Old 05-30-2012, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
On the Zoom with where you had it placed one of the XY mikes was probably pointed right at the soundhole.
I'll second that. Everyone recommends that 12-14th fret placement, but I've never been able to make it work myself, since one mic ends up aimed at the soundhole. Good spot for a single mic, tho. With coincident mics, I put them right in front of the soundhole (so the mics are spanning it, not pointing into it), and raise them to about the level of the waist of the guitar. Almost always a good, balanced spot. You can adjust up or down to taste. I'd go close (say 8-10 inches), unless you have good room acoustics, but you have to play that by ear, depending on your guitar, the room, and the sound you want. Also play with the rotation of the mics on the Zoom, try the 90 degrees as well as the 120.
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  #41  
Old 05-30-2012, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
On the Zoom with where you had it placed one of the XY mikes was probably pointed right at the soundhole. Try the Zoom directly inline with the soundhole (could be somewhat above or below the soundhole) and out about 20" as a starting point and adjust the distance to what sounds the best. Things would all sound much better using two external mikes, not the Zoom's mikes. Those are places where I would start. If not happy with that then consider room treatment although it is hard to know where to stop once you start that and it changes the look of the room ( the wife's got to agree to that).
The direction for one mic to be pointed directly at the sound hole is quite possible...didn't think of that.
And good point about the wife...
I will record this whole thing over again this weekend and try what Doug suggested, closer 8-10 inches and around the 12th fret. In this song I don't play above the 9th fret.
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  #42  
Old 05-30-2012, 10:10 PM
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I will record this whole thing over again this weekend and try what Doug suggested, closer 8-10 inches and around the 12th fret.
Just to be clear, thats not what I meant - no 12th fret involved here. I'd suggest trying directly in front of the soundhole, with the recorder aimed straight in toward the guitar (so the mics aim off to either side of the sound hole). Now raise the recorder up, away from the floor, until the mics are level with the top of the guitar (which will be at the waist of the guitar). No guarantee it will work, every guitar's different, but this is the placement where I've had good luck with X/Y, getting a sound that's warm, but not boomy, and balanced left to right.

You can sort of see this placement on one of my You Tubes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0Bbgucd7K4

tho this is an M/S pair, not XY (but it's the same idea). The camera angle may make it hard to see exactly how it's set, but the mics are basically dead in front of me, directly inline with the soundhole from the left/right perspective, but up above the soundhole vertically.

Might work, might not :-)
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