Dramatic soprano and grand piano

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Dramatic soprano and grand piano

Post by GemmaAA1 »

Hi all. New here and hoping someone can help. I tried local shops but I don't think they understand what I am after... And was directed your way from another forum.

I'm a Dramatic (Wagner singing) soprano (very loud) who would like to record pieces for auditions and my website - so ideally good enough to capture the colour in my voice.

The aim is to record me (very loud) and an accompanist on grand piano (playing loudly).

We will be in a large room (either church or school music hall) with good acoustics. It is possible to have a third person to wander about as needed to help find sweet spot.

The equipment I have so far is a zoom h4n pro. I haven't tried this on it's own yet.

I'm wondering whether you think the zoom will be enough? Or whether you'd recommend extra mic(s)? If so, any mic suggestions would be great! And where should they be placed? (I have only been recorded professionally before with full orchestra and several mics hanging from ceiling off stage). Also wondering where to stand in relation to the piano?

The software I have audacity... But others have recommended Reaper for relatively user-friendly mixing.

I'm looking to keep it as budget at possible (the last year and a half has not been kind in terms of work...).

I'd be so so grateful for any help.

I'm also near Brighton area if anyone has any local recommendations or connections.

Thank you! Gemma.

(Apologies if this has been asked before, I couldn't find an opera singing post with the same requirements when I searched).
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Re: Dramatic soprano and grand piano

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

I'd suggest keeping it ad simple as possible to start with, and just mount the zoom on a tripod at chest height.

Stand in or near of the curve of the grand piano, facing out with the piano behind, and with the lid open on the long stick.

Put the zoom about 3 metres in front of you and record.

You can adjust the balance between you and the piano by moving the zoom and yourself closer or further away.

See if that approach gives you something good enough for your needs. If not, identify what is lacking and we can suggest alternative techniques.
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Re: Dramatic soprano and grand piano

Post by Trevor Johnson »

"The aim is to record me (very loud) and an accompanist on grand piano (playing loudly)."

The Zoom H4N is an excellent portable recorder and will be more than able to cope with the dynamic range of both you and accompanist. Talking of which, I was very privileged to have known both Geofrey Parsons and Gerald Moore. My neighbour, just up the road, is a world renowned soprano, having been on over 75 recordings!
We normally meet in wellies, walking the dogs.
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Re: Dramatic soprano and grand piano

Post by ef37a »

Hi Gemma, glad to see you made it here. I go by ef37a not ecc83 here.

Dave.
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Re: Dramatic soprano and grand piano

Post by GemmaAA1 »

Trevor Johnson wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:08 pm "The aim is to record me (very loud) and an accompanist on grand piano (playing loudly)."

The Zoom H4N is an excellent portable recorder and will be more than able to cope with the dynamic range of both you and accompanist. Talking of which, I was very privileged to have known both Geofrey Parsons and Gerald Moore. My neighbour, just up the road, is a world renowned soprano, having been on over 75 recordings!
We normally meet in wellies, walking the dogs.

Wow must have been incredible to know them. Did you ever record with them?
Guessing who the soprano might be now...!
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Re: Dramatic soprano and grand piano

Post by GemmaAA1 »

Thank you all so much for your help and taking the time to reply. Happy to hear the zoom alone might be enough. I'm going to go and try it out and see what I get. Thanks again!
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Re: Dramatic soprano and grand piano

Post by blinddrew »

If you set the zoom to record in stereo mode you can also set it to record at 24 bit.
This means you can leave yourself plenty of headroom for those fff moments without worrying about keeping an eye on levels the whole time. :)
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Re: Dramatic soprano and grand piano

Post by Trevor Johnson »

"Wow must have been incredible to know them. Did you ever record with them?
Guessing who the soprano might be now...!"

No, but I have some great stories...

Music, points to the past, and, present. Go for it, the Zoom has much more capability than my old Revox reel to reel had, back in the day.

At a later date, you could also use an external microphone to the Zoom, as it has XLR microphone inputs. And it has phantom power, which means it supplies power to an external microphone that needs it, which includes most of those you would be singing into, like the AT 2020/4040, for example. As a singer, something called a 'pop-shield', would come in useful, if using an external microphone.

But these are just my thoughts, and this is not my area of expertise.....
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Re: Dramatic soprano and grand piano

Post by Funkyflash5 »

I suspect that for your current needs the zoom alone will do very nicely, as long as you can find the placement in the room where the balance of yourself, the piano, and the room reverberations are right. This might take a bit of trial and error, and counts on you and the pianist to balance your volumes moment to moment as the music needs, but that should be something you're doing anyway! If you end up finding it impossible to get the recorded balance right without too much reverb, then adding an extra mic or 2 as close mics for piano, voice or both and using the built in zoom mics as room mics should give very good results, but is probably more complication than you need.
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Re: Dramatic soprano and grand piano

Post by John Willett »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 2:58 pm I'd suggest keeping it ad simple as possible to start with, and just mount the zoom on a tripod at chest height.

Stand in or near of the curve of the grand piano, facing out with the piano behind, and with the lid open on the long stick.

Put the zoom about 3 metres in front of you and record.

You can adjust the balance between you and the piano by moving the zoom and yourself closer or further away.

See if that approach gives you something good enough for your needs. If not, identify what is lacking and we can suggest alternative techniques.

Agreed - you can adjust the balance between the piano and vocal by adjusting the distance you stand from the piano and the overall balance by adjusting the distance of the recorder.
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