March 26th, 2010

Welcome to JazzPianoCafe, a website devoted to the appreciation and study of jazz piano, as well as miscellaneous comments related to music, food, and technology. This website is the creation of Geoff Peters.

  1. GerardV
    September 30th, 2015 at 07:25 | #1

    Hi Geoff

    I’d be enormously grateful if you could weigh in on this.
    I’m experiencing annoying static/distortion whilst recording
    with a quality upright. I’m recording vocals too, both live.
    My kit consists of:
    focusrite scarlett 2i2
    Audio Technica AT2020 Mic,
    RODE NT1-A
    Macbook with GarageBand

    I am getting distortion on both mics on playback, even when
    I turn the gain down on the Scarlett. Have tried different
    positions on the AT2020. No distortion though on the voice.

    I realize I may have to buy more gear, more DAW equipment,
    but I should be able to do this on the laptop from what I read.
    2 or 3 mics for the piano is of course better, which would mean
    I’d have to set aside the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Still the challenge
    is the distortion/static I’m getting from the instrument.

    Can you shed any light on the distortion?
    If I need 3 inputs rather than 2, what pre-amp should I go for?
    Would you have any tips for avoiding the same piano distortion bleeding
    into the vocal (Rode NT1-A) Mic?
    Is there software for vocals/piano that is to be preferred above Garageband?
    Ideally I don’t want to spend a lot of software, as I just need a very clean and
    simple recording, with a bit of mastering-reverb.

    Many thanks, Gerard

  2. Geoff
    September 30th, 2015 at 08:55 | #2

    Hi Gerard,
    The biggest cause I find of distortion, is called “clipping”. That is where the audio signal maxes out and the digital information is lost. Try turning down the gain on the Scarlett to a really low level. You can always increase the gain in the mastering/mixing stage. Try to make the peaks max out at around -12db when recording, to give you enough headroom.


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