Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Jimi Michiel, May 7, 2005.

  1. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

    Mar 22, 2005
    Hey all,
    B15M mentioned this in his post, but I thought it deserved its own topic. I'm am curious as to if and how eveyone out there records themselves while practicing. Do you record your whole session, or just individual snippets?
    I have never recorded myself, except for audition tapes, etc. This is probably because I lug enough stuff around with me and don't want to add a minidisc player and microphone to this. Also, my practice schedule now is such that I practice in shorter durations whenever I get the chance, so taking 5 minutes to set up recording equipment almost seems like too much trouble if I'm only going to do a half hour
    Recently, however, several people whose opinion I trust immensly have commented on things in my playing that I don't hear, and I think it might be benificial for me to hear it for myself. With summer vacation approaching (and hopefully more free time), I would like to start recording myself, but I want to have some kind of strategy before I introduce this new technique into my practicing, so any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance,
  2. stewmuse

    stewmuse Pianissimo User

    Apr 28, 2004
    NW Chicago
    Recording yoursellf is one of the single greatest teaching aids avialble. It allows you step back and really just listen without the distraction (or torment!) of actually platying. It's always interesting to really hear what's goiong on at the other end of the instrument. DO IT!!!!
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I have spent some time in my firend's studio for stuff for our band and let me tell you, NOTHING exposes areas that need improvement like a recording, although I don't record my practice. It might not be a bad idea though.

    Currently, I'm trying to get my stuff together with a home recording setup, and I'm having some configuration difficulties thanks to the OS on my notebook PC. I have an M-Audio Duo preamp USB interface and a couple of inexpensive Marshall condenser mics - I should look into getting a Shure SM57) If I ever get that setup to where it's actually working like I want it to, I'm going to do some home projects to include getting some Music Minus-1 things so that I can mix the two into my own recording of various solo works such as the Goedicke Concert Etude.

    Studio work is interesting in that it forces a level of concentration and focus that can carry over into the rest of your playing.
  4. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Bobby Shew once told me that he highly recommended recording one self. I would agree with him whole heartedly.

    I use an AKG C414 condensor mic. It requres 48 volts phantom power, but it gives a farily clean sound (or at least it seems to to ME). These mics are said to have a "bright" sound, but you can eq that to taste in the mix. I like to record flat. That may all change as I am retiring (retired, actually) my 16 track tape deck. All of my recordings done since the start of the year have been direct to PC, multitracking using ACID Pro. So, on these, I do my eq on the fly.

    Now, my buddies who are full time studio engineers all tell me that ribbon mics are the best for trumpet. They say they produce a "warmer" sound. Now, from an acoustics point of view "bright" and "warmer" are all implying the same thing: they don't have a flat response, or at least perfectly flat response. The only way you can change timbre or tone quality is by tweaking overtones, and that simply means some sort of EQ is going on somewhere. Oh well... Again the studio dudes like those ribbon mics. The old RCAs seem to be the best, but they go for a kings ransom. Neuman ribbon mics are the ones that have ended up in front of me when I have played sessions here in Chicago. I can't afford those either.

    There are less expensive ribbon mics out there, I'm sure, but some research is in order.

    Frank Zappa used to like PZM mics ( I think that's an abbreviation for pressure zone mics). I've only encountered those back in the days when I would take gigs with the circius when it came to town (Ringling Brothers - the Shriners were more old school about the tech thing). We had these big pieces of plexiglass in front of us with a little transducer fastened in the middle of it. I have NO idea how it sounded, and I'd be skittish about recording with it.

    I'm bettin' mic technology has progressed quite a bit. Any new stuff out there? some neat new electret developments? Now, I'm curious.

    FWIIW coming from me.


    Nick Drozdoff
  5. trptcolin

    trptcolin New Friend

    Nov 6, 2004
    Athens, GA
    I've been recording myself a lot lately, because I'm trying to get some excerpts PERFECT in terms of tempo, rhythm, and intonation. I have a MiniDisc player and a half-decent microphone, but for my practice sessions I've been using a digital voice recorder (costs like $40 bucks). Frankly, the sound on the thing is tinny and it distorts easily, BUT it is EXTREMELY convenient and fast, and it works great for the things I'm working on. This thing is smaller than my cell phone, and there is almost no setup time involved (just hit record).

    I've done a couple different things recording myself. The main thing I'll do is play an excerpt or part of a concerto (~2 minutes), then listen to it. Then, once I've decided what I need to improve, I'll play it again. I've also been using a metronome with me sometimes, because I found I wasn't staying precisely with the metronome. This way is great for me mechanically, too, because it builds rest into my practice time where I wouldn't ordinarily take it, and so I'm more fresh and play more easily.

    I'll also play a whole audition list down (~15 minutes) and then listen to it, writing down or just mentally noting problems (~10 minutes, because I can fast forward through the silence). So this is like an endurance routine for me.

    Anyway, I think the important thing is to be sure to listen the way an audition committee would, then make sure you concentrate on whatever needs work right after. There's something about hearing it myself (rather than having someone else tell me) that makes me improve MUCH faster.

    Good luck!
  6. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I like to record myself with accompaniment.
    I have Music Minus One cd's and I use Smart Music.

    The recording equipment doesn't have to be great.
    If your computer can run Smart Music, your all set.

    If not, a cassette recorder with a Radio Shack Mike will work.

    I have found that recording with accompaniment has helped my tuning and style.
  7. fatpauly

    fatpauly Pianissimo User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Ellicott City, Maryland
    Neumann ribbons? News to me. What models are you using? The classic RCA ribbons are very highly regarded and thanks to guys like Stephen Sank, getting a new lease on life. Also, Wes Dooley has a line of fantastic ribbons (I have his R84 model), which are modeled after the old RCA mics. These are the large geometry ribbons.

    David Royer makes a line of small geometry ribbons modeled after the classic Speiden mics, and these are fantastic mics too. For people on a budget, Beyer has some models still in prooduction, though most engineers I chat with still prefer older, classic models.

    Your AKG is a large diaphragm condensor, a cousin of the classic AKG and Neumann mics of the 50's that now command upwards of $20,000 in the marketplace. Another standard studio LDC is the Neumann U87, a favorite of Trent Austin's, at least it was last we spoke. Like any micing situation, the room is a factor, and an LDC will definitely bring your room into the picture.

    The extreme of this is the PZM mics, which originally were designed to mount on the wall or other reflective surface. I would believe Zappa used these on horns. When it came to recording, Zappa threw away the book and therefore rewrote it. Not everything he did was a success, but he really pioneered the "home studio" and was not afraid to experiment. Glad his family is restoring the YMRK, hope it becomes a museum someday!

    Mics are one thing, but the preamp they go into needs consideration if one is a serious student of the recording arts. I won't get started on this, but there are a ton of great preamps out there and as many mediocre ones. And like mics, they range in price from $100 to $10000.

    Nick, since you are in Chicago, if you haven't done so already, you should visit Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studio. His mic and preamp collection is pretty spectacular, and I think his rates are quite reasonable considering who he has worked with. You might really like what he can do for your sound.

    Gave up analog for ACID Pro? Yikes! I love ACID but not for tracking. What is your front end into the computer? I use a system called Paris, which is very analog sounding and has great effects and EQ. My room is pretty lame here so I can't get too excited about recording my horns here, but it is still a worthwhile thing to do.

    - Paul Artola
    Ellicott City, Maryland


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