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Topic: Today's listening test !

  1. #1

    Today\'s listening test !

    Today\'s listening test!

    There have been quite a few interesting listening challenges presented on this forum recently.
    So I thought that I would contribute in this area.
    Please be brave enough to have a go and respond.

    There are 20 short excerpts from variuos recordings (which I know how were made) in the following file (which is just over 6 MB in size): http://www.btinternet.com/~veridical.sounds/listeningtest1.zip

    In those short excerpts, (that include solo instruments, small groups and orchestras), which instruments are real and which are sampled?
    For the ones you think are real, what microphone technique(s) do you think were used to record them, and approximately how far (in feet) were the microphone(s) from the source(s)?
    The file of mp3s will only be on my site temporarilly, so don\'t leave it too long if you want to try this listening challenge.


  2. #2

    Re: Today\'s listening test !

    I\'ll have a go as usual I think the fake excerpts are pretty obvious so I\'m not going to list those. Most of the excerpts seem to have been miced reasonably far, with A/B mics probably near the conductor or somewhat farther. Some instruments seem to have spot mics (trumpets in particular) The strings drown in some excerpts which backs up my theory of A/B micing (as the brass instruments are stronger in sound by nature, and thus penetrate more)

    I\'m not recording engineer, in fact I have never recorded anything myself (and when I did my first brass samples I was lucky enough to have the professional engineer at disposal)

    Most of these excerpts seem very \"rehearsal roomish\", I recognize the character of the sound from my earlier days in the military band.

    Enlighten us, it\'d be very interesting to hear about the different techniques.


  3. #3

    Re: Today\'s listening test !

    Hi Thomas,

    Many thanks for being the first to respond. I hope others are as brave also.

    I\'m not going to reveal the answers just yet until I get the attempts from at least 7 or a few more different people. So, for others reading this, please have a go. (If you are likely to be embarassed if you get some wrong, just qualify your response with some excuse like you listened to the excerpts on crappy pc speakers).

    Thomas, please list which excerpts you think contain sampled instruments (or pretty obviously \"fake\" as you say).


  4. #4

    Re: Today\'s listening test !

    Wooop I just deleted the files but I recall some harpsichord that sounded a little fake, and the hihat riding excerpt.


  5. #5

    Re: Today\'s listening test !

    Hi Thomas,

    Did you think there were any other sampled instruments, or just the harpsichord and hi-hat excerpts?

    To make things easier for more people to get involved in this listening challenge, let\'s make it more organised:

    Copy and paste the form below, then fill it out.

    Column Key with options:

    Excerpt Number (01 to 20)

    R = All real, S = Includes sampled instrument(s)
    Leave blank if unable to tell whether real or sampled

    C = All close-miked with one or more mono mics
    X = Stereo crossed pair of cardiods
    M = Stereo MS technique
    O = Stereo pair spaced omnis
    D = Decca tree (left, centre, right)
    B = Binaural
    S = Distant stereo mics plus closer mono spot mics
    P = Stereo pair pressure zone mics (PZMs)
    - = Other
    Leave blank if have no idea what micing technique used
    (For sampled instruments, guess how samples were recorded)

    Approx. distance of mics from nearest instrument:
    1 = less than 5 feet away
    2 = between 5 and 10 feet away
    3 = between 10 and 15 feet away
    4 = between 15 and 20 feet away
    5 = between 20 and 30 feet away
    6 = greater than 30 feet away
    For case of close mics augmenting distant, add the letter \'C\' after the distance numeric option (e.g. 4C)
    Leave blank if have no idea what micing distance was used

    Y = Recording includes additional artificial reverb
    Leave blank if you think reverb is totally natural

    Specify which instruments you think are sampled
    Other comments you feel like making

    Ex R/S Mic Dist Verb Comments
    -- --- --- ---- ---- -------------------------------------

    [This message has been edited by nicholash (edited 08-29-2001).]

  6. #6

    Re: Today\'s listening test !

    super test, Nicholas!

  7. #7

    Re: Today\'s listening test !

    Thanks Franz,

    I hope others will find it interesting too.
    It was the \"Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc\" thread that inspired me to do it. It took me about 8 hours to sort through about 100 cassttes and tapes to gather the excerpts, (none of which are from commercial recordings by the way).

    I do hope more people try to contribute their thoughts after listening to the excerpts. I\'m determined not to reveal the answers until I get at least 7 response forms filled in.

    In the comments column of the form, I forgot to add that I would like to know what aspect of a particular excerpt makes them think a sampled instrument(s) is being used (e.g. repetitive sounding attacks, poor legato phrasing, unnatural sounding release, poor reverb, etc...). With some of the recordings where there are natural sounding background noises, might I have mixed it in afterwards to try and make the recording sound more realistic?

    I wonder what people\'s excuses might be for not rising to the challenge? Only humorous answers to this question please...
    For example, Nick Phoenix is probably somewhere in Hawaii or Outer Mongolia in search of Ukeleles to sample.

    Best regards

  8. #8

    Re: Today\'s listening test !


    This test is very interesting. I wish I would have time to do it. It might be too extensive for most people to have time to complete.

    I hope there will be a few answers though - to get a discussion started.


    [This message has been edited by Hans Adamson (edited 08-30-2001).]

  9. #9

    Re: Today\'s listening test !

    Yep, unfortunately the file size is too big to bother with, plus the \"cut and paste\" survey is a good idea, just too extensive for this kind of thread. I suggest a smaller version of the questions, with only 1 musical passage at a time in question. You would probably get more results that way.

  10. #10

    Re: Today\'s listening test !

    Hi Hans and Munsie,

    Thank you very much for your feedback.

    What I have now done is added an abridged version of the listening test on my web site. (The original file is still there also).

    The new file contains shortened versions of the 20 excerpts, and the mp3s are encoded at 192 kbps instead of 256 kbps this time.

    The new file (which is about 2.5 MB in size) is: http://www.btinternet.com/~veridical.sounds/listeningtest1a.zip
    I think, listened end to end, there is under two minutes of material to listen to; less than a lot of the demos linked to from this site !

    Also, I\'m splitting the test into two aspects. The first concerns which excerpts contain sampled instruments. This part was \'inspired\' by the recent \"Another listening exercise\" thread.
    For this part, just respond with a list of those excerpts which you think contain sampled instruments.
    Please specify which particular instrument(s) you think are sampled for those excerpts that contain more than one instrument.
    Also, and here\'s the really interesting bit, specify what you think gives it away that the intrument(s) is/are sampled. Examples include:
    - Sampled intrument doesn\'t blend well with the real ones due to different acoustic perspective used
    - Repetitive similar sounding attacks
    - Static sounding sustain due to looping
    - Poor legato phrasing (convincing legato being hard to achieve with current sampling technology)
    - Unnatural sounding releases
    - Obviously artificial reverb added
    - You recognise the instrument\'s sound from an existing sampled sound library (specify which).

    Note that with some of the recordings where there are natural sounding background noises, might I have mixed it in afterwards to try and make the recording sound more realistic?

    BTW, I put a lot of effort into preparing this test, so I\'m not going to reveal the answers until I get at least ten good response attempts.

    The second aspect of the test is to do with recording techniques. This part was \'inspired\' by the recent \"Orchestral Sampling Manifesto...\" thread. If you have the time/inclination to take part in this section of the test, please use the form provided in an earlier message from this thread. If you want, just include a subset of the excerpts to comment on. For this part, I\'m not going to reveal the answers until I get at least seven reasonable response attempts.

    Again, please try not to feel embarrassed if you get most answers wrong. This is not an easy test. Please, at least, try and get some discussion going !


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