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Author Topic: Getting accurate sound during post production?  (Read 2895 times)

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Offline abennion

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Getting accurate sound during post production?
« on: May 06, 2014, 12:31:58 AM »
I'm looking for information, examples, on how to get more accurate (neutral?) sound out of my computer while editing. I typically wear headphones, inexpensive Sennheiser HD 280 Pros, connected directly to the computer. For example, I shot this, https://vimeo.com/93798498, last weekend. It sounded okay to me from the computer, but not so great from other sources. Soundcard, headphones, speakers, something in between? There are other problems with that video, but first I need to sort out what I'm hearing from the computer. Thanks for your help. -Alex
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 01:05:20 AM by abennion »

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2014, 07:30:15 AM »
The two biggest things that improved my computer monitoring/playback were an outboard DAC and a good set of cans. A decent DAC/amp for headphones can be had for around $150. The cans are another story...
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2014, 10:09:49 AM »
I'll suggest using a decent set of monitors (speakers) in addition to your headphones.  If you have a stereo, you can start by patching your computer sound output throuth that.  Set it up correctly with the speakers forming a triangle with the listening position, relatively close to it, like no more than about 5 feet away. 

Listen to some similar well recorded music to get a good mental idea of what good sounds like with that system before working on your stuff as a general basis of comparison.  Switch back and listen to that ocassionally to refresh the comparison.

Headphones are great for hearing, identifying and adressing specific details and problems.  Speakers are better for checking and correcting the overall balance of things- the frequency balance, the imaging balance, the reverberant balance.  Get it sounding good on both.  The comparison thing works well with both. 

An outboard DAC is nice, but in my experience not nearly as important as the speakers or headphones themselves, along with a good basis for comparison. 
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Offline anr

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2014, 11:11:55 AM »
Not sure of your budget.  I'm retired and on a pension, so kept it simple with a Muse MU-15 amp and a pair of JBL Control 1 Pro monitors.  I have an old Midiman DIO2496 soundcard, which cost an arm and a leg 15 years ago, but is still among the very best.  You need a PCI slot though. 

I am very pleased with this set up.  Near Field monitors are designed to have a flat response so this setup is absolutely ruthless in its sound.  I find that the reflections off the ceiling give a quite unpleasant resonance, so now habitually run a 137Hz 10dB notch filter (equating approx to 8 foot high ceilings) and that gives me a good sound.   If I come in to some money, I'm keen on upgrading the monitors to, say, Rokits. 





Offline Sloan Simpson

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2014, 12:11:16 PM »
Agreed on monitors over headphones.
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Offline nihilistic0

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2014, 09:30:11 PM »
I would just suggest a headphone amp for your headphones.


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« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 01:27:12 AM by nihilistic0 »
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Offline abennion

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2014, 10:26:13 AM »
Thanks. I'll give new headphones and an amp a try.

Offline Sloan Simpson

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2014, 10:56:42 AM »
I wouldn't buy a headphone amp (or new headphones) until I had studio monitors I was happy with. I occasionally double-check my results with cans but, real speakers all the way for me.
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Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2014, 01:37:43 PM »
This might be helpful.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan07/articles/mixingheadphones.htm

Mixing on headphones has some inherent limitations, but can actually be the least expensive way of mixing if you factor in the cost of good speakers and room treatment.  If you have an acoustically lousy room, the acoustics of the room can throw off your mix.  That is, when you EQ things to sound good in a bad room, then your mix can sound messed up when played in other places on other systems.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2014, 01:50:03 PM »
If you have an acoustically lousy room, the acoustics of the room can throw off your mix.  That is, when you EQ things to sound good in a bad room, then your mix can sound messed up when played in other places on other systems.

Same applies to phones.  This is why it's a good strategy to make occasional comparison with properly mixed and mastered, well balanced, good sounding reference material, regardless of how you are monitoring.  The idea is to try and get your mix to sound as close to the 'known good' reference as possible, rather than as good as you can make it sound in isolation, so you are less likely to compensate for playback system distortions in your mix.  Also good idea to play it back in the car and a few other systems as a double-check if the recording is worth your best effort.
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Offline bryonsos

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2014, 03:37:06 AM »
Best value for money I've spent on this hobby:

http://audioengineusa.com/Store/D1-24-Bit-DAC
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Offline Sloan Simpson

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2014, 11:12:00 AM »
What does a dedicated/nice DAC do for the sound?
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Offline bryonsos

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2014, 02:14:32 PM »
Most computers don't have decent headphone and/or speaker outputs. This device does, and the D/A conversion is good too.

What does a dedicated/nice DAC do for the sound?
Mics: 3 Zigma Chi HA-FX (COL-251, c, h, o-d, o-f) / Avenson STO-2 / Countryman B3s
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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2014, 04:11:08 PM »
What does a dedicated/nice DAC do for the sound?

Most computers don't have decent headphone and/or speaker outputs. This device does, and the D/A conversion is good too.

This is it. You get a lower noise floor and less distortion.
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be." - Jim Williams

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Getting accurate sound during post production?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2014, 04:37:52 PM »
Consider it the inverse of recording.

Everything needs to at least work decently to make a recording.  Beyond that, what are the most important aspects, in what order?  For me it's setup first (admittedly pretty simple if that means positioning headphones correctly on your ears) and transducers second. Everything else follows after that, conversion being one of the  important things in the list of everything else.

EQ can correct playback system response somewhat if used carefully, but is trickier when used for that rather than when applied to correct a recording since it needs the right reference. It's not simply a dial it in by ear thing like EQing a recording might be once the playback response is good.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 12:24:20 PM by Gutbucket »
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
made easy- >>Improved PAS table<< | made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<<

 

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