This is some of the Incidental Music I wrote for Moliere's 'The Doctor in Spite of Himself'.
I had some problems with vibrations coming from the lower registers of the Clarinet and Bassoon I. I ended up using Bassoon II for most of it.
I have difficulty in deciding what overall level to use. I boosted my original recording of this piece by 3 db. Is there any criterion one can use to determine what level to leave a recording at, since every setup sounds different ?
This is just masterfully composed music. I loved it! You obviously have a very knowledgeable grasp of idiomatic considerations for this genre, and your creativity is just a sheer pleasure to listen to.
I hesitate to offer any technical advice on your levels, other than to say I always check and adjust my volume in an audio program (I use Sony SoundForge). That seems to work for me. I didn't, however, notice any level problems in this. Sounded great!
Thanks very much, Danny. I particularly appreciate your comments, because I was very impressed with your work, particularly the piece you posted recently. The composition, the orchestration and the rendering were all beautifully done.
Jack, expertly done theatric accompaniment in these;
well built and handled with a modest ensemble. The
rendering, too -- quite good (though maybe just a tad
more room would be nice -- but I always say that... lol).
I didn't notice any level difficulties in this (no over-
modulation; adequate level; etc.). As for thumb rules
on that, in general you just want to avoid setting too
high [distortion]; or setting too low [hard to hear].
In multiple movements, of course, there's the added
concern that you do want to have the individual
movements at the proper relative levels to each other.
Many audio editors (Audition, which I use, for instance)
have an automatic feature you can use to set for
optimal level, too.
Can't say I've run into "vibration problems" with the
low registers of any of the clarinets or bassoons (which
sounded quite good to me, in this) -- I wonder if that
might be diaphragm rattle in your speakers or headphones?
Nice, Jack! - As you'd probably be able to predict, I always perk up when I see someone's written something for theatre.
Oh yes, I can see this working on stage for Moliere really nicely. Touches of period flavor, some modern humor intelligently inserted, and some just plain wonderful orchestration throughout.
I love this, Jack. Really nice work!
I'd say more reverb would be good. I think you might have kept it drier since it's to be played in a theatre which will have its own natural reverb. I've found that recorded tracks still sound best coming out of speakers in a theatre with more environment effect (reverb) than this.
I think David Et Lux could have something there when he suggested that the virbrational problems you had with the lower woodwinds could be due to sympathetic vibrations rattling your headphone or speaker diaphragms.
Otherwise, if you're finding some lower frequencies offending, that's what EQ is for. Even a general negative shelfing of all the lower freqs under 100 can instantly help with problems like that.
My question regarding level does not refer to distortion, clipping etc. I was referring to levels *within* the acceptable range. If I do something for large orchestra, and there are tutti sections which are fortissimo, I expect the level will pretty much reach the maximum allowable at that point. However, with a Woodwind Quintet, even the loudest possible sound probably won't land anywhere near the maximum allowable amplitude. Some pieces I hear using my headphones sound just right, others, though not distorted, sound too loud. My own stuff usually sounds too soft on my speakers. I realize every piece of equipment is different (quality, power etc.), and all you have to do is adjust the volume control, but I figure there must be some kind of a standard for recording. I added 3 db to this woodwind quintet, and then I had second thoughts, but I think I'll just leave it. (Am I making any sense ?)
With regard to the 'vibration' I detected in the low registers of Bassoon I and Clarinet, maybe a better description of it would be a buzzing sound, which I don't think I can eliminate by lowering the master volume. Again, maybe I'm nuts, but I thought Bassoon II worked better in this regard (the first 2 pieces use Bassoon II and the third piece uses Bassoon I. With the clarinet, there were very few spots where this seemed to be a problem, so I just left it.
This is fantastically composed music. I enjoy the exciting changes and the beautiful harmonies. I'm not sure how you rendered this, but if I could make one suggestion : the legato seems to be missing, perhaps more flowing legato would make it sound more natural. Thank you for this lovely piece.