I've listen to a lot of recordings etc...
and today I just recorded myself for fun the Méditation from Thaïs and the Viotti n 23
I realised that it is extremly hard to get the perfect sound!For example you need to play F as MP so it don't get ugly.But then you need to keep vibrato and large sound(Thaïs).
So , when you listen to HH or any other violonists recording during the concert, how do they get that "perfect" sound?
They need to play loud so they don't get covered by the orchestra.Also the public need to hear the violonist.Are the microphones put in a special place?
Waiting for your answers(and of course practicing)...
I tend to think the violinists sounding as beautiful as they do because of the hours and hours of thoughtful practice they have put in.
The microphones have to be placed strategically. The editing process can help weed out imperfections.
Home recordings with general consumer grade recording equipment are never very good. The microphones are usually too close and gain control is spotty or non-existent. If the recording device is a smartphone as is common today, the device tries to be a little too "smart" and flattens out the dynamic contrast.
If you look at my YouTube channel, you will find me playing imperfectly, but with what I think is a generally pleasant sound, recording with either an iPhone (no microphone) or a Zoom Q4n (an inexpensive consumer videocamera with a built-in decent-quality microphone). There is zero editing of the sound, and standard YouTube compression. Bunch of different playing types and venues... solo unaccompanied, with piano, with chamber groups, and as a soloist with orchestra. (
As Catherine and Lydia say, you can't expect the microphone to do you any favours, but it's surprising how good the result can be with a mike as basic as the Zoom1. I'd recommend recording in a fairly dry acoustic and experimenting with the Reverb function of Audacity. I learned a lot (as well as having a lot of fun) by recording myself in the Meditation accompanied by the LSO and Daniel Harding. The last track on Nicola Benedetti's first CD is a "music minus one" and you can easily rip it to .wav and import it into Audacity.
Lydia, it depends on the device, especially with limited gain control. With my Moto x4, and the default camera app, it actually starts clipping if I play above mezzo forte in my apartment. This is with my phone on its own tripod about 6 feet away. I'm using OpenCamera with a different filter setting just to avoid sounding like a distorted electric guitar.
The great violinists on recordings sound beautiful for many reasons apart from the fact that they sound beautiful in person. To capture the beauty and incredibly complex details of a violinist's sound, they are recorded in acoustically perfect settings, not someone's living room. And they are recorded with microphones costing thousands of dollars. And their sound is processed through and recorded on equipment costing many tens of thousands of dollars and all that is controlled by engineers with many years of experience.
OP's question seems to be more about basic tone quality at high dynamic levels rather than getting a sound that is acoustically perfectly clean and free of background artifacts.
Actually, the OP did ask how the professionals get that perfect sound. Here's the quote from the original message:
Honestly David, I don't subscribe to the idea that you need the best equipment and professional engineers to achieve truthful sound recordings (whether or not they are "beautiful" which of course is in the ears of the listener and the hands of the player). The history of recorded music suggests to me that today's commercial recordings are no more truthful than those of half a century ago. I even suspect that over-elaborating the recording process often actually results in a loss of truthfulness. Over the same period the quality of easily affordable recording gear has improved immensely.
People who are satisfied with cell phone recordings, must be people that were raised on and used to really cheap stereos.
The OP wrote, "I realised that it is extremly hard to get the perfect sound! For example you need to play F as MP so it don't get ugly.But then you need to keep vibrato and large sound(Thaïs)." He then uses "perfect sound" in reference to Hahn in the next paragraph.
I dunno. It's hard to tell what the OP was referring to. As I said, on my current phone with its default camera app, I need to stay at mezzo-piano or below just to avoid clipping, because of the ridiculous mic gain. And that was definitely the first thing that came to mind when I read OP's question.
Probably 90% training and practice, and 10% quality of recording equipment.
Thanks for your answers!
This issue has cropped up in previous threads, can one really achieve decent quality recordings in the home using inexpensive devices like the Zoom H1? It could well be the case that some of us have more critical ears than others and I'd truly appreciate it if the likes of Lyndon and David could tell me whether this clip
"To me it sounds pretty truthful...."
Hi Albrecht. My speaking voice certainly does come as a bit of a shock when I hear a recording of it but the same doesn't apply to the violin. Maybe it's on account of having spent so/too much time recording myself?
I have generally found that when I record myself, what the recording sounds like is what listeners are generally getting, but it's not equivalent to what I get under the ear. The sound smooths significantly with just a couple of feet of distance. Under the ear there's a little more grit.
That would also be my experience when the microphone is placed more than a few feet away. My own preference is to set the mic right on the music stand, not quite like a rock singer but close! The further away the mic the greater the contribution will be (proportionately) from room echoes and coping with these is I think where much of the skill of the recording engineer comes into play. Natural ambience is best, but when your house doesn't possess any the artificial sort will have to do instead.
My recorder is an EDIROL R09, about the size of a deck of bridge playing cards. It fits in my shirt pocket, which is where it spend a couple of hours (backed by an index card for acoustic improvement) each time my granddaughter sang with the San Francisco Girls Chorus up to a decade ago.
I'm not too knowledgeable when it comes to recording technology, but I agree with Lydia. We can sit here and talk about how the best pros play on expensive instruments and in amazing studios using top-quality equipment, but that doesn't do anyone any good, least of all the OP.
I like to keep things simple for recording so I went with a Sony C800g PAC microphone and a Manley SLAM! channel strip and RME MADIface XT USB 3.0 Audio Interface going into my DAW.
Players like Hahn make a huge sound in the concert hall, too, where it is