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Gold Sound Database Project

Recording an instrument



What is "Gold Sound Database Project" ?


Historical background
 

In Digital output mode, our programs need a sound database to be loaded in order to render the instruments that are used in a music piece.

This sound database consists of a digital recording of each possible instrument. Overall sound quality is more or less proportional to sound database file size.
The better quality for a given sound - the more space it takes.

Until now, we had to do a compromise between quality and size. It resulted in three different sound databases :

GMMPBase : very short sound database, low quality (but short enough to be downloaded)

GMWEBase : medium sound database, better quality (can still be downloaded)

GMSEBase : super-extended sound database, even better quality (but short enough to be used by very old computers with low memory resources, and can still be downloaded using hi-speed modems or DSL).

Because computer power, memory and Hard Disk capacity go growing, the limitations for the size of sound databases in 1995 do not apply anymore nowadays.

It becomes now possible to think about a "Gold" database, only oriented to sound quality, without any constraint of size.


The Gold Sound Database
 

More and more people use Melody/Harmony for public performance, or export their pieces in digital format in order to burn a CD, or simply expect the best possible sound quality. Even the current Super-extended database sounds are packed and truncated in order to save space.
It already provides great results, but it could become far better with a new step in sound database quality.
Because of its size, the Gold sound database could only be available on a separate CD-ROM, and we be sold as a separate product, at a price below $50.

But in order to build a very large sound database that includes a wide set of good sounds, we need... good sounds.
In fact we need the material that enables to build an instrument, i.e. well-recorded digital samples of the instrument, playing a single note at different pitches, without any vibrato/tremolo effect or background noise.

The Gold Sound Database project would be a contributive project. If you consider you are able to provide such a material for helping us to build a sound, then you can submit it.
All contributors whose sound(s) finally take part to the Gold Sound Database will receive a free CD-ROM of the next Gold Sound database version.

What do I need to record an instrument ?


You need :

  • a microphone plugged into the "MIC" input of your sound card or your computer. Some computers have a built-in microphone (for example, IMacs) that can also be used. However, quality of such microphones is often very poor.

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  • to ensure recording can be performed on your computer. For example, on Windows, open the recording sound mixer, and enable microphone recording while disabling other input sources.

  •  
  • the system recording level to be well adjusted, by recording a piece of sound with another utility (on Windows, the system recorder)

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  • then, if you are using the Windows version, ensure the right digital input device is selected in "Configuration>Hardware configuration".
Microphone quality is very important. Some instruments can be pre-amplified (some electro-acoustic guitars, synthesizers, ...) You can then connect them directly to your sound cart "line in" socket.
Other instruments own non-amplified integrated microphones (electric guitars, ...). You can connect them directly to the "Mic" input of your sound card.


How to prepare recording ?


Several simple rules must be followed to perform a good recording :

  • Adjust the microphone distance and location.

  • The microphone must be near enough not to require you to play too loud, but must not record directly breath or instrument body vibrations
  • Avoid interference.

  • Move the microphone away from any ambient noise source (for example, computer fan or hard disk noise, air cooler, etc.)
     
  • Avoid feedback.

  • Avoid to output the microphone on loudspeaker while recording. Earphones usage is recommended.
  • Prepare to play homogeneously

  • For all notes you will have to play, you must play the same power and do not change location relatively to the microphone

Which notes to play ?


Contact us, and tell the kind of your instrument, and, if you know them, the lower and higher note your instrument can play (for example : from C, first octave to E, 4th octave)
We will tell you back by e-mail the list of notes to be recorded.


Notes recording


The tutorial below will explain how to record an instrument, and how to send us back the result by e-mail.

Before beginning the actual recording, make a first try, in order to check the input level. According to the kind of graphic you get :
 
Too weak.
This sound is not powered enough.

Possible solutions : 

  • Play louder 
  • increase the MIC input gain
  • Bring the microphone closer to your instrument
Good. 
Signal is strong, and does not reach the upper and lower bounds.

Try to keep the same power and microphone location for all the notes you have to record.

Too loud.
Sound "saturates", i.e. excesses the upper and lower bounds for digital signal.

Possible solutions : 

  • Play softer
  • decrease the MIC input gain
  • Move the microphone away from your instrument

In order to follow the instructions in this tutorial, you need a special music file, that you can get by clicking "Save" button :

Do not hesitate to contact us for any information




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