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Offline Twenty8

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Matrixing questions
« on: February 22, 2023, 11:02:36 PM »
6 channel matrix: cards, subcards, and soundboard (channels 1-6 into MixPre 6ii)

1.  What do some of you value highest in the mix?  I am leaning 55% sbd and 45% mics (35% cards/10% subcards therein).  I have seen other posts a while back talking about leaning more on mics over sbd (the opposite of how I have this mix so far).  Thoughts?  Reasoning?

2.  Trying to solve the time delay issue in Reaper.  When I think I have this sucker all lined up, I feel like I have the soundboard ~0:00.38 seconds behind the mics from when I hit record on the MixPre6ii.  Is this roughly what you have seen: board is slightly delayed due to distance parameters?
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Offline heathen

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2023, 11:48:33 PM »
6 channel matrix: cards, subcards, and soundboard (channels 1-6 into MixPre 6ii)

1.  What do some of you value highest in the mix?  I am leaning 55% sbd and 45% mics (35% cards/10% subcards therein).  I have seen other posts a while back talking about leaning more on mics over sbd (the opposite of how I have this mix so far).  Thoughts?  Reasoning?

Too many variables to give a concrete answer.  Personally I'd start with the mics mix and then bring up the sbd until I reached an overall mix I like.  Maybe that's 30% sbd, maybe it's 70% sbd...no way to know in advance, and it's better to NOT have numbers in mind because that could influence a decision that should be made solely by your ears.  Also you may want to EQ the mics and sbd to complement each other...again that will involve too many variables to make hard-and-fast rules.

Quote
2.  Trying to solve the time delay issue in Reaper.  When I think I have this sucker all lined up, I feel like I have the soundboard ~0:00.38 seconds behind the mics from when I hit record on the MixPre6ii.  Is this roughly what you have seen: board is slightly delayed due to distance parameters?

I would expect them to have a noticeable delay unless your mics are on stage.  Wouldn't the mics be later than the sbd though?  Not that it matters really...just get them lined up in post.
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Offline Twenty8

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2023, 12:36:40 AM »
Quote from: Twenty8
1.  What do some of you value highest in the mix?
Too many variables to give a concrete answer.  Personally I'd start with the mics mix and then bring up the sbd until I reached an overall mix I like. 
That seems like the most common sense answer and I figured this was going to be the case.  Thanks!

2.  Trying to solve the time delay issue in Reaper.  When I think I have this sucker all lined up, I feel like I have the soundboard ~0:00.38 seconds behind the mics from when I hit record on the MixPre6ii.  Is this roughly what you have seen: board is slightly delayed due to distance parameters?

I would expect them to have a noticeable delay unless your mics are on stage.  Wouldn't the mics be later than the sbd though?  Not that it matters really...just get them lined up in post.
Mics were at the soundboard.  Maybe I'll mess around in the morning and flip it so the soundboard leads at 0:00.00 with the mics delayed slightly.  Seemed to get rid of some of the echo when the sbd was placed delayed slightly.  I figured the sound was delayed at my mics so I pulled them in front of the soundboard to even the time difference, but perhaps I have that equation backwards.

Last time I recorded a matrix for this band I had an unusual problem where the soundboard feed was slightly shorter in time than my mics.  I mean... what the hell?  I stretched the board feed.  It was not run to my deck and came from an exFAT thumbdrive.  If I trust anything its my new Mix Pre and not an old, venue soundboard > exFAT.  Very strange.  Glad I don't have that weirdness this time.
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Offline billydee

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2023, 01:24:14 AM »
For most of my matrix recordings I use the soundboard as the basis (assuming it's a relatively even mix), and then layer in the mics up to a point where audience chatter or room sound starts to take away from what I'm trying to end up with. This is especially the case when the mics are at FOH. In the cases with chatty crowds around the FOH mics I might end up with a ratio of 70-80% sbd and 20-30% FOH mics. And some of that also depends on the music volume in the venue.

When my mics are onstage it's a little different, and I'll oftentimes end up with an appx 50% sbd and 50% onstage mics ratio. But then that can vary too, depending on where the mics are placed onstage and other variables, like a boisterous crowd up front.

Regarding the delay problem, I try and take care of that up front, and add delay to the soundboard feed input channels on the recorder. And if the house engineer can measure the delay for me I'll use that, otherwise I'll guestimate it. With my Tascam recorders I can add as much delay as I need, and fine tune in post if necessary. And from what I understand, the MixPre and Zooms are limited there, so you may not have that capability depending on the venue.

No matter what, it's a trial and error process, every venue is unique, and it took me a while to start getting it right. And then of course, it's all up to your ears and your taste.
Good luck and happy matrixing!

Offline boomfizzle

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2023, 08:30:50 AM »
Trying to solve the time delay issue in Reaper.

Assuming both of your sources were recorded on the same recorder, I've found the easiest way to align these in reaper is to create a new 'folder track' and put both sources inside that folder.  Short video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH0ByODyd3o
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2023, 10:17:01 AM »
Too many variables to give a concrete answer.  [snip]..no way to know in advance, and it's better to NOT have numbers in mind because that could influence a decision that should be made solely by your ears.  Also you may want to EQ the mics and sbd to complement each other...again that will involve too many variables to make hard-and-fast rules.

^ This 100%.

Whatever sounds right. Some mixes will benefit from mostly SBD, others mostly AUD, others an even contribution.  And the very best AUDs and SBDs will stand on their own without any need of the other.

If EQing, the approach I like is to get each source (AUD, SBD) sounding best on its own in isolation first (by ear), then determine a good combination of the two (by ear), then just leave it at that.. or go further and fine tune the the resulting combination with master bus EQ, or go deeper still with fine-tuning the EQ of each source and balance between them so as to optimize the "each source best complementing the other" thing. At that point each source is no longer EQ'd to sound best on its own, but getting them to sound as good as possible in isolation first makes usually makes for the best starting point.

Since modern FOH boards and recording chains are now digital and introduce different amount of latency, accurate sync of sources can be somewhat different than a straight time of travel distance calculation from the PA speakers to recording position.  Usually that contribution is small, but can be significant.  Typically the SBD will need delay to sync with the AUD pair, requiring more delay the farther back the recording position is.  The location of the soundboard won't have any effect on this.

The Mixpre and F series Zooms provide 30ms of input delay.  I never use that because I'm going to dial it in more precisely later, but that choice would be different if I were streaming or trying to eliminate as much post processing as possible.

« Last Edit: February 23, 2023, 10:18:51 AM by Gutbucket »
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Offline capnhook

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2023, 10:32:15 AM »


The Mixpre and F series Zooms provide 30ms of input delay.  I never use that because I'm going to dial it in more precisely later, but that choice would be different if I were streaming or trying to eliminate as much post processing as possible.

I think it might be feasible to get past the 30ms delay limit by adding one of these to the input chain, then use the recorder's control for finer steps..


https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1721381-REG/vanco_pa_ads1_audio_delay_synchronizer.html/overview


20-340mS delay in 20mS steps, maybe optimal for our use.  Portable, 5V



« Last Edit: February 23, 2023, 10:34:23 AM by capnhook »
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Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2023, 10:45:15 AM »
go deeper still with fine-tuning the EQ of each source and balance between them so as to optimize the "each source best complementing the other" thing. At that point each source is no longer EQ'd to sound best on its own, but getting them to sound as good as possible in isolation first makes usually makes for the best starting point.

This is my preferred process. I usually find that sources EQ'd to sound best on their own will not make the best sounding matrix. Sources used to complement each other sound better when joined.

If the SBD sounds good (big "if"), I'll usually remove some center and mid/low mid from the AUD and use it mostly to add ambiance. If the SBD sounds like shit, I'm more likely to do the opposite, and just use the board for added definition.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2023, 01:18:53 PM »
Yes agreed.

The recommendation to EQ each first so as to sound good in isolation makes for a good starting point because it serves to correct any obvious problems each individual source may have before going further and complicating things with both sources interacting with each other.  For those doing minimal post work, this is likely to represent the minimal amount of work required beyond simply deciding on whatever mix of raw AUD and raw SBD sounds best.  And doing that will help folks who don't have much experience with this to more clearly hear what is happening when the two sources get mixed without having to sort of "hear around" any  frequency response problems either raw source may have.

However, if EQing at all, the next question becomes how far one wants to take it.  Totally agreed that the most optimal approach is to make a mix that draws from whatever is better supplied by each source, such that one contributes more in some areas than the other and vice versa.  This is a much more complex approach though, takes patience, a good ear, and is something that becomes faster and easier with experience.  Experienced folks might shortcut the process and not fully EQ each separately to the same extent first due to having a combination they've learned works best in mind.

With my own recordings, I most often consider my own microphone array as the primary source and rely on that as much as possible.  With a great recording I might not use any SBD even if I have it available.  More often, using some SBD helps with overall definition as you say, or with specific things such as vocal clarity/presence, sometimes bass depth and tightness, maybe some instrument that was insufficiently represented in the room, or whatever.  In those cases I tend to EQ the SBD to really only contribute significantly in those areas and stay out of the way of the AUD elsewhere.  The following step is then to play around with introducing some cut to the AUD in those regions where the SBD is now contributing more, which may allow for a bit more SBD contribution in those places than I could otherwise use without it becoming too much, bringing everything back in to good overall balance again.  That part of it becomes a back-and-forth iterative effort of listening and adjusting, to home in on what works best.   In a way its like setting the general overall level balance between AUD and SBD in a more granular way, addressing specific areas of interest that will benefit from more SBD or more AUD than other regions.

May be opposite for other cases where the AUD isn't great but helps provide life (audience) and context (room) to an otherwise overly dry and sterile SBD, or to reinforce stuff that might be loud on-stage and in the room but not loud enough in the SBD.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2023, 01:21:02 PM by Gutbucket »
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Online goodcooker

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2023, 02:35:45 PM »
I'm same as some here - I start with the SBD feed solo and gauge what merits it has on it's own. I tape a lot of loud music so often the feed is mostly vocals, keys and drums since the stage volume is loud if it's a club sized show. If it's kinda balanced I'll add in room mics to add ambiance until it sounds "live".

Sometimes I do the opposite and start with the mic source and add SBD feed to lend clarity to vocals and drum overheads if the room source sounds muddy.

I don't EQ the individual sources before mixing unless there's something very obvious in need of repair. Sometimes I'll add a little compression to the SBD to even it out.

If you have a phase scope plugin for your DAW - use it! It's one of the valuable things included in Wavelab that is sorely lacking in other DAWs. It really helps me get in the ballpark of lining up sources. I use the 1ms per foot rule and go by ear from there. Comb filtering in the bass registers is the most obvious sign of being out of time alignment.
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Offline easy jim

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2023, 01:42:26 AM »
Last time I recorded a matrix for this band I had an unusual problem where the soundboard feed was slightly shorter in time than my mics.  I mean... what the hell?  I stretched the board feed.  It was not run to my deck and came from an exFAT thumbdrive. If I trust anything its my new Mix Pre and not an old, venue soundboard > exFAT. Very strange.  Glad I don't have that weirdness this time.

^ this sounds like drift between two unaligned clocks, not delay, as an additional factor since you did not take a digital feed from the SBD and got the file(s) afterward. When there are separate recorders, the internal digital clocks on them will always be a little bit off at a consistent amount over time unless their clocks are digitally sync'ed together by either sending a digital feed from one to the other (making it the 'master clock') or there being an upstream timecode feed/source acting as the master clock to the downstream recorder(s).  Your logic about which source to use as the master clock in post definitely sounds like the better choice.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2023, 10:39:17 AM »
Lots of clocks.  All ticking at the same nominal rate, yet in the real world, slightly different unless linked.

There are three clocks in the scenario above.  The recorder's, the soundboard's, and the computer's on which the DAW software is running.  Upon transfer and subsequent playback in the DAW, both sources will be played back at the computers rate.  Neither of them will play back at precisely the same rate at which they were recorded on the original devices with their own clocks.  But that difference is small enough that only the relative difference between the two sources is consequential, at least over the course of a long enough recording where the difference becomes apparent.  So we pick one and stretch or shrink the other, slightly altering its playback rate, to match.

We could adjust both, shrinking one and stretching the other to "meet in the middle" but that's twice as much work and doesn't make any significant difference.  Practically, when deciding which to alter, it might be best to choose whatever you deem to be the "secondary source", the one that is contributing less to the end result, thereby eliminating the chance of introducing artifacts into the primary source, but I probably doesn't matter as most routines for stretching/shrinking are essentially audibly transparent these days.

The accuracy of clocks in relatively inexpensive gear has generally improved over time, so this problem tends to be less egregious than it used to be, but the fundamental relationship remains whenever mixing sources of significant length that were recorded using separate clocks.

Interesting side note- If you were to playback the file recorded on the soundboard from the soundboard, while simultaneously playing back the file recorded on the mix-pre from the mix-pre, and were able to sync them up sufficiently at the start, they would stay in sync (close enough for practical purposes) through the length of the entire recording without stretching or shrinking one or the other.  In that case both files are being played back using the same clock with which they were recorded, which mostly negates the differential in clock rate between them.

Real world example- I used to record four channels using two Edirol R09s, each capturing two channels.  In the DAW, the two files sets required initial time alignment of course, but also the stretching/shrinking of one to match the other over the course of a long recording.  But I'd also play the files directly from the recorders themselves, with both playing simultaneously, which required getting the initial alignment correct by ear via short double jabs to the play/pause button of whichever was slightly ahead of the other. That in itself was good ear-training.  But more on point, once aligned in that way, playback from both recorders would remain in sync for the entire length of the recording, because each recorder was playing back at the same rate at which it originally recorded, even though that rate was slightly different for each recorder.  The difference between the two canceled out by each using the same clock for playback that was initially used for recording. 

To really confirm and illustrate this to myself, once after doing that and playing the files in good sync all the way through, I swapped SD cards between the two recorders and tried it again.  Now each recorder was playing back the file that was recorded by the other. This served to aggravate the slight rate difference between the clocks rather than eliminate it.  Sure enough, rather than staying in sync all the way through, the files fell out of sync relatively quickly.  In fact, they did so twice as quickly as when both were transferred to and played back in the DAW, using a common playback clock for both files.
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Offline morst

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2023, 06:00:52 PM »

Gotta do it by ear.

Last time I recorded a matrix for this band I had an unusual problem where the soundboard feed was slightly shorter in time than my mics.  I mean... what the hell?  I stretched the board feed.  It was not run to my deck and came from an exFAT thumbdrive.  If I trust anything its my new Mix Pre and not an old, venue soundboard > exFAT.  Very strange.  Glad I don't have that weirdness this time.


This is not weirdness, this is normal.
"Weird" is that Shane C has two tascam recorders which are so close to each other that he does NOT have to do the stretch/squash move!
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Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2023, 06:39:05 PM »
"Weird" is that Shane C has two tascam recorders which are so close to each other that he does NOT have to do the stretch/squash move!

I have two A10s that do the same. I keep being afraid that this is just a wonderful dream that I'm going to wake up from.

Offline morst

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Re: Matrixing questions
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2023, 11:41:46 PM »
"Weird" is that Shane C has two tascam recorders which are so close to each other that he does NOT have to do the stretch/squash move!

I have two A10s that do the same. I keep being afraid that this is just a wonderful dream that I'm going to wake up from.


 :'( :'( :'( :'(
^ I am weeping tears of joy at the thought ^
I have not dared to dream that dream, but some time in the future, recorders might be time-accurate enough that it just works...
You and Shane get to live in the future now! Enjoy it and thanks very much for all the digital reports from then!


Talking about sync'ing with delay. Do it in post if you possibly can. Use some sound on the stage as a "slate" when you can. A handclap works great if you can get it while both sources are rolling.





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