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Does increase in mic input gain increase proximity effect
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KevWind
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7th March 2010
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Does increase in mic input gain increase proximity effect

Not being an engineer I thought I'd ask here after extensive searching There is a discussion on another forum and either I am confused or I am being told incorrect data The question arose Will proximity effect and off axis pic up increase, as you increase the input gain to the mic.
I thought that as you increased input gain that the mic would therefore respond with more output and that in turn would have the effect of increasing the prox effect and off axis pic up ???? however at least two people responded with statements like this
"Proximity effect has nothing to do with recording level. It has to do with how close a directional mic, whether cardioid or figure 8, is to the sound source. The amount of proximity effect doesn't change with input level. Neither does the amount of off-axis pick-up. Both of these are inherent characteristics of the mic itself."
Where I thought that as you increase the input gain you would be increasing the amount of " Inherent characteristics " of the mic. and increase how much of that you are going to hear coming from the mic on the recording ?? Yes ? No ?
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The mic pre will will be adding gain in a more or less linear fashion. so the effect of various miking techniques should not really change based on any type of linear gain after the fact.
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KevWind
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Hey thanks Any one else ????
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I would answer that as a no. Proximity in my opinion is all about mic treatment.
Pre gain is level.
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7th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Hey thanks Any one else ????
Is the physics of audio going to be desided by a vote?

YES, side pickup will be increased with the gain increased. BUT the main pickup level is increased exactly the same amount in dB, so the side pickup will NOT be increased relative to the original amount. Just being a smartass here...

How would the mic know what kind of gain setting is going to used behind it and adjust proximity effects and pickup patterns based on things it has no idea about??? It is only a dumb air pressure variation to voltage transducer.
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8th March 2010
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Proximity effect isn't dictated by gain, but rather by (oddly enough) proximity of the sound source to the mic. If changing the gain causes a singer (for example) to back off, then yes. But strictly speaking, no.
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Increasing input won't effect the relationship between source and mic. But everything in the chain will alter one's perception of what they think they are hearing.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
Increasing input won't effect the relationship between source and mic. But everything in the chain will alter one's perception of what they think they are hearing.
Hummm With in that line of thought, I was also wondering about the physical law that since it takes more energy to propagate the lower frequencies, as one increases energy (which I assume is the same as increasing the input gain?) then in ones perception, would not one hear more low Frq. info and thus proximity effect ?? sorry to belabor the point, its just that this is what I seem to be hearing when I increase the gain.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus View Post

How would the mic know what kind of gain setting is going to used behind it and adjust proximity effects and pickup patterns based on things it has no idea about??? It is only a dumb air pressure variation to voltage transducer.
woh man, not cool..... way to speak about mic behind his back.

interesting topic though,

would it make sense to do a test?

perhaps record a vocal or talking, once with high mic input gain, the other with a lot lower. bring the level up on the lower one till it matches the other. listen and see if you notice a difference (problem with this may be that the two takes differ) so, would it be the same if you recorded just one take standardly, mic'd up a speaker, recorded it twice quite closely (with differing mic input gain, and hopefully without listening to what you are recording unless you are keen on some feedback) and then assessed the difference?

i could be totally wrong, and there could be flaws in my plans, just a suggestion.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Hummm With in that line of thought, I was also wondering about the physical law that since it takes more energy to propagate the lower frequencies, as one increases energy (which I assume is the same as increasing the input gain?) then in ones perception, would not one hear more low Frq. info and thus proximity effect ?? sorry to belabor the point, its just that this is what I seem to be hearing when I increase the gain.

Proximity effect - isn't language sometimes wonderful - depends only on proximity.

What you might hear is an effect described by Fletcher-Munson. Your ear's frequency response is not linear relative to gain...
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The answer is absolutely, unequivocally no. Gain just makes the signal from the microphone louder, it won't alter the tone of the signal as the gain is altered (unless you saturate the preamp, or there's something REALLY wrong with your pre).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audio ergo sum View Post

Proximity effect - isn't language sometimes wonderful - depends only on proximity.

What you might hear is an effect described by Fletcher-Munson. Your ear's frequency response is not linear relative to gain...
Ahh OK some light beginning shine , Thanks
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Pretty sad commentary on the "state of the industry" that this thread is in the "High End" forum...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Pretty sad commentary on the "state of the industry" that this thread is in the "High End" forum...
Is it ? maybe so then again maybe not Feel free to move it if it's a bother .
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karp47 View Post
would it make sense to do a test?
it's on my list of things to test, but there are a couple of things ahead of it.
the order is:

1. putting a small video camera inside my refrigerator to see if the light stays on when I close the door.
2. Setting up a recording device in the middle of a forest, so that if a tree falls, well you know...
3. Then the above test to see if the mic "knows" how much gain is being applied downstream and adjusts its proximity effect accordingly.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus
Is the physics of audio going to be desided by a vote?
first we have to vote on voting:

all in favor of the physics of audio being decided by a vote, say "Aye"
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
it's on my list of things to test, but there are a couple of things ahead of it.
the order is:

1. putting a small video camera inside my refrigerator to see if the light stays on when I close the door.
2. Setting up a recording device in the middle of a forest, so that if a tree falls, well you know...
3. Then the above test to see if the mic "knows" how much gain is being applied downstream and adjusts its proximity effect accordingly.





first we have to vote on voting:

all in favor of the physics of audio being decided by a vote say "Aye"
I yie yie OK how about we rename the thread
The physics The Equal Loudness Contour Curves - low Frq. and it's relationship to the perception of the results of proximity effect and psychoacoustics .... A bit long but perhaps more accurate in terms of the initial inquiry
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At least he's bothering to ask the question.

Hopefully, he's somebody who refers to himself as a hobbyist and not a recording engineer, though. I don't mind a hobbyist not knowing these things.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Pretty sad commentary on the "state of the industry" that this thread is in the "High End" forum...
True that.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjblair View Post
At least he's bothering to ask the question.

Hopefully, he's somebody who refers to himself as a hobbyist and not a recording engineer, though. I don't mind a hobbyist not knowing these things.
Thanks, and the answer to the "Hopefully" part is actually, the first four words In my OP
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So it seems that in strict technical terms then NO is the answer . But in terms of how it's perceived by the human ear , the answer seems a bit more complex. Thanks All . Kevin
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Yep, thats what I'd think.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
So it seems that in strict technical terms then NO is the answer . But in terms of how it's perceived by the human ear , the answer seems a bit more complex. Thanks All . Kevin
In strict technical terms, and in any other possible terms, including perceptual terms, the answer remains NO. There's nothing complex about the situation or the answer. The only thing that might be complex is your current inability to properly grasp and sort out the situation. I'm not saying that to knock you (we're all here to learn), but to focus your mind on this:

You are confusing preamp gain with monitoring level.

All musical and non-musical sounds change according to the Fletcher-Munson curves, when perceived by humans at differing monitoring levels. This has absolutely nothing to do with the sound source, proximity, the mic, the mic cable, the preamp, the AD converter, or anything else other than the monitoring level. It doesn't matter if the sound in question is a vocal recording, the sound of a flight of geese, the sound of a refrigerator humming, the sound of Aja, or the sound of one hand clapping; they will all change according to the Fletcher-Munson curves with changes in the monitoring level. Or more accurately, our perception of them will change as the monitoring level changes.

To put it another way, you could turn up the preamp and notice an apparent difference in the proximity effect. However, you could leave the preamp gain exactly where it was, and turn up the input trim on the next device in your chain instead, or you could leave that as it was and simply turn up the monitor level on the amp or controller for your studio monitors or headphones. All three actions would create the same perceptual shift following the Fletcher-Munson curves, because all would be different ways of turning up the monitoring level. And none of them would cause any change in the amount of proximity effect in your recording.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeDeF View Post
In strict technical terms, and in any other possible terms, including perceptual terms, the answer remains NO. There's nothing complex about the situation or the answer. The only thing that might be complex is your current inability to properly grasp and sort out the situation. I'm not saying that to knock you (we're all here to learn), but to focus your mind on this:

You are confusing preamp gain with monitoring level.

All musical and non-musical sounds change according to the Fletcher-Munson curves, when perceived by humans at differing monitoring levels. This has absolutely nothing to do with the sound source, proximity, the mic, the mic cable, the preamp, the AD converter, or anything else other than the monitoring level. It doesn't matter if the sound in question is a vocal recording, the sound of a flight of geese, the sound of a refrigerator humming, the sound of Aja, or the sound of one hand clapping; they will all change according to the Fletcher-Munson curves with changes in the monitoring level. Or more accurately, our perception of them will change as the monitoring level changes.

To put it another way, you could turn up the preamp and notice an apparent difference in the proximity effect. However, you could leave the preamp gain exactly where it was, and turn up the input trim on the next device in your chain instead, or you could leave that as it was and simply turn up the monitor level on the amp or controller for your studio monitors or headphones. All three actions would create the same perceptual shift following the Fletcher-Munson curves, because all would be different ways of turning up the monitoring level. And none of them would cause any change in the amount of proximity effect in your recording.
Al right, hey thanks very much for taking the time to put together that response. Your explanation was exactly the kind that hit home and makes perfect sense to me. I was indeed confusing input gain with the monitoring level. Again Thanks, Kevin.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Pretty sad commentary on the "state of the industry" that this thread is in the "High End" forum...
One way for someone to find something out is to ask the right question.

Asking it to the right person certainly helps.

He came to the right place to ask his question largely due to the fact that it will and has been answered here.

You know the answer to his question but don't give him it. Nothing constructive just a some useless line which serves nobody any good......except perhaps you by getting that warm feeling of smugness and superiority.

The industry won't help itself.........thats a sad state.

Like you say this is a high end forum therefore some high end common courtesy wouldn't go amiss. Dig?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kl5 View Post
One way for someone to find something out is to ask the right question.

Asking it to the right person certainly helps.

He came to the right place to ask his question largely due to the fact that it will and has been answered here.

You know the answer to his question but don't give him it. Nothing constructive just a some useless line which serves nobody any good......except perhaps you by getting that warm feeling of smugness and superiority.

The industry won't help itself.........thats a sad state.

Like you say this is a high end forum therefore some high end common courtesy wouldn't go amiss. Dig?
Did you do a search on Fletcher? The most recent post was 2 years ago.
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