Recording Self - Working on Tone Quality

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Ric232, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

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    I've seen numerous recommendations that one should record oneself when trying to improve tone quality. I just got a Zoom H2 and have been using it for the last 24 hours to do just that. One question: When I point the bell directly at the recording unit, I hear just a tad of of air in my tone, especially when just starting a note. If I point the bell slightly away from the microphone (15-30 degrees), I don't hear any air. Am I cheating by not pointing directly at the mic?
     
  2. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    Do you play directly at anybody's ears? Probably not. Place the recorder where the closest member of your listeners would be in a performance and turn it so that the two microphones are aimed as the listener's ears would be.

    It takes something like 15 feet or so in front of a performer or band for the sound to really coalesce into what it should be -- recording anything closer to yourself and you won't hear what the audience actually hears, so it won't be as helpful.

    You're not cheating by pointing the bell away, but you need to ask yourself just what you are hoping to learn by recording yourself. If you're working on pure tone and want the least amount of air, then point the bell at the microphone and keep on practicing until you don't hear anything you don't like anymore. If you want to learn what the audience is really hearing then do as I suggest above and place the recorder where an audience member would be.

    A recorder is a tool, and like any tool it can be used in a variety of ways to help with a variety of things. Only you can determine what will be the best use of that tool for you, and remember that can change, so you can use that recorder in a number of ways depending on what you're working on at the moment.
     
  3. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

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    Makes sense. I'll probably keep recording with the bell pointing at the mic (but maybe standing a little farther away) in order to get my tone quality as good as possible.
     
  4. HSOtrumpet1

    HSOtrumpet1 Pianissimo User

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    Almost every player has a just a little bit of air in thier tone when you are straight on with thier bell. ESPECIALLY with higher instruments like the picc. Don't worry about it: it's normal. Just make sure the tone still sounds good.

    I would be careful about recording myself with anything but the best equiptment, because without the best, you won't know how you REALLY sound. You might not really sound like the recordings you are listening to.

    I NEVER record myself, except when I am trying to make a cadenza or compose something, and then I just basically vomit ideas with the recorder on, and then go back and listen to it and see what I like. Even then, I am not checking for tone, only the rest, to get a general idea of what sounds good.

    Perhaps that is a better use of a recorder??

    HSO
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  5. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    I think it is more important to have a little space between you and the mic, from the sound of your post you are also pretty close to the recording mic.

    A zoom is a great tool to have, sometimes I record myself daily, other times weekly. That way when I play I can focus only on playing the trumpet and not have to diagnosis problems while playing. I think it is very hard for someone to really develop a good sound with out the feedback you get from recording.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Improving tone can't happen when you listen to a recording. It can only happen while playing. Get a duet buddy.

    Recordings are good for timing and phrasing. Those points could be arguably better served by better preparation and a better practice routine.

    I am not convinced that a recording device helps those who can't figure it out while playing and practicing. I am also not convinced that it speeds anything up.

    It does fill up youtube with a lot of garbage though that proves my point..................
     
  7. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    Rowuk,

    What are your thoughts on the difference between perceived sound behind the bell and the sound that the listener hears?
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    night and day. That is why we really need a decent room to practice in if we want to build good sound habits.

    What we hear from the mouthpiece end of the horn, I call "feedback". The trumpet designer has great flexibility in what is lost to the audience but available to the player! My experience is that heavier horns only really work well in good sounding rooms, lighter and less braced ones help the player in dead sounding rooms or outdoors, at the price of acoustic output and "thickness" of sound.

    We get used to the feedback of our personal instruments and this means that trying a horn out in a music store has little or no meaning whatsoever. We need to get used to it in the intended environment to make judgement. Buying a horn of substantially different weight and bracing is a recipe for desaster if we haven't done our homework.

    Less feedback will feel stuffier to a player not used to it, even if the REAL situation is different.

    Play your horn outdoors (stuffy) and then in a fine auditorium (more free blowing). It will feel like 2 different instruments.
     
  9. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Rowuk sez:
    "Improving tone can't happen when you listen to a recording".
    ---------
    I'd say the information you gather from listening to yourself can be used to make the next recording a little better. Its hard to argue with the benefits of listening to oneself.
    However, if you have documentation that supports your claim, I'd be glad to read it.
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Markie,
    I went into the production of tone in the thread about PA. We play, our ears pick up what is in the room and we make subconcious adjustments. Tone is 100% a real-time event. Listening to a recording will not tell you anything that you couldn't pick up in the practice room. I would even go so far as to say that the player that can't hear stuff while practicing won't figure it out from the recording either.

    Recording performances is a bit different, but also of no use for tone quality.

    Quality of tone is sensed not intellectually created. I can listen to Wynton for MONTHS, until I pick up the horn and listen to myself while playing, nothing happens. What I hear has nothing to do with my sound on the recording either.

    This thread is about tone quality. Real Time Events need Real Time practice!!!!
     

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