Evergreen Suite for the Wind ensemble

(Vasakq) #1

I’d like to share a live recording from our last concert.

It is actually recorded in a program called ecasound and then imported in Ardour for editing and processing. The main reason for using a lightweight application for tracking is that the computer used for tracking - Raspberry pi Zero - is powerfull enough only for the easiest tasks. Most of the time we are not in financial position to hire a professional sound engineer so I (as the “audio nerd” of the ensemble) took the responsibility to archive our concerts. And since the bassoon is a quite heavy instrument to drag around, I always looked for an alternative to a laptop and tens of meters of microphone and electric power cables. So I came up with a following setup which seems to work fine: I put Raspberry pi Zero, the usb sound card (E-mu 0404USB, aging but still fantastic) and the 7500 mAh 5V battery in a small shoebox wrapped in the mat black paper (I call it the “stage box”, visible at the foot of the mic stand). Somewhere in the hall I put a miniature router/range extender to give me wifi signal and I operate the whole process from an Android tablet (running some VNC client) form backstage. And, since I need only 2x3 meters of mic cables all my recording setup fits in backpack (except for the mic stand).

Thanks for listening. I hope you like it and I hope I gave someone some tinkering ideas :slight_smile:

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(Michael Willis) #2

This recording is fantastic. I’m curious about what mics you are using, and the placement. Looks like you maybe have two narrow-diaphram condensor mics on the boom stand wired up to the “stage box”? They seem spread fairly wide, I initially thought it might be ORTF placement based on the wide angle, but they look like they’re spaced way more apart than 17 cm. Whatever the case, I really like the stereo profile of the recording, it has a very distinctive sound of flute, oboe, and horns on the left; clarinets and bassoons on the right.

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(Vasakq) #3

Thank you, Mr. Willis, I’m glad you like it. This setup is a pair of spaced omnis (AB placement) and the microphones are Rodes NT5 (small diaphragm condensers) with additional omnidirectional capsules (sold as NT45-O). By the book, in the AB placement mics should be parallel, but since I only had 38cm long bar available, I angled them at 90° to get cca 50 cm separation and thus more convincing stereo field.

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(Cchoowee) #4

Yes, I agree the sound quality is excellent. Used a Raspberry Pi, huh? Interesting.

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(Vasakq) #5

Thank you, Cchoowee! Yes, using Raspberry Pi was a bit on the experimental side for me too. I may be wrong, but as I understand, if one uses soundcards native format (in most cases s24_3le I guess) the computer (any computer) just writes 1s and 0s on the disk/SD card without converting or altering data stream in any way. So if my guess is correct then RPi is as good as any other computer for tracking. Of course, all of the editing (and a lot of it), EQing, limiting, stereo field corrections, even sampling non-executed notes, exporting to 44.1/16 was done on a standard Dell Inspiron laptop, with Ardour.

But when I look back, when I began recording music on the HD I had an Acer laptop which was pretty good for the time and if I recall correctly it had a single core 1.8Ghz CPU and 512mb of RAM - not much more powerful than todays Rpi0 and much less powerfull than Rpi3. It ran Ardour 2.7 and I remember I did a lot of recordings with it, also sampling in Qtractor and then syncing with Ardour via Jack, all kinds of crazy stuff… I remember I did some music for my sister’s theater play, which was later broadcasted on the national radio, as a part of the promotion, and the radio producer actually liked it, and never asked if it was done on Mac or Windows or neither. Luckily, people (the consumers) are generally not interested in tools we are using as long as we get the job done. So, yes, Raspberry Pi may work well for certain tasks.

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(Chris) #6

Very nice. Were you involved in the video aspect at all? Or did you rely on someone else to edit the video and make sure that the multiple camera shots all stayed synchronized with the audio?

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(Vasakq) #7

Thank you, Chris. I was not involved in the video aspect at all, it was all done by the professionals our organizer hired for that occasion. I was only asked to keep the edits within the given timeline to make merging video/audio possible. I was too concerned about synchronization - the whole concert lasted cca 75 minutes - and I even offered video guys to plug my mics in their Zoom H6 (visible in the video), but we decided to work separately. They were recording our concerts before, on their own or with another separate sound engineer and the recordings were always of good quality, so I guess the guys knew what they were doing.

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