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Author Topic: It Is Literally All About Position  (Read 1935 times)

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Offline bombdiggity

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It Is Literally All About Position
« on: August 25, 2017, 08:32:43 PM »
So at this evening's show in one of the venues I get to more rarely they had a vocalist.  I'd not recorded a vocalist here and don't have many options on seating so I picked the 7th row to make sure I had the PA (I wanted row four or five).  Otherwise I always go close. 

Since there turned out to be some empty reserved seats I moved up to row three later. 

It is an entirely different show and performance just in 4 rows!  I'm shocked at how radically different it sounds in just four rows.  It actually impacts the perceived quality of the performance. 

I'm a little scared to hear what the recording of the earlier parts sound like.

Live and learn I guess... 

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Online rippleish20

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2017, 09:00:53 PM »

 "It actually impacts the perceived quality of the performance.  "

I have always thought this to be true.
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Offline Datfly

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2017, 01:19:49 AM »
So at this evening's show in one of the venues I get to more rarely they had a vocalist.  I'd not recorded a vocalist here and don't have many options on seating so I picked the 7th row to make sure I had the PA (I wanted row four or five).  Otherwise I always go close. 

Since there turned out to be some empty reserved seats I moved up to row three later. 

It is an entirely different show and performance just in 4 rows!  I'm shocked at how radically different it sounds in just four rows.  It actually impacts the perceived quality of the performance. 

I'm a little scared to hear what the recording of the earlier parts sound like.

Live and learn I guess...

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Offline admkrk

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2017, 03:46:44 AM »
I switched from the TS to my seat during a break once, and could not easily tell the difference in the recording, if at all. Of course that was a completely different situation.

Normally I tape in clubs, which limits setup to tables, or whatever. I usually make my best guess for location if it is a new venue. Even if I have been there before, I usually find some time to walk around and just listen, to find the best spot, assuming I might have an option to change the next time. A lot of times it is not a problem to slide a table a few feet to get in a better position. I have also thought of marking a big X in the spot at venues that did not have tables, Never thought management would go for that to good, so never did, though.

In short, a couple feet, or one row, can make a big difference at the venue. How that translates to your tape might not be as drastic. That is not to say you should not try to get the best spot you can.
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Offline ilduclo

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2017, 09:24:15 AM »
I was at a show where there were a couple of guys my height in front of me, I was running my usual dpa's on my collar. The guys moved away and a friend said later; "what happened to the recording, did you move across the venue?"  I couldn't tell, myself...

Offline bombdiggity

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2017, 12:21:02 PM »
In short, a couple feet, or one row, can make a big difference at the venue. How that translates to your tape might not be as drastic.

I sure hope it wasn't so dramatic.  The recording usually sounds better when it doesn't sound so good at the seat. 

It had a huge impact on how I felt about the show.  It is sort of a room of extremes with a lot of limitations and I don't think their sound system is too great.  It was very clear that different parts of the frequency range were emphasized (or not carrying as well) in different places. 

I do usually try to walk the room and I know there (as most places) you have to be close.  The choices were limited and from my recollection of it the occasional vocal song I'd heard the vocals were weak up there.  Not the case that night though I'd probably not have wanted to be front row for it. 

The type of music and setting may make a difference.  Huge venues that are entirely dependent on PA may be different though there's always a big difference between the expensive seats up close and the back or top of the bowl. 

I don't think the PA there is designed right.  It sounds really off in the back. 

> Quote from datfly Yesterday :

> Interesting, Samples?

Yeah I'll try to pull something together as I have time.  Maybe it won't be the same on tape...  At least I'll hope for that.   
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 12:24:10 PM by bombdiggity »
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Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline Jammin72

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2017, 02:34:23 PM »
Location, location, location.

I like to wander around the floor or venue and find points at where the sound converges to become a cohesive stereo image for the PA.  It not just one spot and at each "row" this can happen at different spots.  You can find it by your ears. 

Of course this doesn't help for assigned seating or designated tapers sections.

The natural bowl at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park is super fun example of this.  Due to the way the sound travels there are nodes in the bowl that aren't center, they're fun to find and cool little secret spots to set up.  You get funny looks, but you can sit in your chair and smile knowing that up on that pole the mics are getting the good stuff.  Man, I miss that place.
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Offline bombdiggity

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2017, 12:31:39 AM »
Location, location, location.

I like to wander around the floor or venue and find points at where the sound converges to become a cohesive stereo image for the PA.  It not just one spot and at each "row" this can happen at different spots.  You can find it by your ears. 

Of course this doesn't help for assigned seating or designated tapers sections.

Yeah it doesn't help until the music starts, which is sort of too late unless there's a set break... 

I do try to walk rooms when I can but some shows and venues you can and some you can't too easily.  It is good to have reference points for the future, though the mix and type of music can still be independent variables. 
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Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline macdaddy

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2017, 12:32:54 PM »
Great points!!!

Thx for starting this thread...
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Offline ilduclo

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2017, 02:15:58 PM »

Offline bombdiggity

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2017, 10:51:18 PM »
LOL.  Get yo mind outta the gutta... 

Though that is about more than position... 
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Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2017, 10:38:26 AM »
100%

I walk the room to asses the sound, move to a preferred spot when available, and those locations vary depending on the program.  The difference is frequently not at all subtle, and it can be quite disheartening to discover few really good locations there are.

It's always interesting to listen for how difference of position at the venue translates to the recording in comparison to how it was experienced live.  So much of our auditory awareness is influenced via synthesis with our other senses, and higher order spatial and social awareness, before we even get to the relatively superficial differences between microphone setups and ears. Sometimes a change in position is more significant on the recording, sometimes less so.  Sometimes I can hear far more detail live, other times I hear details in the recording which I completely missed live.  And sometimes different aspects are emphasized over others from location to location, and the artistic aspect stems from choosing setups and locations which favor my image of what the idealized experience should be - which I feel is a far more involving and enjoyable thing to convey than an attempt at "documenting what it sounded like".  Conveying the true essence of the thing, rather than a lifeless description of it.
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Offline nulldogmas

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2017, 11:57:31 AM »
Sometimes I can hear far more detail live, other times I hear details in the recording which I completely missed live.

Is this mostly because of other sensory cues, do you think, or differences in volume as well? One thing that I increasingly notice the more I do this stuff is that it's important to remember that ears and brains have lousy (though not nonexistent) dynamic compression.

Offline if_then_else

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2017, 11:58:37 AM »
100%

I walk the room to asses the sound, move to a preferred spot when available, and those locations vary depending on the program.  The difference is frequently not at all subtle, and it can be quite disheartening to discover few really good locations there are.

Sometimes, walking the room to assess its acoustics isn't even necessary.
I know a few venues where the best strategy is to observe what the local FOH is doing,.especially if the board is off-center and he's mixing for the room.

Offline Jammin72

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2017, 12:55:29 PM »


Yeah it doesn't help until the music starts, which is sort of too late unless there's a set break... 


While not the real thing rarely is the PA not playing some sort of music before the show starts.  You don't get to figure how the sound of the band is going to play into it surely but it does give you some clues to PA position and the room.


And there are some rooms where... who cares where it sounds the best? I'm just trying to keep my gear out of the way of the local denizens!
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2017, 12:57:46 PM »
Sometimes I can hear far more detail live, other times I hear details in the recording which I completely missed live.

Is this mostly because of other sensory cues, do you think, or differences in volume as well? One thing that I increasingly notice the more I do this stuff is that it's important to remember that ears and brains have lousy (though not nonexistent) dynamic compression.

Both I think.  It's so difficult to truly divorce ourselves of all other sensory input except hearing, even when we feel we are masterful at doing so.  Yet sound level is a huge factor as well.  Being able to adjust playback level afterwards to what sounds most correct is one of the most powerful tools of all after getting timbre and direct/reverberant balance correct sounding.  The difference in dynamics between being there and what is appropriate for playback is also hugely interesting, and commonly over-simplified by so many in discussions - ie: the audiophile common notion that "dynamic compression is always bad", when dynamic manipulation is so obviously beneficial for live music reproduction when managed correctly.
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Offline DSatz

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2017, 10:47:11 PM »
Unless you record in an anechoic chamber, you are recording the room as much as, if not more than, the direct sound. This is why I don't recommend thinking of a stereo pair of microphones as being "aimed at" anything. Rather, they work together to pick up a stereophonic impression of the sound field at their location.
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline admkrk

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2017, 11:36:29 PM »
I like the way you were able to dumb that down, and still make sense. I was thinking about this and even if you find the perfect spot, it does not mean that your mics will hear the same thing you do when you raise them a couple feet over your head.
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Offline nulldogmas

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2017, 07:58:02 AM »
The difference in dynamics between being there and what is appropriate for playback is also hugely interesting, and commonly over-simplified by so many in discussions - ie: the audiophile common notion that "dynamic compression is always bad", when dynamic manipulation is so obviously beneficial for live music reproduction when managed correctly.

Yeah, I'll stop using dynamic compression the minute I do all my music playback on a wall of speakers blasting 110 dB from 50 feet away from me.

Offline kindms

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2017, 03:56:41 PM »
Walking the box.

I used to see FOH guys do it all the time. Not so much these days or Im just not noticing it as much. even a few feet can have dramatic effects depending on the room.
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Online heathen

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2017, 05:24:53 PM »
The difference in dynamics between being there and what is appropriate for playback is also hugely interesting, and commonly over-simplified by so many in discussions - ie: the audiophile common notion that "dynamic compression is always bad", when dynamic manipulation is so obviously beneficial for live music reproduction when managed correctly.
There's the rub for someone like me who knows virtually nothing about how and when to use compression.  Because of my own ignorance I don't know how to manage it correctly, so I end up avoiding it altogether in my post-processing.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: It Is Literally All About Position
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2017, 06:28:03 PM »
^ Wise. Do no harm.  Same goes for EQ - when in doubt, better not to.

It's the "compression is always bad" argument which may be well intended in response to the dynamics devastation wrought by the loudness wars, but is counterproductive in such oversimplification.  Folks just don't listen at the same level as the performance in their home or in the car wearing ear-plugs like they do at a big amplified concert.  Hardly any are actually capable of reproduction at the original SPL.  If they realize it or not, everyone is doing dynamics manipulation by simply adjusting the volume knob.

So much of dynamics is related to recording position- It's easy to set recording levels with minimal headroom back in the section, where everything through the PA is compressed and limited.  Compare that to the headroom required recording on-stage near the drum kit.  Even more so with a close-mic'd kit.


This!-

Quote from: D Satz
Unless you record in an anechoic chamber, you are recording the room as much as, if not more than, the direct sound. This is why I don't recommend thinking of a stereo pair of microphones as being "aimed at" anything. Rather, they work together to pick up a stereophonic impression of the sound field at their location.
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