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Thread: Recording in recital hall with light street noise

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    Default Recording in recital hall with light street noise

    I'm going to do some recording in a small recital hall with I think good acoustics, with one exception. I walked into the recital hall the other day, and noticed that it wasn't perfectly quiet. I could hear the sound of cars passing on the street. It wasn't that loud, but I think it was loud enough to get picked up by the mics.

    I was wondering, is there anything I can do to block this sound out? I noticed that the recital hall already has these panels of fiberglass insulation stacked up in a corner. I think they're used to fit over the windows. Will something like this actually work? (haven't had a chance to try it yet) I was also thinking of recording early in the morning, like 3 AM. Is this my only option?

    I mentioned in a previous post to this forum, I am pretty new to recording, so any help would be greatly appreciated,
    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterj View Post
    I'm going to do some recording in a small recital hall with I think good acoustics, with one exception. I walked into the recital hall the other day, and noticed that it wasn't perfectly quiet. I could hear the sound of cars passing on the street. It wasn't that loud, but I think it was loud enough to get picked up by the mics.
    If your ears notice it (and ears can be extremely forgiving), then the mics will spotlight it. Best option for solving noise problems is at the source. So recording on weekends or at night is the best solution.

    Where do you find players willing to come in and record at 3AM?
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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    thanks for the info Lynn, i didn't realize mics brought out background noise (yes, definitely don't want to add passing cars as a second voice to the mix). Much appreciated.

    well, luckily for now, I'm only recording piano, and the pianist is a friend of mine. but, you have a good point, I'll be recording a small chamber group later on and they might not be as willing to come so late. hmm, might have to find a different space.

    Pete
    Last edited by peterj; 03-23-2008 at 08:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterj View Post
    thanks for the info Lynn, i didn't realize mics brought out background noise (yes, definitely don't want to add passing cars as a second voice to the mix). Much appreciated.
    It's not that they bring it out. It's just that they aren't attached to this perceptual filter that we call the brain. The brain part of our listening system actively filters out all manner of distractions and noises and vibrations and junk. Mics, on the other hand, have no such filtration device. They just record what they hear.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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    oh, that's makes sense. I guess we all go through our day surrounded by background noise that we naturally block out and get accustomed to. Hopefully though, I'll find a way to reduce it during the recordings sessions.

    ... by the way Lynn, it might interest you that I read another post of yours dealing with buying mics (I'm trying to decide whether to buy DPA 4006-TL's or Schoeps cmc6/mk2's). You mentioned that you should rent before you decide, which I thought was a great idea. I'm going to research a couple of places for rentals this week...
    ..and, if anyone has any suggestions for rental places, they'd be more than welcome.

    Pete

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    pete - if you are going to be working in a space where there is bothersome background noise, omnis are probably not the best choice. cardioids do a much better job of rejecting background noise, and can still do a fine job of capturing the ambient reverb of the space. schoeps cmc64s or 641s, or the DPA 4011s are extremely good at this kind of work.
    jnorman
    sunridge studios
    salem, oregon

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    Also, dynamics pick up far less unwanted noise than condensers in my experience. I think of most condensers as "sound suckers." They are like vacuums gathering in all manner of sounds, noticed or not, wanted or not.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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    Thanks for the info about cardiods and omnis, very useful, and if we decide to record during the day (or have any noise problems), will definitely try cardiods...

    ...hmm, but just now, thinking it over, I may try to record elsewhere. This recital hall that I initially wanted to record at is apart of a small, local piano/music school. I think the room sounds very warm and nicely full, but is designed for performance and teaching. It seems to do decent job of reducing outside sound, but obviously not enough for recording.
    I know of a second space at a local university that I can record at. The room is very well shielded from all noise (but will take much more work to reserve... great, just what I need, more work ).

    Pete
    Last edited by peterj; 03-24-2008 at 02:05 AM.

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    Scott Fraser is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterj View Post
    I'm going to do some recording in a small recital hall with I think good acoustics, with one exception. I walked into the recital hall the other day, and noticed that it wasn't perfectly quiet. I could hear the sound of cars passing on the street. It wasn't that loud, but I think it was loud enough to get picked up by the mics.
    I was wondering, is there anything I can do to block this sound out? I noticed that the recital hall already has these panels of fiberglass insulation stacked up in a corner. I think they're used to fit over the windows. Will something like this actually work? (haven't had a chance to try it yet) I was also thinking of recording early in the morning, like 3 AM. Is this my only option?
    The fiberglass will possibly attenuate the high frequencies a little bit, but essentially they are worthless at blocking traffic intrusion. Mass is needed for that, like multiple layers of drywall. I've done plenty of late night weekend sessions in order to avoid traffic. Musicians understand this, & a lot of night time sessions go on at churches around LA here.
    Elsewhere you mention this is a solo piano session. You might be OK then. All that matters is whether the traffic is audible at the location of the mics in the presence of the piano sound. It's a signal-to-noise ratio question. Often what is audible when the room is quiet, is completely overwhelmed when the piano plays. If you need to get in close, like several feet away, then that's what you have to do. I'll often hear the pianist say there's noise, which is completely inaudible to the mics under the piano sound. Generally, for location recording I set up a near pair & a more distant pair, sometimes as many as 4 pairs at various distances, mainly to hedge my bets, since one usually can't critically monitor diffuse/direct ratios & noise intrusion until the tracks are back in the control room.

    Scott Fraser

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    Icon6 Recording in recital hall with light street noise

    For getting better quality output recording while recording in light street noise, you can make use of noise cancellation microphones. You can get the advice from a professional transcription services on making a recording absolutely clear.

    [Edit: Poster has been notified that continued phishing for work will result in permanent banning from this forum. -LF]

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