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Poll

Which file's sound do you prefer?

"file 1"
8 (21.6%)
"file 2"
22 (59.5%)
No difference or equal quality
7 (18.9%)

Total Members Voted: 37

Author Topic: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp  (Read 5330 times)

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Offline noahbickart

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2018, 06:40:21 PM »
I look forward to listening and comparing both recordings.  Someone has already expressed my thought regarding what may or may not have been done with the recordings.  EQ?  Normalization? Etc.?  They should both be the same characteristics for a fair comparison.  Personally, I'd like to hear them completely raw, with the only alteration being to edit them to be the same bit/sample.

Nothing was done to either recording except the sample rate conversion and level matching.

I never touch my 24bit filesets anyway.

shouldn't have to :)

I think the 16bit files can be improved for compromised playback systems with judicious use of eq and dynamics processing.
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10
Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> Adcom SLC 505> Marantz Ma500 (x2)> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-400
Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701

Offline fanofjam

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2018, 07:01:02 PM »
I look forward to listening and comparing both recordings.  Someone has already expressed my thought regarding what may or may not have been done with the recordings.  EQ?  Normalization? Etc.?  They should both be the same characteristics for a fair comparison.  Personally, I'd like to hear them completely raw, with the only alteration being to edit them to be the same bit/sample.

Nothing was done to either recording except the sample rate conversion and level matching.

I never touch my 24bit filesets anyway.

shouldn't have to :)

I think the 16bit files can be improved for compromised playback systems with judicious use of eq and dynamics processing.

Noah, I'm curious why you limit this statement to 16bit files.  I find that I can enhance most of my recordings, at least for my playback system and sound preferences.  For example, if I were mastering the 'darker' of these two recordings id add a sloping high end EQ profile and I'm pretty sure it would add some pleasing presence to balance the instruments...and particularly to bring Treys leads a little more forward.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 07:08:07 PM by fanofjam »

Offline noahbickart

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2018, 07:06:25 PM »
I assume people who download the 24bit want pure unadulterated audiophile recordings.

I use those and adjust to taste in my own playback
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10
Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> Adcom SLC 505> Marantz Ma500 (x2)> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-400
Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701

Offline Charlie Miller

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2018, 07:15:50 PM »
My 16’s and 24’s are mastered the same. I have never used EQ on my Phish recordings and never use compression/limiters on anything.
Audio Engineer - Steve Kimock Productions


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Offline nak700s

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2018, 07:28:23 PM »
My 16’s and 24’s are mastered the same. I have never used EQ on my Phish recordings and never use compression/limiters on anything.

Ditto!  They do a fine job with the sound, so all I have to do is make a good recording.
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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2018, 07:31:32 PM »
My 16’s and 24’s are mastered the same. I have never used EQ on my Phish recordings and never use compression/limiters on anything.

same 24 and 16 are identical. although i did use a limiter in post on the loud audience clapping between songs when i mastered my John McLaughlin recently but that was a first as i dont usually "stealth"
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Offline noahbickart

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2018, 08:07:43 PM »
3-5db of gain really helps when there is significant ambient noice from the road or train. And a touch of eq can really compensate for an inferior playback rig.

Look, like most of you nerds I too want full dynamic range and the same frequency response of the show. But I listen, like most of you nerds, on good headphones, monitors, and home speakers.

But sometimes I’m in the car. Or on the subway in NYC on earbuds. Or in someone’s living room and their playback system is a “sound bar.” That’s when the 16bit mastered version on my phone works the best.

I love putting into practice everything I’ve learned about audio, and this includes post processing in a daw. It’s really fun to make the most of your own captures, and modern digital emulations of classic studio equipment are almost as fun to play with as actual audio gear.

I release the best of both worlds:  A DSP 16bit fileset for the masses and my phone and an untouched 24bit fileset for nerds like us on our fancy stereos.

I’m assuming most ts.com members are going to download the 24bit anyway.

For this comp the untouched 24bit files were used.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 08:41:49 PM by noahbickart »
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10
Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> Adcom SLC 505> Marantz Ma500 (x2)> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-400
Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701

Offline Charlie Miller

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2018, 09:19:02 PM »
If someone wants to make changes to suit their playback systems, fine with me, but I'm not making any changes for anyone other than myself. As for official releases, well, I pretty much have the same approach. It's worked so far.

I used to check stuff on car stereos and iPods to make sure they sounded good all around. Getting lazy in my old age :)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 09:35:07 PM by Charlie Miller »
Audio Engineer - Steve Kimock Productions


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Offline Charlie Miller

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2018, 09:46:24 PM »
I don’t think anyone would enjoy my Phish recordings if I EQ’d them to my room. Someone asked me to do that once and I couldn’t understand why.
Audio Engineer - Steve Kimock Productions


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Offline fanofjam

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2018, 10:53:22 PM »
I think I must have a different perspective on mastering of my recordings.  To my way of thinking, this comp proves that some futzing with a file can be warranted. 

Two mostly similar rigs were recording the same ambient sound from the exact same location but they achieved different results.  Most people like one file better than the other.  That implies to me that the file that isn't preferred is worth enhancing in post. 

I'd be willing to bet that I, or anyone else that's got an ear and some DAW skills, could make the less preferred file sound just as good or better than the one that's preferred with some post production. 

I understand keeping the original raw file, but I don't really understand why everyone wouldn't want to re-listen to (and share) the best sounding version possible.

Offline noahbickart

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2018, 11:12:15 PM »
I think I must have a different perspective on mastering of my recordings.  To my way of thinking, this comp proves that some futzing with a file can be warranted. 

Two mostly similar rigs were recording the same ambient sound from the exact same location but they achieved different results.  Most people like one file better than the other.  That implies to me that the file that isn't preferred is worth enhancing in post. 

I'd be willing to bet that I, or anyone else that's got an ear and some DAW skills, could make the less preferred file sound just as good or better than the one that's preferred with some post production. 

I understand keeping the original raw file, but I don't really understand why everyone wouldn't want to re-listen to (and share) the best sounding version possible.

I both agree and disagree (hence my releasing both styles):

On the one hand, I do believe that post production can help. On the other hand, "the best sounding version possible" is always so subjective, and is likely best created in real time for a specific playback environment. (Filedia and audirvana+ for OSX are great for this, for they allow for 64bit AU plugins like one might use with a DAW).

I don’t think anyone would enjoy my Phish recordings if I EQ’d them to my room. Someone asked me to do that once and I couldn’t understand why.

I agree that EQ fixes for specific rooms rarely translate to other playback systems, consider the following: Hypers, like my mk41v are more directional, but roll off in the bass compared to, say, your mk4. So, in an attempt to get the best of both worlds, for the 16bit version, I just try to bring up the mk41v to a "flat". That's not EQing based on my playback room, but based on the microphone's own frequency response, and actually closer to the sound in the room that night.

I'd love for wforwumbo, waltmon, and djphrayz to chime in as well....

« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 11:14:32 PM by noahbickart »
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10
Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> Adcom SLC 505> Marantz Ma500 (x2)> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-400
Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701

Offline fanofjam

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2018, 11:21:31 PM »
On the one hand, I do believe that post production can help. On the other hand, "the best sounding version possible" is always so subjective,

Very good point...in fact my original vote on this poll was that I didn't have a favorite because they sounded different but IMHO either one could subjectively be better depending on whether I'm listening with a preference towards either low end or presence.

Offline twatts (that "Pants" thing is so lame...)

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2018, 12:13:53 AM »
I liked #1 better...  Mike sounded phatter on the bottom...

Both recordings are excellent...

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Offline noahbickart

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2018, 11:57:35 AM »
In case people wanted a clear example of what I was trying to explain above, I'm linking two more versions of Tweezer from 12/30.

These are from the mk41v file sets, the 16bit has been "mastered," with dynamics processing and EQ. The "raw" is untouched.

"mastered" 16bit: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1BwnzBTYcIS3W9DbewGISo-jxiBML0u9L
"raw" 24bit: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QrVXpKy_vkEiikfAW8ZZclAll9aFD3Ft

I'm really curious about what people think of the mastered version.
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Naiant PFA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10
Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> Adcom SLC 505> Marantz Ma500 (x2)> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-400
Office Playback: Grace m903> AKG k701

Offline wforwumbo

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Re: mk22> Sonosax SX-R4 VS. mk22> SD Mixpre6 Comp
« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2018, 01:14:17 PM »
A few things here...

Firstly, the point that sticks out to me, is that this thread is branching into two discussions, and the second discussion is kinda missing the point of the first. The purpose of this poll, is to DIRECTLY a/b the Sonosax SX-R4 and the Sound Devices Mixpre 6, from raw recordings; given how rarely we can isolate JUST this one piece of gear.... And it's not to say one is better than the other, but more so to judge how much of a difference this makes, and hopefully help educate future purchasers of both products. I myself am quite surprised at how different the two recordings sound, and as I upgrade my rig over time (as per my signature right now, the Tascam DR-40 is the obvious weak point at the moment) I will use this guide to help me think about which of these two decks I should consider saving up for, for my own personal tastes and preferences in recording and playback on my system. It seems that many here are judging these two tapes on processing which has not occurred on either tape. Again, I can't stress this enough: on the two files posted in the OP of this thread, there has been NO equalization or dynamics processing on either tape.

For those of you who are really finnicky about whether or not the resampling algorithm affected the sound of one tape over the other, later today I will be manually re-sampling the 96k Sonosax down to 48k with raw low-level C code, literally just removing every other sample and creating in a new file's metadata the 48k sample rate. This induces ZERO distortion to the output file, when downsampling from 96k; if you disagree with that, I point you to Nyquist-Shannon edit: I realized, some of you might be finnicky here; there WILL be distortion to the signal, however it will all occur above 24 kHz, and even still there will be zero phase distortion as no frequency information, for example analyzing a Discrete Fourier Transform, is being added or modified to the signal, just removed. I will manually a-b the two versions of the 96k->48k via XLD and 96k->48k via c code, and if there is a noticeable difference I will re-send Noah a new file to upload. I will also reinforce here that when Noah first received the two files he himself was double-blinded, and only after extensive discussion between the two files did I reveal to him which file was which; this reveal happened for him, after he made this post - which reinforces the standards of double-blinding.

Normalization could arguably have some impact, however like I had stated when I level-matched before normalizing the two files were within 1 dB of one another as it is; as someone who extensively studies both digital audio signal processing and psychoacoustics, I can tell you with confidence that you CANNOT hear a major distinction of 1 dB RMS between two files; the discrimination your brain can perform is minimal (if it were 2.5+ dB, then I'd say we're getting into shaky waters...). I will also re-visit the normalization process later today and check the outputs of the normalized files, to insure they are indeed still level matched to within 1 dB of each other. I imagine that both Noah and Andy normalized their files before publishing, which would make the argument of the impact of me normalizing, moot - given that their normalized data sets pre-level matching were, again, within 1 dB of one another.

Charlie, you make a good point of re-sampling and dithering down to 16/44.1, to totally level the playing field. But I think that at 24/48, the playing field is still normalized, especially if I take the steps above to literally just drop every other sample manually.



NOW... with that being said, there is a second discussion occurring, which is whether or not touching up a tape in post is some form of heresy. I have to say, there are fantastic arguments presented here, from both sides. And why I'm hesitant to chime in, is that it seems the two schools of thought are starting to get a bit heated and defensive over the method that works for them.

I'm going to first begin this discussion by stating my obvious personal belief and bias on this front. I am firmly in the "post is a good thing" camp. I also come from a VERY different school of thought from most of you - my introduction to recording music, comes from working countless hours in a studio tracking, re-tracking, adjusting, re-tracking, adjusting... later/rinse/repeat. Then I'm used to being able to isolate each component of the recording to insure it all gels together - panning, compression, EQ. Then it's all about dressing it up using mixing experience and my own two ears: delay, reverb, etc. Then it's also about creative "mis-use" of effects such as pitch shifting, odd panning, modulation, more delay, more reverb, etc. to get the desired end result as a crafted, sculpted sonic event.

Obviously, we don't have this luxury when taping; it's an entirely different set of variables in the hand we are dealt. And the primary reason why I originally became a taper, was to learn more about how we do things in this world. It's made my own studio recordings infinitely better, as I learn more tips and tricks and intricacies of the entire live taping system. As a studio guy, I've learned LOADS from other tapers that I wouldn't have thought about or tried in the studio, because we as tapers deal with certain specific problems every time we make a tape, and none of those problems are present in the studio. As a result, when I go into the studio now I have infinitely more tools and secret weapons at my disposal, that make me a better producer and mix engineer. Likewise, I think to ignore the body of work and experience that studio guys have, is only harming you in the long run; to ignore what studio guys do day-in and day-out, for a living, is IMO short-sighted. And I don't intend for that to be a harsh attack, but more of a "hmm, maybe you should at least consider what people doing this day-in, day-out have to say about how to make something already great, even better."

Look, I get those of you who say that a good set of microphones should be more than sufficient to properly capture a recording. But many of the recording systems we set up and the tapes we produce, are already inherently flawed and imperfect at the system level. By this same logic, I could argue that the ONLY way to truly and properly capture the experience of being at a show, would be to put binaural mics in your ears, or to get an (unnecessarily expensive and HIGHLY calibrated) binaural manikin and make your recording that way. Likewise, I'd argue that your playback systems are inherently flawed. And so my initial counter-argument, really, is that the entire system is always flawed, based on what approach you take. We can (and frequently) DO take steps to minimize these flaws, and in the long run we can get pretty darned close the more we work together at this.

I imagine many of you who are "no post" purists, hold your opinion partially based on either not-so-great work from others ruining recordings via "re-mastering" or have yourselves been frustrated by trying to play with an EQ, and every time just going back to the original un-EQ'd recording. Both of these are totally valid, and in the long run I'd agree with you that I prefer an untouched tape, warts and all, to a poorly-EQ'd tape. But a properly EQ'd tape? It makes a WORLD of difference. What may be worth my time here, is to perform a similar experiment to what Noah's done here - I will post two tapes: one un-touched, and one where I apply EQ as I would approach it as a studio track, and YOU can decide whether or not you want to forego EQ, not letting me tell you that you SHOULD or SHOULD NOT do it, because as usual people on both sides of this argument should be taking what I have to say with a grain of salt. RULE NUMBER ONE of audio, is to trust your ears. I can't tell you what sounds good or bad, but YOU can tell yourself what sounds good or bad.

Re: mixing to a room... I'll happily yield to that point. To which my counter-argument is, there's a reason I only mix either in HIGHLY HIHGLY HIGHLY controlled environments, or on headphones that I know and trust intimately from working on them for YEARS. My mixing environment right now is a Focusrite Scarlett or Steinberg UR824 (I plan on moving ASAP to a 32-bit/192k conversion system with decent mic pres, but that's another discussion for another time), through either two or five Genelec 8030As with a Genelec 7030B sub, customizing the crossover network, in a HIGHLY treated room that's basically totally flat, with every wall and the ceiling coated with Owens-Corning 703 and with bass traps in the corners. What I am hearing, is basically the raw monitors, set up carefully to insure maximum linearity of my system and to insure the room I'm working with has no combing. I think that's a slightly different argument than mixing to, say, my bedroom with my two B&W DM302s and highly reflective (if not diffuse - brick and old ornamented wood) room. The former, I say hell yes let me mix in there because I have both controlled for the benefits of and understood the limitations of, that specific mixing environment. The latter, I say yeah you're gonna have an insanely tough time and it's best to leave the tape untouched at that point in time.

At the end of the day, we all have the same goal: to as closely as possible capture the magic happening on stage, and re-produce that magic as closely as possible for both ourselves and for the community at large. It's a massive (and often un-thanked) service we provide to the live music community, and we suffer through all of the hardships and technical difficulties of producing a good tape (for which, I've found, the biggest threat is rando intoxicated dude/dudette that wants to yell and cause trouble and harm to our otherwise mostly peaceful section); because at the end of the day, once we hit the play button after the show, it's all worth it.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 03:03:04 PM by wforwumbo »
2x Schoeps mk21 (matched pair) -> nbob KCY -> Naiant PFA -> Sound Devices Mixpre 6

 

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