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Topic: Acoustics Related Question

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  1. #1

    Acoustics Related Question

    Hi,

    This is more of an Acoustics/Audio engineering/Recording Technique type question, but I feel it is an interesting, and important one. It has to do with "Natural Timbre" of an instrument.

    I am curious to know if an instrument recorded/sampled in a very dry space, with close mics (the way VSL goes about it) and then played by applying artificially produced impulse response reverb, will still contain all the "natura timbre"/tonal qualities that would have been present if the same instrument was recorded in a more acoustically live space, such as concert, or chamber hall with various mic positions (the way EWQLSO goes about it) ?

    So, basically, I'm interested in knowing if recording an instrument in a totally dry environment, might not be capturing some of the "natural timbre"/tone characteristic components, that the instrument will naturally project, if it was recorded in a more lively space, thus, when it is later played with an impulse response reverb, the missing "natural timbre" components that were not amplified by the hall, when it was recorded, will also not be present, meaning, they will not be recreated (since they don't exist) when an impulse response reverb is added to the instrument later on.

    Any thoughts, or feedback on this topic ?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Acoustics Related Question

    Someone posted a link to this site recently:

    http://www.regonaudio.com/Records%20and%20Reality.html

    REG is saying that close micing doesn't reproduce the sound heard in a real concert hall. But for us dry samples are much more useful most of the time as it gives us the flexibility to choose the reverb space at the end.
    Vista / Sonar Home Studio 6 / GPO 2d edition / Melodyne Uno 1.8

  3. #3

    Re: Acoustics Related Question

    Quote Originally Posted by diligamus
    Someone posted a link to this site recently:

    http://www.regonaudio.com/Records%20and%20Reality.html

    REG is saying that close micing doesn't reproduce the sound heard in a real concert hall. But for us dry samples are much more useful most of the time as it gives us the flexibility to choose the reverb space at the end.
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I'm still not sure if I got a clear answer to my question. I might have not been very clear in what I'm trying to find out.

    So, let me put it in a slightly different manner.

    Let's say you have a solo instrument like a violin, recording a violinist playing a phrase using a close mic, in a "non-reverberant" space will produce a certain sonic quality "Timbre" of that violin performance.

    Now, if we close mic the same instrument, and violinist, playing the same phrase, in a small sized chamber hall , with rich, warm acoustics, i.e. wood, or marble floors, high ceiling,..etc.(not a large concert hall), that same violin performance will have a richer, more pleasing timbre to the ear, due to the natural interaction between the instrument's projected sound and the echoed back sound reflected from surfaces of the chamber hall.

    When we apply impulse response type reverb of that same chamber hall, to the dry recording of the violin phrase, does the resulting sound "equal" the one we recorded in the actual chamber hall using the close mic ? or is there a degree of loss to the timbre qualities that artificially applied Impulse Response reverbs will not be able to "restore" once it has been lost ?

    Hence, the loss of some of the rich, and important, timbre qualities that that were orginally present, when the violin was recorded in the chamber hall.

    Basically, I'm trying to figure out how honest is the IR type reverb, when applied to a dry sound ? (which was recorded in a non-reverberant space) in revealing, and/or "restoring the timbre qualities" that were missing in the first place, due to the dry (non-reverbrant hall) using a close mic.

  4. #4

    Re: Acoustics Related Question

    Thanks Stephen,

    I understand your point, you are saying that it boils down to the quality of the IR used, provided that the dry sound has the "Full Spectrum" present/recorded.

    Yes, that makes sense, but making sure the "Full Spectrum" of the dry sound is present (at the recording phase), and making sure that a very high-quality IR is used to simulate the space needed, can be quite challenging.

    Hence, getting a realistic full sounding, and rich natural timbre from a closely miced instrument in a dry acoustical space, then adding IR reverb to simulate an acoustical space, is not a simple task, and I'm sure the results can vary quite a bit.

    Thanks.

  5. #5

    Re: Acoustics Related Question

    Quote Originally Posted by muziksculp
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I'm still not sure if I got a clear answer to my question. I might have not been very clear in what I'm trying to find out.

    So, let me put it in a slightly different manner.

    Let's say you have a solo instrument like a violin, recording a violinist playing a phrase using a close mic, in a "non-reverberant" space will produce a certain sonic quality "Timbre" of that violin performance.

    Now, if we close mic the same instrument, and violinist, playing the same phrase, in a small sized chamber hall , with rich, warm acoustics, i.e. wood, or marble floors, high ceiling,..etc.(not a large concert hall), that same violin performance will have a richer, more pleasing timbre to the ear, due to the natural interaction between the instrument's projected sound and the echoed back sound reflected from surfaces of the chamber hall.

    When we apply impulse response type reverb of that same chamber hall, to the dry recording of the violin phrase, does the resulting sound "equal" the one we recorded in the actual chamber hall using the close mic ? or is there a degree of loss to the timbre qualities that artificially applied Impulse Response reverbs will not be able to "restore" once it has been lost ?

    Hence, the loss of some of the rich, and important, timbre qualities that that were orginally present, when the violin was recorded in the chamber hall.

    Basically, I'm trying to figure out how honest is the IR type reverb, when applied to a dry sound ? (which was recorded in a non-reverberant space) in revealing, and/or "restoring the timbre qualities" that were missing in the first place, due to the dry (non-reverbrant hall) using a close mic.
    I think Impulse responses work well with instruments that have a smooth tone, and don't require the bodies of the instrument to vibrate and resonate. Hence, when it comes to strings, the tonal qualities are hardest to reproduce and I do not believe impulse responses can bring out that tone. What I think goes missing when adding the impulse to a dry string(s) signal is the room excites the violin body(s) thus interacting with each other and producing more rich textures than would otherwise be produced. So then, the way I see it, Strings and a hall or Strings and a room become one large instrument, IMO.

  6. #6

    Re: Acoustics Related Question

    Hi RickD,

    Your point is exactly what I feel is the problem with IR reverbs applied to dry instrument/s that have a rich, and complex timbre, such as strings, reed, and brass.

    The problem with IR reverb applied to a dry sound, is that it DOES NOT, and CAN NOT recreate the (natural tone/timbre) of the violin, or Oboe, since that (Tone/Timbre) was missing when the instrument was recorded in a dry acoustical space, using a close mic.

    So, that magical timbre element that gives the violin or English Horn its beautiful sound characteristic, will not be recreated by just adding an IR reverb.

    This is IMHO the reason why I do not hear that natural (Tone/Timbre) in many of the VSL samples, especially the "Strings" both solo and section, and some of the "reed" instruments such as the "Oboe" and "English Horn". They seem to lack that natural tone, which CAN NOT be restored using an IR type reverb, regardless of the quality of the IR used. (The IR CAN NOT recreate the rich timbre qualities that were missing in the dry recording).

    The proof is in many of the VSL demos I hear, users are applying quality IR reverbs, but to my ears, the natural/rich intrument timbre is still missing from the resulting sound.

  7. #7

    Re: Acoustics Related Question

    Hi muziksculp,

    I used to play a string bass in an orchestra, and I remember how in certain buildings and rooms the bass would either almost disappear sounding thin and horrible or it would just become a beast in my hands, producing a magnificent sound literally jumping out of the bass. It was quite an experience seeing how it reacted in different spaces.

  8. #8

    Re: Acoustics Related Question

    Yes, the spacial interaction with the instrument is a very important factor !

    Playing string bass in an orchestra must have been a very rewarding, and quite a sonic adventure for you, and I'm sure you have gained quite a bit of insight on how your bass can sound great in the right space.

    I studied violin for a few years, but did not continue, I still have a nice sounding violin, (18th century, German, made in Mittenwald). The date on the label says (1713) but I could not confirm its authenticity. It might be worth a lot more than I paid for it. I will try to appraise one day !

    Going back to the timbre issue, strings seem to get quite a new personality depending on the space they play in, and the difference is huge. If I was to record my violin in a dry space, (My project studio for example, which has carpeting), and then add IR reverb to it, it just sounds like it has more reverb on it, the rich timbre is NOT there ! If on the other hand I was to play in my apartment's bathroom which has better acoustics due to the ceramic tiles on part of the walls. The Violin sounds so much better, as if it is another instrument, the timber/tone components are so much richer, and present.

    I find most orchestral libraries that have recorded their instruments in a dry space, have this issue, regardless of mic position.

  9. #9

    Re: Acoustics Related Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince of Music
    I know very little about this, but I have a question. Could some of this be improved by using the process that the Garritan Strad uses? Where the instrument is recorded close and the they actually take IR samples of the instrument itself, which just adds the sound of the body of the instrument and has THEN you add a room IR?

    JUST a question from someone who knows what IR's are but has NO idea how it or complex accoustics work.

    I just know that if you turn off the body IR in the strad it sounds pretty awful, but turn it on and it's great. I think they even included a second IR in the update. Which brings up another idea. Couldn't you use the base samples and run them through a BUNCH of different body impulses. I know you wouldn't get a totally different instrument. But wouldn't it give you alot of variations.

    As I think of that... isn't there a piano library out there now that basically does just what i said?

    Tom
    I really don't know but I'd like to try it sometime.

  10. #10

    Re: Acoustics Related Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince of Music
    Couldn't you use the base samples and run them through a BUNCH of different body impulses. I know you wouldn't get a totally different instrument. But wouldn't it give you alot of variations.As I think of that... isn't there a piano library out there now that basically does just what i said?
    I don't know about Piano libraries, but that is exactly what GigaViolin does - uses the same samples and runs them through different body impulses.

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