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Author Topic: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?  (Read 12889 times)

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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #75 on: December 23, 2014, 04:44:16 PM »
Right, thanks for posting the link, and perhaps I should have phrased that a bit differently. I realize Harpex is capable of a multitude of output formats.  I haven't used it myself yet, but it is cool stuff.  However, regardless of it's methodology and quality, it converts the input to a different output format.  In doing that it is an excellent example of 'decoupling' the recording format from the playback format.  The only exception I can think of would be when Harpex is set to output a 1st order ambisonic B-format file, from a B-format input, in which case it is acting as a form of processing, but isn't translating between different formats.

That 'decoupling' of recording and playback is not just something I think is interesting and useful, but is in my opinion vitally important for the advancement of surround sound if it to become more relevant, easier to use and more widely adopted.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 04:45:59 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #76 on: November 19, 2015, 08:24:05 PM »
I've been scheming for years about building a portable surround playback system which I can load into a car and take to a friends back yard, or a remote campsite back in the woods, maybe at a music festival where I'm recording.  Good enough to give people a first hand experience of what this is all about in person, outside of my own home.  A live-music surround road show of sorts; a first go at a portable musical teleportation time-machine playback system. 

The trick is making it good enough, yet portable enough, and not too much of a pain to setup and break down.

I getting closer, recently receiving a Coleman brand hexagonal pop up canopy - basically similar a standard 10' square pop-up canopy, but with six legs instead of four.  I plan to run speaker wiring though the collapsible frame, and install quick mounting points so I can pop-it-open, attach small outdoor patio speakers to each leg, and plug the wiring loom into a Panasonic class-D home theater receiver with 6-channel analog inputs, fed from the 6-channel analog output of a DR-680, and powered either by a long orange AC extension cord or an inverter and deep-cycle battery.   The hexagonal pop-up canopy will the speaker arrangement correct and easily repeatable, make the speaker wiring manageable, and will can provide some shelter - An immersive sound pagoda.

Any suggestions on appropriate small outdoor speakers?  They need to be weather-resistant, and relatively small and light as I'll need to pack 6 of them.  Thinking these may work, price is reasonable, but know nothing of the company- http://www.outdoorspeakerdepot.com/aphifioupapa.html

It may make sense to use very small speakers, and forget trying to get any bass extension from them, and just plan on filling the bottom with a subwoofer or two crossed high enough.  May need the subs anyway.  I'm thinking the tiny "bending-mode-radiator" Cambridge Audio Minx speakers could work quite nicely- very small, and they reportedly sound very good, but are way too costly and have a paper diaphragm.   An old Cambridge portable 2-channel sub/satellite system (ran off 12VDC, speakers and amp stowed inside the suitcase sub) which a friend brought to our campsite to review to my recordings made during a festival was part inspiration for this.

Maybe a plastic housed car sub for weather resistance, perhaps something like the Infinity Basslink?- http://www.harmanaudio.com/refurbished-speakers/BASSLINK+REFURB.html

Or maybe I'll need to build my own sub(s), perhaps housed in a hard-plastic Pelican-Case like briefcase or something similar.  Ideally the speakers could store inside them, say three or four suitcases total- one or two as subs, one for storing the HT amp and inverter, possibly a fourth for storing the remaining speakers.  Obviously this wouldn't be super compact, but three or four suitcases and the folded canopy in it's zippered bag would fit in the back seat of a car.

Thinking out loud here, and open to ideas and suggestions.

I can even imagine eventually doubling the speaker count to twelve for direct ambisonic playback with height- two speakers on each leg, forming an upper and lower hexagonal ring, with one at ground level, the other up at top canopy top level.  I have Tetramic recordings to feed it!
« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 08:27:21 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline cybergaloot

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #77 on: November 20, 2015, 09:59:54 AM »
Hmmm ... I grabbed two sets of Cambridge Audio computer speakers with subs that were being thrown out at work. They have just been stored away but may have to drag them out an give them a try. The L-R speakers are cubes very similar to the ones you talked about.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #78 on: November 20, 2015, 10:25:15 AM »
Lee,
kindms gave me an older set like these newer models many years ago and they worked great until the electronics gave out.
https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/products/speakers/minx-min-12-22
 
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #79 on: November 20, 2015, 11:31:08 AM »
^ Those are the ones.  Haven't actually heard them myself.  You liked them?  Decent enough output level despite there size? 

If I can scrounge up six of those used at a decent price I'm thinking they may be ideal.  Certainly perfect size-wise.  However the cheapest I can find them new is $120 each ($199 list) and I need something at about half that cost, which is probably more in line with what these should cost new anyway.  The sub(s) needs to take over below about 120 to 150Hz with these.

The old portable CA sub/satellite system that friend brought along a few times used small traditional 2-way sats, somewhat bigger than these.  Sounded decent, and played loud enough with the sub.  The little sub was the weakest link there.

I'll be curious what you think of those CA computer speakers once you give them a listen, Walter, and if they are the Minx BMR style flat radiators or traditional two ways with a cone and dome tweeter.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #80 on: November 20, 2015, 11:50:35 AM »
^^^
I did like the ones I had, but I feel they were more like the ones cybergaloot is speaking of, as they were the very old style white cubes with subwoofer. There were 4 cubes with one sub in that package.
I agree that the cost you mention seems too high. should be able to find some CA surrounds for less.
music IS love

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Offline cybergaloot

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #81 on: November 20, 2015, 12:05:48 PM »
The ones I have are old, at least ten years but the brand name rang a bell and I liked the little white cubes so I saved them from the dumpster. It's amazing what a university throws out sometimes. I'm in the midst of reworking my home audio workstation and can give these an A/B test easily enough once I get my new Mackie Big Knob monitor control wired in. It's looking to be a long Thanksgiving weekend project.
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Walter

Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. Will Rogers


MICS: Line Audio CM3, CA-11 (O & C), CA-14 (C), CAFS, Studio Project C4 (O,C, HC), Studio Project LSD2, ADK-tl, ADK-A6, ADK-5.1, MXL 603S, JM-27s, Sennheiser e600 Drum Pack, Avantone Drum Mic kit, Shure MX393S
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Offline boltman

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #82 on: November 20, 2015, 02:48:50 PM »
Why not Optimus 7 Pro AV?  Cheap, tank build, modifiable, plentiful.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #83 on: November 20, 2015, 04:53:15 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into these too.
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Offline cosmickc

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #84 on: January 15, 2016, 04:24:43 PM »
I didn't read every post here so excuse me if this was already mentioned.  I've been live recording for 20+ years and I always thought the holy grail of live taping would be surround sound and high bit rate recordings?  When SACD and DVD-Audio hit the market I ran right out and got a player and some discs.  That was like 15 years ago?  Now the format is dead or almost dead.  I figured that artists  and the industry would totally embrace multi-channel sound?  I was wrong.  Everything went the other direction, lossy MP3.  I get a chuckle out of remembering how I predicted that MP3 would fail.  Boy I was wrong.  So was the industry.  The idea that overly compressed shitty sounding audio would dominate the industry didn't make any sense to me.  DVD blew VHS away.  I thought for sure high resolution, multi-channel audio would replace conventional stereo?  We all know how that has turned out.  As far as concert recording goes?  It's interesting.  It's more interesting when someone, in post, mixes a microphone recording with a soundboard and that gets mixed to multi-channel DVD-audio disc.  I remember fooling around with that.  In the end it just ends up being too much work for a slightly more interesting recording.  I personally feel that 5.1 or 7.2 is much better suited to movies and some concert movies.

As far as high bit rate recordings go?  I've done a few.  My hearing has been tested.  I've got better than average hearing.  I'm completely unimpressed with it.  I went back to 44/16.  It's just not worth the extra large file size for a live microphone recording of a loud rock concert.  However!  I do feel that both multi-channel and high bit rate are important tools in the studio and I could definitely see doing multi-channel surround of a live classical concert where the audience is dead silent except between songs.  That would probably sound amazing.

One last thing.  I'm sure many of us have 5.1 or 7.2 surround sound receiver/amplifiers?  If I playback a 2 track stereo recording that I've made?  I can play it back in 5.1 or 7.2 using different surround fields.  That's fun to mess around with every so often.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #85 on: January 18, 2016, 05:07:17 PM »
As far as concert recording goes?  It's interesting.  It's more interesting when someone, in post, mixes a microphone recording with a soundboard and that gets mixed to multi-channel DVD-audio disc.  I remember fooling around with that.  In the end it just ends up being too much work for a slightly more interesting recording.  I personally feel that 5.1 or 7.2 is much better suited to movies and some concert movies.

In my experience, the surround playback listening experience is far more interesting and worthwhile when the recording setup has been specifically designed and arranged for the pickup and playback of music in surround rather than "2-channel stereo plus other stuff".  Just like when used in combination with a 2-channel stereo AUD recording, a soundboard recording in combination with the surround microphone array can improve up-front clarity by contributing valuable direct sound.  Yet with the inclusion of the SBD or not, the basic foundation of the recording is the design of the microphone array, and that's even more important for worthwhile surround recording of music than with 2-channel stereo, because a large portion of the improvement provided by "surround sound" is creation of a realistic and convincing immersive ambience surrounding the listeners, real enough sounding to allow them to suspend disbelief and at least aurally believe they are "there". 

Sure, something of a surround ambience can be "faked" in various ways with varying degrees of success, one example being what some tapers were doing a decade back or so by putting the SBD in the Front Left/Right channels and an AUD in the Surround Left/Right channels.  But as you mention, that's only slightly more interesting than straight 2-channel stereo, and I personally don't find it very convincing when I listen to them.  Of all the recordings like that I've heard, (usually either DVD-A or DTS CD encoded) I haven't found any of them which are especially convincing or engaging.  I don't find that very surprising since none of those recordings were recorded with appropriate microphone arrays designed for recording surround sound information.  They're all either the combination of two separate 2-channel stereo recordings, or of a SBD and and a 2-channel stereo recording.

Recording (and playback) of surround sound for use with video or film is actually easier than recording for audio only playback.  The visual image dominates the experience and in essence "tells the ears what to expect".  The listener is far less critical of the spatial qualities of the sound itself.  Try turning off the TV and only listening to the audio portion of the surround concert films to see which ones still hold up and which fall flat without the visual crutch.  Many if not most of them get away with mutlitrack mixes and "stereo plus other stuff" tricks.  Very few of them use appropriate microphone arrays designed specifically for multi-channel surround recording, which provide an extension of all the appropriate psycho-acoustic cues we expect from an excellent 2-channel stereo recording.

Although it's harder to do, it's not impossible.  As I'm sure I've said earlier in this thread, I still believe it's one of the last areas where tapers can still do better than many professional producers.  That's partly because I know how good it can be, and because most professional producers are using safe, reliable methods which are "good enough" to satisfy their customers, and good enough for video, even if it isn't really producing satisfying surround audio only listening significantly better than 2-channel stereo.  And partly because an appropriate surround recording microphone array in an appropriate place in the audience capable of translating the "you are there in the heart of it live music listening experience" is vulnerable to the yahoos, superfans, and drunken idiots surrounding it.   Professional producers can't afford to take those risks.  We can.  And along with those risk comes the potential rewards.  Its not appropriate everywhere live music is made and recorded, and it doesn't always pan-out, but sometimes the situation is right and it pays off in spades.

Conversely I don't find much value in high bit-rates.  I'm not saying they are worthless or a bad idea, only that the sound-stage solidity provided by The addition of the center channel (in combination with appropriate microphone technique) and the spatial envelopment provided by the surround channels (again, in combination with appropriate microphone technique) provide far greater, very real returns.  It's very easy for anyone to hear the improvement, but only when recorded and reproduced properly.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Why Aren't Tapers Recording for Surround Sound?
« Reply #86 on: January 18, 2016, 05:34:29 PM »
One last thing.  I'm sure many of us have 5.1 or 7.2 surround sound receiver/amplifiers?  If I playback a 2 track stereo recording that I've made?  I can play it back in 5.1 or 7.2 using different surround fields.  That's fun to mess around with every so often.

Some of those surround routines which "add ambience" can do wonders for a straight, dry SBD.  And some of the matrix surround modes (which do not "add ambience" but only distribute what's already there across the available playback channels) can work well to extend a good 2-channel stereo recording which already contains sufficient balanced ambience to surround playback. That's not always the case though.  Exceptional 2-channel stereo recordings are often better played back through 2-channels, properly setup.  I typically prefer the DTS NEO6 music matrix to the Dolby PL2X music matrix for that, but both require some tuning of the parameters for best result.   

That gets to a frequent test I use to determine if my surround recording efforts of live music are actually worthwhile to me or not- critical comparison of my best effort 2-channel stereo down-mix to the discrete multi-channel version.  The discrete multichannel version must be supperioir to both direct, un-molested 2-channel playback of the stereo version, as well as playback through those DTS and DOLBY matrix up-mix surround modes.  In this case can "stack the deck" by using some mixing tricks so that playback through the matrix usually beats straight stereo playback because I'm mixing down from the discrete multi-channel surround material and can do things like route the audience info to the surrounds in ways which work better than sending a typical "purist stereo" recording through the same matricies, but unless the discrete surround playback is significantly better than the matrix surround playback of the 2-channel mix, I might as well just record in surround, but mix-down to 2-channel and listen through the matrix.  That would be a lot easier and would playback everywhere.  Unfortunately it's never as good, as convincing or as "tele-transportative" as the discrete multi-channel playback.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
made easy- >>Improved PAS table<< | made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

 

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