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Sparingly-used saturation in classical, preferences?
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
if not already selecting specific gear for tracking, i can dial in any amount of saturation during mixing - i do NOT clip converters for this purpose though.
If this is something you do in the context of classical/acoustic production, I'd be curious to hear a brief description of some typical applications where you find this useful... thanks!
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #32
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
Every one of us is "crafting a final product that sounds amazing" and it's a pretty illusion to say that there's any kind of "direct" transmission between what happened in the music hall and what you're going to experience when you hit the playback button.
...

The word for this is "fraud," however uncomfortable the term may be-- so what it takes to get you there... I say go for it!
I'd opine that employing "AutoTune" (changing a substandard/flawed performance) would verge on outright "fraud", while adding/subtracting nuance via EQ, employing a compressor to minimize distortion, or adding a bit of "desirable" saturation distortion has less to do with "changing the performance" than "enhancing the recording of the performance" in a sub-optimal space.

Even mics choice affects the recording, perhaps moreso than simple rumble removal or taking the edge off a klang-y brick-and-glass room. But none of that artificially changes the performance.

One old guy's opinion, of course.

Cheers.

HB
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav ➡️
I'd opine that employing ... adding/subtracting ...none of that artificially changes the performance.
...
Except that there is no performance aside from what you've done. The original thing has vanished, it vibrated out into the air and up in the sky, past everyone who was there to hear it. The performance itself is long gone, that only thing now is the is that you have. (Am I lost in some pseudo-philosophical existential time warp, or something?)

I just think your ability to shape and hone and massage the concert that "happened" into a mesmerizingly engaging series of electronic data points-- it has a certain fidelity to what happened-- but it's also a completely new and different thing.
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
How about 'artifice' or 'silicon enhancement', 'aural viagra'...or something like that ?
All's fair....if the customer likes and buys it
(And more than that... if it is the very musician paying you.... it's really more like 'extortion'!)
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #35
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
Except that there is no performance aside from what you've done. The original thing has vanished, it vibrated out into the air and up in the sky, past everyone who was there to hear it. The performance itself is long gone, that only thing now is the is that you have. (Am I lost in some pseudo-philosophical existential time warp, or something?)

I just think your ability to shape and hone and massage the concert that "happened" into a mesmerizingly engaging series of electronic data points-- it has a certain fidelity to what happened-- but it's also a completely new and different thing.
Well said, and I agree, generally. I guess it's a difference looking for differentiation, between a "facsimile" recording (i.e., as "faithful" as possible to what actually went on in the space, as in a student performance for audition purposes) and a "production" seeking to maximize the "good stuff" and minimize the "not-so-good stuff" (be it the room, or seamless edits from the same player in the same room from rehearsals/"touch-ups"). Both have validity, I'd surmise.

And, yes... I've presented both to clients, with no pangs of conscience.

Cheers, Joel. Always enjoy your participation in these somewhat esoteric bits of discussion.

HB
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavefront ➡️
If this is something you do in the context of classical/acoustic production, I'd be curious to hear a brief description of some typical applications where you find this useful... thanks!
yes and no:

- no in the sense that i don't differentiate between gear in terms of genre (and i'm not getting the point why anyone else would do so)!

- yes in the sense that on some sources, i want to have options in terms of 'character' and therefore either use dual mics, split signals and use different preamps or insert appropriate gear on channels, subgroups or main buses.

to illustrate: i just used different mics and preamps on two very similar sounding steinways but i wanted to give the piano which got played softer an edge; sources could be anything that could profit from subtle amounts of colouration other than eq or anything which sounds somewhat 'boring'; on vocals, i quite often use two (if not three) entirely different signal paths...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 5 days ago at 10:40 PM.. Reason: wording
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #37
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🎧 10 years
My music sits more in the “crossover classical” world, for whatever that’s worth, and I’m a fan of Decapitator or HEDD on the string buss (sometimes even the UAD Culture Vulture). It’s easy to overdo though and probably not appropriate for documentary style recordings.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukehatpadl ➡️
My music sits more in the “crossover classical” world, for whatever that’s worth...
I suppose mine does too, in the sense that whenever I do it, it's for a broadcast or a commercial or some such thing. And it's always recorded in a place that's very much not a church or a hall -- you have to fake that. All I can add to this discussion is that the players generally seem to dig mix bus compression, as long as they don't know you're doing it.
Old 4 days ago
  #39
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I am okay with using limiting to squish a couple peaks down here and there, but the number of peaks we're talking about should be enough to count on one hand. But sometimes you'll find a recording with one or two peaks that are so higher than everything else that bringing them down gives you three or four dB of loudness with no audible effect. That's fine.

Any more than that and I'd appreciate it not being used, please.
--scott
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #40
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I too am okay to use a touch of compression on the peaks as Scott says, and sometimes, a bit of verb.

But "saturation" and "distortion"? I spend my whole working life trying to avoid both of those.

D.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot ➡️
I too am okay to use a touch of compression on the peaks as Scott says, and sometimes, a bit of verb.

But "saturation" and "distortion"? I spend my whole working life trying to avoid both of those.

D.
Clearly I should have used a different term in my thread title. I wanted to pick a general term so as to avoid implying that I was interested in specifically tape or tube emulation, nor in a particular means of adding a small amount of harmonic content to recorded audio, but rather the overall approach of sparingly-used harmonic enhancement, however it may be implemented.
  • Compression "distorts" the "natural" dynamic range of a recording.
  • EQ "distorts" the "natural" frequency balance and phase relationships of a recording.
  • Artificial reverb "distorts" the "natural" reverberation of a recording.

I promise I'll stop beating this dead horse now and consign this thread to the dustbin of forum history, but let the record show that the intention was to discuss something which would not remotely be perceived as "distortion" under the usage scenarios described.

As I am able to go out and increasingly return to normal recordings under normal circumstances, I look forward to further experimentation with this on my own, and I'll be happy to share the results -- although I'll probably take care not to mention that anything is being "distorted". Thanks again to everyone who offered some thoughts and constructive suggestions!
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #42
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
.... as long as they don't know you're doing it.
This is true in just about every case for every single thing.
Old 4 days ago
  #43
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🎧 15 years
I recently worked on a 30-minute oratorio for choir, soloist, and orchestra. The image featured all the treble instruments — sopranos, altos, violins and high woodwinds — on the left side. All the low instruments — tenors, basses, low strings, and brass — were on the right.

This drives me nuts. The entire recording felt lopsided to me, as the ear will never register the right side as feeling as present (and loud) as the left side.

I used the "red silk" transformer saturation on my RND MBP to bring out the presence/upper harmonics of the men's voices, brass, and low strings in the right channel. It worked really well, and with some additional EQ'ing, I was able to get the L-R field to sound and feel balanced. Saturation to the rescue.

Not really a big subscriber to the purist classical aesthetic. I get it, and respect it as such, but the idea that such an approach is always what best serves the composer's intention from an emotional or expressive perspective is arguable. Make it sound awesome; don't blindly follow a dogmatic, prescriptive technique.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #44
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🎧 10 years
*This year's productions of The Nutcracker and The Rite Of Spring will be recorded for DVD release. Therefore they will each be fully green screened productions. All the leaps will be higher, all the pirouettes will be faster and tighter. The slightest knee wobble or mis-step will be correctable, therefore only the prettiest and handsomest dancers will be involved. Fully maximized if not perfect performances will result and will surely be what Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky would have wanted.*

What's the difference?

I wonder how the dancers of the NYC Ballet, ABT, or The Royal Ballet would feel about that?

Why would anyone even care anymore?

Last edited by GearFiddler; 3 days ago at 06:03 PM.. Reason: Ballet name correction
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #45
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And THIS is what makes classical production different than pop music production.

Interestingly the attitude toward reproducing or reconstructing an event rather than an experience is common to the punk music crowd as well as the classical crowd.
--scott
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #46
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by mahler007 ➡️
I recently worked on a 30-minute oratorio for choir, soloist, and orchestra. The image featured all the treble instruments — sopranos, altos, violins and high woodwinds — on the left side. All the low instruments — tenors, basses, low strings, and brass — were on the right.

This drives me nuts. The entire recording felt lopsided to me, as the ear will never register the right side as feeling as present (and loud) as the left side.

I used the "red silk" transformer saturation on my RND MBP to bring out the presence/upper harmonics of the men's voices, brass, and low strings in the right channel. It worked really well, and with some additional EQ'ing, I was able to get the L-R field to sound and feel balanced. Saturation to the rescue.

Not really a big subscriber to the purist classical aesthetic. I get it, and respect it as such, but the idea that such an approach is always what best serves the composer's intention from an emotional or expressive perspective is arguable. Make it sound awesome; don't blindly follow a dogmatic, prescriptive technique.
Ha, ha. I had a brass ensemble recently where instead of the "U" shaped arrangement the conductor insisted on having all the low brass on the right and the trumpets toward the left. The mix was 85% spots and 15% mains, so I made the executive decision to move the bass trombone only clear over to the left. I don't apologize; no one will notice, and it felt right. It sounds almost balanced.

Every once in a while, one must raise the black flag and say, Suck it, purists.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #47
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Remoteness's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I don't care what anyone else says, I'm still with you on this one.
I understand exactly what you are going for, and I'm with you.

I look forward in hearing the results, whether you mention that anything has been "distorted" or not.

In the end, if it sounds good, it is good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavefront ➡️
Clearly I should have used a different term in my thread title. I wanted to pick a general term so as to avoid implying that I was interested in specifically tape or tube emulation, nor in a particular means of adding a small amount of harmonic content to recorded audio, but rather the overall approach of sparingly-used harmonic enhancement, however it may be implemented.
  • Compression "distorts" the "natural" dynamic range of a recording.
  • EQ "distorts" the "natural" frequency balance and phase relationships of a recording.
  • Artificial reverb "distorts" the "natural" reverberation of a recording.

I promise I'll stop beating this dead horse now and consign this thread to the dustbin of forum history, but let the record show that the intention was to discuss something which would not remotely be perceived as "distortion" under the usage scenarios described.

As I am able to go out and increasingly return to normal recordings under normal circumstances, I look forward to further experimentation with this on my own, and I'll be happy to share the results -- although I'll probably take care not to mention that anything is being "distorted". Thanks again to everyone who offered some thoughts and constructive suggestions!
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #48
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
the thing to consider is though how much 'control' one has after a mix left one's mixing room (which is mostly close to zero):

if one has good enough reasons to assume that a mix/master will get heavily manipulated further down the line and if the effects of the manipulations can't get emulated (say by using the very same broadcast processor, by listening on large scale pa system with a heavy bass bump, by listening to downmixes or upmixes, by applying the same data reduction, by listening on crappy earbuds etc.), one better remains very conservative in terms of any eq choices, modulation, distortion, clipping, saturation etc!

another reason is that we are shockingly tolerant to distortion/our ears are pretty bad at detecting distortion, especially in relatively complex mixes.

imo there's more to signal integrity than just to tweak a mix to the point where it sounds good to our ears, especially as some of us have been 'young for a bit longer'...





p.s. an older german term for equalizer is 'Entzerrer' btw which could get translated by 'de-distortion unit'...

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 3 days ago at 02:45 PM.. Reason: wording
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavefront ➡️
Clearly I should have used a different term in my thread title. I wanted to pick a general term so as to avoid implying that I was interested in specifically tape or tube emulation, nor in a particular means of adding a small amount of harmonic content to recorded audio, but rather the overall approach of sparingly-used harmonic enhancement, however it may be implemented.
  • Compression "distorts" the "natural" dynamic range of a recording.
  • EQ "distorts" the "natural" frequency balance and phase relationships of a recording.
  • Artificial reverb "distorts" the "natural" reverberation of a recording.

I promise I'll stop beating this dead horse now and consign this thread to the dustbin of forum history, but let the record show that the intention was to discuss something which would not remotely be perceived as "distortion" under the usage scenarios described.

As I am able to go out and increasingly return to normal recordings under normal circumstances, I look forward to further experimentation with this on my own, and I'll be happy to share the results -- although I'll probably take care not to mention that anything is being "distorted". Thanks again to everyone who offered some thoughts and constructive suggestions!
I just wanted to say that I find this thread very interesting. I really love using saturation in interesting ways. I haven't done any classical recording so I don't have anything to add to this discussion but I just wanted to let you know that I like what you're talking about.
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #50
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What hardware devices and/or plugins are those that appreciate the effect of "saturation" using on your projects?

Can I assume that we are not talking about old-skool analog "saturation"?

D.
Old 3 days ago
  #51
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🎧 5 years
IMO, in most classical setups some of the original instrument harmonics are lost, due to how microphones and preamps work. I see it as a big task to retain these original harmonics, but this is not always possible. In such instances I feel it is more "correct" to bring back some extra harmonics than to accept that my system killed them, leaving me with a leaner sound than originally was there in the room. As acoustic sound engineers we have a task to recreate the impression of live played music in the most believable way, through the limitations of the reproduction systems. A great recording manages to create this feeling of musical beauty like it could have been experienced in real life, even though the reproduction will sound significantly different than being there with your own ears. My tendency is to be as purist as possible, but beyond that anything is allowed to help create the best sense of the original experience of being in the room with the musicians.
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #52
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kludgeaudio ➡️
And THIS is what makes classical production different than pop music production.

Interestingly the attitude toward reproducing or reconstructing an event rather than an experience is common to the punk music crowd as well as the classical crowd.
--scott
Well, it should IMO. From what I've read and heard, coupled with my own experience with being digitally recorded prior to a career ending injury, classical music recording is an edit fest with view equals. I think that's rather sad. When I consider the $ from various angles...it's not hard to get the picture though. Oh well.

But, I don't hail as a purist necessarily. I suppose if it were up to me, pitch correction and time manipulation as it pertains to rhythm would be where I'd certainly draw the line. The Glenn Gould approach doesn't rate very highly with me either.

Classical and Punk. Strange bedfellows indeed!
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearFiddler ➡️
Well, it should IMO. From what I've read and heard, coupled with my own experience with being digitally recorded prior to a career ending injury, classical music recording is an edit fest with view equals. I think that's rather sad. When I consider the $ from various angles...it's not hard to get the picture though. Oh well.

But, I don't hail as a purist necessarily. I suppose if it were up to me, pitch correction and time manipulation as it pertains to rhythm would be where I'd certainly draw the line. The Glenn Gould approach doesn't rate very highly with me either.

Classical and Punk. Strange bedfellows indeed!
What was Gould's approach? Sorry, genuine question.
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #54
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Issadore ➡️
What was Gould's approach? Sorry, genuine question.
He would record bits at a time as a common practice. Something that I encountered as an orchestra player one day as the winds were required to record a chordal passage one chord at a time. Fortunately, being a violinist, I only had to watch... and listen.
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #55
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I think what we have here is a very basic difference based on the recording practices involved.

In classical, at least classical performance, recordist, record mostly with a main pair. There may be some additions; spots, flankers, center M/S, etc.

Jazz and pop (rock, pop vocal, and the like) recordists employ multi-mic'ing, multi mic, close mic'd techniques.

In such a capture, many tweaks can be applied to any particular mic to improve the sound of that track. Compression, EQ, verb, and even "saturation" and "distortion", Applying that to one mic, or a few may make the whole mix-down better, no question.

But if you are working with one mic pair, adding such processing will effect the whole spectrum of the capture. I would not consider adding any processing that would effect the whole entire recording except, like I said, minimal compression to tamp down some out of control timpani strikes or some such thing. Or maybe a bit of reverb to help a dry hall sound a bit better.

So, just as in everything, situation defines solution.

D.
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #56
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🎧 10 years
I wonder how many classical recordists who shun saturation (or other processing) would stitch together a recording from a load of takes and still think they are delivering a pure product?

As it was played? Not really.

Subtle saturation might be helpful. Only one way to find out.
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #57
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy ➡️
I wonder how many classical recordists who shun saturation (or other processing) would stitch together a recording from a load of takes and still think they are delivering a pure product?

As it was played? Not really.

Subtle saturation might be helpful. Only one way to find out.
Reading some interviews form some prominent classical music recordists and they mention having 1,000 different edits in their award winning recordings. And isn't that why they like using Sequoia and Pyramix? Because of the editing and cross fade capabilities for classical music?

Why does the editing get a free pass? If it was a pure 2 or 4 mic stereo recording, it should be one and done; horn section cracking notes, the random wrong entrances of the woodwinds, the children crying, cell phones ringing, house doors banging, and the ushers crackling their candy and food wrappers and all....right?
Old 3 days ago
  #58
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy ➡️
I wonder how many classical recordists who shun saturation (or other processing) would stitch together a recording from a load of takes and still think they are delivering a pure product?

As it was played? Not really.

Subtle saturation might be helpful. Only one way to find out.
There is only one way to find out, yet I don't believe it would happen around these parts.

That being said, subtle (and, we are talking about saturation so precise as to be difficult to analyze) saturation might indeed be helpful like a particular microphone or preamp could be.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler ➡️
Reading some interviews form some prominent classical music recordists and they mention having 1,000 different edits in their award winning recordings. And isn't that why they like using Sequoia and Pyramix? Because of the editing and cross fade capabilities for classical music?

Why does the editing get a free pass? If it was a pure 2 or 4 mic stereo recording, it should be one and done; horn section cracking notes, the random wrong entrances of the woodwinds, the children crying, cell phones ringing, house doors banging, and the ushers crackling their candy and food wrappers and all....right?
Exactly!
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #59
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Whatever kind of record you're making, you do what you have to do. With classical, you have everyone involved at once, so the things you have to do are different. If you can afford to get lots of options, you get them. If you wind up with lots of options, editing takes longer. It's not a pursuit for people who have short attention spans and/or a lack of stamina.
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav ➡️
I'd opine that employing "AutoTune" (changing a substandard/flawed performance) would verge on outright "fraud", while adding/subtracting nuance via EQ, employing a compressor to minimize distortion, or adding a bit of "desirable" saturation distortion has less to do with "changing the performance" than "enhancing the recording of the performance" in a sub-optimal space.
Rembrandt was a "work for hire" guy, and he often got hired by wealthy people to do oil renderings of what they or their spouses wished they actually looked like. We're in that same business, more or less.
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