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Discussion Starter #1
Last May a fellow in the Reeds section said:

"Now I got the red javas. Before I tried them I recorded my sound with green java and marca jazz. Listening to the recording turned my sound concept around.
While playing the marca sound nice and edgy but on the recording it's like kazoo.
The java used to sound too dull to to my ears but on the recording it sounds great; it has the smooth core sound and some buzz around it. "


This is what I've been thinking about lately. I always thought that I could get a passable sound but after hearing a recording it was pretty gruesome. In fact I just recently had the unknowing kazoo experience.

So now when I fool around with reeds and mouthpieces and stuff, I generally try to get a recording. Of course pretty much everyone here is better than me but I don't think that everyone could step outside themselves and hear the horn from a listeners' standpoint.

PB

PS How long will this go before somebody shows up and says that all reeds and mouthpieces sound pretty much the same?
 

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Last May a fellow in the Reeds section said:

"Now I got the red javas. Before I tried them I recorded my sound with green java and marca jazz. Listening to the recording turned my sound concept around.
While playing the marca sound nice and edgy but on the recording it's like kazoo.
The java used to sound too dull to to my ears but on the recording it sounds great; it has the smooth core sound and some buzz around it. "


This is what I've been thinking about lately. I always thought that I could get a passable sound but after hearing a recording it was pretty gruesome. In fact I just recently had the unknowing kazoo experience.

So now when I fool around with reeds and mouthpieces and stuff, I generally try to get a recording. Of course pretty much everyone here is better than me but I don't think that everyone could step outside themselves and hear the horn from a listeners' standpoint.

PB

PS How long will this go before somebody shows up and says that all reeds and mouthpieces sound pretty much the same?
That's a great idea, to record yourself when you change your set-up. I'm in the middle of reed/mouthpiece changes now too. I keep a record on paper (Excel) of what reed and mpc are working together, but a recording would make it even more useful.
 

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Try The Rico Select jazz... no more Kazoo.
 

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if you really want to get rid of any chance of sounding like a kazoo, accordion, or general idiot work towards a classical sound. if you can produce the extreme of no buzz and the extreme of super buzz than you can moderate at your leisure regardless of your reed and set up.
 

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That's a great idea, to record yourself when you change your set-up. I'm in the middle of reed/mouthpiece changes now too. I keep a record on paper (Excel) of what reed and mpc are working together, but a recording would make it even more useful.
As a pro recording engineer, (and an amateur tenor player) I can tell you that recording saxophone is nothing like as easy as it may appear, so that what you hear on playback might not be a true representation, or what a listener might hear.

Many people use clip on mics - convenient but not a good choice generally. To really hear you sound, do what studio pros do, stand in a corner, close to the wall and blow and listen hard.

Having said that, I readily agree that recordings are valuable in thaty they allow you to evaluate your progress. I have been playing saxophone for <2years and have recordings with play-along CDs from day 1. ¨

I am amazed at the improvement, but very much aware that I have a very long way still to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, clip-on mics don't work.
Standing up to a wall doesn't work either. You're still largely hearing stuff inside your skull.

What you need is one of those little hi-fi recorders that they have now, a yard or two away. Or of course a relatively good microphone, likewise.

A yard or two away won't necessarily be a sound you'd use for a record but it'll tell you what your tone is like.

Re the reeds, I'll rant about that later.

PB
 

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Yep,

When you adjust your setup to sound good on your own home recording, what you are really doing is adjusting your setup to your particular mic. For home recording gear, don't skimp on on mic. That's where the best money is spent. A $150 mic going through a $100 pre-amp into a free copy of Audacity sounds much better than a $50 mic going into a $1000 pre-amp and $1000 recording software. So get a good quality mic to start with.
 

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Yep,

When you adjust your setup to sound good on your own home recording, what you are really doing is adjusting your setup to your particular mic. For home recording gear, don't skimp on on mic. That's where the best money is spent. A $150 mic going through a $100 pre-amp into a free copy of Audacity sounds much better than a $50 mic going into a $1000 pre-amp and $1000 recording software. So get a good quality mic to start with.
I have a Zoom H2 and a Snowball mic, which I haven't yet used with the Zoom. I guess that isn't really getting it.
 

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As a pro recording engineer, (and an amateur tenor player) I can tell you that recording saxophone is nothing like as easy as it may appear, so that what you hear on playback might not be a true representation, or what a listener might hear.
This is very true. The microphone and the way the sound is eq-ed can make or break you when listening to recordings. Saxophone is a pretty tough instrument to record well. The advice given here is good; get a good mic and good recording software if you're going to be using these recordings to analyze your tone. I use a Coles 4038 ($1500) and Digital Performer ($700) played back over good studio monitors when I want to hear what I REALLY sound like. I know everyone can't afford that, but you should at least be using a medium to large diaphragm condenser to record with. Try putting the mic about three feet away, at eye level, pointing just above the bell of the horn. This has worked pretty well for me.
 

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So now when I fool around with reeds and mouthpieces and stuff, I generally try to get a recording. Of course pretty much everyone here is better than me but I don't think that everyone could step outside themselves and hear the horn from a listeners' standpoint.

PB
I use the same method you are doing. I use a simple, very small very light very high quality Olympus Digital Voice Recorder ($80s). I carry it with me all the time together with a tuner. And I like to fool around with various mpieces and reeds. One surprising fact is that today you may sound so wonderful with that particular mpiece and reed combo. But tomorrow you can sound so awful with it but better with another reeds and mpiece combo. Experts may say that I may be inconsistent with my playing. Whatever it is, I can dig it. But my learning experience grows.

As for the digital voice recorder and tuner, it's now my staple. If I want a good sounding and perfect reed and mpiece combo for that day, I come earlier before the band starts. Record several reeds combo and playback to listen to which one is better sounding and in tune with my tuner. Having done that, I can be rest assured my performance is satisfying. For a more wholesome feedbacks, I'll give to my wife the voice recorder. She sits somewhere in the middle of the church hall. So at the end of the church, I'll get back home and just plug in to my computer and listen.

As for reeds choice, best to just blindfold picked a reed. Play and record at that moment and listen to it whether you like it or not. If not, pick another reed blindfold. You got to have several branded and sizes of reeds.
 

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"What you need is one of those little hi-fi recorders that they have now, a yard or two away. Or of course a relatively good microphone, likewise."


So, PB,

What are these items?

Who has them?

Would you recommend the "Olympus Digital Voice Recorder ($80s)" cited above?

I use a boom box and cassette to record myself and take to the bed with the covers over my head, weeping for a week after.
 

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Just to add .... just as important as having a good quality microphone is having good quality play-back equipment. A pair of near field monitors is ideal to really hear what you've recorded. It's amazing how different the sax sound can be when played through lower-quality speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
"What you need is one of those little hi-fi recorders that they have now, a yard or two away. Or of course a relatively good microphone, likewise."


So, PB,

What are these items?

Who has them?

Would you recommend the "Olympus Digital Voice Recorder ($80s)" cited above?

I use a boom box and cassette to record myself and take to the bed with the covers over my head, weeping for a week after.
Well, the new digital music recorders are a little different from digital voice recorders. This would be a digital music recorder:

http://www.jr.com/zoom-h2-handy-recorder/pe/ZOO_H2/

I think that I'd have trouble buying something named "Zoom", but I have friends who do live recordings with something like this and they consider them good enough to release.

This and a nice pair of Grado headphones and you'll have what you need to do some constructive work. I have the "$150 mic", a large-diaphragm condenser, and Audacity, and it works for me.

And NOT mp3 please. mp3 ain't hi-fi.

PB
 

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The H2 Zoom is actually pretty decent for a $100 digital recorder. Our church music director uses on to record the choir and the recording quality is quite good! I've used one to record my sax-related efforts at home, and it accurately records just how good (or bad) some of my ideas on the horn worked out.
 

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Best Buy sells a package for $70 that includes a Samson USB-port mic, headphones and 'cakewalk' music software for PC. Anybody using that? I'm considering buying it to try-out. The Mac 'garage band' software is a lot of fun to play with.
 

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Thanks for the info on the digital recorder, PB.

What about the microphone?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, the Zoom thing is the microphone, and the recorder, and the whole thing.

The advantage there is that the designers can internally compensate for some of the shortcomings of whatever mic capsules are speced to be in there, so the results are better than the average random purchases of mic and preamp.

I don't have a portable recorder, so all I know is what my friends (the band Margaret Explosion) tell me. They have a bunch of recordings on their site. Probably some of them were made with a Zoomlike device. I guess you could ask them, if you're curious.

PB
 

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Just to add .... just as important as having a good quality microphone is having good quality play-back equipment...It's amazing how different the sax sound can be when played through lower-quality speakers.
You mean that sound coming beaming through my laptop speakers recorded through the built-in mic on the computer isn't what I really sound like:TGNCHK:

Guess I'm embarrassed and heading back to the woodshed! :twisted:

Seriously though, recording yourself with decent gear is a great way to evaluate your sound and progress at the same time. I use Sennheiser e835 mics through a mixer with a line into garage band and get the results I need. You can even put a play-along on one channel through the headphones and yourself on sax on another while recording both with no bleed between channels...fun:bluewink:
 

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"Well, the Zoom thing is the microphone, and the recorder, and the whole thing."

Super. Thanks.
 
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