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wrk
post Mar 24 2014, 05:41 PM
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Hi Guys,

In the topic “Vibrato Bends Question” i have tried to explain an issue to hear pitches correctly when recording. It’s something which bothered me for quite some time, but never tried to really understand whats going on.

To recap my problem: When recording a solo i often have difficulties to evaluate the pitch of some bends, mostly on some tiny spots with quick bends or pre-bends. Well aware of technical inability’s on the guitar, i somehow thought my ears were not too bad, always something to improve ofc. Still wondering why i hear these pitch issues, but not instantly or direct after playback.

Searching the internet i found some interesting discussions about a similar issue. Often a singer tend to sing flat when recording with headphones. I figured, singing is somehow comparable to string bends as the player actively manipulates the pitch. I assumed the pitch issue has something to do with high overtone frequencies, which are more or less audible on different speakers. I guess that was a wrong approche.

What i found out, increased volume does effect pitch perception, especially with headphones. There are different explanations, like lower frequencies are perceived a bit flat in pitch and the singer tries to adjust to this or bass frequencies modulating the mid and high frequencies. Maybe both, don’t know what is exactly happening, but the effect seems similar to what i experience. For different reasons i mainly use headphones for practicing and recording and over the process i slowly turn up the volume bit by bit to get me rocking. Not extremely loud but yeah, it’s not on "meditation level" laugh.gif

Just thought it might be interesting for some of you. Keep your volume low when working on your bends and pitch and maybe try to avoid headphones all the time! Everything can be learned, but it's sometimes good to get aware of what is happening smile.gif

Anyone have similar experiences or thoughts on this?










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Huargo
post Mar 24 2014, 05:53 PM
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Hi! i always use headphones when i'm recording... and i have a lots picht bend, issues but i think in my case it's more a technique problem. Anyway good thing to test in next records...


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Mar 24 2014, 05:55 PM
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QUOTE (wrk @ Mar 24 2014, 05:41 PM) *
Hi Guys,

...



What i found out, increased volume does effect pitch perception, especially with headphones. There are different explanations, like lower frequencies are perceived a bit flat in pitch and the singer tries to adjust to this or bass frequencies modulating the mid and high frequencies. Maybe both, don’t know what is exactly happening, but the effect seems similar to what i experience. For different reasons i mainly use headphones for practicing and recording and over the process i slowly turn up the volume bit by bit to get me rocking. Not extremely loud but yeah, it’s not on "meditation level" laugh.gif

Just thought it might be interesting for some of you. Keep your volume low when working on your bends and pitch and maybe try to avoid headphones all the time! Everything can be learned, but it's sometimes good to get aware of what is happening smile.gif

Anyone have similar experiences or thoughts on this?


The effect is called the Fletcher Munson equal loudness contour curves.

You should try to set your monitors/playback at 78dB as this provides the most linear curve whilst also being at a level that won't screw your hearing in the long term. You shoud calibrate your monitors to this so you can return to 78dB and also be able to find a +/- 6dB position quickly.

If you don't mix at a consistent level then your mixes may well not be consistent.


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Mertay
post Mar 24 2014, 06:41 PM
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To add; Fletcher Munson effect's the levels of pitch, not changing the pitch itself as its not actually relevant to your problem.

Although headphones give nice detail when needed, the perception is simply fake specially compared to speakers. Never increase volume with headphones more than it starts to disturb you, no audio engineer risks his health when working wink.gif

You could try bringing the guitar more forward (increase channel gain your recording) than you're used to compared to the backing track. After the take is done, just adjust the level (decrease guitar) needed to balance the mix.

Also you might have heard a guitar tone "cutting through the mix". The solo tone you like, might be muddy for the balance of the backing track. So you'll need to adjust your tone, either with eq on amp or just change the cab. type on software.

By the way this happens very often, recording engineers are specially used to this. Artist always wants a sweetspot where they can hear themselves clearly+hear the track enough to reference but later these are adjusted. I remember even sometimes disabling instruments if tempo issues occur during recording smile.gif

This post has been edited by Mertay: Mar 24 2014, 06:44 PM


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klasaine
post Mar 24 2014, 07:15 PM
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In my experience, both with headphones and speakers (on stage or in front of studio monitors) it has to pretty loud before you have trouble properly hearing correct pitch. I mean uncomfortably loud.


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jstcrsn
post Mar 25 2014, 12:36 AM
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when recording at home, I have found if I pull one side off and equal the volume between the monitor and the string tone from the guitar, it help balance things easier
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Todd Simpson
post Mar 25 2014, 03:22 AM
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First question would be what headphones are you using? Please tell me it's not earbuds? smile.gif A good pair of cans is a home studio recordists best friend smile.gif Any decent pair will keep you from recording flat but won't stop one from playing a bit flat. However, crappy cans can cause all sorts of issues.

QUOTE (wrk @ Mar 24 2014, 12:41 PM) *
Hi Guys,

In the topic “Vibrato Bends Question” i have tried to explain an issue to hear pitches correctly when recording. It’s something which bothered me for quite some time, but never tried to really understand whats going on.

To recap my problem: When recording a solo i often have difficulties to evaluate the pitch of some bends, mostly on some tiny spots with quick bends or pre-bends. Well aware of technical inability’s on the guitar, i somehow thought my ears were not too bad, always something to improve ofc. Still wondering why i hear these pitch issues, but not instantly or direct after playback.

Searching the internet i found some interesting discussions about a similar issue. Often a singer tend to sing flat when recording with headphones. I figured, singing is somehow comparable to string bends as the player actively manipulates the pitch. I assumed the pitch issue has something to do with high overtone frequencies, which are more or less audible on different speakers. I guess that was a wrong approche.

What i found out, increased volume does effect pitch perception, especially with headphones. There are different explanations, like lower frequencies are perceived a bit flat in pitch and the singer tries to adjust to this or bass frequencies modulating the mid and high frequencies. Maybe both, don’t know what is exactly happening, but the effect seems similar to what i experience. For different reasons i mainly use headphones for practicing and recording and over the process i slowly turn up the volume bit by bit to get me rocking. Not extremely loud but yeah, it’s not on "meditation level" laugh.gif

Just thought it might be interesting for some of you. Keep your volume low when working on your bends and pitch and maybe try to avoid headphones all the time! Everything can be learned, but it's sometimes good to get aware of what is happening smile.gif

Anyone have similar experiences or thoughts on this?



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wrk
post Mar 25 2014, 09:44 AM
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Thank you guys for your thoughts !!

So basically the common opinion is my issue is not caused by headphone/volume ether, right?
Damn, so i guess my hearing and bending technique is not at this point yet were it supposed to be.

I just experienced this again by working on the last two collabs. Technically these takes are not really difficult, but i needed to do quite some retakes as i thought to have spotted some pitch problems and i’m still not sure at some points. Maybe it’s just obsessive and i imagine things which are not there ..

Would you mind listening to these takes again in terms of unstable pitch issues? Thanks guys !!






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wrk
post Mar 25 2014, 10:18 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Mar 25 2014, 03:22 AM) *
First question would be what headphones are you using? Please tell me it's not earbuds? smile.gif A good pair of cans is a home studio recordists best friend smile.gif Any decent pair will keep you from recording flat but won't stop one from playing a bit flat. However, crappy cans can cause all sorts of issues.

I use AKG K271 MkII headphones, i guess it's a decent pair. Weird thing is, that i imagine to hear pitch issues often long time afterwards when listening to it with earbuds. Thats why i first thought there are some fussy high frequencies which irritates me, but you Pro's confirmed that this is quite unusual, so i guess i'm wrong with this smile.gif




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Darius Wave
post Mar 25 2014, 12:38 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Mar 24 2014, 07:15 PM) *
In my experience, both with headphones and speakers (on stage or in front of studio monitors) it has to pretty loud before you have trouble properly hearing correct pitch. I mean uncomfortably loud.



Though of the same. Never felt to have this issue annoying but this might be caused by my rather safe volume levels of both - monitors and headphones. Very rare but in deed sometimes I feel You mentioned issue while for example tunig guitar by ear to the song that is very very quiet and later when I make it louder it seems that guitar is not in the correct pitch. This can refer to Your thoughts...


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Mar 25 2014, 01:45 PM
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I've never experienced this issue. I use to practice and record with and without headphones and never found important pitch issues once I mastered the technique, feel comfortable with the guitar (sometimes changing guitar with different string gauge can give pitch issues at first). However I can say that I feel more comfortable singing without headphones than with headphones, I can say that I sing better. I don't know if this is practice or if there is anything more behind it.


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klasaine
post Mar 25 2014, 05:15 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Mar 25 2014, 04:38 AM) *
Though of the same. Never felt to have this issue annoying but this might be caused by my rather safe volume levels of both - monitors and headphones. Very rare but in deed sometimes I feel You mentioned issue while for example tunig guitar by ear to the song that is very very quiet and later when I make it louder it seems that guitar is not in the correct pitch. This can refer to Your thoughts...

There have been a few times live that I've experienced levels loud enough to make it difficult to distinguish correct pitch. You'll hear 'flat'. Its not fun.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Mar 25 2014, 05:16 PM


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Mertay
post Mar 25 2014, 06:16 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Mar 25 2014, 12:45 PM) *
However I can say that I feel more comfortable singing without headphones than with headphones, I can say that I sing better. I don't know if this is practice or if there is anything more behind it.


Thats very natural as the insulation of headphone is affecting your self hearing, kind of like deaf people can't adjust their vocal strength. Although your vocal is routed back to you this is simply compensation for your uncomfort.

QUOTE (klasaine @ Mar 25 2014, 04:15 PM) *
There have been a few times live that I've experienced levels loud enough to make it difficult to distinguish correct pitch. You'll hear 'flat'. Its not fun.


Or maybe the PA guy can be bad and everything is mixed terrible so he boosts the speakers and pray it works biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Mertay: Mar 25 2014, 06:16 PM


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Mar 28 2014, 08:43 PM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Mar 24 2014, 06:41 PM) *
To add; Fletcher Munson effect's the levels of pitch, not changing the pitch itself as its not actually relevant to your problem.

...


Sorry missed this as I was away for a week at Windmill in London and a few other places.
The equal loudness contour does have a relevance as for some individuals there is a relationship in how the headphones affect the inner ear canal and how changes in pressure due to level in turn affect perceived pitch.


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Mertay
post Mar 28 2014, 09:13 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Mar 28 2014, 07:43 PM) *
Sorry missed this as I was away for a week at Windmill in London and a few other places.
The equal loudness contour does have a relevance as for some individuals there is a relationship in how the headphones affect the inner ear canal and how changes in pressure due to level in turn affect perceived pitch.


This is interesting, but wouldn't the guitar also be affected together with the backing track? I mean his muscle memory or end recorded result still shouldn't be affected by this (unless he frequently changes the output lvl. of his headphones while working)

This post has been edited by Mertay: Mar 28 2014, 09:14 PM


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klasaine
post Mar 28 2014, 09:15 PM
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Neither of these (great!) takes have any bending, pitch problems that detract from the music at all.
One of the great things about be able to bend is that you 'can' be just slightly under or on top of the pitch to good musical effect.
You sound in tune to me.

QUOTE (wrk @ Mar 25 2014, 01:44 AM) *
Thank you guys for your thoughts !!

So basically the common opinion is my issue is not caused by headphone/volume ether, right?
Damn, so i guess my hearing and bending technique is not at this point yet were it supposed to be.

I just experienced this again by working on the last two collabs. Technically these takes are not really difficult, but i needed to do quite some retakes as i thought to have spotted some pitch problems and i’m still not sure at some points. Maybe it’s just obsessive and i imagine things which are not there ..

Would you mind listening to these takes again in terms of unstable pitch issues? Thanks guys !!







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Saoirse O'Shea
post Mar 28 2014, 09:20 PM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Mar 28 2014, 09:13 PM) *
This is interesting, but wouldn't the guitar also be affected together with the backing track? I mean his muscle memory or end recorded result still shouldn't be affected by this (unless he frequently changes the output lvl. of his headphones while working)


To be honest i don't know as I don't think that we have sufficient primary data to start to hypothesise what may be happening.

one quick thing though - lots of people don't mix at a constant, repeatable and calibrated level. Far too many playback devices have a rotary volume control that isn't stepped/detented and have no real markings to show position etc.

This post has been edited by tonymiro: Mar 28 2014, 09:23 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Mar 28 2014, 10:37 PM
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Those are fine cans smile.gif Don't think they are the issue. Your vids sound fine to me smile.gif Getting your bends to sound right is partly practice and partly ear training and it looks like your getting a handle on it smile.gif

QUOTE (wrk @ Mar 25 2014, 05:18 AM) *
I use AKG K271 MkII headphones, i guess it's a decent pair. Weird thing is, that i imagine to hear pitch issues often long time afterwards when listening to it with earbuds. Thats why i first thought there are some fussy high frequencies which irritates me, but you Pro's confirmed that this is quite unusual, so i guess i'm wrong with this smile.gif



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wrk
post Apr 4 2014, 08:50 AM
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Sorry, i have been away for a few days in the beautiful city of Amsterdam smile.gif

Thanks for listening, good to know you don’t hear any pitch issues.

To name one example where is in the Gary Moore take, the bend direct after the initial run (0:05). I hear it a bit flat up to this point where i confirm the bend with a pick stroke. As Ken said, it can be a “musical effect”, but it’s on spots like this, which cause me some doubts. There is a tiny borderline of musical effect and not in pitch. Hard to determine how it’s received by others.

Thanks Tony and Mertay, yes, i change levels quite often. As unhealthy as it is, loud playing adds sometimes some extra excitement while playing and i know i often turn the volume up and down during a session. Will definitely try to keep myself under control and work with fixed levels from now on. Have to learn to approach recording more as engineer instead of a wannabe rock star laugh.gif


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klasaine
post Apr 4 2014, 08:58 AM
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IMO, unless you have to match another lead or melody instrument, a bent note on guitar (in rock or jazz or fusion or blues) can be a little under or over the pitch. And as long as it's in time and confidently executed no one will even notice ... and it probably sound 'cool' most of the time.


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