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Viewing topic "Distorted Recordings From (built-in) Audio Recorder"

   
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Posted on: December 10, 2016 @ 06:57 PM
Mighty Motif Max
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Hi!

I was recording some solo piano music lately, and used the built in audio recorder to do so. My recordings ended up distorted and muffled, as though they were being recorded at a very high volume through a blanket. The result is not good at all. What is causing this? All 13 tracks turned out this way. When I play them back on my XF8, they sound fine. When I play them on my computer or on CDs, they are as described above.

The volume slider was set at half way when I recorded these.

What is this?

Thanks!

-Max

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Posted on: December 10, 2016 @ 07:15 PM
5pinDIN
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I read your post more than once, but I’m still not clear on what you did. Some questions:

There are 13 tracks of solo piano? In one Song?

Did you make a recording as in Method 1 of http://www.motifator.com/index.php/support/view/how_to_make_a_wav_or_aiff_for_cd_mp3_creation ? If not, then how?

Assuming you’re referring to the MASTER VOLUME Control Slider, its position doesn’t affect Method 1 record levels.

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Posted on: December 10, 2016 @ 07:24 PM
Mighty Motif Max
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5pinDIN - 10 December 2016 07:15 PM

I read your post more than once, but I’m still not clear on what you did. Some questions:

There are 13 tracks of solo piano? In one Song?

Did you make a recording as in Method 1 of http://www.motifator.com/index.php/support/view/how_to_make_a_wav_or_aiff_for_cd_mp3_creation ? If not, then how?

Assuming you’re referring to the MASTER VOLUME Control Slider, its position doesn’t affect Method 1 record levels.

I recorded thirteen separate songs total. The symptoms appear in all of them.

I used method #1.

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Posted on: December 10, 2016 @ 08:21 PM
5pinDIN
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Did I understand you correctly - the WAV files recorded to a USB drive play back on the XF properly?

If that’s the case, there shouldn’t be a problem playing them on your computer either. The WAVs are 16-bit 44.1kHz, if that matters to whatever you’re using for playback.

Can you post a short piece (10-15 seconds) of one of the WAVs that you’re experiencing the issue with?

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Posted on: December 10, 2016 @ 08:53 PM
Mighty Motif Max
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5pinDIN - 10 December 2016 08:21 PM

Did I understand you correctly - the WAV files recorded to a USB drive play back on the XF properly?

If that’s the case, there shouldn’t be a problem playing them on your computer either. The WAVs are 16-bit 44.1kHz, if that matters to whatever you’re using for playback…

Yes, you understand correctly.

I have attached what you requested.

Thanks!

-Max

P.S. So many things act strangely on my XF that sometimes I swear that it has a virus in it. :-\

File Attachments
Because He Lives sample.m4a.zip  (File Size: 450KB - Downloads: 51)
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Posted on: December 10, 2016 @ 08:59 PM
5pinDIN
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Please record and post a short WAV file (zipped), not an M4A.

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Posted on: December 10, 2016 @ 09:23 PM
philwoodmusic
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I’ve had a listen to your M4A and would rather listen to a WAV with 5pinDIN, Max.

What I heard wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I expected, so it got me wondering if you use different monitoring (speakers) for listening to music on your computer or CD player, than you do with your XF,

Really, when anyone says something like “When I play them back on my XF8, they sound fine. When I play them on my computer or on CDs, they sound bad.” I wonder about monitoring right away, including headphones.

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Posted on: December 11, 2016 @ 04:30 AM
Mighty Motif Max
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5pinDIN - 10 December 2016 08:59 PM

Please record and post a short WAV file (zipped), not an M4A.

Sorry!

iTunes automatically converted the format.

File Attachments
Because He Lives sample.wav.zip  (File Size: 2757KB - Downloads: 41)
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Posted on: December 11, 2016 @ 04:35 AM
Mighty Motif Max
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philwoodmusic - 10 December 2016 09:23 PM

I’ve had a listen to your M4A and would rather listen to a WAV with 5pinDIN, Max.

What I heard wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I expected, so it got me wondering if you use different monitoring (speakers) for listening to music on your computer or CD player, than you do with your XF,

Really, when anyone says something like “When I play them back on my XF8, they sound fine. When I play them on my computer or on CDs, they sound bad.” I wonder about monitoring right away, including headphones.

I use no external monitors for the computer. It is an iMac 21” Retina desktop.

I use either headphones, or my digital piano’s input for one channel, and a MSR100 for the second channel.

The cds play back distorted on any cd player that I have, including the 2007 Suburban’s system, a Bose radio, and a Pyle record/cassette/cd/radio/external system.

-Max

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Posted on: December 11, 2016 @ 06:46 AM
5pinDIN
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Before I comment…
Is the posted WAV directly as recorded on the XF, or has it been resampled or processed in any way (other than the end perhaps having been truncated)?

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Posted on: December 11, 2016 @ 09:59 AM
Mighty Motif Max
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5pinDIN - 11 December 2016 06:46 AM

Before I comment…
Is the posted WAV directly as recorded on the XF, or has it been resampled or processed in any way (other than the end perhaps having been truncated)?

It is exactly as recorded from the XF to a usb flash drive, except that I cut out this section to upload it.

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Posted on: December 11, 2016 @ 11:31 AM
5pinDIN
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Mighty Motif Max - 11 December 2016 09:59 AM

It is exactly as recorded from the XF to a usb flash drive, except that I cut out this section to upload it.

OK.

The first thing I noticed is that the recorded level is very low - the peak appears to be only about -20 dBFS. Secondly, the cause seems to be partially due to low key velocity. I’m basing that primarily on the sound of the low end notes - the overall sound isn’t bad, but the bottom seems to me a little, as you put it, “muffled”.

I don’t know if it was your intention to play pianissimo, or if the piece becomes more forte further on. Higher key velocity would likely “enliven” things a bit.

Even if you don’t play harder or raise record levels, normalizing the existing recording can make a noticeable difference. I normalized your WAV and attached the resulting file (zipped).

If what I’ve attached doesn’t sound reasonable when played on your computer, then it may be a problem with the application you’re using.

File Attachments
Because - normalized.zip  (File Size: 2645KB - Downloads: 45)
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Posted on: December 11, 2016 @ 02:54 PM
philwoodmusic
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5pinDIN - 11 December 2016 11:31 AM

If what I’ve attached doesn’t sound reasonable when played on your computer, then it may be a problem with the application you’re using.

In addition to the low level and velocity observations. Because you use a Mac, Max, I’m wondering if this is the dreaded iTunes ‘Sound Enhancer’ and ‘Sound Check’ functions doing their dastardly work.

Those functions will automatically adjust the level and often the EQ of any audio you import out of blind assumption, and things can end up sounding especially nasty and distorted as part of an automated but VERY motivated attempt to level out your entire iTunes library.

In your case, your audio, which is quiet, is being automatically pulled up, but without the kind of love and consideration that 5pinDIN used when he normalized your WAV for you.

So, if you are using iTunes, which is a distinct possibility for a Mac user, iTunes is applying these adjustments when you import your audio, and because you likely burn your CDs in iTunes, too, your CDs also feature that sound and will sound bad anywhere (as you’ve advised).

I always set those to off, because everything sounds better when you do. Ok, so all your tracks might not be at the same level, but that’s life.

If you aren’t using iTunes, then I bet a very similar function is in play on either your editing software or whatever you use to burn your CDs.  You’re looking to disable an auto normalize function or a set of export preferences on those kind of apps.

Looking back up the thread, you did mention iTunes.

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Posted on: December 11, 2016 @ 04:03 PM
5pinDIN
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philwoodmusic - 11 December 2016 02:54 PM

[...] Because you use a Mac, Max, I’m wondering if this is the dreaded iTunes ‘Sound Enhancer’ and ‘Sound Check’ functions doing their dastardly work. [...]

While I suspected an app-related problem, not being a “Mac guy”, I wasn’t familiar with specific possibilities. Thanks for raising those particular concerns, philwoodmusic.

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Posted on: December 11, 2016 @ 04:10 PM
philwoodmusic
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They’re constantly giving me problems, although I might be wrong in Max’s case.

It goes something like this:

1 - Completed but unmastered mix gets sent out for listening. Mastering happens elsewhere.

2 - Someone hears it and complains about distortion and bad sound quality.

3 - I tell them to turn those functions off in iTunes. 

4 - I get an apology.

They are the most evil little functions around. The “automated but motivated” gag was me bringing Douglas Adams into this just for you!  Although, I expect automated normalization in his universe would be carried out in alphabetical order.

I expect a gentle and quiet “piano only” track has no chance if iTunes tries to balance up to something from the controversial Metallica album from Sterling.

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Posted on: December 11, 2016 @ 05:09 PM
5pinDIN
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philwoodmusic - 11 December 2016 04:10 PM

They are the most evil little functions around. The “automated but motivated” gag was me bringing Douglas Adams into this just for you!  Although, I expect automated normalization in his universe would be carried out in alphabetical order.

I expect a gentle and quiet “piano only” track has no chance if iTunes tries to balance up to something from the controversial Metallica album from Sterling.

“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”
-- Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

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