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  • Recording Organ Tips & Tricks

    This thread was split from this thread: https://organforum.com/forums/forum/...own#post727416

    Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
    I can adjust the levels of different tracks but the mistake I made this first time is that I made the initial recording with my wife and I singing while I played the organ. The result is that I then couldn't make the organ louder without also amplifying our voices too much. I think mine was loud enough, quite honestly!
    If you can recommend a better mixing programme that's reasonably cheap I'd be really grateful.
    Stephen,

    Audacity is actually what I use. I record everything separately on separate tracks.

    What I do on the backing track is record the accompaniment (organ in this case) after a countoff beat. You probably don't need to do that as you're playing an introduction. If you can have your musicians do the same thing you do, it will make it much easier to line up. Alternately, one of the reasons they use the "clapper" in movie studios is so they can line up the audio precisely.

    What I do (in the absence of a "clapper") is use the magnifying glass tool to zoom in on the tracks. With it zoomed in, it makes it MUCH easier to line up tracks. You can also use the mouse to change the vertical size of the tracks as well.

    Another thing I use in Audacity, is to select the track (i.e. with the organ on it), and go to Effects on the Menu Bar, and choose Normalize. That will make the organ (by default 3 dB) below the highest volume possible before distortion. You can change that value if you need to.

    If you see a track that is flat on top and bottom, it was recorded too loud, and is probably distorted. The only caveat is that sometimes the person who is recording their part may accidentally strike the table or computer, and that one spike will keep the rest of the performance artificially soft. If you choose Amplify (in the Effects Menu) and select only that section, you can make it less audible in the performance.

    I hope this helps. Should we make this post about Audacity a different thread so people can offer advice on the topic? I think I might.

    Michael
    Last edited by myorgan; 04-16-2020, 04:18 PM.
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

  • #2
    Would enjoy seeing a thread about using Audacity in this way. I'd been wondering how one might do a multi-track without buying expensive software. Didn't realize that I already had something at hand. Just need to learn how to do it!
    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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    • #3
      So, in simple terms, how does one go about making a multi-track recording with Audacity? I remember having an old reel-to-reel tape deck 50 years ago that allowed "sound-on-sound" or "sound-with-sound" recording, and I could do simple stuff like singing a duet with myself. But is it possible with Audacity to mix together a great many separately recorded tracks?
      John
      ----------
      *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
        So, in simple terms, how does one go about making a multi-track recording with Audacity? I remember having an old reel-to-reel tape deck 50 years ago that allowed "sound-on-sound" or "sound-with-sound" recording, and I could do simple stuff like singing a duet with myself. But is it possible with Audacity to mix together a great many separately recorded tracks?
        It is possible, John.

        I'm not sure how many tracks the free version of Audacity will support, but I would suspect it is quite a few. At some point in the process, the processing capabilities of the computer come into play.

        Specifically, every time you press Record, the program will create a separate track. I believe you can import and audio file (I prefer mp3 for size reasons) by either using the Import command in the File Menu, OR by drag-and-drop on top of the project you'd like to add it to. I believe it will add a track every time you do this–just make sure the mouse arrow is below a currently used track in the blank area.

        As I already mentioned to Peterborough, if you magnify the track (zoom in on the track), you can line things up with much more precision. I also prefer to zoom in because it allows me to be more granular in my editing (extraneous sounds, consonants, mispronounciations, etc.). All of them can be removed or lessened by the editing process.

        Hope that helps.

        Michael
        Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
        • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
        • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
        • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks. Maybe I'll have time to try that out. I have been using Audacity for fairly simple editing of audio files -- trimming dead space from the start and the end, clipping out bad sections, adjusting level and tone. But I haven't even tried combining multiple tracks. Could be easier than I think.

        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Do you always snap to zero crossings, or does the program do that automatically for you? Years ago, it was something required of digital audio software, but I haven't seen that option lately. It's nice because it allows for seamless editing without any clicks where the editing took place.

          Michael

      • #5
        I used to use Audacity to help my mom make practice tracks for her different choirs. We would record her playing the piano accompaniment then we would record each vocal part (sung or played on the piano) while listening to the recorded accompaniment (through headphones). After we recorded all of the parts, we would adjust the levels for each part so that they all blended good enough and then start exporting practice tracks. If the computer was very old, we sometimes had to shift the parts a bit so that they would be line up. Most recording programs (that support multi tracking) allow the user to mute tracks. We used that to export versions of the song (one part alone, one part with accompaniment, all except one part, etc.) to CDs that we could hand out at practice. It was involved and we didn't do it much, but it was very helpful.
        Sam
        Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
        Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

        Comment


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Sam's right, it can get involved, but the more you learn to use the hidden features of a piece of a software, the easier it becomes. For example, I believe on a Mac the Shift+Command+I is the shortcut for importing a track or digital audio (on Mac). Knowing how to use a combination of the transport controls, Effects, and Mute/Solo allow for a MUCH easier workflow.

          Michael

      • #6
        Unless one is into extensive audio production that may require a digital audio workstation and/or a gazillion channel sound board, Audacity quite adequate. I've used it for years and have yet to purchase a commercial audio editing program. I use it for creating mp3's for listening and for cleaning up audio tracks to then add to a video. A few pointers...

        If you are recording multiple instruments on multiple tracks, (I use a Z..m handy recorder that can record up to 4 tracks at a time) you can open up 1 mp3 file, then add the others to your project by using the Import function.

        If your file is a standard mp3 stereo recording, all of 1 mic is on the left channel and all of the other mic is on the right channel. This often makes the recording sound like there is nothing in the middle. You can fix this by clicking the track name dropdown at the far left end of the track and select "split stereo track". This will split your stereo track into 2 mono tracks. You can then adjust their volume and Left/Right position with the sliders to get the right balance.

        Once you've got everything sounding the way you want it, export an mp3. Audacity will mix everything back down to a standard 2 channel stereo file.

        Comment


        • #7
          Originally posted by smithge31419 View Post
          Unless one is into extensive audio production that may require a digital audio workstation and/or a gazillion channel sound board, Audacity quite adequate. I've used it for years and have yet to purchase a commercial audio editing program.
          Smithge brings up an important point.

          Personally, I've been using Audacity with no need for a more advanced program (other than GarageBand which came on my Mac). I use a T*scam digital recorder to record organ works, and import it to Audacity.

          Michael
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

          Comment


          • #8
            Thank you for starting this, Michael. Because I had to do my first choir recording very quickly I didn't look at the manual or anything else. I did Google a couple of queries.

            One question: what's a clapper?
            I haven't used many of the effects, though "reverb" is quite good (I use the "large room" preset). I use "amplify" but I can't make anything louder, even though it's nowhere near clipping. I have to go to the default setting under "manage" and then cut down the volume from there. The numbers don't seem to help me at all.

            Does anyone use the "envelope" tool? I find it hard to work with.

            I have to record tracks on my digital recorder (Edirol R-09) and then transfer them to my computer - my laptop doesn't have a "mic in " socket. It is supposedly mic and headphones, but I don't find it very good for a mic.

            My choir members record their voices on phones and what they send me is a file that Audacity won't import (M4a or something) so I have to use another programme (Total Recorder) to convert it to mp3.

            My only criticism of Audacity is that it is hard to get synchronization exactly right. Magnifying things does help - thank you, Michael. I wish there was a way of nudging a track in tiny increments, though. Using a mouse to drag things is not very accurate in my hands.

            Comment


            • #9
              A "clapper" is that chalkboard with the hinged top that makes a loud 'clap' at the start of a 'take' in movie production. When there are several cameras rolling at once it is nice to have a reference audio spike AND the visual cue of the clapper striking home as an aid to synchronization. A clapper is useless IF the cameras (or audio recorders) are started at different times and in different locations. Even if someone 'clapped' the start of their recording session, several seconds might elapse till they actually start singing or playing.

              I am very new to all this recording stuff but I am using Audacity to record 'guide tracks' for the praise band. The other members each record their tracks and send them to the guitarist who stitches it all together in Garage Band. I could stitch it all together in Audacity but I haven't learned how and he offered and he seems to be doing a good job even without any of us 'clapping' or otherwise trying to make any sort of reference 'start' signal.

              I send my 'guide track' out in WAV format but I send my Prelude recording to the church in MP3 format because it is much more compact. I would be surprised if Audacity could not import an MP3 or MP4 file but I can check that in the next little while. It should not be hard however to get Smartphones to output .WAV files that Audacity definitely can import. If for whatever reason the guitarist quit and I had to do the audio editing I wouldn't try to do it by looking at the waveforms. I would do it by ear. I'm pretty sure that is how he does it. Also people vary in how well they can follow guide tracks! What might seem like it being "hard to get syncronization exactly right" might actually be the ... ... fault of the performer not accurately following the guide track.
              Last edited by Leisesturm; 04-18-2020, 09:35 PM. Reason: important clarification in caps

              Comment


              • #10
                Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post

                My only criticism of Audacity is that it is hard to get synchronization exactly right. Magnifying things does help - thank you, Michael. I wish there was a way of nudging a track in tiny increments, though. Using a mouse to drag things is not very accurate in my hands.
                I have no experience of using Audacity or any other computer program for music but I do need to nudge images in my photography activities. As you say using a mouse is not very accurate so I use a graphics tablet and pen, such as made by Wacom, which is much better at moving in tiny increments. It would mean investment in new hardware (£50 or so) and I don't know if it would help you but someone else might have a view. I don't mind being shot down in flames 😕
                Last edited by RogerM; 04-18-2020, 02:28 PM.
                Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
                Current: Yamaha AR-100

                Comment


                • andyg
                  andyg commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I've been using a Wacom tablet for donkeys' years. I was asked years ago if they were any use for music software. I had no idea so I got Wacom to send a few down for review in the magazine. I kept one of them, the very cheap 'Graphire 2'. It's now ancient but it still works a treat. I use it for everything, not just music apps.

              • #11
                Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
                Does anyone use the "envelope" tool? I find it hard to work with.
                Peterborough,

                I have never used the Envelope tool, but from what I know of audio authoring, I think it would be used to create a "patch," or as most people know it, each "patch" is each one of the sounds you have to select from when using a digital piano or synthesizer. To create a patch, you sample a sound, then use the envelope tool to define each portion of the patch, thereby creating an ADSR Envelope (A–Attack, D–Decay, S–Sustain, R–Release).

                Originally posted by Peterboroughdiapason View Post
                My only criticism of Audacity is that it is hard to get synchronization exactly right. Magnifying things does help - thank you, Michael. I wish there was a way of nudging a track in tiny increments, though. Using a mouse to drag things is not very accurate in my hands.
                I could be wrong about this, but it may be that while a track is selected, you can press the left or right arrows on the keyboard, and that will "nudge" the clip either earlier or later. It's worth a try.

                Michael

                P.S. I think the more you magnify, the more granular the control when you "nudge" a clip. I could be wrong, though.
                Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

                Comment


                • #12
                  Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                  I could be wrong about this, but it may be that while a track is selected, you can press the left or right arrows on the keyboard, and that will "nudge" the clip either earlier or later. It's worth a try.

                  Michael

                  P.S. I think the more you magnify, the more granular the control when you "nudge" a clip. I could be wrong, though.
                  I put "moving audio tracks in fine increments in Audacity" into Google earlier today. I got called away by the boss before I could do much perusal of the results but the little I saw confirms your response. The arrow keys are indeed used to 'nudge" things backwards and forwards, and the higher the 'magnification', the finer the increments become. I have no reason to doubt that increments of much less than one second can be achieved in this manner.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    That would be great, Leisesturm. My Google searches have not helped me. There is a plug-in but I couldn't work out how to download it. The only method I've found is the "time shift" tool. It does work, just not a very easy way to do it.

                    Can you let me know if you come up with something?

                    Comment


                    • myorgan
                      myorgan commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Peterborough,

                      I believe the plug-in you're talking about is the Lame encoder. However, that is used primarily for exporting to various file formats. A*dacity has a downloadable help file in PDF on their website. Just be sure to make sure the versions match. The site is: https://manual.audacityteam.org/

                      Hope this helps.

                      Michael

                    • jbird604
                      jbird604 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      "Lame" is the plug-in that I downloaded years ago so that Audacity could export in MP3 format. It's a marvelous tool, and free, as I recall. I have to wonder why it doesn't come built into Audacity, since surely there are many users who want to export their finished product in MP3 format. BTW, that's a funny name for a program... wonder what is the reason for the name?

                  • #14
                    Originally posted by myorgan View Post
                    Peterborough,

                    I could be wrong about this, but it may be that while a track is selected, you can press the left or right arrows on the keyboard, and that will "nudge" the clip either earlier or later. It's worth a try.

                    Michael

                    P.S. I think the more you magnify, the more granular the control when you "nudge" a clip. I could be wrong, though.
                    I haven't tried working with clips yet - perhaps that's the answer? Certainly magnifying the track helps. I'll experiment with clips.

                    Thanks,
                    Stephen

                    Comment


                    • #15
                      So our first effort at doing music from home 'dropped' this morning. I can link just the music but it won't give any clue as to how it goes together. I don't even know how it goes together. I just sent in my keyboard tracks and the harmony vocal track on "Because He Lives". @PD, clips and tracks are one and the same the way I look at it. I don't mean to give offense but I have to ask if all of your choir members understand that they must have two independent audio setups to make remote recording work? Only a few of our musicians are so equipped. If your people are recording tracks on their phones, how are they simultaneously listening to the guide track? Just trying to help.

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