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Author Topic: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way  (Read 21995 times)

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stevetoney

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2013, 10:26:24 AM »
^ By his responses, I think the OP of this thread is saying that the Click Removal tool is more effective at minimizing the claps than the Hard Limit tool.  That said, I haven't use the Click Removal tool for claps, I can only speak to how I use the Hard Limit tool, which I've found can be quite efffective in situations where the level of the clap is alot higher than the level of the music.

OK, so the times that I've found hard limiting to be effective is when the clapper is close to the mics and, when looking at the sound signature in your software, you see distinctive spikes where the clap happens.  If the level of the clapping does not cause a level spike, in other words the clap level is the same or lower than the level of the music, then the hard limit tool won't help at all.

What you want to do then is determine what are the peak levels of the music and set the limiter so that it cuts off the levels of the clapping so that they're attenuated to about the same level as the music.  This won't do anything to eliminate the clapping, but at least it will make the clapping less annoying since the levels won't be so loud on the master recording.

So, if the music is peaking around -10db and the claps peak above that, then set the limiter for sounds louder than...maybe -9.5db. 

Now, you can normalize levels on the entire recording and the level of the claps will only be a half db louder than the level of the music, whereas before hard limiting the claps might have been 10db or more louder.  I don't like to set the limiter lower than that, because then you're also going to attenuate the peak levels of the music.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 10:34:02 AM by tonedeaf »

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2013, 11:48:05 AM »
^ By his responses, I think the OP of this thread is saying that the Click Removal tool is more effective at minimizing the claps than the Hard Limit tool.  That said, I haven't use the Click Removal tool for claps, I can only speak to how I use the Hard Limit tool, which I've found can be quite efffective in situations where the level of the clap is alot higher than the level of the music.

OK, so the times that I've found hard limiting to be effective is when the clapper is close to the mics and, when looking at the sound signature in your software, you see distinctive spikes where the clap happens.  If the level of the clapping does not cause a level spike, in other words the clap level is the same or lower than the level of the music, then the hard limit tool won't help at all.

What you want to do then is determine what are the peak levels of the music and set the limiter so that it cuts off the levels of the clapping so that they're attenuated to about the same level as the music.  This won't do anything to eliminate the clapping, but at least it will make the clapping less annoying since the levels won't be so loud on the master recording.

So, if the music is peaking around -10db and the claps peak above that, then set the limiter for sounds louder than...maybe -9.5db. 

Now, you can normalize levels on the entire recording and the level of the claps will only be a half db louder than the level of the music, whereas before hard limiting the claps might have been 10db or more louder.  I don't like to set the limiter lower than that, because then you're also going to attenuate the peak levels of the music.

For example, claps are at -6.0 db and the music is at -16 db.  So how would one set limiter? 
I always try to make sure the music at any one point is louder than any claps.  so when i normalize the entire recording it will normalize to the music and not the clap

Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2013, 12:17:04 PM »
I've found applying limiting or compression to only the applause sections -- rather than the file in its entirety -- works quite well.  There's often a quiet(er) musical moment at the end of songs, but before applause...and after applause, but before the start of songs.  This allows me to compress the applause down to the level of the music at the time the applause starts, which is often -- but not always -- lower than much of the rest of the music.  $0.02

For example, you might have a file with applause peaking at -3 dB, music peaking at -9 dB, but the music immediately before and after a section of applause only peaks at -15 dB.  In this case, apply compression / limiting to the applause section only, knocking it down to -15 dB.  Whereas if you apply compression / limiting to the entire file, the lowest you could knock down the applause would be -9 dB.
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stevetoney

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2013, 01:14:32 PM »
^ Thats what I do too.  Sometimes you can get some funky looking waveforms, because if people clap for a long time you'll get a blocky looking section to your waveform that looks kinda out of place when you zoom out, but who cares about that. 

In fact, now that you mention this point Brian, I have used the combo of both the Hard Limit and the 'zoom in on each clap' method.  For applause at the end of the song, I do what you suggest, but if there are some isolated instances where one or two people get goofy during a song, I'll zoom in on the clap and adjust it manually so that the music is left unaffected.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 01:43:33 PM by tonedeaf »

stevetoney

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2013, 01:37:54 PM »
For example, claps are at -6.0 db and the music is at -16 db.  So how would one set limiter? 
I always try to make sure the music at any one point is louder than any claps.  so when i normalize the entire recording it will normalize to the music and not the clap

I only use Audition v1.5, so here are the steps/clicks I use...

> Effects
> Amplitude
> Hard Limiting

The last click brings up a 'Hard Limiting' menu.  Using the examples you've described above, here are the settings I would choose in the 'Hard Limiting' menu (the underlined section is what I enter)...

Limit Max Amplitude To  -15.5 db
Boost Input By 0 db
Lookahead Time 7 ms
Release Time 100 ms

Clearnly the most important number is the first one.  By picking -15.5db above, Audition will only choose the sounds that exceed -15.5db level.  That means your music is left untouched. 

To be honest, I'm not sure if the other numbers I've shown are the best settings or not.  0, 7, and 100 are what I always enter as defaults. 

For example, I've always chosen 0db for the second item mainly because I don't understand it.  Clearly, you don't want to enter a positive number here if you want to minimize clapping, but in writing this response, it occurs to me that perhaps entering a negative number would be good.  In the help section of Audition, this is the description of that function...

Boost Input By
Preamplifies audio before you limit it, so you can make a selection louder and ensure that no clipping occurs (similar to what is commonly done with the audio on TV commercials).

My best suggestion would be to enter different numbers and see what is the effect on your sample then pick whichever works the best.

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2013, 02:02:36 PM »
So if one is to " select portion of recording needing clap removal" then what do i do?
do I set hard limit?
do I use click removal for clapping?

anyone suggest steps - I know we all may use different software, for example I use PEAK with some plug ins. But instinctively they most use the same or close to the same steps they just might call the process a different name.
so after selecting section of recording that needs to decrease clapping--what would be the next steps?
would I use hard limiter first?  then some sort of click removal?  then envelop?  of course I dont know how to use the envelop at all.
also how do you know what to set hard limit at?  and how actually does one do it?

thanks


Great, how do you actually select a "hard limit" for clapping?  What kind of db cut do you use? I use PEAK but i do have adobe audition I just never had used it.
I have been using the pencil tool in PEAK to individually lower clapping, in the attempts to lower clapping in order to have the " highest db of the recording being music and not clapping, so that when normalizing it will normalize to the sound of music and not an applause.
any help will be appreciated
i have been editing some acoustic shows and most have extended clapping after songs that are of a higher db level than any other "music " part.

Maybe others know this already, but I just discovered a way to easily reduce the level of close-to-rig clapping without much impact to the surrounding music, making normalization easier and/or the clapping less obtrusive.

snip

Previously I would manually attenuate the applause between songs and/or edit the loudest claps individually, and then normalize.  This accomplished the goal of raising the overall music level, but my edits were always very obvious and unnatural sounding.  Today I was reading up on click/pop removal for vinyl transfer, and thought it might apply to this situation.  The results were dramatically more natural sounding, and this process takes a fraction of the time.   This would have saved me hours editing this year's concerts.  :facepalm:

I tried this first in Izotope RX2, then again in Audacity.  No suprise that RX2 gave me superior sounding results but you can similar results in Audacity also.  Here's my process for both programs:


I had been doing this in audacity but to get all the claps down to music levels the declick settings I had to use ended up making the applause sound have a pumping effect.  After I switched to Adobe Audition I found I got better results by selecting the applause area and applying a hard limit to the section with a db cut which brought the loud claps down but left the rest untouched.  This resulted in an easy way to do the same thing and a superior sounding (at least to me) result.

Hopefully this adds another tip to your post-processing bag of tricks   :D

If you look at the waveforms in your editing software, the clapping sections are distinctive.  High narrow peaks - usually louder than the surrounding music or other recording.  It can take a bit of trial and error, but I usually start with the hard limit at or below the peak level level of surrounding program.  This way the loud claps are attenuated but the rest of the applause sounds pretty natural.  I find this takes me much less time than highlighting and adjusting each clap individually and I've often got claps that all don't respond to the same click removal settings.  If the overall applause is still too loud, the envelope tool is your friend.

I zoom in almost all of the way I can, and highlight each clap. Then I just reduce the gain of that clap by around -6db ;) 8)
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cashandkerouac

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2013, 02:29:57 PM »
the sound of loud, sharp clapping close to a microphone is one of the most annoying and unmusical sounds i can think of.   >:(   

i use Adobe Audition 5.5 and deal with each clap individually via the "Auto Heal" function.  you have to zoom in to highlight only the duration of a single clap (nothing more) and treat each one individually.  it is extremely tedious and time consuming, but the results are amazing and very natural sounding if you do it right.  normal claps close to the mic pretty much disappear; loud claps close to the mic do not disappear, but they are significantly attenuated and are made to sound like they are much farther away from the mic than they really are. 

caution: if you try the Auto Heal function in Audition, do not attempt to group claps together or you will be very disappointed with the results. 

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2013, 09:47:24 AM »
For some reason BIAS PEAK does not allow you to ZOOM all the way in on a single clap -select it and by "highlight area" and use limiter or decrease gain  or any other compression other than the PENCIL tool.

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2013, 08:55:39 PM »
For some reason BIAS PEAK does not allow you to ZOOM all the way in on a single clap -select it and by "highlight area" and use limiter or decrease gain  or any other compression other than the PENCIL tool.

Yes it does - you click the wheel and then scroll it to zoom in/out.  Or you use the +/- icons on the toolbar.  The included compressor/limiter plugin for Peak is called Sqweez.  Never used Peak so I can't help you further but here's the manual:
http://bias-inc.com/downloads/documentation/

Or try one of these methods (Limiting / Compression / Click Removal) in Audacity.  I just tried Audacity's Hard Limiter and it's very simple but effective.  You only need to adjust the first setting (dB limit) which is what other programs would call "threshold".  Set it just above the highest musical peak in the section that has clapping (as Tonedeaf suggests -15.5 dB for your example). 
http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/Hard_Limiter
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 09:17:02 PM by voltronic »
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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2013, 09:41:51 PM »
^ By his responses, I think the OP of this thread is saying that the Click Removal tool is more effective at minimizing the claps than the Hard Limit tool.  That said, I haven't use the Click Removal tool for claps, I can only speak to how I use the Hard Limit tool, which I've found can be quite efffective in situations where the level of the clap is alot higher than the level of the music.

I don't know that Click Removal is more effective; I just wanted to share this method because I hadn't seen it used for this before and saved me a lot of time.

Something I just discovered though: If you zoom in to the sample level, you will see that a Hard Limiter clips the waveform at your threshold setting (at least it does in Audacity) whereas Click Removal as I'm using it lowers the level of the clap without clipping.  It may seem obvious that a hard limiter operates this way, but maybe less obvious that click removal does not.  On clapping I don't think it matters but thought it was worth mentioning. 
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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2013, 10:07:31 PM »
I try to nip it in the bud, in real-time.......with a bit of fart spray.  They can clap as loud as they want to, if we can get 'em 8 feet away.... 8) :sick: :sick:
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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2013, 10:51:21 PM »
^  LOL.  I have a taper dream that involves me owning a venue that books bands that everybody wants to see so much that they'd put on muzzles and mittens upon entering the venue.  I like the mitten method of clap attenuation.

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2013, 01:49:29 AM »
In Audition I use a set of compression presets that have different "top end" limit slopes with null impact up to a top limit and compress downward towards 0dB.  Fool around with different combinations of "the hook" and see what works best in any given situation.   

Attachments are typical.  Attack/Release settings are default I think.

This works, for me, better than across the board hard limiting as it does keep some of the variability of the peaks of the original clap pattern in tact as opposed to "butter sticking" the entire passage to a max level.  It's all 'bout bein' natchil IMO. :clapping:
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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2013, 07:33:51 AM »
In Audition I use a set of compression presets that have different "top end" limit slopes with null impact up to a top limit and compress downward towards 0dB.  Fool around with different combinations of "the hook" and see what works best in any given situation.   

Attachments are typical.  Attack/Release settings are default I think.

This works, for me, better than across the board hard limiting as it does keep some of the variability of the peaks of the original clap pattern in tact as opposed to "butter sticking" the entire passage to a max level.  It's all 'bout bein' natchil IMO. :clapping:

I appreciate your comment, but really don't understand it without playing around with the dynamic processing tool, which I've never done because I don't understand it (hows that for a circular sentence?).  That said, if you're isolating individual claps and using one of 7 or 8 presets to keep it natchil, why not just zoom in and use the manual method? 

This question isn't a challenge, I'm just curious and trying to learn from your comment. 

Also, since the first two paragraphs of your response really lost me but I'd LOVE to learn how to use this tool, if you have the time to explain a little more basically, I'd appreciate it.  I don't understand what you mean when you say 'null impact' 'compress downwards towards 0 db' and 'attachments are typical'.  But really, the more basic question is how does one use this particular tool and where is it useful (besides clap attenuation).  Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 07:48:04 AM by tonedeaf »

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Re: Attenuating clapping in live recordings - the easy way
« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2013, 10:19:59 AM »
If you look at the waveforms in your editing software, the clapping sections are distinctive.  High narrow peaks - usually louder than the surrounding music or other recording.  It can take a bit of trial and error, but I usually start with the hard limit at or below the peak level level of surrounding program.  This way the loud claps are attenuated but the rest of the applause sounds pretty natural.  I find this takes me much less time than highlighting and adjusting each clap individually and I've often got claps that all don't respond to the same click removal settings.  If the overall applause is still too loud, the envelope tool is your friend.

This is why I use a limiter in general; once I figured out the loudest part I want to remain untouched, I shave off everything above that. I like that for clapping for two reasons; they don't have much sustain energy and part of what I find so offensive with them is the transient more so than the sound.

Your results will be based off of two things; you're ability to figure out that break-even point where you're not adversely harming the content you want to keep and second, the quality of your limiter plugin (they aren't all equal... Some can dig deeper without noticeable sonic impairment).

IMHO, noise reduction is never going to be the best choice for something like clapping because a noise reduction algorithm it's looking for steady-state noise to cancel (ex. HVAC drone, hiss, etc.) as opposed to intermittent random noise like clapping, etc.  That said, I've never been satisfied with Audacity's noise reduction - it always has given me the phasey "underwater" sound you experienced, or it sucked out percussive transients from the music.  BUT - the noise reduction in iZotope RX quite frankly is spectacular.  It really is able to cancel the background noise without harming the actual music, at least to my ears.  This is no help for claps or stand hits though.

I concur with all of this.

100ms is a long release for a hard limiter, especially on applause.  I'd try 1ms or less.

Good digital limiters are lookahead such that they effectively have no attack time--the attack will be applied in advance of the peak.

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