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Author Topic: Wind Noise - recording John Moreland at an Arboretum  (Read 175 times)

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Offline goodcooker

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Wind Noise - recording John Moreland at an Arboretum
« on: November 08, 2022, 11:52:19 AM »

So I have a first for me.

I recorded John Moreland at the Bartlett Arboretum, a botanical garden located in a small south central Kansas town that has an outdoor concert series. There's a permanent stage at the edge of a meadow surrounded by mature trees. (interesting side note - the owners are a married couple - Robin was one of the founding members of the Dixie Chicks who left when she felt they were abandoning their roots and getting too commercial and Ken who won the Kentucky state banjo championship at age 14). You pay your $20 at the door, stroll through the gardens and over a bridge to the meadow where you spread out a blanket and have your picnic lunch and a bottle of wine or whatever. Super chill.

I didn't feel like bringing a stand and just brought my rig in a backpack, poked the mics out of the top and let it roll sitting on the ground with a clear line of sight to the speakers on a stick arrangement they have for small and/or solo artists. The other reason to avoid a stand that day was high wind warnings - that's a lot of wind out here on the prairie. 50 mph gusts throughout the day. I thought having the rig down low would help and it did.

So here's the thing. The Movo WST50 windscreens did an amazing job keeping wind noise off of the mics - Line Audio CM3 > SD MixpreD > 661.
There is, however a considerable amount of sound from the wind in the tree canopy. A LOT. It sounds like static or analog tape generation hiss that comes and goes. It is very distracting to the music which was just John singing and playing an electric guitar.

I'm not sure if I want to even try and take it out since it makes the recording so unique but it's not a great listen if left alone IMO. It's kind of cool since I can close my eyes and think back to watching the bald cypress by the pond and the sycamores around the meadow waving in the wind but to someone else it would just be really distracting.

What do y'all think? I have Isotope RX7 but never really got into the groove using it for restoration. I use mainly Wavelab which has a noise reduction feature and a large suite of Waves plugins but nothing to really address this particular weird problem.
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Offline Gordon

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Re: Wind Noise - recording John Moreland at an Arboretum
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2022, 12:16:13 PM »
For traditional wind noise the later rx versions work great but it's painstaking as you have to do each one manually ;)  Many other tools in rx to help with other issues.  I'm happy to take a stab at it if you're not in a hurry.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Wind Noise - recording John Moreland at an Arboretum
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2022, 02:30:30 PM »
Tough one.  Likely going to be best to leave as a recording that faithfully represents the blowing trees as part of the auditory experience, but "intelligent" noise reduction is getting smarter all the time, so worth a try with a noise-reduction routines that are based on inputting a sample of the noise - a snippet of the recording that contains only the blowing tree noise and as little of everything else as much as possible (music, audience, whatever else).  I suspect that may work better than a noise-reduction routine specific to wind-noise because the profile and spectrum of the tree rustling noise is likely to be quite different from that of wind blowing directly on the microphones.  Still, worth giving that angle a try too.

Best way to minimize this prior to recording is getting a lot closer to the source, so that the source is much louder in comparison to the trees.

Sounds like a sweet venue with musically astute owners.

Not the same scenario, but made me remember a recording I made a few years ago made in a really nice outdoor open-air log shelter up in the Western NC mountains that is fantastic except for the sound of a creek rushing in a gully behind the stage that lays atop the entire recording like a heavy blanket.  Rather than sounding charismatic and bubbly like a babbling brook, it sounds like the charmless loud white noise hiss experienced on an airline flight.  The irony is that in the performance space no one could really tell the creek was even there, visually hidden by shrubbery.  The sound of it was effectively inaudible at head height, but I hoisted the mics up high in front of a big log column to visually minimize my intrusion and minimize pickup of audience chatter, and unfortunately from up there the stream was pretty much in a direct line behind the performer making it very audible.  I plan to revisit this one someday to try and address the noise, as otherwise its a great performance. 
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Online nulldogmas

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Re: Wind Noise - recording John Moreland at an Arboretum
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2022, 05:19:59 PM »
Shooting for reducing the level of the tree noise relative to the music (or enloudening the music relative to the trees) is a reasonable goal here. Even if the trees were a part of the experience, there's no need for them to be that high in the mix, and RX might maybe be able to accomplish that by doing what Gutbucket suggets.

This reminds me that I have a recording of Yo La Tengo from years ago at an outdoor venue when James McNew was out with appendicitis, and they played a super-quiet set that would have been beautiful if 1) I hadn't set up toward the back in anticipation of a loud show and 2) it hadn't been cicada season. Need to go back and see if RX can do anything with that...

Offline if_then_else

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Re: Wind Noise - recording John Moreland at an Arboretum
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2022, 05:18:25 AM »
Shooting for reducing the level of the tree noise relative to the music (or enloudening the music relative to the trees) is a reasonable goal here. Even if the trees were a part of the experience, there's no need for them to be that high in the mix, and RX might maybe be able to accomplish that by doing what Gutbucket suggets.

This reminds me that I have a recording of Yo La Tengo from years ago at an outdoor venue when James McNew was out with appendicitis, and they played a super-quiet set that would have been beautiful if 1) I hadn't set up toward the back in anticipation of a loud show and 2) it hadn't been cicada season. Need to go back and see if RX can do anything with that...

Which reminds me that there are at least two "DeBird" VST plug-ins  (by Boom Library and Acon Digital). No idea if they'd also remove cicadas, though. ;)

 

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