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I recorded my self playing piano. I've been reading a lot about the subject and I know I can improve the quality of my recording by applying some filter like compression.

Are there other filters that may improve piano or piano and other instruments?

Is compression really a good idea? I am playing classical so the range of notes and the strength can be very wide. As far as I understand compression will homogenize the sound. Will I loose details?

What else can I do to improve the sound after the recording?

Are there any good online guides about this?

  • Is your goal to make an accurate recording of your actual performance? Or is your goal to modify the recording to make it sound "better" than your performance. – user1008646 Jul 3 '15 at 22:41
  • @user1008646 that's a good question. I suppose both. My goal is to be accurate - don't loose details, etc. But also improve the quality of the recording (remove background noise, and give it a bit more "shine" that I can't get with my piano) – nsn Jul 6 '15 at 12:14
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There's lots of material online, go looking for it. There's also a lot of good books on recording technique. It's worth spending a bit of time with a book on the subject before you put it in to action.

I would focus on equipment, mic placement etc. more than adding effects. There's a phrase amongst technicians that you can't polish a turd.

If you want a very dynamically flat sound, add compression, but it won't compensate for detailed sound or frequencies being missed from the initial recording.

Another common attempt at turd polishing is to add reverb, again, use this if you want a sound like you're in a cave, but if the initial recording is weak, it will still sound like a poorly recorded piano.

  • thank you for the answer. Can you point me to the online material. I found some, but this is a new field to me and I dont probably dont use the search terms I should be using. – nsn Jul 6 '15 at 21:47
  • How that can be treated as an answer? "Well, there is information out there", "you can find answers in google", why even say that? – folex Aug 18 '17 at 9:05
  • @folex It's acknowledging that I don't have all the answers off the top of my head. Advising the original poster to dig further into the question independently. The question also includes "Are there any good online guides about this?" – AJFaraday Aug 18 '17 at 9:35
  • @folex Did you read past the first paragraph? This answer also includes three other tips: "I would focus on...," "If you want [this], add [this]...," and "use this if you want [this]." – Richard Aug 18 '17 at 12:35
  • I see the main question here "How to improve existing recording?", and it's answered with "google it". It's just that I've googled that precise question, and found myself here, and the top rated answer doesn't really answer the question. But now you can't post duplicate of that question, and really have to way to re-ask it. – folex Aug 25 '17 at 14:46
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I don't recommend compressing, unless you are doing a full production. The problem with compression is that it squishes the transients in the recording, these transients are natural and make your recordings sound more organic. If you are unsure about what a transient is, it's basically a spike at the beginning of the waveform, so when you play a note right at the start of the note is the transient, it's the initial attack on the waveform. If you aren't sure about attack either, look into ADSR envelopes.

This question is hard to answer because everybody likes their music sounding different than others, me, I prefer warm organic music, so I try to avoid compression, I suggest you do some research, like the above answer suggested.

  • 2
    Compressors do not always kill transients. If compressor has a higher attack time, it can in practice even do the opposite — the attacks (rapid volume bumps) can get even more pronounced. But it will reduce overall dynamic range, that's true. – Sarge Borsch Jul 3 '15 at 16:43
  • Yes thank you for fine-tuning my comment, muchly appreciated. I never thought to add that in! – Scott Jul 3 '15 at 16:43
  • Another way to apply dynamic range compression with little to no change to the transients (without squishing the transients) is through parallel compression. – Lyd Jul 3 '15 at 16:51

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