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Prokofiev Piano Sonata No. 6

Discussion in 'Piano' started by David French, May 21, 2006.

  1. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Hi guys, miss me? :wink:

    So I hadn't done any recording in a while, but last night I recorded a talented young lady playing a concert of some difficult material. Hoping to build on my previous experiences, I took that approach and modified it per Spearritt's suggestions.

    Excerpt from Vivace of Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

    I used a pair of R-122 in Blumlein 8' from the piano and 4' high and a pair of CMC62 in AB spaced 2.5' apart, 7' from the piano, and 7' high. In retrospect this may have been too close (you tell me), but I had no soundcheck this time, so oh well. The Royers were mixed in at about -4dB relative to the Schoeps.

    I liked the tone I had on the last recording, aside from being a little bottom heavy, but it had no image definition. This one has more image and I think better tone, but I'm still not thrilled. Any suggestions for building on this next time?
  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Both pairs are far too close. What were you monitoring on, this should have been detected at record time. Assuming its a 9ft grand, we would put the main pr 3-4m or so away and 2.8m in the air, and the outriggers would be 4m apart and some 4m in the air.

    Do you have access to some convolution reverb. A little bit of a fine hall added to this recording will improve it a lot.

    The room is not good though, this is probably the most important thing to fix or at least compensate for. Tone and image are getting much better though, when compared to your first recording.

    Keep at it. I think your next recording will be a beauty.
  3. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Its a bit dull sounding also, what preamp was used for the ribbons. I sometimes use some high EQ to spark them up a bit, depending on the instrument, room and music being played. Prokofiev needs articulation and clarity, so in this case I would add some EQ to the ribbons only, not the Schoeps.
  4. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Thanks a bunch for the advice.

    I didn't have a soundcheck, so I had to go with what I set up. I can't wait 'till next time! :twisted:

    I do have Waves IR-1, and I have experimented with adding a bit, but chose to leave it off here for evaluation purposes. I also experimented with high end EQ, but again chose to leave it off.

    I used the board pres in a Yamaha DM2000.

    Any chance I could send you a multitrack snippet so I could see how you would treat this?
  5. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    No problem.
  6. larsfarm

    larsfarm Active Member

    This seems a contradiction. What am I missing? Please elaborate.

    best regards
  7. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Larsfarm, piano mics can definitely be both close an dull. Up high, a piano is not nearly as bright as you might think.

    David, thanks. I will put something together for you soon. I'll post it publicly so others can play as well.
  8. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Here's the multitrack snippet:

    Snippet of multitrack from Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6
    [self-extracting RAR archive: 30.9 MB]

    So please, David, show me how you would handle this. Thank you so much for doing this for me. I really appreciate your advice.

    David and anyone else, after you listen to the pairs alone, I'd love to hear opinions on what I should be looking to get from each pair, and how far off I am.

    Thanks guys, this is a great learning opportunity.
  9. larsfarm

    larsfarm Active Member

    I'm listening and have a lot to learn. Hence the questions. I encounter piano now and then. Grands as well as uprights. Mostly accompaniment, but I still wish to catch them nicely. Occasionally as a solo instrument.

  10. larsfarm

    larsfarm Active Member

    Uhmmm, is RAR really suitable for audio compression? How much did it compress? perhaps one of the lossless compressions flac or apple lossless that reduces to about half would be better? or (dare I propose it) high bitrate mp3? ( BTW exe will not run on Macintoshes )

    best regards
  11. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    RAR is the best straight data compression I have. It does a pretty good job for audio, much better than zip. I made a self-extractor becuase I doubt most people can use RAR. I may be wrong. I have FLAC, but again, I doubt most people use FLAC; however, they should. I FLAC'ed up these files and it got down to 25MB vs the 31 from RAR.

    If others need something else, I will make it.
  12. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Here's some more options, representing just about anything anybody could want.

    WAVE, 16 bit - RAR archive - 15.7 MB


  13. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    For the curious...

    WAVE = 47,078,200 b
    • FLAC---26,564,733 b-----56.4%
    • RAR----32,360,111 b-----68.7%
    • ZIP-----44,633,849 b-----94.8%
  14. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Anyone needing to compress wave-files for transfer of the net should try Monkeys Audio - Lossless and quite effective!

  15. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Well, David, I have had a good go at improving the multitrack takes but have not succeeded, there are too many basic problems I'm afraid. Here is a summary of my thoughts.

    1. The Royer signal is almost unusable, way too far away, and the image is skewed significantly to the right channel. The Schoeps so dominated your stereo mix that I thought both pairs were close, but not so. In the Royer pr, the piano sounds too mono in the middle (right skewed) when soloing this stereo track. This is the exact opposite of what you should do with a Blumlein pr, it should be too close if anything and fill the stereo spread. You should start positioning it so that the sound source fills the 90 degrees, with piano its about 2-3m out and the virtual image has to be in centre of the pair.

    2. The Schoeps omnis are far too close, again the exact opposite of what you should aim for. Omnis should be further away on error margin if you are going to have a chance. Close omnis sound pretty bad, all woofly, too much bass and an image that is all over the place.

    So I am not sure I can fix it in the mix as it were. If you swapped the positions of those two pairs you may have had a chance.

    Listening to each pair and swapping between the two, they sound totally and completely different. This should ring loud warning bells. When listening to stereo pairs that you are going to mix together, both the perspective and image should sound the same in both pairs. This is the secret to getting great sound in my experience. Seems obvious I know.

    Get the reverb/direct sound balance right in the main pair and then make sure its similar in all other pairs. You have the opposite problem with this recording.

    I hope I haven't been too hard on you, but I think your next recording will be much better.
  16. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Thank you David.

    I have some questions about things that I see as inconsistencies in your replies. I hope you don't take this is as nitpicking, but I'm eally confused and eager to learn from you.

    1) Up here you said the main pair should be 3-4 m away, but in the last post you said 2-3. My main pair was 8' away, which is 2.44 m, right in the middle of your 2-3 m range.

    Here, on the other thread (point 6), you said that you like the Blumlein pair to be behind the omnis such that they get the same direct to reverb balance, but here you said the Blum should be much closer than the omnis.

    Now, this has nothing to do with ears, but I decided to check out the angles graphically. See this scale drawing. One set of lines represents teh extent of the sound source for a 90 degree sweep and the other pair represents the extent of the sound source for a 72 degree sweep (the correct SRA as calculated here, which is based on M. Williams's The Stereophonic Zoom. I find that you should be this far away for each case:

    90 degrees - 1.168 m
    72 degrees - 1.76 m

    Like I said, no ears involved, but if the soundboard is the extent of the sound source, then this should be right.

    Also, it seems like getting the piano to fill the stereo field in the blum array and getting the correct direct to reverb ratio will usually be mutually exclusive.

    Did I mention no sound check? 8)
  17. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Monkey's Audio did 2.1% better than FLAC at 24 bit and 4.3% better than FLAC at 16 bit. Thanks ptr!
  18. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    You're welcome! - Small procentages but if You're dealing with big files small amounts to big!

    Quite an interesting discussion om positioning at the grand you have here...

  19. larsfarm

    larsfarm Active Member

    Nice playing!

    First, I'd be happy if I could catch a piano like you did. You heard my results in an earlier thread... I hope you don't mind my questions. I make them in order to learn from the dialog. The Schoeps pair sounds quite nice, but it puzzles me a bit. Some sounds in it seems close and others not so close. The softer and lower register sounds full and smooth, but the forte right hand playing sounds has a different character. There is plenty of room in the Schoeps pair too, isn't there? Should one have more? Could you perhaps add your mic positions to the drawing you made earlier?

    best regards
  20. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Piano mic positioning graphic, JPEG, 52.6 KB

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