Week 1: Improve your Recording Skills

Join me for an exciting two-week intensive designed to enhance your recording skills, regardless of your starting point or the equipment you have at hand. Whether you're using a smartphone or a professional studio setup, this series will empower you with practical techniques and insider knowledge to achieve the best possible recordings.

What to Expect:

  • Hands-On Experiments: Each assignment includes interactive experiments that focus on different aspects of recording— from mic placement to lighting. Learn by doing, and discover how slight adjustments can make a big difference in your final result.
  • Expert Guidance: Led by Martin Zimny, the nerd behind all European tonebase productions, seasoned musician and audio-video professional, these sessions offer personalized tips and tricks tailored to the varied equipment setups of our participants.
  • Community Interaction: Share your experiences, receive feedback from peers and your instructor, and engage in a supportive community of fellow music enthusiasts and aspiring producers.

No special equipment is needed to get started; just bring your enthusiasm and whatever recording tools you have—your journey to better recording begins here!

Timeline:

  • Sign-Up : April 26th
  • Course Period: April 29th - May 10th
  • Optional check-In via Zoom: May 7th

 

Assignment Week 1

Understanding your room, understanding your Instrument, understanding the ambiance and reverberance!

Conduct these three experiment with your recording system:

  1. The Position of the Instrument within the Room
    Record yourself in three  different positions in the room, move the recording device with you and keep it stable relative to yourself
  2. The relative position of the Microphone
    Stay in one position in the room, but change the position relativ to your instrument. Keep the distance between the instrument and the microphone/smartphone the same. Choose three different mic positions.
  3. The Distance of the Microphone to the instrument
    Stay in one position in the room, keep the relative recording angle, but change the distance of the microphone three times.
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  • Hello I am recording with iPad shure mv88+ and edited all the videos into one using iMovie on Mac book.. Please excuse the poor playing . I am interested in recording myself for learning as well as feedback from online resources. Hello to Martha. I obtained the mic on her comments. I would like to learn about video editing esp syncing videos to create duets though it sounds like that may not be part of this course. Perhaps the next one?

    https://youtu.be/wCnSHNLA-58?si=7c-LfgQrMitkvx6r

    Thank you

    Like 1
    • Jeff Parker Your sound has good presence in most cases. Not so sure about the microphone behind the player, though martin mentioned it.

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      • Carlo Martins
      • A scientist with a passion for the study of proteins
      • Carlo_Martins
      • 1 mth ago
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      Jeff Parker Thanks for posting your videos. Firstly, it looks like you are in a somewhat large room, much better acoustics than mine... 😁 To me, the position with the best projection and clarity of sound is the one where you place the mic to the side of the bridge, close to you, although 4ft away, I believe, has a good balance and smoothness. Further away, in this case, I think started to lose clarity. One similarity is that I have a feeling that when we both record facing the other side, it looks like the trebles are more 'striking' (?) or more 'punching' (?).

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
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      Jeff Parker Hi Jeff, fantastic! Three feet in front of you (around the 2min mark), sounds very natural and clear!

      Neil Macmillan recording from the back is just meant as an experiment, I think it gives great insights into the differences of the sonic radiation of the instrument!

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
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      Jeff Parker by the way, all these wooden walls would make a great recording space for a drum set, haha!

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    • Carlo Martins Thank you for the input.. That was the position I first chose. Mic on right with camera about 45 degree to the left until the usbc to usbc extension  cord gave up the ghost after about one week. These high tech cords do seem as forgiving as regular mic cords.

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  • I forgot to ask is there a place to acquire the line audio cm4 in the US if not do you have a recommendation for mic’s available here ?

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
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      Jeff Parker I know that Blaise Laflamme purchased those on the other side of the pond (as those mics are manufactured in Sweden), maybe he can share how to order them in the US (though being based in Canada if I remember correctly)?

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    • martin Jeff Parker right, I bought a pair of both CM4 and OM1 from the Canadian reseller Nicholas Hayes Audio. You can also buy from the Belgium reseller No Hype Audio, both of them are official resellers for Line Audio and there are no resellers for the USA at the moment.

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    • Blaise Laflamme  thank I sent off an email to get information 

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  • Here is my Three-Position recording, combined into a single video, with still photographs showing the position in each case. The mic was directly in front, 60 cm away and 90 cm off the floor in each case.  This room has a bay window without square corners which is a good feature acoustically, I believe.

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      • Carlo Martins
      • A scientist with a passion for the study of proteins
      • Carlo_Martins
      • 1 mth ago
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      Neil Macmillan Wow! Good stuff! Thanks for sharing. I would love to hear what our colleagues have to say, but to me, with the mic in front of you, at a longer distance, gives the better acoustics. With it behind the guitar gives me again that 'punching feeling' from the trebles.

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      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
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      Neil Macmillan Beautiful!!! And you're right, we want to avoid parallel walls in recording spaces, they can cause timbral changes and flutter echoes! In the case of your recording, the second recording setting has a drastically different color, I believe this comes from smth like "acoustic lensing": the frequencies that bounce back from the back wall and are focused in a lensing (very similar to the focal point in photography), where they mix with the direct signal! I like the first recording a lot, it was nice balanced sound across the frequency range, where as the second recording has a bit of a nasal quality!

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      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
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      Neil Macmillan How did you feel in the thrid position?? I feel like you enjoy this position a lot, although I think is a bit hollow! In this case for example I would always optimise for where the player feels the best!

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    • Martin Thank you for your comments. The first position is my standard place for practising and recording in audio only (which I prefer to video recording). It's offset from the centre in both dimensions and there is some floor covering and soft furnishing to cut down reflections. 

      Second position is probably too close to the window.

      The third position is a new one but I'll possibly explore it more.

      These are all one-microphone mono recordings. Likewise for the second assignment. Maybe I'll try two-channel with an X-Y mic pair for the third exercise.

      Thank you for your leadership in our guitar community.

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    • Carlo Martins Thanks for commenting. One thing I've learned from this TWI is to be not afraid of greater distances between microphone(s) and instrument.

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      • Carlo Martins
      • A scientist with a passion for the study of proteins
      • Carlo_Martins
      • 1 mth ago
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      Neil Macmillan I was thinking the same. Even in my case, using a simple smartphone and not treating the output at all. Now I wish my training room was bigger 😄!

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  • Interesting audio I liked the second until I heard the third. The sound must echo back from the bay window sounded warmer. I am curious about how you processed the audio over stills.

    Like 1
    • Jeff Parker Thank you for the comment. The audio was recorded into GarageBand and edited. A little EQ, compression and reverb were applied. The completed audio track was imported into iMovie along with the still pictures from my smartphone. It's straightforward to give each still image the required duration with a cross fade effect. 

      By the way, I'd never thought of using that third position before. I'll explore that more. The first position has always been my practice and (audio) recording position. I'll move to have a nicer background for a video.  

      Like 2
    • Neil Macmillan Thank you that is the kind of information I am looking for being a complete novice 

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  • Hello Martin, First time joining one of your, or any other sessions on tonebase. I have watched your other recording and other live sessions (just never live). Loved them all. Thank you for doing what you do!

    I have been toying around recording but never really got in motion. Using this session to help push me through that doorway.

    My plan is to provide recordings using two AKG P170 Cardioid mics; going through a Focusrite 2i2; through a PC with Reaper. This I think I can do with out issue. What I haven't figured out well yet is getting video mixed in with a Reaper audio file. I do have a logitech Brio WebCam and my plan is to get to figure that out tonight! .. or tomorrow night? (in the US/ Chicago area). If this is a bust, I will instead fall back to my Android phone. 

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
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      Harry Dubiel Reaper can also handle video files, but it's primarily a digital audio workstation (DAW). For video work, I generally prefer using dedicated software and separate these workflows! For exmaple, I am using "Davinci Resolve". It comes with a free version, however, it's a bit heffty on the computer requirements. In this course, I will rather focus on principles of framing and lighting and not so much on the post-production process!

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  • Hello, first time participant here! I'm thinking more about a good stereo image for a decent quality recording. For practice and social media, iPhones do a pretty good job. But for something more lasting on youtube I think its good to get higher quality audio. One issue I have is syncing the audio and video, iPhone video doesn't sync up because its not a lossless format. Are there any tips or tricks for this? Or is it just recommended to get different equipment for video? 

     

    On the audio side, I think stereo is important to capture the breadth of the sound coming from the guitar and in a good space the acoustics of the room. The question is omni small diaphragm in A/B, or x/y cardioid small diaphragm, or either with large diaphragm. Thoughts on this?

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      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
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      Anthony DiMambro the problem with the iPhone is that it is usually recording in something called a "variable frame rate" to reduce the file sizes! I would recommend getting the official "Blackmagic Camera App". I haven't used it as I don't have an iphone, but I have 4 of their cameras for the tonebase productions and they do a pretty damn good job, haha! There is either an option to record in a fixed frame rate (you would select this in the fps - setting) or it records in a fixed frame rate by default.

      IF you need to transcode a VFR (variable frame rate) to a CFR (constant frame rate), because you have recorded the ABSOLUTE best take, then you can convert it using HandBrake, it's an open source video transcoder that I've used many times for this exact purpose.

      I was clueless about variable frame rates for a VERY long time, so don't worry, I wondered myself why my smartphone recordings never sync up for longer recordings, haha!

      Like 1
    • martin Very cool, thanks for the info!

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