Recording Technique

Posted: 5/8/2006 7:51:32 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

How do you create recordings of your threremin playing?

Do you produce your own accompaniment tracks, how?

What are the best tools, software, and setup have you found both when you didn't have any money to really spend on it and then what was the best expense you made when you did?

Do record the theremin directly or you use a mic.?

How to you listen/hear your theremin while recording it?

How to you convert your recordings for posting online, where do you usually post them?

Maybe this will also evolve into a sort of FAQ for us.
Posted: 5/8/2006 11:21:58 PM
Etherdave

Joined: 2/21/2005

My personal computer was built for digitally recording electrically-amplified instruments, and has a series of line input jacks on the front face. I simply plug my theremin's audio cord straight into it, and off I go. Recording can be from the input channel only, or a series of inputs and sources.

The software I currently use is the SoundBlaster Live! sound recorder, which records in .wav format at a reasonable 44 khz. Editing is accomplished with Audacity, a freeware sound-editing application that emulates Syntrillium's CoolEdit.
Posted: 5/9/2006 7:43:03 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Cool, would you expand a bit;
Is the accompaniment you're playing with being played back by the computer as well?
Do you have a method of dividing the signals so the acc. and theremin sound through different monitors while you are recording?
Do you edit the tracks to get them in sync.?

Thanks so much for starting off and sharing your recording setup!
Posted: 5/10/2006 9:55:00 PM
rupert

From: washingtondc metro area

Joined: 2/8/2006

How do you create recordings of your threremin playing?

either i go directly into the computer via the mixer, or directly into the camera from the mixer or just record the sound from the speaker with my video camera. since my video camera is a sony hdr-fx1 the onboard mic is excellent.

Do you produce your own accompaniment tracks, how?

yes, korg karma and in the distant past korg ms2000 and the more distant past a dr-660 drum machine and korg x-3 keyboard without sequencing.

What are the best tools, software, and setup have you found both when you didn't have any money to really spend on it and then what was the best expense you made when you did?

the best expense was the sony hdr-fx1 hi-def video camera followed by the pair of jbl eon 15" speakers.

software for music production is cheating unless it's for mastering or burning cds. (i'm old fashioned)

Do record the theremin directly or you use a mic.?

the theremin goes into a behrenger mixer and i do both, line and speaker recordings.

How to you listen/hear your theremin while recording it?

jbl eon 15" and with earphones

How to you convert your recordings for posting online, where do you usually post them?

final cut pro hd and post them at google video. i use quicktime output format with the mpeg-4 compression setting set to highest and mpeg compression for the audio for online posting. for dvds i convert the video to dvcpro 720p.

if i was doing auido only, i'd use itunes.

Maybe this will also evolve into a sort of FAQ for us.

good vector.
Posted: 5/11/2006 7:13:52 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

roger that good vector rupert.
I've wondered how you did your videos that's a great outline thank you.
Due to some logistics and old, old, laptop I'm trying out the Tascam digital recording deck which can burn CDs. Not great results yet but am hopeful.

Have you found a way to still use pitch preview when recording and monitoring with headphones?

thank you, hope other recording thereminists keep posting I really think this thread could help folks out there. TW is one of the better searchability sites so those in need will find the info you're sharing here.

Posted: 5/11/2006 8:46:16 AM
Marble Field

From: Athens, Greece

Joined: 5/23/2005

I'm usually recording my Etherwave directly into Steinberg Nuendo via an E-MU 1820M sound card (an own created MIDI channel in the same sequencer serving as accompaniament). I'm rarely using micing, as this always captures the room resonances. When I do, I use a Shure SM58 (dynamic mic) in front of my Roland Cube-60 Keyboard amplifier (usually in an angled position), backing it with a Rode NTK (tube condenser mic) positioned usually 1m from the amp, to get the "room" feeling. I'm monitoring recording through a pair of Yamaha MSP-5 monitors, usually with a very small amount of reverb added (I've found that this helps me maintain the "feeling" of my performance).
Of course, the aforementioned equipment is rather expensive if sound-recording isn't your job (I'm a sound engineer), but I'd be glad to discuss alternatives and/or recording tips and techniques.
Posted: 5/14/2006 12:49:23 PM
rupert

From: washingtondc metro area

Joined: 2/8/2006

"Have you found a way to still use pitch preview when recording and monitoring with headphones?"

i don't use pitch preview or frequency counters.

with a professional mixer with multiple sends/buses you might me able to route the two signals together and patch it out to the headphones, but that would require reading the manual as well as buying perhaps an expensive mixer.

in a mixer with two aux sends you could have one for effects and use the other for mixing and driving a monitor speaker. this is typically done by all of the open mics i frequent. the trick here is to have a mixer that would enable you to plug in the pitch preview signal and route it to the aux which drives the monitor while at the same time being able to mute the signal in the main mix. hopefully you have a music store with someone who can steer you to the right mixer. i will check it out tonight on my behrenger and let you know if it will do the trick.

also, i would suggest using a small spot monitor for your pitch preview signal - you can mount it on a mic stand and put it real close to your head.

you could also use monitor speakers to hear the "play" signal and the headphones for the preview signal but you would need a seperate headphone amp unless your pitch preview has a headphone out.

then there is the simple brute force way - use two mixers - the first one to mix the music and the second one to mix the output of the first mixer and the output of the pitch preview and use the second one to drive your headphones or monitor speakers.

probably someone here has experince with some form of the above and can let you know which works well or is more practical.

i like to keep things simple as setup time sometimes takes away from the music. using the pitch preview seems to require someone else adjusting the final mix as it would be difficult to judge the output mix when adding the pitch preview. i'd dthink that it would have to make volume control difficult and those nuances are part of what makes the theremin so special.
Posted: 5/14/2006 3:50:39 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

"Have you found a way to still use pitch preview when recording and monitoring with headphones?"

Here's a thought.

Pitch preview on earbuds underneath headphones for monitoring.
Posted: 5/14/2006 10:03:17 PM
kkissinger

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

I have tried a pitch preview earbud underneath headphones and it is ok for private practice, however the headphones have given me a false sense of pitch.

Numerous Thereminists have reported that when they attempt to record thru headphones that the theremin sounds in-tune while playing but upon listening through speakers, the intonation is "off".

I haven't had a chance to investigate the pitch issue -- I think it is related to the way headphones press against the skull (the speed of sound is faster through a solid than through the air -- since the wavelength is a constant, to change either the frequency or the speed of sound will change the pitch. The question is if the headphones are dampenning the vibrations through the skull or if they are accentuating them.

How much of a difference and which direction? Well, the best I can say is that I don't know and would be interesting to investigate.

There seems to be a general feeling that to monitor ones playing thru speakers is preferable than monitoring thru headphones with the exception of an earbud for a pitch preview.

Incidentally, the pitch preview sounds slightly off pitch from the speaker. Pitch preview users tend to adjust to this and it isn't a big deal. This, too, is another issue which would be interesting to investigate.
Posted: 5/15/2006 9:35:03 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

I'm actually happy with my pitch preview set up now [will post latest ear ware notes in the Pitch Preview thread next door to this one].

But attempts to record with an ear bud under the headphones were a disaster.
I've also experienced differences in pitch recording with headphones.

Yesterday I started trying to use a Y adapter to split the theremin signal between it's speakers and the Tascam deck, then cranking those tracks that hold the acc. so they are much louder in the deck's monitor output and I thought I could rely more on my Theremin's speakers while recording.
Well so far I've only got a weaker signal and more line hum but am keeping hope it might work.

Here's another general question folks may have:
How do you produce the MP3 copies of your files is everyone using iTunes for that?

thanks all.

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