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Your accordion recording technique?

Ben-jammin

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No right or wrong answers here. I’m just curious how people are capturing their accordion(s) on recordings. I tend to use a large diaphragm condenser 1 to 2 foot away when recording right hand only. If I was trying for a more documentary style or trying to capture the left hand as well I would go for more distance but still use a large diaphragm condenser. What’s your go to setup?
 

debra

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When recording the separate voices for my virtual ensemble (to illustrate my arrangements) I use a pair of AKG c214 (large diaphragm condensor) microphones, connected to a Tascam digital recorder. So despite it being single voice, treble side only, I do the recording in stereo, but with the mics less than a foot apart. The mics are placed about 3 feet from the accordion so that small movements I make while playing do not make the sound shift wildly between left, center and right.
For recording treble and bass side I would do mostly the same, with the mics a bit further away from the bass side and I would record treble and bass side separately so as to be able to adjust the balance between the two in post-processing and more importantly, to have much better bellows control while playing.
You might say that this is "fake", but hey, do you really believe that the sound was recorded live when you watch a YouTube or Facebook video of a nice young woman playing a song with wonderful accordion sound while strolling at a tropical beach? Not only are such recordings made separately in a studio (so the video is just playback) but the recordings may even be done on a different accordion than the one you see in the video.
I have made (just a few) recordings playing both hands at once, with an older setup (with a zoom H2 recorder) and I placed that recorder in its "wide" orientation (mics on the rear of the unit) about 3 feet dead-center in front of me. But in all the "Professor P" videos on my YouTube channel the recordings were made track by track and then mixed on the computer.
 

jozz

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straight from the internal pickups

or:
into an X/Y mic slightly off-set to the treble side
 

JerryPH

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I have several posts on my blog about how I record and as well as several videos on how I post process the sounds. For acoustic, I have a combination of microphones, but always in pairs because I feel that a stereo image is important (but not mandatory), to have.

- I have a pair of Neewer NW-800 that are the ultimate budget condensor mic. Sound isn't bad, but its not great and takes some work to get it acceptable. At $40 Cdn for the pair (delivered), the price is unbeatable. If powered by clean 48-volt phantom power, they can actually sound pretty good. I use them a lot in my educational videos, but more for voice than recording music.

- I have a pair of Neewer NW-410's. These are what I feel are the ultimate budget pencil condenser mics and actually sound very good. For home use for people with a very low budget, likely the best sounding option out there . I used them to record an event where I video-captured violins, violas and piano. Surprisingly good for $120 Cdn.

- When I want to make a serious home recording, I pull out the SE Electronics SE-4400a matched set. Very expensive (but still very affordable for their quality level!), at $1300 Cdn, they are a very serious large diaphragm microphone. The price may sound like a lot until you consider that you can spend over $15,000 on a single mic. When I started the search, I had a budget of $5000US in my pocket and I spent maybe 6 months and went through perhaps 300 mics that I personally tested and then there were the hundreds of hours of online researching. I learned about the SE4400a's early on, loved the look of the mics and the "spider mounts" and I kept coming back to them for three simple reasons:
- they were the most neutral and amazing sounding mics I listened to for the accordion. Everything they record sounds exactly as it sounds in real life to my ears, every nuance.
- they do it all... and have 4 polar patterns integrated (omni, figure-8, carded & hyper-cardioid).
- price... they sound as good as mics costing a LOT more.

Recording methods:
I've played most with the A-B method (everything between 3-5 feet far apart), use the factory sound bar (15 inches apart) with the X-Y technique and the Mid-Side recording techniques and they all have interesting results. I've tested the Blumlein technique too, and it was also interesting sounding. I keep coming back to the A-B setting 30 inches off the ground, in front of me and about 2 feet away from the nearest accordion surface. I feel this gives best dynamic range and reduces the mechanical sounds of the keys a bit. The closer you place the mics, the more you hear the mechanicals, and in some cases, I can see why some people want this, it *is* part of the personality of an accordion! :)

Capturing the sound is important, when max sound quality is wanted, I record to a full-size Mackie 1640i mixing console to my DAW or (close on it's heels) the Zoom F4 if I need to be on location. If I am playing upstairs in my home or performing on location, I record to a QSC TouchMix 8.

All that said, that is how I record on the acoustic side, which in fairness I have been doing a lot less than recording with the digital accordion. Having a digital recording has some serious advantages... zero feedback, zero external sounds (recording acoustic well takes a properly set up room that is sound deadened/controlled and is likely as important or more important than the quality of the mics ... lol). I've spent a good amount of time moving to a wireless setup and enjoying that process. :)

Sheesh, I could write a book about this stuff... sorry for the long post. :D
 

Tom

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I use the Samson Go Mic USB to the computer. It's better than the cell phone direct.
 

Walker

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A few days ago I tried recording a piece of music. Just a simple video recording. It was one of my compositions. I recorded the piece in the Auld Kirk of Auldearn, a church in the village where I live, in the Scottish Highlands.

I recorded with a Zoom Q8 video recorder. No external microphones, no mixing, no editing - nothing. Just played from start to finish. It is a raw recording, but that's what I want to go for.

It was a piece of music called Dalriada. It is the first ever piece of music I have written and recorded for free bass accordion. I have played free bass since September 2021 - not long at all!

Dalriada is a sonata for accordion in three movements: The Dawn of Dalriada - The Currach - King Brude & St. Columba. The piece of music is just over 6 minutes long and in contemporary/classic style, but inspired by Celtic history and legend. So it does not follow the standard formula of either traditional or classical music.

What thrilled me was that the piece was performed on the site of where Saint Columba is reputed to have stood, in my village at around 565AD - after he converted an argumentative King Brude of Inverness (and the whole Pictish Kingdom) to Christianity...

However, I have not uploaded the video, as it is large in size. Also, I would ideally like to add a 'title card' at the start and end of the video...

Does anyone here use title cards?
 
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Tom

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A few days ago I tried recording a piece of music. Just a simple video recording. It was one of my compositions. I recorded the piece in the Auld Kirk of Auldearn, a church in the village where I live, in the Scottish Highlands.

I recorded with a Zoom Q8 video recorder. No external microphones, no mixing, no editing - nothing. Just played from start to finish. It is a raw recording, but that's what I want to go for.

It was a piece of music called Dalriada. It is the first ever piece of music I have written and recorded for free bass accordion. I have played free bass since September 2021 - not long at all!

Dalriada is a sonata for accordion in three movements: The Dawn of Dalriada - The Currach - King Brude & St. Columba. The piece of music is just over 6 minutes long and in contemporary/classic style, but insprired by Celtic history and legend. So it does not follow the standard formula of either traditional or classical music.

What thrilled me was that the piece was performed on the site of where Saint Columba is reputed to have stood, in my village at around 565AD - after he converted an argumentative King Brude of Inverness (and the whole Pictish Kingdom) to Christianity...

However, I have not uploaded the video, as it is large in size. Also, I would ideally like to add a 'title card' at the start and end of the video...

Do anyone here use title cards?
Awesome! Put it on youtube with a link here?
 

JerryPH

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However, I have not uploaded the video, as it is large in size. Also, I would ideally like to add a 'title card' at the start and end of the video...
Does anyone here use title cards?
Sounds like a great little project... and of course I use titles opening and endings on all my videos. If you need a bit of help just reach out, I'll help in any way that I can.
 

saundersbp

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Hi Jerry,

Great video.
For someone that really isn't interested in perfect recordings like me or tech, is there such a thing as a microphone you can just plug into usb C on your phone to improve sound a bit, and requires no other gizzmos ?

I just like raw live recordings!

Thanks, Ben
 

jozz

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Hi Jerry,

Great video.
For someone that really isn't interested in perfect recordings like me or tech, is there such a thing as a microphone you can just plug into usb C on your phone to improve sound a bit, and requires no other gizzmos ?

I just like raw live recordings!

Thanks, Ben
yes: something like the Saramonic SmartMic I have the older +UC version.

It's slightly 'hotter' and more directional than most builtin mics.

I use it on my tablet to record with the front camera, see myself in the tablet and have a little more headroom in the audio. But most of the time I end up simply recording from the tablet mic itself (because I'm lazy and like no frills too)
 

JerryPH

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Hi Jerry,

Great video.
For someone that really isn't interested in perfect recordings like me or tech, is there such a thing as a microphone you can just plug into usb C on your phone to improve sound a bit, and requires no other gizzmos ?
Ben, there is most definitely something out there for sure, but it requires a gizmo of some kind! :D
 

NickC

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All of the solo stuff I share on this forum has been recorded with my phone. It's so convenient and, for my purposes, works for me. At this stage, I am really only recording so that I can listen back and critique. I do have an AKG C214 that I use to record multiple instruments, and I've used it to record accordion. It sounds good to my non-engineer ears.
 

Beemer

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A few days ago I tried recording a piece of music. Just a simple video recording. It was one of my compositions. I recorded the piece in the Auld Kirk of Auldearn, a church in the village where I live, in the Scottish Highlands.

I recorded with a Zoom Q8 video recorder. No external microphones, no mixing, no editing - nothing. Just played from start to finish. It is a raw recording, but that's what I want to go for.

It was a piece of music called Dalriada. It is the first ever piece of music I have written and recorded for free bass accordion. I have played free bass since September 2021 - not long at all!

Dalriada is a sonata for accordion in three movements: The Dawn of Dalriada - The Currach - King Brude & St. Columba. The piece of music is just over 6 minutes long and in contemporary/classic style, but inspired by Celtic history and legend. So it does not follow the standard formula of either traditional or classical music.

What thrilled me was that the piece was performed on the site of where Saint Columba is reputed to have stood, in my village at around 565AD - after he converted an argumentative King Brude of Inverness (and the whole Pictish Kingdom) to Christianity...

However, I have not uploaded the video, as it is large in size. Also, I would ideally like to add a 'title card' at the start and end of the video...

Does anyone here use title cards?
Hi Walker,.
I use PowerDirector to produce videos of my piano (not pa) playing. I use free online titles from other PowerDirector users then modify them for my use. I use a Sound Devices Mixpre-3 II and two Neumann KM184 small condenser mics. I then swop the camera video sound and sync the MixPre sound using the facility with PowerDirector. Here is an example:
Ian
 

Beemer

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Thank you for the information about titles, it finishes the recording well. Also, the recording quality is excellent. I have contemplated buying a Sound Devices Mixpre for a few years now - they are really highly regarded. People rave about the Kashmir preamps - I probably would too, if I knew what a Kashmir preamp was. :)

The piano recording is rich and clean and superb. It's spot-on for this time of year - the Bard! I love it.
Kashmir is just a name they gave to their latest generation of preamps. Are you aware that the Mixpre-3 II can record in 32bit float mode 24bit 198kHz. This allows any gain setting to be used and even if the recording is digitally overloaded, the 32bit float mode allows the recording to be recovered to a perfect recording. Note however that the MixPre recorders are difficult to buy just now because of scarcity of some components.
 

JerryPH

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I have a bit of an opinion about video editing software. I use Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve Studio (the paid version). This is an app that was used to edit and create many new and recent Hollywood movies (think Alien: Covenant, Avatar, Best of Enemies, Deadpool 2, Jason Bourne, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, La La Land, Love & Mercy, Pirates of the Caribbean, Prometheus, Robin Hood, Spectre, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and X-Men, just to name a few).

Though the paid version is quite affordable ($299US), the free version has 80% of the capabilities of the paid version and has no time limitations AND no watermarks, and if you get the paid version its "pay once, and you are paid up FOR LIFE". I paid for V16 and V17 and all the updates were 100% free!

There are versions for Linux, Windows and MAC (and they have a version that is optimized to use the Mac's M1 chip!).
I did the whole PowerDirector to Pinnacle Studio to Premiere Pro only to land on DaVinci Resolve, used the free version for a year, loved it and invested in the license and and their Speed Editor (a cool little toy), and honestly, could not be happier.
 
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Beemer

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I have a bit of an opinion about video editing software. I use Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve Studio (the paid version). This is an app that was used to edit and create many new and recent Hollywood movies (think Alien: Covenant, Avatar, Best of Enemies, Deadpool 2, Jason Bourne, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, La La Land, Love & Mercy, Pirates of the Caribbean, Prometheus, Robin Hood, Spectre, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and X-Men, just to name a few).

Though the paid version is quite affordable ($299US), the free version has 80% of the capabilities of the paid version and has no time limitations AND no watermarks, and if you get the paid version its "pay once, and you are paid up FOR LIFE". I paid for V16 and V17 and all the updates were 100% free!

There are versions for Linux, Windows and MAC (and they have a version that is optimized to use the Mac's M1 chip!).
I did the whole PowerDirector to Pinnacle Studio to Premiere Pro only to land on DaVinci Resolve, used the free version for a year, loved it and invested in the license and and their Speed Editor (a cool little toy), and honestly, could not be happier.
Jerry,
I too have used the free version of DaVinci and I like it very much. I keep using PowerDirector just because I'm familiar with it and that from within it I can easily get titles, transitions etc.
 

Skari

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I just plug two Shure KSM small diaphragm condenser mics into a Focusrite audio interface and record with GarageBand on my iPad. I then airdrop the files to the iMac for any post-processing. Not as sophisticated as most of you , but plenty good for my purposes.
 

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