marccromme wrote: ↑
Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:42 am
The tonal quality of several recordings with mike near the bell of my Eb tuba where not much better than plain android recordings.
I'm assuming you're listening through headphones or speakers, because if you're just using iPhone speakers everything will sound like crap regardless of what you use to record.
How close to the bell are we talking here? That might be your problem right there.
There are a few factors that are going to go into producing a decent sound (relative to the equipment you're using).
1) Location relative to sound source and recording level - when I record, I often have to use two microphones because of the huge dynamic range I exploit in my solo playing. I'll have a mic for close playing, usually a nice warm large diaphragm condenser (LDC) like the AT4050 or a ribbon like the Royer R121 - because at low volumes I can get a nice warm sound, and get close to take advantage of the proximity effect (if you've listened to Watrous you've heard this effect.) When I push the volume to 11, the SPLs will cause distortion on the closer mics and that's why I have a dynamic a little further away (usually more than a couple of feet). I usually use a plain old SM57 for this.
Here's the issue you'll have with tuba if the mic is right by the bell: It's going to be too much for pretty much anything you're using with your phone unless the recording level (gain/trim/preamp level depending on software) is pretty low. If you can't adjust the gain, you have to adjust your distance from the mic - for giggles try placing your phone on a music stand and recording yourself from 5, 10, and 15 feet away. Notice any difference?
I just looked in my iPhone - it's set up to record voice memos, so anything above a pp on my horn is going to distort like crazy unless I'm pretty far away. It's also going to pick up a fair amount of "room" sound, so without some signal processing it's not going to sound anything like a professionally produced recording.
I also don't know if there is a way to adjust the gain of the mic without downloading 3rd party software - I can't see anything at a glance. I did find a "trim" feature but it's not "trim" in the audio sense - it's just a way to trim the length of the recording. My phone came with Garage Band, so if I had to record myself using my phone I'd probably start there first.
2) What mic are you using? Phones (and most of their attachments I'd assume) are going to be using small diaphragm condensers. Small diaphragm condensers (SDCs) aren't the best at picking up lower frequencies - and you're trying to record an Eb tuba. SDCs accentuate higher frequencies - they're great on brass sections when you want "punch" (i.e., strong and percussive articulations) they are great with flutes, nice for more "string" sound out of an acoustic guitar, and are most often used as overhead drum mics because of the way they capture cymbals. Putting one by itself right on a tuba would be difficult to use - it'll make the articulations more present and make the sound "punchier" (useful in New Orleans brass band type applications) but you're going to need to turn the recording level way down or it's going to distort. If you want a nice warm classical tuba sound, it may not be best for that. That's all you got? Get it far away - or turn the gain down (see above.)
3) What room are you recording in? It's hard to get a decent tuba sound in a small room. I recorded some sousaphone in a small room (not much bigger than my closet) for my masters degree album project. It didn't work very well - I used a LDC and had no problem getting a good clean (undistorted) signal but the room sounded like hell. You need some space to get a good tuba sound. Do you have a large room, like a concert hall or a church that you can set up in some afternoon? Experiment - like I mentioned above, you need to try getting some space between you and the microphone. In a good space, it's easy to get a good sound.
4) Placement. This is the same concept as point one - placement. Google "microphone placement for tuba" and you'll find a bunch of articles, some very well informed, some not so much. You;ll see some pictures where the mic is about 2 feet away - but you'll also notice it's most likely a LDC (and they have gain control) - you may see some pics where the mic is practically in the bell - that is not recommended unless you're going for a very specific sound that you're not going to get going into your phone. Microphone placement is everything. It's the first and last bit of being able to make the best recording possible with whatever equipment you have. Look at photos of some early recording sessions. You'll notice bands set up according to the general loudness of their instrument - drums usually furthest back, although some of the recordings with Louis Armstrong he's a good 20 feet (or more) behind the band - practically in the other room! His sound was just so damn dominant and overbearing that in order to not distort the recording and just have it be all Louis and some other noise, they had to move him wayyyyyyy back. The main thing you want to achieve first is a good clean distortion free capture of your sound. This starts and ends with mic placement. If you can figure that out, the other stuff will be easy.