Before/After Audio Recording Suggestions

 

Debra and I thank enthusiastic musicians for making before/after audio recordings so others can hear the benefits of seasoning with primeVibe.  The suggestions herein maximize recording/playback quality to improve recording results.  The first and last thing to remember is the overall sound quality cannot exceed the weakest link in the chain from mic placement to the playback DAC, amp, and speakers (or headphones).

 

“Soundfield”

 

We agree with professional guitar and ukulele luthier “Big Joe” of Gibson factory fame, who claimed in this primeVibe Review that primeVibe improves acoustic instrument projection (AKA radiation pattern…note: Joe specifically chose to season one of his best sounding mandolins).  One of the most popular and respected audio engineers in the world said seasoning improves an instrument’s projection.  We categorize projection and radiation pattern under the heading of “soundfield.”

 

Soundfield (more so than ordinary performance aspects such as sustain and harmonics) is perceived and measured in three-dimensional space.  Soundfield relates to the relationship between an acoustic instrument and its environment.

 

Stereo vs. Mono

 

Proper stereo microphone technique can record three-dimensional space while a single mono mic cannot. For acoustic instruments, arrange L and R channel mics in an X-Y pattern (info available on the net).  For convenience I use an Audio Technica AT825 stereo microphone comprising both L and R condenser elements in fixed X-Y pattern within one mic body.  It’s a great mic for guitar and violin, and only about $150 purchased used.

 

Mic Spacing

 

Spacing the mics only a few inches from acoustic instruments may capture differences in loudness, sustain and tonality.  But mics spaced 2’-4’ from the instrument more accurately captures soundfield characteristics.  Acoustic musicians will capture much more of the instrument’s improved performance (especially related to soundfield) by spacing the mics 2’ to 4’ from the instrument.

 

CD-Quality vs. MP3/YouTube

 

Compared to CD-quality, MP3 and YouTube are convenient and popular but significantly compress audio resolution, capturing much less of the audible improvements.  Whatever improvement YouTube conveys, multiply the difference to estimate the improvement in person.  If convenient it is preferable to post in CD quality.

 

Playback System

 

Lastly, the playback system determines overall audibility of the results.  Headphones are below optimum for spatial effects because the sound stage remains between the listener’s ears rather than enveloping him/her.  But good headphone performance costs less than equal quality via amp and speakers.

 

Why So Picky?

 

Musicians are rightly critical and suspicious of primeVibe’s performance claims.  Hearing the difference is a great help before you purchase primeVibe.  These notes are to maximize the resolution of before/after recordings.  The higher the resolution, the more information the recordings convey.  The lower the resolution, the less the recording conveys, the less audible are improvements, and the less accurate is the overall exercise.

 

primeVibe improves acoustic instrument projection or soundfield, and soundfield exists in three-dimensional space.  In summary, carefully consider the following when making and/or listening to before/after recordings:

  • To capture acoustic instrument soundfield characteristics stereo is preferable to mono
  • To capture acoustic instrument soundfield characteristics spacing the mic 2’ to 4’ is preferable to spacing the mic just a few inches

 

Remember that even after a century of progress advancing recording and playback science, audio professionals still agree that accurately capturing and reproducing live acoustic music is a difficult task, even with cost-no-object equipment.

 

We welcome reader’s comments and contrary opinions.