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Help on recording tips/tools for classical flute

Member for

1 year 7 months
I'm new to recording and could use some some help on tips or tools to improve my flute recording. Currently using a Apogee Mic+ on a mic stand hang away/above about 2 feet from the performer; can't seem to get better lows or capture reverb well recording the flute, maybe I'm adding too much gain on mic.

Here is the last recording I did, any tips would be greatly appreciated:


I have avoided any XLR equipment due to space and budget, but it may be unavoidable to improve recordings.

Thanks,
Eric

Comments

Member for

8 years 9 months

pcrecord Tue, 04/14/2020 - 10:52
The Apogee Mic+ wouldn't be my first choice of mic in any situation, namely because it is a USB mic.. USB mic means that the mic premp and converter + audio interface is all stuck in a very tight space and sacrifices must be done to make it the size it is.
I would prefer a small audio interface (like a focusrite scarlett) and a dedicated XLR mic of average to good quality. Some not so expensive mics would do a great job, like the Mini K47 or others like it. The Mini k47 offers a bit less high frequencies than some cheap hyped microphones on the market..

BUT, the recording I heard (from ear-buds, so sorry if I'm off track), is not so bad.
It is a bit sad that it is mono and the worst thing about it (which isn't a mountain), is the natural reverb of the room..
Most condenser mics will capture that kind of amount of room, more if you are further away from the mic of course..

So the ideal for me, since this room seems not treated, would be to close mic (less visually pleasing if you record video at the same time) but 2 mics for the piano for a stereo recording and 1 more for the flute would make more sens to me.. (or a treated room with a stereo mic or 2 mics in a stereo array..)

Usually to tame room noise we would talk about dynamic mics, which have better rejection, but in a classical setup like this, I don't think it would be appropriate..

Member for

7 years 9 months

paulears Tue, 04/14/2020 - 12:53
What I hear here is an attempt to record two instruments with one microphone and neither able to be done properly. Have a listen to this clip - http://www.granthorsley.com/assets/mozart_concerto_no_2_in_d_major_kv314_mvt3_rondo_allegro_ps.mp3
This is the Mozart we recorded with more focus - you probably need to decide what the recording is for? Just for reference (probably OK for that), or for demonstrating how good you are on the flute - which is evidence but NOT obvious from the quality. I'd expect the piano to be on half-stick at the least, with the microphone visible for your flute. The room is lively but not wonderful, so you have a choice - live with the acoustics, or record both instruments in a much closer perspective, and add the 'room' sound artificially. Your playing technique is also difficult to close miking techniques as you are so mobile - this makes more traditional mic positions more workable, but this needs good acoustics. Getting the mic in closer to cut down room sounds gives you level issues as the flute is wildly varying in distance. I suspect this is not controllable without impacting on your playing. At the very least you need two mics, probably at least three, perhaps with some absorption between the piano and flute. The mic's doing a fairly good job of recording everything, but the problem here is more the mic technique rather than the mic. USB mics are really limited when you need to record in stereo, or record multiple instruments sources.

Member for

1 year 7 months

Eric S Tue, 04/14/2020 - 16:08
It's really just for flute, its for school auditions and sometimes for getting into some competitions or camps. Sounds like I need to get at least 2 mics to get the dynamics and other instruments. Too bad I can't split 2 Apogee Mic+ and record in stereo. I was avoiding going to XLR, but I need to re-evaluate for more/better gear if I want to get better recordings.

Member for

7 years 9 months

paulears Tue, 04/14/2020 - 22:55
Usb is a compromise. Only one mic and a rather uncontrolled way to get that mic into a computer. It’s a problem solver. That’s all. A conventional mic and then preamp/ interface is an upgradable path. You never waste a microphone. It never sits on a shelf useless. There are cheap mics and expensive mics but all can have a purpose and of course you’re forgetting the most useful thing - the ability to put the mic anywhere and just run out long cables. Something you cannot do with a usb mic!

Member for

8 years 9 months

pcrecord Wed, 04/15/2020 - 05:05
Eric S, post: 463912, member: 51881 wrote: Too bad I can't split 2 Apogee Mic+ and record in stereo.
FYI, at this distance, I doubt it would make a big difference if the Apogee was stereo.. It would probably capture more wall reflections...

"Just for flute, its for school auditions and sometimes for getting into some competitions or camps."
In that regard I think what you have works fine. But it depends how others present their talent.. Those who receive a ton of subscriptions may be more seduced by some talents who recorded in a pro studio.. But usually they listen to the performance first and quality comes in second. So it depends who is listening.

Before you invest in 2 - 3 mics, interface and spend 500hours figuring out how to make your place sound good..
You could book a few hours in a pro studio, you'd be getting the best quality without the trouble of doing everything by yourself and it may end cheaper.. Specially if you value your time.

Nowaday, everybody turns to home recording thinking it's the answer to everything.
For some people who value learning how to record it's true, but if you want to put your music out the most efficient way possible, for a lot of people, home studio isn't the answer.
The gear industry wants to sell you stuff, so they make you think you'll be sounding like a pro for 200$.
It's not true. It's also true that 2000$ of gear won't sound 10 times better than 200$ But there's a reason why highend gear are still being made.

In the end it takes time to learn and more finesse than plugin the mic and hitting record ! ;)

Member for

7 years 9 months

paulears Wed, 04/15/2020 - 05:49
I'm really confused. That's a Diploma standard piece played very well by somebody very competent, and the accompanist is having to work very hard too - what on earth school audition need performances like these, and to get into a camp or competition it seems a real mismatch.

If you have an instrument of that calibre and can play that well - why are you messing about? To record every nuance for the people with golden ears who can judge you, you want exceptional recordings, surely? You make it sound like you're not as good as you are? Very confusing?

Member for

8 years 9 months

pcrecord Wed, 04/15/2020 - 07:30
paulears, post: 463915, member: 47782 wrote: I'm really confused. That's a Diploma standard piece played very well by somebody very competent, and the accompanist is having to work very hard too - what on earth school audition need performances like these, and to get into a camp or competition it seems a real mismatch.
So you are asking why, at this level of playing he would still do school auditions and go to camps..
It's more your world than mine Paul, but I can appreciate how of a good player he is.
If you have contacts in Philadelphia, maybe you can send him a couple of names.. ;)

Member for

1 year 7 months

Eric S Wed, 04/15/2020 - 08:11
paulears, post: 463915, member: 47782 wrote: I'm really confused. That's a Diploma standard piece played very well by somebody very competent, and the accompanist is having to work very hard too - what on earth school audition need performances like these, and to get into a camp or competition it seems a real mismatch.

If you have an instrument of that calibre and can play that well - why are you messing about? To record every nuance for the people with golden ears who can judge you, you want exceptional recordings, surely? You make it sound like you're not as good as you are? Very confusing?

It's for Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, it was the only school that would take him cause he's only 13, except Paris Conservatory. I like to up my recording skills and maybe upgrade some equipment.

Member for

15 years 7 months

Boswell Wed, 04/15/2020 - 08:26
You've done a fine job recording using very limited equipment. For the recordings I've done for diploma performers, I would normally use a stereo room (ambient) microphone, a pair of omnidirectional microphones on the piano and then a single mono microphone for the flute detail. I appreciate that you say that your current budget would probably not stretch to using something like a multi-microphone technique, but that is where you should be heading when the opportunity arises. However, as others have said, the key to a good recording is the acoustic qualities of the room. Coupled with that is performer placement and microphone positioning within the room. In your present placement with the microphone overhead, standing the performer on a carpet or large rug would go a little way to reducing reflections off a hard wood floor.

I had just finished typing some comments about the playing techniques when your post arrived clarifying that you were the recording engineer and not the performer as well. So I have deleted the comments, since I'm sure the Philadelphia or Paris institutes will apply the necessary corrections.

Member for

7 years 9 months

paulears Wed, 04/15/2020 - 08:46
I also got the idea it was a self-recording - and I didn't think for a moment he was that young - which is extremely annoying he's that good, so early in his career.

Here, we have just a few places who take gifted and talented kids like this. Sorry if we confused things.

Member for

1 year 7 months

Eric S Wed, 04/15/2020 - 09:23
I knew the room was a big issue but the piano was there and no editing of any type was allowed on the recording. Thanks for the tips, I will try to experiment a bit more and try to get better at it.

I picked the best angle to make him look older since he said he's not taken seriously because of he's age. At least the recording was good enough to get him into live auditions, if he's good deemed good enough, he'll be moving to Philly.

Member for

19 years 5 months

Kurt Foster Wed, 04/15/2020 - 09:47
he's a fine player and the video is good enough to show his talent. imo it's really all you need. if you can find a better room with a nice piano to record in you could improve the quality. i would imagine anyone who was auditioning students would prefer something like this opposed to edited and mixed multi mic processed with reverbs and compression. don't over do.
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