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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:57 am 
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Firstly, great idea to start this forum - It sure beats searching through C & F for these very specific posts :thumbsup:

My question to those who record Whistle music to a CD quality is which microphone/s do you find work well for whistles?

I have a low D and high D (and soon some in between) and I also want to add in guitar backing (although this could be a direct line in) I will also be recording speaking voice, as my partner is using my low whistle to make relaxation / meditation cd's.

FYI, the balance of the setup I am looking at is an audio interface box incl preamp (still deciding which one) and some recording/editing/mixing software (still deciding which one).

Any experience you can share would be great.

Best regards

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:15 am 
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I think if you had a budget you could get more useful advice.

For about $400 I bought a pair of MXL 603 microphones, cables, stands, and a small mixer. It makes really decent recordings of anything. It's not a whistle, but here's a sample.

At a later date we got a tube pre-amp. Anything recorded through the pre-amp sounds a little nicer. It's not a big difference though (unless you really turn up the gain and/or the compressor).

I haven't recorded whistles yet, but I would like to give that a go. I have a MXL 990 microphone too, but it's pretty much like the 603. I have an SM 57 knockoff but I don't care for it in comparison to the condensers. If I could buy a microphone today, it would probably be one with a large diaphragm. If someone else was going to pay for it, I'd definitely want an AKG C414. A guy I know who plays flute and pipes and has been recording for a long time just bought an Audio Technica 4050.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:55 am 
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highland-piper wrote:
I think if you had a budget you could get more useful advice.

For about $400 I bought a pair of MXL 603 microphones, cables, stands, and a small mixer. It makes really decent recordings of anything. It's not a whistle, but here's a sample.

At a later date we got a tube pre-amp. Anything recorded through the pre-amp sounds a little nicer. It's not a big difference though (unless you really turn up the gain and/or the compressor).

I haven't recorded whistles yet, but I would like to give that a go. I have a MXL 990 microphone too, but it's pretty much like the 603. I have an SM 57 knockoff but I don't care for it in comparison to the condensers. If I could buy a microphone today, it would probably be one with a large diaphragm. If someone else was going to pay for it, I'd definitely want an AKG C414. A guy I know who plays flute and pipes and has been recording for a long time just bought an Audio Technica 4050.


Hi Highland Piper,

My budget for the Microphone is around $200, but it could be stretch if a good option presented itself.

Most of the opinions are that Condenser Mics will produce a better result, so I'll probably go for one of them. As for the brand, well that's another story????

Best regards

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:51 am 
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Here's a recording I just made:

http://www.mediafire.com/?pgp84pabojle8va

I used a pair of MXL 603s microphones. The right channel is one mic straight into the mic-pre on the mixing board. The left channel is the other mic through a tube-pre and into the line-in on the mixer. So if you pan it to one side and then the other you can hear the effect of a tube pre-amp. I'm using a pretty aggressive gain and a bit of compression on the tube unit. You can hear it has a warmer (less harsh) sound than the straight sound. There's also a difference in the way the gracenotes sound.

I think the 603 is only sold in matched pairs for around $200. It might be a good option for you. On the internet forums for people who record MXL is highly respected for budget gear. Recording acoustic guitar usually likes two microphones. I could have made a better sounding recording of my whistle by putting one microphone out further in the room as well, and maybe facing it away from me, but I really wanted an a/b recording of the tube-pre.

The MXL 990 is made from the same components as the 603, but it sells for about $60. The body is a little different, so it is more directional, but it sounds pretty similar.

You can hear the air conditioner kick in about half way through the recording. I also only recorded the first half of the tune, cutting off right after the first note of the B part. I kept that note so you could hear the breath.

I put mics up on stands a bit higher than the whistle, and about 18" away.

Just for fun, here's the same file with some heavy-handed processing. I threw on significant compression and big reverb:

http://www.mediafire.com/?c4wbac1gvci6mmq


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:46 am 
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I don't have a lot of experience recording whistles, but I have done some recording of ocarinas, which present similar challenges. More to the point, I am drawing on the experimentation of Karl Ahrens, creator of Mountain Ocarinas, who, after a lot of research, decided that a ribbon microphone is the best option.

In this video, and many others, I'm using the Nady RSM-4 ribbon mike, which isn't too expensive. I'm also using the Alesis Multimix 8 mixer and USB interface, but there are plenty of other choices that won't break the bank. I think the ocarina sound is faithfully recorded, and I'd expect the same performance with whistles.

Ubizmo


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:11 pm 
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I'd say a large diaphragm condenser mic, as for which one to go with, I can't say as I've not recorded anything on whistle on a mic even remotely within your budget (my old school had a studio with some great stuff, including an AKG something or other, which would cost about €6000), but the best way is to visit a shop and talk to them.

Other than that, what I'd absolutely recommend you to do is make sure that you get one that is all right to record the guitar with as well, because on a recording, a guitar that is just lined in will never sound natural, and would thus work against the sound of the whistle. A line in could be effective to blend with a mic track, but not on it's own.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:22 am 
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Jäger wrote:
I'd say a large diaphragm condenser mic, as for which one to go with, I can't say as I've not recorded anything on whistle on a mic even remotely within your budget


I don't think there are any large diaphragm condensers in his budget. They seem to start at around us$300. I'd love to have one myself, but I can't really justify it.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:24 am 
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I use a dynamic Shure sm58 vocal mic, and sometimes have a pillow placed behind it to 'soak up' nasty noises. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:34 am 
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Can you record something? It would be nice to have a few samples of different recording setups.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:07 pm 
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Sure, (or should that be 'Shure').

Busy tonight, and tomorrow, so the day after I'll blarp out some noises.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:16 pm 
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FWIW, all the whistle clips in my signature were recorded with the same Shure SM57.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:19 pm 
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Thanks to everyone who is posting sound clips in this post. It's one thing to talk about a microphone, but to have the end result is gold. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

Just a question I might pose (as a newcomer and learner to recording practices) How much of the sound quality would you attribute to the microphone itself and how much to elements such as mic placement, room acoustics, musician quality and subsequent editting??

Best wishes

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:56 am 
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Quote:
How much of the sound quality would you attribute to the microphone itself and how much to elements such as mic placement, room acoustics, musician quality and subsequent editting??


It depends on the mic. If you have a regular dynamic mic, which has a rather limited area from which it takes up sound, the room in itself isn't that important, but like someone said, you might want to place something soft behind the mic to soak up nasty noises and unwanted frequencies and overtones (no no, not Overtons). With a condenser the room is much more important, especially if it isn't hyper cardioid (this means that it has a very limited angle at which it picks up sound, only from the front, straight in, nothing from sides or from behind).

When it comes to musician quality. Well... the better a mic is, the more "honest" it usually sounds, what you play is what you get. No mic in the world can make a poor player sound good, but conversely a poor mic can make a great player sound bad. And "creating" a good sound with subsequent editing should never be the goal. Unless you happen to be a master of physics and acoustics and have some very high end software, you'll never be able to take a very poor recording and with the use of EQ's and effects sculpt that sound to something good. And even if you do, it wouldn't sound very natural.

So basically what I'm trying to say is that what you should be going for is something that'll give you a good, clean recording to work with. Everything else is just the icing on the cake. A saying in the world of studio work is that it is much easier to edit something unwanted out of a mix when it's there, than editing in something that you want, but isn't present in the recording.

With that said. Go nuts. While reading up on mixing and editing and what not can be a great way to learn, there's nothing like mucking about, trying crazy things and going "hey, I wonder what this button does!" Just remember to save whatever you were doing and want to keep. :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:20 am 
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A few posts back, I mentioned the Nady RSM-4 ribbon microphone, which is indeed a very good microphone for recording ocarinas, and presumably whistles as well. But I discovered something else that surprised me: Some of these fairly inexpensive headset "Skype" microphones perform very well. They are dynamic mics, and the packaging will usually list the frequency range--and it's the microphone range, not the headphone speaker range that matters. They are usually either 100-10,000 Hz or 100-16,000 Hz. The latter is better. I've looked around for one that goes to 20,000 Hz, and the only one I've found is the headset that goes with the Rosetta Stone language learning system. I don't own it, however, so I can't comment on how it works for recording whistles or anything else.

[urlhttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/3576175/poison%20ivy.mp3]This[/url], however, is a recording I did with a $25 Plantronics, set, and it's only the 100-10,000 Hz range. I still think the sound quality is great; nearly equal to the ribbon mic + mixer/interface setup. Of course, it's no good for recording a group of musicians, or anything like that. But for individual solo recording (or, as in this case, playing along to a recorded backing track), it's just surprisingly good.

I've used various condenser microphones, and not had much luck. As others have pointed out, with a condenser mic, the space you record in becomes much more important. If you don't have a studio-like space, with "dead" acoustics, that condenser mic will pick up reflected sound from walls at certain resonant frequencies, and you'll tend to get unwanted amplification or distortion on certain notes, while others will seem weak. I've had better luck recording outdoors with condenser microphones, although they still tend to pick up everything: distant traffic, etc. It's surprising how hard it is to find a truly quiet spot until you actually go out and look for one. But then, I live in Philadelphia.

edit: Note that there's a touch of reverb added, but not enough, I think, to alter the fundamental character of the sound.

Ubizmo


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:36 pm 
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Whistler from Oz wrote:
How much of the sound quality would you attribute to the microphone itself and how much to elements such as mic placement, room acoustics, musician quality and subsequent editting??

Best wishes


Depends on how you want to think about it. If I set up microphones in my livingroom and you play in yours, then you could say that microphone placement is everything.

Mic placement within a room is very important. I can make my instrument sound like a totally different instrument by moving the microphone. This is true in any room, but it's more true in rooms with more character. It's true that some recording is done in isolation booths, but it's not all done that way. Plenty of recording studios feature rooms with hard surfaces, and there are no recording studios with anechoic chambers.

Regarding the editing -- if you don't start off with something that sounds good, you're not going to end up with anything good. But you can easily go the other way (take something good and mess it up).

And it goes without saying that nothing you do with microphone selection or placement will improve your playing :wink:


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