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Author Topic: 702 limiter  (Read 638 times)

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Offline noam

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702 limiter
« on: January 06, 2017, 01:39:07 PM »
Anyone has extensive experience with recording with the 702 (or 7xx series) with the limiter on at high gain? I had bad experience with the limiter on with the SONY PCM D1, and I wonder if the limiter can cause problems like holes in the sound at sudden loud sounds, etc. Is there a scenario of using it (for acoustic music) and ruining the recording? What happens to loud clapping with the limiter on? On the PCM D1 every loud clap punched a hole in the sound.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 702 limiter
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2017, 04:42:08 PM »
Other than knowing that Sound Device's limiters are implemented in the analog input stage rather than after the ADC (a good thing which makes them more transparent) and that they are less problematic than many other implementations, I'm not intimately familiar with the behavior of the limiters in their recorders. 

However, the basic principle remains constant-

Some limiters are implemented in a more transparent way than others, yet all of them squash signal dynamics once the signal crosses the threshold.. which is their intended job.  Limiting while recording is a last-ditch safety measure and should be regarded as such.  I'm not suggesting that limiters on a recorder should not be employed. I am suggesting that if the limiter actually has to do what it is designed to do, that indicates a failure of the recordist to set recording levels appropriately.  If you get away with it without bad sonic repercussions, consider yourself fortunate and set your levels lower the next time.

Yes, some recordings benefit from a reduction of dynamic range.  But trying to do that via bumping up against the "safety limiter" at the recorder's input is not an optimal way of doing that, and I'll dare call relying on that method to do so, lazy.

Record with low enough levels so that you have sufficient headroom to encode all expected auditory events (including applause of course, if expected!), then readjust the signal level afterwards as appropriate.  Unless your levels are so low that the electronic noise-floor of your equipment begins to exceed the ambient acoustic noise-floor of the environment in which the recording was made, there is no drawback to doing so.  If using quality equipment at the level of SD gear, there will be more than enough dynamic range available into which the entire musical signal will fit- from the quietest hiss of the empty room to the loudest impulse of the performance peak or audience applause eruption.   If the finished recording would benefit from a reduction in dynamic range, do that afterwards in such a way that you have control over it and can limit (pun) the negative consequences.

Consider it similar to tracking and fading while making the recording.  It's much easier to do, and do well, afterwards.
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Offline boltman

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Re: 702 limiter
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2017, 02:00:15 AM »
It's worth pointing out that the SD recorders, like their peers, are designed mostly for film dialogue.  Most production sound mixers use limiters.  If the gain structure is set up properly, and the limiter is used as a safety as intended, it is pretty transparent.

Offline noam

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Re: 702 limiter
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 12:54:54 PM »
, it is pretty transparent.

What does it mean transparent?

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 702 limiter
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2017, 02:11:13 PM »
^ isn't audibly obvious as it squashes the dynamics.  A trained ear may still be able to identify it working, but casual listeners will not.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

"Narrow or widely spaced microphone configurations are preferred. It is well-known experience that pure coincidence microphone concepts are not able to produce a satisfying natural spatial impression, due to the lack of adequate interchannel temporal relations (time-of-arrival, phase, correlation)" -Günther Theile
"The mix of the Double M/S signals with a large A/B configuration of omnis results in the spacious sound that is often desired. This option also provides decorrelated low-frequency signals." -Helmut Wittek

Offline boltman

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Re: 702 limiter
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2017, 06:24:36 PM »
As Gutbucket noted above, music tapers rarely use limiters, basically because there is no reason to.  You can find a reasonable recording level that will not introduce hiss by being too low, nor be brickwalled by being too high. 

Film people almost always use limiters, but many would argue that they do not need as high a resolution as music recorders.  On-set or on-location dialogue is usually competing with other sounds that make the ultrafi recording requirements of, let's say an orchestra, quite different.  You may, or may want to, mic your acoustic music source closely, in which case the clapping really won't be an issue. 

Offline voltronic

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Re: 702 limiter
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2017, 09:05:05 PM »
Lots of great advice above.  I'm solidly in the camp of avoiding limiter use for music recording entirely, even if I had access to good analog limiters (which I currently do not).

I'm also an acoustic / classical recording person, and I find that limiters (even good ones) can be audible with music that has wide dynamic swings.  Unless the limiter is very "soft" or you never hit the threshold, you can often hear it working and I find the sound distracting.

In cases where I cannot do a true sound check (more often than not) I much prefer to record a set of duplicate "safety" tracks at a lower level, though I set the main tracks conservatively so it's rare I need to use the safeties.

As far as applause, I won't use my omnis if there is audience nearby the mic stand and/or I have to place farther away from the ensemble.  I set my levels low enough so that the applause does not clip, then I reduce it in post using one of the methods linked below, and finally raise the level of the entire concert.

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Offline dream

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Re: 702 limiter
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2017, 01:30:01 AM »
I have a 744T and I really like the limiters. They are very good with fast transients which would do overshots, like during recording fireworks. Of course limiters are off where levels are predictable, especially in music recording.

 

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