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#2040456 - 02/27/13 11:42 PM HP-307: Audio Recording Tips
jmmec Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/10
Posts: 86
Loc: New Mexico (yes, USA!)
Hello!

I have an HP-307 piano and continue to fumble around when it comes to audio recording, so am hopeful for tips to make the best audio recording that pre-sequestration will allow.

I've uploaded a recent recording to Google Docs to give you an idea of the sound:

Piano Sample on Google Docs

The MP3 above sounds tinny and crappy on my laptop speakers (that's expected I guess), and much better albeit "muddy" on my AKG K240 MKII headphones. I also think the overall volume might be too low since I have to jack up the volume.

I'm using the following equipment:

1. HP-307 piano with 12AWG mono patch cables to a Roland Quad-Capture.

2. The Quad-Capture is connected via USB to my Windows 7 laptop where I am running Reaper to capture the audio.

3. I play the loudest section of the piece and have the Quad-Capture set the levels (like -24.0 as I recall on left/right). I have Quad-Capture set to a peak of -3.0 when it calculates the auto-levels.

4. Then I play the piece and capture the audio in Reaper and then export it as MP3.

5. Open the MP3 in Audacity and then "Normalize" to -1.0, and then Export as MP3 (Lame Encoder) using the "Insane" preset which is 320kbps with CBR (constant bit rate).

6. Upload the Audacity MP3 to Google Docs.

7. Seek assistance from Piano World before sequestration hits.

Is there anything I can do to improve the sound? I would like it to sound "cleaner" if that makes any sense; louder? clearer? But to also maintain its fullness (which I do get on the AKG headphones).

The Quad-Capture has a built-in Compressor, but not sure I should mess with that (it is disabled). Also Reaper has Compressors, Limiters, Equalizer, etc, but that stuff goes over my head, so I'm not sure if these would help.

Thanks for any tips or suggestions.
_________________________
Roland HP-307
Roland Quad-Capture

https://vimeo.com/58278342

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#2040474 - 02/28/13 12:35 AM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: jmmec]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1415
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: jmmec
Hello!
. . .
2. The Quad-Capture is connected via USB to my Windows 7 laptop where I am running Reaper to capture the audio.

3. I play the loudest section of the piece and have the Quad-Capture set the levels (like -24.0 as I recall on left/right). I have Quad-Capture set to a peak of -3.0 when it calculates the auto-levels.

4. Then I play the piece and capture the audio in Reaper and then export it as MP3.

5. Open the MP3 in Audacity and then "Normalize" to -1.0, and then Export as MP3 (Lame Encoder) using the "Insane" preset which is 320kbps with CBR (constant bit rate).

6. Upload the Audacity MP3 to Google Docs.


NEVER EVER compress to MP3, uncompress, and then re-compress !!!

That sequence _guarantees_ a muddy sound.

Why not just use Audacity to capture the original recording from the Quad-Capture? Audacity uses 32-bit encoding internally.

Or, use a .WAV file to transfer between Reaper and Audacity.

Then, you compress _once_ to MP3, as the _last_ operation before distributing the recording.

. Charles

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#2040481 - 02/28/13 12:52 AM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: jmmec]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9410
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
I believe your Roland allows performances to be recorded directly to USB memory as WAV files. This should, in theory, provide the highest quality recording as it's a purely digital (i.e. no digital<-->analogue conversion).

I would also second what Charles writes - re-encoding an MP3 (transcoding) will reduce quality considerably.

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2040510 - 02/28/13 02:09 AM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: jmmec]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3714
Loc: Northern England.
Since I don`t have a line out on my DP, I have to use the headphone socket (split to enable headphones when necessary) straight into the "line in" at the back of the computer. Audacity waits in readiness.
The song to be recorded is already honed to perfection on the DP recorder, so I just press "playback" and away we go!
If you want mp3, convert it later.
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2040526 - 02/28/13 03:13 AM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: jmmec]
xorbe Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/12
Posts: 573
Loc: Mt View, CA
Originally Posted By: jmmec
I have an HP-307 piano ...
... albeit "muddy" on my AKG K240 MKII headphones.

Interesting, I feel like my AKG K240 headphones are also a bit muddy/boomy with my Roland. I use my Sony ear buds instead, and it sounds great that way. Or I can turn the lowest EQ knob down 3-5 db.

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#2040621 - 02/28/13 08:23 AM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: jmmec]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 502
At first I thought you were only using a single patch cable, but realize that you are probably using 2. My concern is; what is a - 12AWG mono patch cable - ?
Is it a sheilded?

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#2040800 - 02/28/13 01:59 PM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: jmmec]
jmmec Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/10
Posts: 86
Loc: New Mexico (yes, USA!)
Thanks everyone for your responses!

Some brief replies:

1. Charles Cohen & peterws: Thanks for explaining one problem with MP3->Normalize->MP3. If I instead do WAV->Normalize->MP3 then the audio levels are much better. I need to spend more time listening to see if I detect any other improvements; not sure yet.

2. Kawai James: It looks like I can only save MIDI files to USB. frown Apparently the HP-307 can read WAV files from USB (for playback) but it will not write WAV files.

3. xorbe: The AKG headphones sound fine to me when connected to the HP-307, but not as good when they are connected to my laptop and I'm doing a playback. I wish I could capture the HP-307 sound as heard through the AKG headphones when they are connected to the piano - it is very nice, robust, full, clear, beautiful.

4. emenelton: I have 2 mono cables that connect from the HP-307 to the Roland Quad Capture. I just mentioned this in case they might not be adequate - I got them from Amazon here:

Amazon - GLS Audio Mono Cables

There is definitely some improvement without the MP3->MP3 double-conversion.

Thanks in advance for any additional suggestions!
_________________________
Roland HP-307
Roland Quad-Capture

https://vimeo.com/58278342

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#2040803 - 02/28/13 02:02 PM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: jmmec]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 502
That's what I thought. They are the wrong cable.

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#2040844 - 02/28/13 03:15 PM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: emenelton]
jmmec Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/10
Posts: 86
Loc: New Mexico (yes, USA!)
Originally Posted By: emenelton
That's what I thought. They are the wrong cable.


Oh, can you suggest the correct cable?

(Not sure why they are wrong?)

Thanks!
_________________________
Roland HP-307
Roland Quad-Capture

https://vimeo.com/58278342

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#2040850 - 02/28/13 03:22 PM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: jmmec]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 502
They are speaker cables. It's funny you didn't have buzzing with them. Line cables are shielded.
You should normalize to -0.10 instead of -1.0 as well.


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#2040854 - 02/28/13 03:32 PM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: jmmec]
xorbe Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/12
Posts: 573
Loc: Mt View, CA
Originally Posted By: jmmec
3. xorbe: The AKG headphones sound fine to me when connected to the HP-307, but not as good when they are connected to my laptop and I'm doing a playback. I wish I could capture the HP-307 sound as heard through the AKG headphones when they are connected to the piano - it is very nice, robust, full, clear, beautiful.

One thing I want to try is analog capture from headphone jack to my PC, and also from stereo line-out. I'm just curious if Roland twiddles with the headphone EQ (like Casio).

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#2040876 - 02/28/13 04:04 PM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: emenelton]
Hookxs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 247
Loc: Czech Republic
Originally Posted By: emenelton
...
You should normalize to -0.10 instead of -1.0 as well.


Could you please explain why that is so? Thanks.

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#2040904 - 02/28/13 04:47 PM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: jmmec]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 502
0.10 is 1/10 of a decibel below full amplitude, so you use up all your dynamic range. If it's your final render, you want to present your material as hot as you can.
Personally with my tracks I never normalize, I always put the L2 limiter as my last stage. With critical tracks like acoustic piano, I'll see where the track peaks decibel-wise and set the threshold of the limiter to that point. that brings the track up that much louder but doesn't actual hit the limiter. You can also set the threshold a little deeper and get a couple of more decibels of over all level while only occasionally hitting the limiter. If your max limiting through the entire track is only 2 or 3 decibels, which only occur a couple of times on stray peaks, you get a louder track with no negative sonics.
The -0.10 is an accepted engineering max output level for a finished track. It's 0.90 decibels louder than -1.0

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#2041043 - 02/28/13 09:35 PM Re: HP-307: Audio Recording Tips [Re: emenelton]
jmmec Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/10
Posts: 86
Loc: New Mexico (yes, USA!)
Originally Posted By: emenelton
They are speaker cables. It's funny you didn't have buzzing with them. Line cables are shielded.
You should normalize to -0.10 instead of -1.0 as well.



doh... gotcha...

I found a shielded cable (only had 1) and compared it against the speaker cable and the speaker cable is definitely noisy at high input levels on the Quad-Capture, otherwise it isn't too bad. I'll switch over to shielded cables. Thanks for pointing that out!

I'll also play with a higher peak setting on the Quad-Capture and will try -0.1 or so on normalize; might even play with a limiter instead of normalizing given your other post. Thanks again.


Edited by jmmec (02/28/13 09:36 PM)
_________________________
Roland HP-307
Roland Quad-Capture

https://vimeo.com/58278342

Top

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