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Thread: Seeking Home Recording Advice

  1. Seeking Home Recording Advice

    Hi all,

    It's been a long time since I've been on these forums, and it's great to see the community holding steady and supporting one another during these trying times. I'm writing to you all today in hopes of getting some advice on recording myself playing from home. For some backstory, I recently started playing solo relatively seriously again after a several year hiatus from anything but ensemble prep. I was hoping to do a short recital this spring to celebrate having a chance to play the horn, but of course that's been canceled due to the circumstances, and so I'm hoping to make some recordings instead. I have a pretty good omnidirectional microphone, but there have been some challenges getting my recordings clean so far. My house is an old one and has a lot of wood floors and low ceilings, so echo has been a challenge, and my horn (One of the Jinbao clones) has very clacky valves that invariably come through on the recordings. I'm also not quite sure how to deal with the fact that the horn plays straight up towards the ceiling -- I've been getting some weird reverb and suspect that might be the culprit. I'm by no means an audio engineer, so while I know the general tricks like putting soft padding around where I'm playing, I'd love to hear anything more euphonium-specific. If anyone's done some recording in a similar setting, please do let me know what's worked for you and what hasn't!

    Best,
    qwertre

  2. I'm also not an audio engineer by any means, so I'm simply speaking from my personal experience in recording for school assignments and my own projects this term.

    I'm not sure how to reduce the valve noise other than perhaps looking at replacing the valve felts (either those under the caps for upstroke noise or those under the buttons/on top of the valve caps for downstroke noise). But you might experiment with where, and how close you have the microphone to you when recording. Having it closer to you and elevated so that it's either above or level with your bell can help with the echo and reduce the amount of ambient room noise the mic picks up. (and of course, adjust the gain depending on your dynamic range for a particular piece you're recording to make sure the louds don't get distorted/clipped, and the softs are not lost)

    In my situation, I've been either recording in my small apartment bedroom or in larger classroom at my university (very fortunate to have some limited access to the music building this term). The classroom has an air vent that's always running, so I've had to deal with figuring out how to reduce the amount of background hiss from that vent that's picked up on my mic (a Zoom H2n).
    Willson 2900 TA-1 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AM
    Yamaha YSL-643 Trombone - Benge Marcellus
    F.E. Olds Special Trombone (ca. 1941) - Faxx 7C

    Past:
    York Preference 3067 Euphonium - Denis Wick 4AL
    Benge 165F Trombone - Benge Marcellus
    Wessex BR140 Baritone - Denis Wick 6BS

  3. What recording software are you using? There should be a way to manipulate the recording.
    Richard

    1935 Conn 64I Baritone
    Mouthpieces: Too many to list and growing

  4. #4
    In general, if the room has a lot of hard surfaces, it will make the recording sound a bit "hard" and will amplify valve/mechanical noises. Even in the larger room, any hard surfaces behind/beside you may reflect valve noise to the mics. Maybe you can plan your position to lessen that, or even bring some blankets/etc. to pad some surfaces. If the room is friendly enough to your sound, you can get the mic further away, which will lessen the valve noise it picks up.

    In the small room especially (although you may need to resort to this in the classroom) moving your mics closer to the bell's output will pick up more of your direct sound (and less of the noise, relatively). If you point the mic right down the middle, you will probably get air/fuzz that is distracting. Having the mic in line with the place of the edge of the bell might work well. With a close mic you will probably need to add reverb/echo.

    If there is no audience or video, you should turn your back to the mic. Your body will absorb some noise. If there is a camera, you might be able to put an external mic behind you. However, that requires care; having a mic against a wall, for example, can give the sound a bad perspective.

    Regardless, a good repair person may be able to help quiet the mechanics of your horn for not too much money.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

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