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  #1  
Old 06-11-2018, 09:42 PM
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Default Comparing home recording to professional

I put Al Petteway's Parting Glass into my DAW to compare similar sections. An eye opener. Obviously mine (on top) needs to gain a bit of weight,

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Old 06-11-2018, 09:45 PM
midwinter midwinter is offline
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I’m confused. Are they the same recording? Or are you comparing two different recordings? If so, is yours mastered? Normalized?
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by midwinter View Post
I’m confused. Are they the same recording? Or are you comparing two different recordings? If so, is yours mastered? Normalized?
The recording on top is me playing a 29 second section of The Parting Glass which I normalized and did noise removal on. The recording on the bottom is a section of Al Petteway's recording of the same section of the song from his cd that I imported into Audacity. I think when I recorded mine my input gain was too low, but still, there's a lot of "meat" missing from mine.
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Originals:
The Journey***Touched By Light***The Stone Path***

Covers:

Ciuil Amuigh**Star of the County Down**The Foggy Dew**

Avalon L2-320C
Larrivee OM-05
Guild D-120c
Guild D-55 {retired}
Gibson J-45
Martin D-16GT
3 solid top/lams
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:55 PM
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Gotcha. Run your mix through a compressor/limiter to up the gain and your waveform will be a lot closer.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:58 PM
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Gotcha. Run your mix through a compressor/limiter to up the gain and your waveform will be a lot closer.
Thanks. I have to educate myself on what and how a compressor does what it does otherwise I'm flying blind. I have to understand what I'm doing so I can actually figure out what to do with what tool. Long way to go.
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Barry

Originals:
The Journey***Touched By Light***The Stone Path***

Covers:

Ciuil Amuigh**Star of the County Down**The Foggy Dew**

Avalon L2-320C
Larrivee OM-05
Guild D-120c
Guild D-55 {retired}
Gibson J-45
Martin D-16GT
3 solid top/lams
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:06 PM
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I have to understand what I'm doing so I can actually figure out what to do with what tool. Long way to go.

Yep. There always is.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:40 PM
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Al's track would have been mastered, it may not have been that hot when he recorded it. Your levels could be a little hotter, but they aren't bad for a raw unmastered track. With 24 bits, you should have plenty of room above the noise floor with what you have. When it's "mastered" (either by someone else, or by you) for release, the levels are generally brought up to a higher level.

Just looking at the waveform, Al's is "fatter" all the way around, seems to have less variance between the loudest and quietest notes. That could be due to compression - as was being discussed in your other thread - or it could be the guitar or the way Al plays. Al gets a nice consistent and full sound - he sounds like Al! - which could be one of the differences.

Comparing yourself recording a tune by someone else is a great exercise - it can be misleading because you don't know what was done to the track, EQ, compression, reverb, etc. But every time I've done this, I learn how much the players touch and feel has to do with the sound on the recording. Trying to play more like the target usually gets me closer than any twiddling of effects and so on.
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Old 06-12-2018, 06:50 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
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Thanks. I have to educate myself on what and how a compressor does what it does otherwise I'm flying blind.
When you record a guitar, vocal, or any other musical track, you have differences in volume levels. The difference from the loudest to the quietest levels in a track is it's dynamic range. If the dynamic range is too wide, the listener will have to ride the volume knob on playback so that the loud parts aren't too loud and the soft parts are loud enough to hear. Compression reduces the dynamic range so that one doesn't need to adjust the volume to comfortably hear the loudest and quietest parts of a track or song. It does this by reducing the volume of your loudest sounds so your quietest sounds sound louder by comparison.

All that said, too much compression can make music sound unnatural, so the trick is to apply enough compression so that people don't have to ride the volume knob while listening but can still easily hear the loudest and quietest parts of a song.

Consider this example. You have a song that has multiple instruments playing... acoustic guitars, wailing electric guitars, heavy drums, organs, screaming vocals. All those instruments contribute to the level of volume you hear. Then at some point in the song all the instruments drop away except the acoustic guitar and vocals which have now gone from screaming to pianissimo. That's a tremendous reduction in volume. Without compression, the listener would probably have to turn up the volume to hear that section of the song. Compression eliminates that need by controlling the loudest parts throughout the song so that when the softest parts come, they're loud enough to hear.
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  #9  
Old 06-12-2018, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
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or it could be the guitar or the way Al plays. Al gets a nice consistent and full sound - he sounds like Al! - which could be one of the differences.
I was going to blame my guitar,
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Barry

Originals:
The Journey***Touched By Light***The Stone Path***

Covers:

Ciuil Amuigh**Star of the County Down**The Foggy Dew**

Avalon L2-320C
Larrivee OM-05
Guild D-120c
Guild D-55 {retired}
Gibson J-45
Martin D-16GT
3 solid top/lams
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:38 AM
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Mostly simply a volume gain difference. You realize that, right?

Just looking at the waveforms (not listening) it appears Petteway is letting notes ring through longer (perhaps more notes being played also) than you.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Mostly simply a volume gain difference. You realize that, right?

Just looking at the waveforms (not listening) it appears Petteway is letting notes ring through longer (perhaps more notes being played also) than you.
There is a bit of volume difference, but more there's just "more" somehow - seems like a greater range/thickness of sounds (mids more prominent?) within the same space. Here they are for comparison:


Me:


AP:
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Barry

Originals:
The Journey***Touched By Light***The Stone Path***

Covers:

Ciuil Amuigh**Star of the County Down**The Foggy Dew**

Avalon L2-320C
Larrivee OM-05
Guild D-120c
Guild D-55 {retired}
Gibson J-45
Martin D-16GT
3 solid top/lams

Last edited by TBman; 06-12-2018 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:39 AM
midwinter midwinter is offline
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Sure. There is a lot more going on in the AP recording. For one, there’s a pretty lush reverb that’s letting the transients of the notes ring out longer. The EQ of your track also sounds dramatically different. This could be your mic(s)—yours sounds like a single mic to me—your mic placement, your mic preamps, the room, your guitar, your fingers, etc.

It also sounds like it’s got some compression on it to tame the attack—especially on those notes on the B and E strings. Compare the attack on the first 10 seconds worth of notes of yours to the AP one and you can hear a real difference in the way the notes pop.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:55 AM
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Yep, notes ringing out lonerg, in part due to reverb. Doubt there is any, or if any very little, compression being used by Petteway.
Try to hold on to the notes a bit longer in a piece like this.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Yep, notes ringing out lonerg, in part due to reverb. Doubt there is any, or if any very little, compression being used by Petteway.
Try to hold on to the notes a bit longer in a piece like this.
Al's track would have been mastered - Bill Wolf, probably. Al may not have added any compression, but Bill almost certainly would have.

But this sounds like a bit of everything. Mic placement is different, he's getting a lot more sustain, basic tone is different, with Al's being fatter, warmer. I hear a lot of room sound in your recording, Al's is very direct. The acoustics of the room will impact your recorded tone. Poor room acoustics can make your guitar sound thinner, peakier. Not sure what mic placement you're using, but I'd try spaced pairs and mic closer to get rid of some of the room sound. Remember that Al has really nice guitars, too.

Compression may play a role - maybe 5-10% of the difference. The rest is in aspects that come before "mastering".
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Fingerstyle Christmas Tunes: A DADGAD Christmas
Hymns Book: Hymns for Fingerstyle Guitar
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Pickup tests: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/pickuptests/
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
Al's track would have been mastered - Bill Wolf, probably. Al may not have added any compression, but Bill almost certainly would have.

But this sounds like a bit of everything. Mic placement is different, he's getting a lot more sustain, basic tone is different, with Al's being fatter, warmer. I hear a lot of room sound in your recording, Al's is very direct. The acoustics of the room will impact your recorded tone. Poor room acoustics can make your guitar sound thinner, peakier. Not sure what mic placement you're using, but I'd try spaced pairs and mic closer to get rid of some of the room sound. Remember that Al has really nice guitars, too.

Compression may play a role - maybe 5-10% of the difference. The rest is in aspects that come before "mastering".
Perhaps a bit, but does not look like it from waveform (highest peaks not rounded off). If there was than might as well not have been. Perhaps later I will put this recording in my DAW and play around with compression to see what happens.
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