The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
So, what have we learned?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
So, what have we learned?

Well, they may have renamed us space cases, but I will always be a gear slut.

I love beautifully crafted professional gear of all kinds, from Leica, rolleiflex (Franke und heidecke), hasselblad and deardorff cameras, fine mechanical watches and such, and of course high end audio equipment. I’ve owned DPA, schoeps, Neumann, sennheiser, royer, and AEA mics, sonosax, millennia media, DAV, and sound devices preamps, nakamichi, tascam, teac (3300 half track), and sound devices recorders, and oodles of peripheral goodies.

So, what have I learned? That it is really the space you record in, and the performance itself that make a great recording. Quality gear and experience using it close that circle. But no matter where you are, or who is playing, you aren’t going to capture it well with your iPhone or other device that has AGC - and all the online music audition/competition submittals required of students these days have limited music recording to the lowest common denominator.

Even when students hire me, and I make them decent video/audio recordings, often the submittal platforms (such as opusevent.com) won’t let students simply submit a YouTube link, and limit file sizes to the point where you have to render videos at like 3mbps, which sucks so badly it doesn’t make it worthwhile to hire me in the first place. I don’t know what I have learned from that...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Perhaps schools are more concerned with admitting the most students who will pay full tuition, room and board?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Your efforts at delivering the best simply exists at the confluence or delta plain of several rivers: increasing accessibility, affordability and both visual/audio quality of affordable devices such as phones and tablets, the accessibility of free, bundled and low cost 'optimisation' software for video and audio material. The ubiquity of the home computer plays into this too.

It's simply 'mission creep' for the student submission game...the panels and assessors have only ever required 'necessary and sufficient' data to permit them to make informed decisions....and now a $39 cellphone camera delivers that.

The onboard phone hardware and integration software has become over-achieving in leaps and bounds, while the gear we typically revere and purchase has been on a flattening "specs attainment curve" for a long while...we're largely into the diminishing gains arena regarding mics and recorders (maybe the dubious advantage of 32 bit recording in recent times for standalone recorders is the only divergence from that ?)

Fast rewind (ha!) back to the audio cassette era, and let's say also pre Beta/VHS video, in terms of submitting student audition material...and you would have found yourself in a very similar situation to now. In other words, everyone had access to a mono home cassette recorder/player, usually with battery and AC powering, and an inbuilt electret mic. The recordings these machines made were plagued by tape hiss, the rumble of the tape transport picked up by the mics embedded in the same housing, the woeful frequency response and boxy sound of those mics, the wow and flutter of varying speed replay...on and on.

Academic institutions typically welcomed 'a cassette tape of the student playing, uninterrupted' ....and that was the extent of the spec ! There was no expectation of it being recorded on a Nagra or Nakamichi or Revox with Sennheiser or Neumann mics, and then transcribed to cassette. So it was effectively just like today....everyone had a cassette recorder (it probably cost about the same as a cellphone !) and the recordings (like today's) gave necessary and sufficient data for competent and confident decision making by panels.

Anything above that (recording quality-wise) was, and remains, icing on the cake....?

Is the gear you possess today suitable for concert recording capture and rendition of the acoustical calibre of the room and the quality of the playing ? Absolutely. Is it capable of being used by The Met tech crew for capturing a surround recording of an opera for cinematic release ? Maybe not. Could your cameras and lenses be employed in a spy satellite capable of detecting troop movements and construction details of battlements on the South China Sea islands ? Maybe not. Capable of exquisite quality wildlife or studio photography ...very probably.

It's the confluence of technological advancements, evolution and over-achievement...versus the delivery of 'necessary and sufficient' ...or else functions at the extreme ends and fine-grain detail requirements. You pitch your purchases at the area of endeavour you expect to function within, develop the operating skills commensurate with that...and then stop looking over your shoulder at the advancing (technology ) that's nipping at your heels.

If 1mbps gives the panel what it requires, so be it...and if it truly troubles you then move to another area of recording endeavour where your equipment is always performing and delivering in the echelon where no cellphone can compete...and where your clients immediately and enduringly appreciate the difference !

You're currently over-delivering and exceeding the necessary/sufficient paradigm...and the student assessment panels neither require nor appreciate it. Every parent with a cellphone can now provide what those institutions require of their child/student. That's the difference....so find a new and more appreciative markets for your skills and 'deliverables'. Maybe equipping and launching spy satellites with high grade optics ...?

Last edited by studer58; 3 weeks ago at 06:31 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Of "spaces" and "places"

I've been sort of "on a tear" about the importance of the recording space lately:

Give your music "room" to be heard!

Are dynamics "better"?

Concerning audition recordings, it may be helpful to understand what they're actually used for. The major conservatories are totally drowning in applicants every year. It's a huge task to deal with the volume of material that has to listened to. A typical piano faculty member may have to spend two or three hours a day for more than a week just to listen to their assigned share of the work load. They're doing on top of their regular work load, this year from quarantine, but previously they might need to do it while commuting or out on tour. They're probably listening on earbuds, maybe on a sketchy internet link. Fortunately, what they're mostly doing at this point is culling the heard; eliminating anyone without a very high level of technique. The sad truth is, they're going to end up rejecting a lot of really excellent players, because there aren't enough seats in the incoming class. But in this first round, they're just separating the wheat from the chaff, and the outcome of this initial process is nothing but a set of check marks: who gets one of the very limited in-person audition slots and who doesn't. Those who pass this first sort will all be technically superb and its pretty easy to judge that, even from an MP3. The judges do appreciate it when the audio doesn't sound trashy, but only because it makes the process a bit more pleasant. A great recording of a sub-standard player still gets a "no".

The live audition is where the rubber meets the road. It's a command performance for an audience of just a few faculty members and the goal of each player is to convince one of the listeners to accept her/him as a student instead of someone else. This is where having that musical "something" beyond simple virtuosity may make a difference. Unfortunately, financial need or lack of it also makes a difference. There is only so much money for scholarships, and most accepted students will get little or no financial help from the conservatory. Some will decide to enroll elsewhere, where they can be a bigger fish in a smaller pond and may be offered a more generous aid package because of that. Others will graduate with tremendous musical ability plus a tremendous amount of debt, and never achieve a successful concert career. If they're very lucky, they may land an professional orchestra job and/or a teaching position at a state institution. Usually they'll need both to make ends meet. That's musical life these days.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #5
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
neither gear nor spaces

i think i've learned that...

...it is neither about gear nor technique nor approach nor spaces but about admitting that we are infinitely privileged (as the discussion on the above-mentioned topics alone shows) - thanks to the grace of late birth or by being born in a western-oriented country, having had enough food, medical care and gone through schooling - and besides that, about coming to terms with the fact that luck or bad luck flashes up in unforeseeable ways!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Looking through the wrong end of the telescope? What I see is that over the last multiple decades, advancements in technology and manufacturing have made it possible for anyone (even li'l old me!) to have state-of-the-art gear that costs fractions of what it used to, like shifting the decimals over a few places cheaper.

Now, what you do with it... that's a function of each person's own grandiose ambition. Which is maybe more a question of your genes and DNA? And who looks back at you from the mirror?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
I spend my life trying to get people to care about rooms.

Why is the lecture hall in the biology department a better place to record a string quartet than the music department theatre? Because somebody gave a damn when they built it, 80 years ago.
--scott
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
nightchef's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I had a "eureka" moment when I got to record in a really nice room lately -- a medium-sized room, maybe 25 x 40 feet, that's used as a choir rehearsal loft at a large urban church. It's a moderately live room with a really clear, smooth ambience. I was recording a vocal/piano duet. I didn't have a lot of time to tweak sounds, so I used both a stereo pair and close mics to give myself options after the fact.

The singer was wonderful -- a rich but clear baritone. I put a U195 about 18 inches in front of him, set a level, and knew it would be fine.

Partway into the session I realized that the singer had moved back a few paces and was now much farther from the mic than I had intended -- a full 3 feet. I panicked a little, thinking about excess room sound and piano bleed, but since they were in the flow of the piece and performing well, I let it be.

When I listened to the playback, that's when the light bulb switched on. There was, indeed, a fair amount of room sound on the voice track--and I loved it. It didn't reduce the immediacy of the performance or muck up detail. It just sounded like a great voice in a great room. And of course this is how it's supposed to work. I'm just so used to recording either in deadened studios or muddy, over-reverberant churches that I've forgotten how recording in a really good room works, or the amazing amount of flexibility it grants you.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
I spend my life trying to get people to care about rooms.

Why is the lecture hall in the biology department a better place to record a string quartet than the music department theatre? Because somebody gave a damn when they built it, 80 years ago.
--scott
The music dept theatre was likely commissioned by accountants who envisaged it as a 'multifunctional performance and lecture space' ie over-damped and dead acoustics... and everything intended to be heard at the end of an in-house PA system.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Whether or not the school accepts a low resolution audition video, a quality video/audio recording still has value to the student and to the student's family, particularly as time goes by.

While is it certainly true that technology has become more affordable, it still requires a substantial investment of time, study, practice and judgment to utilize it effectively.

Last semester, a theater director friend attempted to make a video recording for a livestream of her drama performance trying to make something happen out of a semester when in person performance couldn't happen. The video was a technical disaster filled with all of the rookie mistakes probably all of us have made when starting out. We stub our toes, pick ourselves off the floor, study, and go back for another go at it to learn how to do better. But she only had one shot at a recording and it didn't come together in spite of the fact that she's very talented, intelligent, and hard working.

Most parents don't have the time, equipment or inclination to go through this learning process to produce a good video. The school may see it as just another audition video to sort out applicants, but to the family to whom the student as a son or daughter really matters, a quality audio/video recording ought to take on a different level of meaning. Ultimately, it's about the person in the video and this moment in time of their life. This is where the real value lies.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
The music dept theatre was likely commissioned by accountants who envisaged it as a 'multifunctional performance and lecture space' ie over-damped and dead acoustics... and everything intended to be heard at the end of an in-house PA system.
Yeah. What is sad is that the Physics department had a lecture hall that had offset concrete block walls and looked kind of crude but actually was a very good sounding live room. Reverb was bright and clangy but decayed well and evenly. A few years ago they refurbished it, and now it's dead in the midrange, live on the bottom, and has flutter echoes. Voice intelligibility really isn't any better.
--scott
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
I've learned that everyone wants to make a record but no one wants to buy them.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Studer - now I want my own spy satellite...
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➡️
now I want my own spy satellite...
to do what? space-based corona early detection?

(mini satellites have become almost as inexpensive as audio interfaces...)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
There is also value to the student because you've helped them avoid many mistakes they are otherwise likely to make if they were making an audition video on their own. Namely, your video is going to be stable, in focus, properly exposed, color corrected, and free of clipping, etc. Your services free them of the worry of having to deal with capturing useable audio and video so they can concentrate on delivering their best performance. It also shows that they care about their craft and took steps to prepare instead of whipping out a phone and hoping for the best.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #16
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks ➡️
.... stable, in focus, properly exposed, color corrected, and free of clipping, etc. Your services free them of the worry of having to deal with ....
This is so very true, and should be self-evident, and painfully obvious...

but the student (and parents) who will recognize this are very rare indeed.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I learned that the trait I value most is loyalty. To clients, and them to me. Also to friends
That only a janitor records at home.
That amateurs release on YouTube.
That when a friend says someplace has “great acoustics,” that it doesn’t.
That soon terrestrial radio will be an anachronism.
That quality matters to only a very few.
That streamers are Satan.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Might not hurt to remind them of the reasons why these services are valuable.

The best situation for anyone here is to be able to explain why they should pay for audio/video expertise, what they are getting and why it matters.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightchef ➡️
When I listened to the playback, that's when the light bulb switched on. There was, indeed, a fair amount of room sound on the voice track--and I loved it. It didn't reduce the immediacy of the performance or muck up detail. It just sounded like a great voice in a great room. And of course this is how it's supposed to work. I'm just so used to recording either in deadened studios or muddy, over-reverberant churches that I've forgotten how recording in a really good room works, or the amazing amount of flexibility it grants you.
I'm interested in how that first 10-15 mins on the close mic sounded, before the singer moved back. Did it sound too close and detailed, compared with the 'optimum leakage' of the majority of the take ?
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
I've learned that everyone wants to make a record but no one wants to buy them.
Reminds me of that great Gore Vidal quote, that it is obviously a lot easier to write a book than to read one. In response to there being so many "authors" and an uneducated public.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Jim Williams has provided for us a very cogent professional business reality mantra: While a lot of folks are still pursuing personal recordings the viability of recording sales has become a dim memory. Today the only avenue to follow for career development is high quality audio imbedded in a live performance video to create demand for live performance bookings. It was the primary cash cow before our current 14 month "Covid time out" and will, most likely, be the "goin jessie" when we get back to some semblance of intelligent pursuit of Life, Liberty & Happiness!

The OP has accurately pin pointed dangerous practices in excessive SR DBs with a lot of pop music today. Perhaps we should take advantage of the current down time to think through re-inventing exactly why and what we are electronically delivering to the seats. Last week the CMA awards show offered a very strong message pursuant to what the future of live performance production could be. Unlike previous years, that featured overblown Rock and Roll mixing protocols, the new sound was tailored around clear vocals with mostly acoustic instrumental accompaniment. The production quality was the best I have observed in years and my hope is the current covid laws were not the only factors responsible for this remarkable change.

The truth is all forms of live music performance can be delivered at reasonable levels: excessive DBs are a choice that is made with out consideration or respect for well know health or legal limits. I am hopeful that at some point high quality sonic delivery of exceptional on stage talent might find it's way to commercial viability and ultimately popularity.
Hugh
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse ➡️
The truth is all forms of live music performance can be delivered at reasonable levels: excessive DBs are a choice that is made with out consideration or respect for well know health or legal limits. I am hopeful that at some point high quality sonic delivery of exceptional on stage talent might find it's way to commercial viability and ultimately popularity.
Hugh
I am increasingly convinced that the key to exciting rock music concerts at reasonable audience levels is to have clean vocals combined with deep, extended, well controlled low end. People want to feel the low end and we don't want distortion from that low end to mess up the midrange. You can have that drop without cranking overall levels up insanely if you can keep it clean enough and PA systems are finally at the point where this is becoming possible.
--scott
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➡️
Well, they may have renamed us space cases, but I will always be a gear [CENSORED]. [. . .]
With respect to space - and comedy acts - this is still a tough room!

It is entirely appropriate to invest effort towards understanding the competitive environment and best positioning yourselves for success in light of evolving challenges. However you decide to do it, articulating your vision such that it becomes reality is king. . .and cash flow is the king's army. Focus on those things.

There is an assembly here that ranges between two extremes: those who rely on associated profits to support their family - and those who only seek the intangible value of the art [and the ability to create the art] itself. Many of us at both extremes would prefer to leave behind a legacy of forceful artistic quality.

As I make money elsewhere, what does matter is improving my ability to create better art. To that end, I've learned a lot from you all. . .about music, gear, techniques, processes, options, philosophies, culture and priorities. And I am deeply grateful for your perspectives.

Of course, I still have a ways to go - and owe yet a lot of time to the woodshed.


goin' jessie,

Ray H.

articulating your vision means => not just coherently stating it, but taking appropriately injunctive and compelling actions.
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
king2070lplaya's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➡️
Reminds me of that great Gore Vidal quote, that it is obviously a lot easier to write a book than to read one. In response to there being so many "authors" and an uneducated public.
Lol I’m sure Jim will love his insight being analogized with Gore Vidal
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
Lol I’m sure Jim will love his insight being analogized with Gore Vidal
Well David and Gore nailed me there. As a @ Jim Williams fan, I’m waiting for @ Jim Williams The Movie to come out.

Then I’ll quote Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, or whoever lands the leading role.


See you in the movies,

Ray H.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Maniac
Kludge, curious what advancements in PA you have in mind. DSP and line array stuff, or ? I have been keeping an eye on Tom Danley's horn wizardry, have a few of his boxes and wondered if you had big modern horns in mind...
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #27
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klimermonk ➡️
...what advancements in PA you have in mind. DSP and line array stuff, or ?
think neodym magnets, switching amps, arraying of subs, extentension of fr towards the lowest octave, dsp not only for alignment but also on the input and mixing side, immersive sound systems (pls note the term is getting used in a different way in live sr than in other areas of our business), spl limits in many places (!) etc. and you get a pretty good idea on what's been happening in the last 20 years...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
Sabovic Adis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I learned two is greater that one although some say one's the greatest.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
My favourite room with a great acoustic and lovely architecture is owned by the Town Council and they use the venue for a variety of events , including stand up comedy and wedding receptions.
The BBC uses it for classical recitals and the Towns famous Contemporary Music Festival depends on it for smaller ensembles and choirs.
However the lighting and PA installed are suitable for the former and not the later...
The PSU for the LED lighting is under the stage and hums, the PA also hums , its situated in the halls corners...
Its extremely frustrating to record in, and the local admin simply cant hear the problems and are quite dismissive
When the BBC arrive they simply switch it all off, but the Festival obviously cant do that for public performance.
When kit is updated it seems to get worse.
Nobody cares about this beautiful hall and its acoustic purity, I am the lone voice in the wilderness and agree with Gore wholeheartedly.
Roger

Last edited by Rolo 46; 3 weeks ago at 09:44 AM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The finance sub-committees who sign the cheques and authorisations (and put the job tenders out) for such 'improvements' typically award the contracts to the cheapest and least competent suppliers, and exercise no oversight during construction or after completion.

'Little do they know the little that they know' therefore prevails...and the sad inevitable outcome can't be challenged once completed and signed-off upon...and the key stakeholders (eg BBC, Music festival) are rarely if ever consulted before or during the construction either.

As far as I know this is standard operating procedure...due diligence replaced by due DILLIGAF...
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 5775 views: 1860297
Avatar for crestifer
crestifer 1 week ago
replies: 0 views: 1761
Avatar for voce1
voce1 26th January 2006
replies: 716 views: 17646
Avatar for Shannon Adkins
Shannon Adkins 7 hours ago
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump