In the Hands
Paul Cantrell’s music
blog & podcast
Piano music old and new from a devoted amateur,
all free to listen to, download, and share.

New! Improved! Lemming-proof!

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a new mastering process.

I spent a great afternoon with Mike Olson in his wonderful studio earlier this week, and I think we finally nailed the source of a rumble in the bass that was bugging me. (Nick noticed it too.)

He also got me to completely redo the reverb, and it’s much more transparent now under his direction — the sound is smooth, you don’t hear my room, unpedaled notes don’t cut short abruptly … but it’s really hard to tell that there’s a reverb there at all. Mike wanted a wetter, more obvious reverb, but he understood the sound I was after and helped me find it. What can I say? He is a professional.

When I arrived home from that session, I suddenly found that a harshness in the attacks in loud passages I’d presumed was just part of the recording was actually isolated right around 3000Hz±100 in the right channel, and fixed that too. There really is no end to this process!

But, for me, there is at least a temporary end right now. I’m thrilled with the sound I have — it’s much better than I’d dreamed it would be when I started down the home recording path about a year ago — and I’m calling good enough good enough!

Here’s a little preview of the sound I’ve got. Once again, this is several brief passages repeated twice, first with the old process, then with the new. Let me know if anything really bugs you on your speakers. I sure wish you could all hear it at CD quality instead of as a warbly MP3 … that’s something I’m working on ….

So now I’ll be remastering all the recordings I’ve made so far, reposting them one by one. I’ll probably just start and the beginning and work chronologically, but if there’s a particular one you want to hear remastered sooner, just ask!


Kendall Helmstetter Gelner

Well, my speakers are nothing to write home about.

Even so, after sitting through the whole piece with my eyes closed really listening carefully I would say the New Sound is “fuller” and “cleaner”. It was easiest to tell on the really short pieces near the end, in fact I think about two seconds back-to back would be about right for really comparing as after even five seconds my sonic memory is just shot and I have trouble really remembering what the sounds was like.

Anyway, I really like it.

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner
Richard Riley

I just found your site today. I am absolutely blown away, it was exactly what I’ve been looking for. Nearly all articles seem to be about drums or guitars. I have been recording piano in a home studio for about 20 years. Until recently, I recorded to dat and had a mastering lab do that part. I now use an m-box hooked to a imac G5 running logic express and pro tools and I am trying to learn the mastering part. Your demos have helped immensley. I record with a Yamaha(not all sound alike) 6’11” pro series disklavier. I will try your mic placements in a few days and see what happens. Your piano and your recordings sound wonderful, even in mp3.

G Millig

What a great site you have! Asking for comments, I have found I can detect a difference, even on my “default” store-speakers. The sound is much cleaner, not so “bass-y” on the re-do versions. Hope that’s the kind of feedback you’re looking for, even though this is a couple years (apparently) after the process. Thanks for a quality listening site!

G Millig