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Ivan

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Today I played and recorded two mouthpieces coupled with a few varieties of reed (not an experiment I've done before)

Is it a common phenomenon to hear yourself differently in the flesh compared to your recording?


If so which should you listen to?
 

Colin the Bear

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Both. When you're live you're adjusting to your surroundings, acoustics etc to get the best sound you can. When you record you have to play to get the best out of the equipment for what you're trying to convey.

I like to listen to what I've played then play it again and adjust it to what I meant to play the first time. I'm getting used to being disappointed with my recorded sound when I playback straight away. It seems like somebody else the day after and is what it is.

I don't think any equipment is able to catch the live sound of a saxophone played well.
 

Jamesmac

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I think,( but it may be my cognitive bias) the not so good bits stick out like a sore thumb. But the better bits just sound normal.>:)
PS. On the recording.
 

Ivan

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Sorry Colin and Jim I didn't explain that I was getting the opposite phenomenon

What I heard on the recordings was more acceptable than what I heard while playing. Various tones I didn't like such as sounding stuffy with one reed or like a duck with another simply didn't sound that different and, dare I say it, quite tenor sax-like on the recording

So which sound should one trust?
 

Jamesmac

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I usually record a few takes, but the one I always chose is the one that I felt the best at the time I was playing.
 

aaronrod

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It's not really about trusting one or the other - it's more about learning how to relate what you hear while you are playing to what the audience hears, and adjusting accordingly. Singers in particular face this all the time, as the 'head voice' is very different to the voice everyone else hears (just record yourself talking or singing to see what I mean - for most people it's a shock the first time they hear it).

The 'feel' of a note will affect how you hear it - if a note felt stuffy to play, it actually affects the way you perceive the sound of that note. This makes differences in tone feel far greater to you as a player than they sound to the audience.

In short, use both - the recordings and how it feels while you play. Don't forget to use other people's ears as well . Other tricks include playing into a wall or corner of a room or into a music stand so you get more of your reflected sound back to your ears, to get a better idea of what other people hear when you play.
 

Jamesmac

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I am convinced that if you think about the sound you make, too much, it will affect other aspects of playing. Sometimes a player who is not so sensitive sound wise, will play better in tune, be more accurate rhythm wise.
 

Colin the Bear

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A recording sounds like a recording and if that's how you're used to hearing other saxophones then your recording will sound more like what you're used to hearing.

There's a lot going on when you'replaying and behind the mouthpiece isn't always the best place to hear it. You're getting vibrations coming through your embouchure and teeth resonating in your sinus cavities and head bones mixed with the sound projected from the front of the instrument and added to this is the sound bouncing off the walls of the room and entering your two ears. My perceived sound is better with a 1mm patch but it's not noticable on a recording although the playing seems better because I'm more comfortable.

If you're recording with one mic, it only has one viewpoint and the sound is simpler.

I record in a small room with thick blown vinyl wall paper. I close the door and lower the blind and draw the curtains which also seems to make a difference to my perceived sound.

I play outside a lot and get frustrated how empty the bottom end can sound if I pick the wrong spot.

There's probably a technical explanation that a sound engineer could give, but would we understand it?
 

BigMartin

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One thing I've noticed is that thing like accents, inflections and vibrato sound much more pronounced when I'm playing. I've been told this is normal. If I play with what sounds like a really exaggerated vib, I can just about hear it in the recording. presumably it's the same for an audience.
 

PaulM

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One thing I've noticed is that thing like accents, inflections and vibrato sound much more pronounced when I'm playing. I've been told this is normal. If I play with what sounds like a really exaggerated vib, I can just about hear it in the recording. presumably it's the same for an audience.

I frequently record my playing and find exactly the same Martin. Perhaps we have to exaggerate these effects slightly for them to be noticeable to the listener? On a similar vein, last week I recorded myself playing the same tune on two different tenor mouthpieces. They definitely sounded different to me when I played them. However, on the recording it was close to impossible to tell them apart. I'm going to remind myself of this the next time I'm tempted by gear lust.
 

kernewegor

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My music room is a caravan and if I face the wardrobe and toilet doors I get sound reflected off them which I suspect is reasonable close to what an audience might hear.

When I record it with Audacity and a cheap karaoke microphone it sounds muffled however I tweak the settings. It sounds no better than using the built-in microphone on my laptop.

I'd like to try the very cheap condenser microphone that was being discussed some time ago. Can anyone refresh my memory and recommend on online supplier, please?
 

kernewegor

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Thanks, Colin!

I've just looked at the link and it's got a single pin plug to plug directly into a laptop or whatever.

Is there an extension available male fitting one end and female fitting the other or how did you do it?
 
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kernewegor

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Thanks again Colin you technocrat, you! :thumb:

Or do I mean technophile?
:headscratch:
Maybe both...
 

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