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Author Topic: Loud applause / quiet music (no clapping during music) - ? about amp/workflow  (Read 819 times)

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Offline detroit lightning

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Ok, it's time to seek outside council on this...I've read through the forum, googled, tried everything I know, but need some help...

I often tape at local folk club that is a fantastic sounding room, and regardless if I'm  >:D, running a zoom/mv88, or mics on a stand - the music is generally very quiet, and the applause is very very loud. During the music, you can hear a pin drop. That said, I know I'm not the first to encounter this...

So generally, I try to do the following:
1. Get my levels as high as they can w/o clipping during the applause (which is often 10db+ louder than the music)
2. Lower the applause peaks in audacity w/ soft limiting or compression
3. amplify the entire file

Last night, I recorded with my Berliner CM33 mics in the back (~30' from stage) and had all the same issues, but I played it safe since I'd never run that setup in that room before. So my levels (on the music) are painfully low...peaking at like -25db.

I fucked around with soft limiting the peaks and amplifying, and liked the sound of the music a bit better - but the applause was still much louder. Overall, the music was still a bit quiet when playing through my stereo/ipod.

I also tried amplifying the whole file, then compressing the peaks (10:1, threshold just above the music), then amplifying the whole file again. It's better balanced, but its a bit hissy/noisy from all the gain, and there is some wooshing during the applause that's a bit offputting - on headphones only, really.

I'm close to being happy with both, and frankly just need to do a better job with levels up front (and I find the R26 to be a bit noisy).

BUT - I welcome any tips or recommendations on how to get the most out of the music in post. 

Side question, how many db is too much to add via amplify? I know thats unanswerable, but in general...5? 10? 20?




Offline Gordon

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good tips a few threads down

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=186032.0

I use wavelab but should be similar in audacity.  I do not raise the gain first.  I use the envelope tool to lower applause between tracks.  then raise overall gain.
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Offline detroit lightning

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Thanks...of course I'd miss the post asking the same damn question from 3 days ago :banging head:

I guess I need to get better w/ the envelope feature...

Offline Gordon

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I used to use soft limiting or compression for this but find the envelope (in wavelab anyway) to be much easier and natural sounding.
Neumann ak40 > Nick mod lc3 > Naiant PFA or km140 > Sound Devices MixPre-6

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Offline detroit lightning

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It always struck me as too time consuming, but now that I'm playing with it more...I think I'm on board.

Offline Gutbucket

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[snip]It's better balanced, but its a bit hissy/noisy from all the gain, and there is some wooshing during the applause that's a bit offputting - on headphones only, really.

I'm close to being happy with both, and frankly just need to do a better job with levels up front (and I find the R26 to be a bit noisy).

BUT - I welcome any tips or recommendations on how to get the most out of the music in post. 

Side question, how many db is too much to add via amplify? I know thats unanswerable, but in general...5? 10? 20?

The wooshing is the limiter clamping down and releasing.  Careful tuning of the attack and release settings can help with that. Although it takes more work, I find the volume-envelope method generally works most transparently for me.

The hiss is the noise floor of the recording being raised above the threshold of audibility.  If it is dominated by the noise floor of the environment in which you were recording, or by the self-noise of the microphones you are using, recording at a higher input level would not make any difference with respect to it being audible on the recording after amplification.  You'd either amplify the same noise beforehand or afterwards with the same end result.  However, if the noise floor of the recording is dominated by the noise of the recorder's input stage rather than the venue's noise floor or the microphone self-noise, then increasing input gain on the recorder is likely to reduce it.

It can be difficult to determine what the dominant source of noise actually is.  All too often it is simply assumed that recording with more gain is the answer because amplification afterwards makes the noise audible.  But in many cases that's an overly simplistic assumption, and I find most often the noise floor of the recording is defined by the room noise or HVAC system of the venue.   In that case, recording with higher gain initially would result in the same noise level in the end as a recording which needed its levels raised afterwards.
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Offline Taper Chris

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Offline ilduclo

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  If it is dominated by the noise floor of the environment in which you were recording, or by the self-noise of the microphones you are using, recording at a higher input level would not make any difference with respect to it being audible on the recording after amplification. 

hmm. has not been my experience. If hiss is a problem, recording at 24 bit for post amplification seems to work well for me, and I also recommend getting levels tuned in to not need as much post amplify.

Offline Moke

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Offline Gutbucket

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Sure recording 24 bits helps. I and most folk here will certainly recommend doing so, yet most recorders can only manage maybe 18 bits or so worth of actual dynamic range between their input noise floor and clipping.  Still it's good practice to do so, and can help if the recorder's noise is what is dominating the recording's noise-floor at 16 bits.  The bit in italics is key and one of the things I was trying to getting at in my previous post in an attempt to explain that several different things could be the sources of "hiss".  If you've determined by testing or via multiple outings to the same venue that recording at 16 bits rather than 24 bits leads to a higher noise-floor in your recordings, with all other variables held constant, then great.  But otherwise, how do you know what is actually dominating the noise-floor of your recordings? The point is that simply amplifying afterwards and hearing "hiss" is no indication of the source of that hiss, and IME most tapers will attribute it to the recorder or microphones, when there is actually no indication that is the true source of it.  It's a very common pitfall.

Setting levels so there is less need to amplify afterwards is also good practice, and I certainly recommend doing so.  But it doesn't address the topic of this thread, unless you're intentionally letting the applause clip in order to get the musical segments recorded at a higher level (or engaging the recorder's limiter to limit the applause level).  Since those options are not acceptable to me, I need to raise the level of the music afterwards by the difference between the music level and the applause level if not more.

I frequently use a DR2d at 24 bits which is good (in historical terms) but nothing spectacular with regards to its self-noise-floor and dynamic range.  I've never measured its actual useful range, but even with quiet classical "hear a pin-drop" audiences in halls specifically designed for very low ambient noise (special HVAC systems), the noise floor of my recordings in those spaces are typically dominated by the room's noise.  These places are way quieter than the venues in which most folks on this board are recording.  Depending on the program material, I sometimes need to amplify 20-30dB afterwards, and its no surprise that raises the recorded noise-floor of the of room along with everything else in the recording.  In some of these situations, I've determined that my microphone's self-noise is the dominant contributor to the recording's noise floor, but most of the time, even in these very quiet spaces, the room is dominant.

Here's the thing, most folks will hear "hiss" and assume its from too much gain.  Well, the hiss is not from the gain, the gain is raising the level of hiss that is already there in the recording along with everything else.  And the source of it might not be the recorder.  If it's the microphones themselves or the room, then adding gain afterwards instead of beforehand makes no difference.

It can be difficult to determine what the dominant source of noise actually is.  All too often it is simply assumed that recording with more gain is the answer because amplification afterwards makes the noise audible.  But in many cases that's an overly simplistic assumption, and recording with higher gain initially will result in the same noise level in the end as a recording which has its levels raised afterwards.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 03:03:50 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
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Offline Gutbucket

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Its very easy to deceive oneself about this.  A similar common pitfall is convincing oneself that it sounds better to "run hot".  I've fallen prey to this myself. 
However, after taking the time to actually match RMS levels after amplifying the lower level version, then subjecting myself to a blind-test, I could no longer identify the "recorded hot" version.  They sounded the same.  I was convinced the hotter one was better, yet I learned how easily we deceive ourselves.

Sure in some cases running hot can sound different, most often when some sort of subtle soft-clipping or transformer saturation comes into play.  But that's typically not happening direct into a recorder, or with a clean preamp in a recording setup with proper gain staging.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

Offline rigpimp

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