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Gear / Technical Help => Ask The Tapers => Topic started by: vantheman on December 03, 2019, 06:20:24 PM

Title: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: vantheman on December 03, 2019, 06:20:24 PM
Hi folks, newbie taper here trying to make the most of my Shure MV88/iPhone rig. Was over in Ireland a couple weeks ago and caught a couple of my favorite artists in a tiny venue. I was in the last row of about 20, roughly ear level with the speakers and right next to the soundboard. I taped the mic to the back wall and just let it go. Always recording raw midside.

I tend to record acoustic shows, and I've lately become a huge fan of the "parallel" compression method explained here: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=137594.0

Here's a track that I mastered but did not apply any EQ. I tried to pick one that has a little bit of everything they were doing that night. It kinda sounds to me like the vocals could use some work, but don't know what to do or what else might be needed. Overall I'm pretty happy with it, but I want to take my mastering skills to the next level. Oh, and I'm using Audacity currently. I bought a license for Izotope RX7 but I'm on macOS Catalina and will have to wait until they support it.

Anybody want to take a quick listen and let me know what you think?

Mastered with some cleanup in Izotope RX7, parallel compression and gain added in Audacity
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5sjiyazv8ky4pom/08.mp3?dl=0

Unmastered basic stereo mix from raw mid side file
https://www.dropbox.com/s/cep712ukywoh0q1/raw.mp3?dl=0
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: heathen on December 03, 2019, 06:22:26 PM
It would be helpful if you could post the "unmastered" track for comparison, so we can hear what it sounds like raw.
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: vantheman on December 03, 2019, 06:23:28 PM
I can do that. Do you want me to give you a processed stereo track with no other edits?
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: vantheman on December 03, 2019, 06:36:39 PM
Here's the original. It's a stereo track processed from the raw midside recording. All I did was drop the sides by 3db to narrow the stereo image slightly, as I did this on the mastered track as well:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/cep712ukywoh0q1/raw.mp3?dl=0
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: kuba e on December 06, 2019, 09:04:53 AM
I like both version, the difference is little. Maybe I prefer original version, the edited version sounds to me too high in treble (I am listening on headphones). But I don't have a good hearing. Better make your choice. Adjust the same volume and switch the versions during playback.
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: vantheman on December 06, 2019, 11:28:25 AM
Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like I’m not wildly off track haha. I’ve been super impressed by the Shure MV88, and so far I’m really enjoying taping certain shows that would otherwise be lost to the ether. I’d be tempted to start thinking about upgrading my rig, but this little mic allows me to do things that would be much harder to get away with using another rig, mounting the mic to the wall in this case.
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: daspyknows on December 06, 2019, 12:00:24 PM
With an upgraded stealth rig you could still get all of those shows.  Lots of us on here are doing that. 
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: vantheman on December 06, 2019, 02:02:08 PM
With an upgraded stealth rig you could still get all of those shows.  Lots of us on here are doing that.

What should I be looking at for super stealth upgrades? I'd prefer not to go with binaural mics at this stage...
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: DavidPuddy on December 06, 2019, 05:57:24 PM
With an upgraded stealth rig you could still get all of those shows.  Lots of us on here are doing that.

What should I be looking at for super stealth upgrades? I'd prefer not to go with binaural mics at this stage...

Probably something like DPA 4060 or 4061 and a DPA dvice
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: detroit lightning on December 06, 2019, 08:43:47 PM
the MV88 will pull fine recordings for you. Sure, you can always upgrade - but the MV88 is a pretty solid little device.
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: nulldogmas on December 06, 2019, 09:58:56 PM
With an upgraded stealth rig you could still get all of those shows.  Lots of us on here are doing that.

What should I be looking at for super stealth upgrades? I'd prefer not to go with binaural mics at this stage...

Probably something like DPA 4060 or 4061 and a DPA dvice

Those are omni/binaural, no?
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: daspyknows on December 07, 2019, 11:23:20 AM
With an upgraded stealth rig you could still get all of those shows.  Lots of us on here are doing that.

What should I be looking at for super stealth upgrades? I'd prefer not to go with binaural mics at this stage...

A rig of Schoeps MK4/41 caps, actives, BabyNBox and a Sony A10/M10, Roland R-09 or Tascam DR-2D would be my go-to super stealth rig.   
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B) on December 07, 2019, 09:42:31 PM
With an upgraded stealth rig you could still get all of those shows.  Lots of us on here are doing that.

What should I be looking at for super stealth upgrades? I'd prefer not to go with binaural mics at this stage...

Probably something like DPA 4060 or 4061 and a DPA dvice

Those are omni/binaural, no?

They are omni-directional microphones. Binaural is a technique where you need to put a solid object between the caps (usually your head).

If you don't want omni's (I prefer them in more stealth situations, especially if you mostly go to GA shows), DPA also makes some small card options. I have the DPA 4080's and they are pretty nice.
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: kuba e on December 08, 2019, 06:01:01 AM
Whether to upgrade mics it depends on what you want to improve and what you like. I am recording very little, but I see that my assessment of recordings is changing. I perceive slowly more and more aspects that I was not aware of before. I think the best is to record, listen to other recordings and compare (there are many recordings on LMA). After, it is easy to decide whether you want to upgrade or not.

Schoeps actives is dream setup. Dpa are also great mics.  If you are taping occasional you can try cheaper gear too. Sometimes it may also be better to learn with cheaper rig how to handle it. Any mistake doesn't hurt so much. A lot of people including me are using Chris Church's mics or Audio technica electrets as starter. When you decide to upgrade your iphone rig you also need to get a preamp and recorder (or recorder and battery box). You can find a lot of information about mics, preamps and recorders here in the taperssection.
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: daspyknows on December 08, 2019, 12:21:07 PM
Whether to upgrade mics it depends on what you want to improve and what you like. I am recording very little, but I see that my assessment of recordings is changing. I perceive slowly more and more aspects that I was not aware of before. I think the best is to record, listen to other recordings and compare (there are many recordings on LMA). After, it is easy to decide whether you want to upgrade or not.

Schoeps actives is dream setup. Dpa are also great mics.  If you are taping occasional you can try cheaper gear too. Sometimes it may also be better to learn with cheaper rig how to handle it. Any mistake doesn't hurt so much. A lot of people including me are using Chris Church's mics or Audio technica electrets as starter. When you decide to upgrade your iphone rig you also need to get a preamp and recorder (or recorder and battery box). You can find a lot of information about mics, preamps and recorders here in the taperssection.

Excellent post
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: vantheman on December 09, 2019, 01:18:35 PM
Whether to upgrade mics it depends on what you want to improve and what you like. I am recording very little, but I see that my assessment of recordings is changing. I perceive slowly more and more aspects that I was not aware of before. I think the best is to record, listen to other recordings and compare (there are many recordings on LMA). After, it is easy to decide whether you want to upgrade or not.

Schoeps actives is dream setup. Dpa are also great mics.  If you are taping occasional you can try cheaper gear too. Sometimes it may also be better to learn with cheaper rig how to handle it. Any mistake doesn't hurt so much. A lot of people including me are using Chris Church's mics or Audio technica electrets as starter. When you decide to upgrade your iphone rig you also need to get a preamp and recorder (or recorder and battery box). You can find a lot of information about mics, preamps and recorders here in the taperssection.

Thanks, agreed this is a great post. All roads seem to be leading to Schoeps. I am just an occasional taper, disproportionate to the number of shows I actually attend. My #1 concern when I'm taping is that the process doesn't distract from my own enjoyment of the show in the moment. Other criteria would include - is the show likely to be recorded by somebody else with better gear, is recording this show really gonna add to the pantheon of recorded live music in some way, will I be able to set up in a decent spot to get the most out of my modest rig, etc.

I've been an active listener of unofficial live recordings for a pretty long time. I remember fondly certain audience recordings - some from Tom Waits's 2004/5 European tour, some Dylan recordings over the last 15 years. Throughout that time, despite having some audience recordings that I basically treat like children, I still thought of an audience recording as a sort of poor man's soundboard. That began to change after discovering the Living Stereo classical music series, some amazing recordings there for those unfamiliar, and it changed dramatically when I made my first audience recording about a year ago. It's so much more than a line out from the soundboard - the sound of the room, the crowd for better or worse, the challenge, the responsibility to document something important that would otherwise be lost to the ether.

Anyway, back to the topic, if I can aim the MV88 right at one of the stacks within close range and get my levels right, it's astounding what it can do for the money. In the recording up at the top of the thread, I was in the back recording the room rather than pointing at stacks (it was more of a general purpose PA, not really stacks), kind of making my own 3 channel Living Stereo inspired recording. In a perfect world I'd be able to do that but with a much lower noise floor so that I still have the ability to make certain moves like adding compression or gain. I tend to record acoustic shows where isn't any bass, but being able to capture good bass is something I imagine I'd want in a versatile rig.

It looks like a Schoeps-based rig will take some doing to make it ultra stealth. I've been thinking about creative ways to mask stealth rigs in acoustically transparent everyday objects or maybe even 3D printing my own apparatus.
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: kuba e on December 10, 2019, 07:27:26 AM
You are active listener because you made very gentle mastering. Yes, I see it just like you. The important is location, mics and post-processing. I heard many great recordings with cheap mics made very close to PA. Post processing is the difficult thing for me. I should train my listening skills. But if you are good in post processing then it's almost as important as location and mics.

I wish you a lot of great recordings with MV88. By the way, my dream is Schoeps too. Ha ha, or maybe Neumann.
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: vantheman on December 19, 2019, 11:30:59 PM
If I may revive this after a couple days of absorbing info -

I think the Sony A10 will be my recorder of choice, and I’d like to build a system around that. The Line Audio CM4 mics appear to offer great bang for the buck, so I’m curious about adding these. It seems like they’ll allow me to stealth fairly easily with a XY pattern at least.

With this type of mic, I believe that I will need to supply power and gain? Is this correct? If so what would an affordable way to do that, ideally in a single device?
Title: Re: Pick Apart My Mastering
Post by: kuba e on December 22, 2019, 05:18:16 PM
Yes, you will need external preamp with balanced inputs (xlr) and phantom power for using these mics with Sony A10. The second choice should be to buy recorder with xlr inputs and phantom power. Then you can connect these mics directly to the recorder.

I know that there are some Tascam or Zoom hand held recorders with phantom power. But I don't know if they're good. I can't help either with small external preamps. Maybe try to ask in Line Audio thread. I am using electret mics for stealth recording. It needs only 9V power and unbalanced inputs (mics + battery box + A10). But probably Line Aduio is better quality than average electret mics.