Sax on the Web Forum banner

What feedback source do you use to select gear and refine sound concept?

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
820 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As i continue to hone my own sound concept, I am faced with choices in feedback....my own ears, recorded sound, others feedback.
I recently moved into a new music room in the house and everything sounds different now on top of it!

Which feedback source do you use to buy equipment, etc?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,324 Posts
Is a recording functionally equivalent to standing in front of a window as I do?

Like your speaking voice, to hear what others hear, you can't rely on what you sound like from behind the horn and what gets conducted through your teeth and bones. You need a recording or at least a reflection to hear what you actually sound like.

The only time I consider someone else's opinion is in a recording session where I have to match what the producer wants to hear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,336 Posts
I play facing a wall, quite a bit. Recording is good for checking your timing and intonation, but is not necessarily an accurate tone source.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,795 Posts
I also play facing a smooth wall or mirror, and sometimes use a monitor, especially when using effects. My favourite method of hearing myself is through self-recording, though, because I always sound better that way--something to do with my clip mic or the software compression, probably. But I only record myself when working on recording projects.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,939 Posts
Ears matter, but I do feel affirmed in my choices when colleagues in the band comment favorably - especially if it is a director, with decades of experience, that is standing right in front of me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,324 Posts
Ears matter, but I do feel affirmed in my choices when colleagues in the band comment favorably - especially if it is a director, with decades of experience, that is standing right in front of me.
I like compliments too. Don't we all. But the problem with relying on others for judgement is that it's entirely subjective. I have a particular musician friend who I'm certain judges my sound inferior because I don't sound like Desmond. He has never said anything to me about it, but when we hear Desmond, he gushes about his tone. When we hear Cannonball, he couldn't care less. My ideal sound happens to be Cannonball, so that's who I sound like. I have zero desire to sound like Desmond. If that director of yours had a different ideal in his mind, he probably would have given you different feedback.

Now I don't disagree that someone could sound objectively bad. But I think the player would recognize that after comparing what they sound like with a player whose sound they want to emulate. They don't need a friend or teacher to tell them they sound bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,795 Posts
My bandmates praise my sound, when I play softly. They complain when I play loud.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
820 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
The reason i asked this question is when i was trialing soprano mpcs and reeds, i was looking for a very particular sound.
I got it, TWICE, both on a Selmer SS J, with different reeds and feedback paths.

1. On a Vandoren ZZ (recorded)
2. On a Juno! (my ear)
#1 did not sound right to my ear
since i am a hobbist and mostly play for myself, i went with the Juno
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
As i continue to hone my own sound concept, I am faced with choices in feedback....my own ears, recorded sound, others feedback.
I recently moved into a new music room in the house and everything sounds different now on top of it!

Which feedback source do you use to buy equipment, etc?
Rooms have such a big impact on the sound. At home I mainly play in a decently-treated room and do all of my gear evaluations in that room, trying to keep the environment as constant as possible when comparing things. When really exploring either equipment or a tune, I'll play in several locations in the home: the smaller the treated room as well as a larger space to get an idea of natural reverb. I also record play along with backing tracks with headphones or monitors. I find all of this incredibly educational and valuable - if not a little time consuming!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
I like compliments too. Don't we all. But the problem with relying on others for judgement is that it's entirely subjective. I have a particular musician friend who I'm certain judges my sound inferior because I don't sound like Desmond. He has never said anything to me about it, but when we hear Desmond, he gushes about his tone. When we hear Cannonball, he couldn't care less. My ideal sound happens to be Cannonball, so that's who I sound like. I have zero desire to sound like Desmond. If that director of yours had a different ideal in his mind, he probably would have given you different feedback.

Now I don't disagree that someone could sound objectively bad. But I think the player would recognize that after comparing what they sound like with a player whose sound they want to emulate. They don't need a friend or teacher to tell them they sound bad.
I'm with you on that. Paul Desmond was a great player, but I'm not a fan of his tone. Like you, I much prefer Cannonball and I try to sound like him as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
I find it helpful to use multiple sources. I do my long tones facing a corner to hear the sound reflected back. I also play daily with a backing track through headphones which helps me focus on my core. I record regularly as well and like feedback from people I respect. My band director comments on my big sound and once referred to me as a strong lead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
820 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I find it helpful to use multiple sources. I do my long tones facing a corner to hear the sound reflected back. I also play daily with a backing track through headphones which helps me focus on my core. I record regularly as well and like feedback from people I respect. My band director comments on my big sound and once referred to me as a strong lead.
Couldn’t agree more!
I recently moved my music room to a new room and was really questioning my own sound.
This also coincided with winter months and the drastic change in humidity in the northeast.
Net/net, the exact spot I set up my practice chair/area in the new room is quite possibly the worst sounding spot I’ve ever had! If I move a about 8 feet forward the difference is staggering.
Go back to my original spot and simply open the door to the larger basement room, also better.
Now contemplating how I move my set up into a spot in the room that works, which isn’t easy as I have my desk/pc/etc in just about the best and only spot that fits well.
Ugh!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Now contemplating how I move my set up into a spot in the room that works, which isn’t easy as I have my desk/pc/etc in just about the best and only spot that fits well.
Ugh!
I know what you mean. I practice in my home office, which is where I work from. It's a good room, but I have to practice around my work space.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
17,986 Posts
There are bigger holes in my boat than sound concept. If I worried about that I'd be bailing water day and night.
THANK YOU for that.

There was no option for this position in the poll.....

(you may say but the "I just play and don't worry about tone" is that option - but it is not the same as "I just play and don't worry about "my sound concept". NOT by a Mile....You can be concerned about the tonality you want your set up to produce and find the matches which suffice/please...without getting into the whole pretzelized "gotta find my sound concept, man" thang....)

Is the poll really asking 'what source(s) do you use to get a determination on the tone you are producing ?'
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,939 Posts
If you want an objective calibration of your tone, record it.

Questioning your recording/playback setup? Test it. Set up your recording device to capture a recording as you listen to it - ideally, with the mic right next to your head. Then A-B the recording against itself. If you hear no differences, you can be more confident in the fidelity of your recording/playback equipment. Yes, an immediate limitation is if you play right into a dynamic mic, but if you are recording the room, it will give you a good first approximation of what others hear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
I think the best compliment I ever got from someone when it came to my tone was about 4 years ago I went to my old High School where I was going to do a workshop for those interested in Jazz and improv and I get to everything early. While I sat down and started warming up my old Band Director busted out of her room (I had two band directors in High School) and she says "I only know one person that sounds like that" with a smile on her face tells me "your the best musician we've had come out of the program in a long long time". It's been my goal since 8th grade to sound like me not someone else but obviously their are influences in my sound Namely Sanborn and Coltrane.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
I don't have the best acoustics in my practice room at home. So, I like to test my sound in different rooms and sometimes outside on my back patio. It gives me different perspectives on my sound.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
891 Posts
For saxophone, at least, I almost always practice into a microphone, using closed-back over-the-ear headphones.
I do this primarily because my main practice space is a small WhisperRoom that, even with significant sound absorption, is too loud to practice in comfortably for a significant length of time without at least the sort of moderate hearing protection provided by the headphones.

However, an advantage of this setup is that I get a pretty good sense of how I sound to listeners. I frequently record myself too, and the sound that I hear on the recordings matches up pretty closely with what I hear when practicing with this setup.


Before I got the WhisperRoom, I tended to use the "wall method" described by others, though I preferred to use walls with some type of absorption (e.g., a corkboard or a towel or blanket pinned up for this purpose) rather than a smooth, highly reflective wall or window.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top