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.
199replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Exercise with three microphone distances; approx 20° off to player's RHS in each case. An X-Y stereo pair configuration was used.

    1. 65 cm from instrument; 125 cm from floor
    2. 120 cm from instrument; 125 cm from floor
    3. 160 cm from instrument; 125 cm from floor

    GarageBand Screen captures show EQ and compression settings. A small amount of reverb was used.

    Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Neil Macmillan Thank you, it sounds super interesting! Which one do you prefer? I think I would go with the first one! 

      What kind of reverb have you used? I can't really tell a difference what room size you have!

      Like
    • Martin Thank you for commenting. Over this TWI, I've become fond of more distance from the mic: 1 m rather than 60 cm which was my standard up to now.

      My reverb settings are quite minimal and hardly noticeable in ON/OFF comparisons.

      Like
  • 😕 Now I have to start all over again 

    I am currently recording from two places in my condo. The bedroom and the dining room.

    Today, I will report on the test made in the bedroom. I will do the same exercise in the dining room later this week.

    Here are 2 pictures of the bedroom that incorporate an office/studio area. A very crowded place but comfortable to work and practice. For today's test, I will concentrate on changing the microphone position.

    The third picture depicts the standard recording set-up I am using:

    • The pixel 7 is on a desk tripod and connected directly into the ZOOM AMS-22 Audio interface
    • The audio interface is powered from the computer USB Hub
    • The guitar Fishman preamp is connected in the audio interface using a standard guitar cable.
    • The Fishman split between the micro and the pick-up was 50-50

    I will use the same set-up with the microphone that will connect into the audio interface.

    For this test, I decided to buy a microphone on Amazon. The Tonor TD510 

     

    https://www.amazon.ca/Microphone-dynamique-enregistrement-streaming-microphone/dp/B0CCVBQRFX/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2W7GGE2D0F705&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.bAd0RWKdV0JpvDIq_Mb9gomSMQOJ9CNnuIlH-XH7FXIGNhi3blklys8RKeFqGw-0.G1BFMTCSHAuRW-xpyK_f3kVcT64PH4bBwfjM6X13n8U&dib_tag=se&keywords=tonor%2Btd510&qid=1714586802&sprefix=tonor%2BTD%2Caps%2C70&sr=8-1-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGY&th=1

     

    For this test, I made the following recordings:

    - Fishman 100% microphone

    - Fishman 100% pick-up

    - Microphone pointing guitar - 4 to 5 feet away

    - Microphone pointing bridge - 4 to 5 feet away

    -Microphone pointing bridge - 2 to 3 feet away.

     

    Well, what are the findings of that exercise:

     

    - The sound from the Fishman 100% microphone is very bad (mostly vibration- buzzing). I  felt this was my playing and made a second recording and this was the same. I feel there is probably something with the guitar or the microphone attachment that vibrates and generates the noise. I will soon bring the guitar to the luthier and check that.

    - The sound from the 100% pick-up is much better and I now feel better about my playing. 😅

    - The recordings with the microphone are good but I will need to increase the microphone volume in future testing. 

    - For me I feel that the microphone pointing the bridge and 2 to 3 feet away from the guitar was the best recording (your comments are more than welcome).

    The big surprise was that during the recordings there was a lot of noise outside the building. I kept the last recording for a few more seconds to see if we could hear the truck backing intensive Beep and nothing.

     

    I will keep doing more testing this week and post my results. 

    Like
    • Andre Bernier I too liked the 2-3 feet, pointed at the bridge, sounds natural. You could increase the volume either while recording or post-processing. I think pointing towards the bridge also helps in reducing the naily, thin sounds if I'm not wrong.

      Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Andre Bernier So beautiful that you've decided to record Landslag!!

      So interesting, to me, the Fisherman mic sounds like the piezo and vice versa, haha! The regular mic you are using looks like a dynamic microphone, so those will need a bit more gain! Alternatively, you can increase the volume after the recording, but that will introduce a bit more noise (or amplify the noise that was there during the recording)!

      Like
    • martin  Haha 😂 Martin; you may be right. It is possible I managed to mixed the videos.

      I will test it again tonight and post the results.

      Like
    • Immanuel
    • Immanuel
    • 1 mth ago
    • Reported - view

    Here are the results of my experiments. I use a pair of Rode pencil mikes.

     

    Experiment 1: In terms of where I sit in the room I have a preference based on the recording but interested to hear what others think. Position 1 might seem a bit strange but I included it as I have been doing some guitar/flute recording in this position. Might need to change.

     

    Experiment 2: I am not sure what to make of the different microphone placements, again interested in Martin's and other comments. 

     

    Experiment 3: I only did 2 distances. 

    Like
    • Immanuel  I definitively do not have the ear qualities of Martin but my preference would be:

      Position C

      Microphone position 2

      Distance 2 (2 meters)

      I am also curious about what martin will comment

      Like
      • Immanuel
      • Immanuel
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Andre Bernier Thanks for listening and commenting.

       

      I like position B.

       

      Microphone 2 (but position 3 seemed to offer more definition in the treble notes)

       

      Distance 1 (1 metre)

       

      I don't feel strongly about my choices.

      Like
      • Immanuel
      • Immanuel
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      martin Interested in your thoughts on my recordings. I do recording with a flautist as well as solo recording. The room is very reverberant. Use a condensor diaphram mike for the flute and 2 pencils for the guitar although I have wondered if I should use one of the pencils on the flute it seems to give a bit of a cleaner sound but I don't trust my ears.

      Like
    • Immanuel Position A seems to give a nice full sound, especially in comparison to B which seems rather thin by comparison. C seems somewhere in between these two.

      You could try position A but rotated so that you are playing into the room.  You probably don't want to be too far into. the corner though. 

      Second video: Position 2 sounds good and natural.

      Third video: You maybe need more gain for the 2 m distance. The 1 m distance has a good full sound with a lot of presence.

      Good work

      Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Immanuel Hi Immanuel, great experiments. Thank you so much!

      For the first experiment, I am undecided between positions B and C, although I feel like that B gives a bit more depth to the sound!

      Mic Placement: I hear that some notes are much louder than other ones; that's probably because the sound hole reacts so strongly to different frequencies! And since you coined it the "Zimny" special, I have to go with that one, haha! But jokes aside, the third position is a bit thin and hollow, because while the neck does resonate a bit, it's nowhere as resonant as the body and the bridge!

      Distance: When conducting tests for distance, it's always important to listen back to them in a similar loudness. We always like something that is louder, so in order to make a fair comparison, it's important to keep that in mind. That being said, 1m sounds direct and cleaner, while 2m sound more airy. I can't decide what I prefer now!

      Like
  • @martin I've posted mp3 files as I don't know how to edit/sync audio files with video. Apologies if you have to download them to listen to them.

    I used AT2020 condenser mic and Reaper for this. My workspace is a small room with a few pieces of furniture (sofa sets and book racks). so, the following are the three positions I experimented with:

    Position A (Next to wall, with my back to the wall)- This is where I practice daily

    Position B- Middle of the room

    Position C- Corner of the room

    Placement of Mic- about 30 cm from the bridge for all the positions.

    I recorded with the interface's gain at about 50% and that of Reaper at about -6dB. I haven't done any processing or added FX.

    To be honest, I don't know what to make of these recordings or how to judge/differentiate them. I tried to follow the guidelines provided by Martin for Experiment no.1. Curious to know your thoughts.

    • Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary  I like the ''next to wall'' position.👍 

      Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary Hi Nijwm, thank you for these experiments! The recordings are all very noisy, so it's a bit hard to listen to the subtleties. I also think like Andre Bernier that I like next to the wall, the corner of the room has a somewhat nasal quality!

      Like
    • martin  Just to be sure; are you saying that you feel the position 3 is better?

      Like
    • martin Hi, martin, thanks for the feedback. yeah, there's a lot of ambient noise. I think I didn't use my mic correctly (mistakenly pointing the tip instead of the side of the mic, it's an AT2020) I'm very new to recording and exploring your recording course videos plus other online resources and trying to absorb as much as I can. So, here's how I do it. Please let me know if I'm missing something:

      1. I set the gain on Reaper at about -6dB on both meters (master meter and VU meter, are their names?). Relatedly, when you input the FX, do you place it on the left or the right meter during processing?

      2. After recording, I add The ReaComp, followed by EQ, Reverb (I'm still learning what numbers or levels to set in these effects). What numbers or levels should I look out for?

      3. I normalize the file and render it into MP3.

      4. How and at what stage do you use the Limiter and VST ReaFir FX?

      5. When I do I dry run before rendering, what should be the ideal peak level. Mine is somewhere at -4.9?

      6. While processing, what should be the levels on the two meters? (still between -6 to -12dB or between -18 to -12 dB)

      Sorry, for bombarding you with so many questions.

      I've uploaded two more files and some screenshots of the plugins I've used. It'd be great to hear back from you. Thanks as always

      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary Hi Nijm!
      1. Prior to recording, I wouldn't change anything in your meters. Since you can't measure the input on your interface, this is your only source of truth. You could for example be distorting on your interface (Gain too high), but the meter in Reaper would show "-6db". What actually happened is that you have recorded in a way that Reaper clipped already at the input level, and then you reduced the level of the recorded, but clipped signal to -6db. Imagine taking a picture of the sun; Everything will be white, but of course you can turn down the brigthness on your screen. But this won't bring back details, you just make the white picture of the sun a bit grey now!

      2. Hm, that always depends on your input signal. I wouldn't get too crazy with it, but of course play around and see what sounds good to your ears!

      3. All good there

      4. I would put the limiter at the very end of the effect chain. I don't know what ReaFirFX is!

      5. That's a good peak level!

      6. I don't know what you mean when you say "while processing"

      Like 1
  • Hi Guys, I managed to get a video uploaded of me playing in all different scenarios. I used one Shure SM-81 normally I run 2 stereo but for this project I used just one mic. Demonstrated in my home recording space. It ws fun playing in the different areas of the space. I really liked the natural reverb created with the further mic placements. 

    Like
    • David Trevors  Thanks for sharing. I have to say that it is very hard to decide which position and micro placement is better but may non expert guess would be the micro to the right and higher the guitar. This would be great to see Martin's comments.

      Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      David Trevors Great! If you like the natural reverb of your room and you usually record with 2 mics, try using one spot mic (close to you) and one further away and see how those mix together!

      Like 1
  • Here is my Intro vid. Playing a Carcassi Etude #15. This is a recording I made for the Carcassi Challenge which ended already. It should be available now in case you missed this. I love playing through the Carcassi Etudes! Feedback or comments welcomed!

    Like 1
    • David Trevors  Very beautiful David. Great performance and excellent recording. Bravo 👍

      Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      David Trevors Beautiful, can only echo say what Andre Bernier is saying there!

      Like
  • I have recorded the first nine measure of ARIOSO by Muriel Anderson. She recorded this as a duet in 1992 on her Arioso from Paris CD and published it as a solo in 2003 as part of her Parisian Suite.

    I need to continue to experiment for best placement of both me and the microphone.  Using the photography tripod rather than the table top tripod for the microphone gives me a lot more options. At this point I am more interested in the methodology than making a final decision.

    I recorded using the native camera app as part of Windows 11 on my Lenovo laptop. I am using a SHURE MV88+ microphone with default settings. I made a separate recording for each of the three options for the exercises, and then edited them together for a single video per exercise using the free version of SHOTCUT.

    I had to use the links on my google drive because YOUTUBE got stuck for hours processing the first video.

    Exercise 1 - Sitting in the corner; Sitting with back to wall; Sitting facing wall

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NzA-EdYBIVV12YK9zUhCBV1S-1wnA1-n/view?usp=sharing

    Exercise 2 - Microphone is on a photography tripod. Microphone is first in front to the left, then in front to the right, and then behind me.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AsTNHxdl-tx7yfI3kGAFeSN8EziAXinP/view?usp=sharing

    Exercise 3 - My back is to the wall. Microphone is at music stand, then 24 inches away from music stand, and then 55 inches away from music stand.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DVXaaHdxgPWyQ8ZwvgLwknBDcUPuNotL/view?usp=sharing

     

    Martha Kreipke

    Like
Like3 Follow
  • 3 Likes
  • 1 mth agoLast active
  • 199Replies
  • 355Views
  • 33 Following

Home

View all topics