Ribbons in a small room

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Hi James, I'm still working through your book, update coming.

I know how you feel about the technical issues, but I could use some help as I'm getting crummy results with my Coles ribbons. I have a piano in a 13x24 room, and in Blumlein configuration it sounds awful. Some recording engineers have said they don't believe a Blumlein pair can be closer than 20 or 30 feet to the piano, because of the small angle of incidence, and it's probably impossible to record classical piano in a room this size.

Any thoughts? I'm considering selling the ribbons, I'm having so much trouble. But I'd like to make this work.

-- Dan (nospam@nospam.com), September 29, 2004


"Some recording engineers" are wrong. Moreover, I have no idea what "small angle of incidence" means; and I suspect that they don't, either. I have Blumlein-recorded piano from five feet away and from 10 or 12 feet; but 20 would be extremely far except in unusual circumstances. The smallness of your room is indeed likely to be a limiting factor on the quality of sound you can get; but you should Not be getting anything that sounds "crummy." In fact, in any room that's "acoustically small" (small relative to wavelengths; thus, not just your liv/rm but small recital halls, too), there's a Big *advantage* to figure-8 mikes over all other patterns. I can't take more than about five minutes on this, but send me a sample one-minute .wav file at 16/44. The problem is certainly not the Coles mikes..... Oh, wait; are they 4040s? If so, I have no idea whether they're the problem; have never heard them. I was assuming 4038s. I hope you're aiming the mikes correctly----for instance, if they're aimed (in the vertical dimension) at the underside of the lid, the sound will be hollow. Remember that there is a LOT to know about recording. // But I WISH you'd be using this time and energy for your Music work, not for fooling around with audio!

-- James Boyk (boyk@caltech.edu), September 29, 2004.

Never heard back from you. Are you using the book's techniques? Did you solve the "crummy sound" problem?

-- James Boyk (boyk@performancerecordings.com), December 05, 2004.

Hi James, Sorry, I'm on a long business trip and the music is suspended until I get back. I'll get back to it and let you know.

-- Dan (dan@yahoo.com), February 04, 2005.

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