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Time domain
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Time domain

Im finding it hard to find out information on what exactly is the time domain, and how to manipulate this for mastering purposes, maybe someone could help me out?

For example, i saw a facebook post where someone asked what is the best way to achieve clarity and depth in mastering, and the engineer simply said "sort out the time domain".

Could someone explain to me how an engineer would "sort out the time domain"?

What are some things to consider regarding the time domain while mastering?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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Hippocratic Mastering's Avatar
It mostly sounds like the person on the Facebook group was trying to sound like a mysterious guru.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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Apostolos Siopis's Avatar
 

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Eq
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apostolos Siopis View Post
Eq
yes, but is has to be a musical EQ, with a lot of 3Dness, depth an warmth, otherwise ...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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talking about the time domain in mastering is rubbish - well, when related to speakers, it is a thing but that goes for any playback system at any stage in production...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bojobojo View Post
Im finding it hard to find out information on what exactly is the time domain, and how to manipulate this for mastering purposes, maybe someone could help me out?

For example, i saw a facebook post where someone asked what is the best way to achieve clarity and depth in mastering, and the engineer simply said "sort out the time domain".

Could someone explain to me how an engineer would "sort out the time domain"?

What are some things to consider regarding the time domain while mastering?
Audio is a continuous 2D signal. Basically, time vs amplitude.

A continuous signal can generally be looked at from different perspectives, all containing exactly the same information, but presented differently. This is what engineers mean with time domain vs frequency domain (there are few others in between). It defines the meaning of the x axis:

time domain: x-axis = time (seconds, think audio waveform)

frequency domain: x-axis = frequency (Hz, think frequency analyzer)



The conversion from time domain to frequency domain is the Fourier transform. The other way around uses the inverse Fourier transform. This process is theoretically lossless and fundamental in understanding continuous signals in the first place.

This doesn't just affect presentation (e.g., fancy frequency analyzers). It's also possible to synthesize or process the signal either in time domain or frequency domain. Both perspectives are very different, with some DSP challenges being best solved in the time domain, and others best solved in the frequency domain, and some really nasty ones asking to consider both.

These terms are something for developers and systems engineers, they don't have that much relevance in music production. But understanding the concepts and the central role of the Fourier transform in this context can be helpful.

What you heard about time domain and the mastering context, though, seems to be largely bullsh!t bingo. Forget it, ask Wikipedia instead:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_domain
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frequency_domain

Last edited by FabienTDR; 2 weeks ago at 12:37 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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SmoothTone's Avatar
 

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Statements like 'sort out the time domain' are often more confusing and cryptic than helpful, especially in a mastering context. But I will try and join the dots...

It's possible that the engineer on FB was referring to the complex phase relationships in a mix. Problems here can show up as impacting clarity, depth and fullness.

All music is essentially made up of sine waves cycling at different rates and when combined can mask, reinforce or cancel each other, impacting on the quality of the recording. Add reflections, sample layering, FX and latency issues and you start to see how timing differences between combined signals can create problems. These time domain issues and are best addressed in tracking and mixing.

There is little scope for correcting time domain interferences in mastering, but it is possible to isolate and attenuate interfering frequencies with EQ.

When we EQ, we are manipulating things in both frequency and time domains. It's part of what makes certain EQs sound pleasing and also why linear phase EQs are not necessarily the best choice for problems that may also have a time (phase) component.

That's the best I can explain it based on my current understanding.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Conundra's Avatar
 

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Yeah, I’m calling bull****. Aside from chopping audio and moving it around, the only way to manipulate the time domain on a stereo mix that springs to my mind is the addition of ringing and pre-ringing, and delaying low frequencies with phase shift.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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thanks for the nice answers

So, making changes to the time domain is basically a side effect of EQ due to phase shifting?
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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I think he meant static vs non static processing.

Last edited by XKAudio; 1 week ago at 01:08 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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FabienTDR's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bojobojo View Post
So, making changes to the time domain is basically a side effect of EQ due to phase shifting?
Frankly, this FB post was likely just playing bullsh!t bingo, using fancy terms and words in a hope nobody else understands them.

These terms have precise definitions, in particular for any branch related to continuous signals.

Doing things in the time domain really just means "doing things with the waveform" (time vs amplitude).

Doing things in the frequency domain means "doing things with the spectrum" (frequency vs amplitude).

But both are fed from and affect exactly the same unambiguous information. These domains are just different perspectives on the same data. In music production, these terms make no reasonable sense (in fact, an experienced person could be tempted to call them idiotic).

Last edited by FabienTDR; 1 week ago at 05:14 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Here's a good read. This chapter describes the concept, but do not hesitate to jump back and forth to understand the stuff mentioned earlier in the book. In fact, I'd recommend anybody in audio to read this start to end in any way:

http://www.dspguide.com/ch14/2.htm
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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There’s a saying in acoustics - “you can’t fix a time domain problem in the frequency domain”.

Which means you can’t EQ your monitors to fix a fundamental problem with the room - ie if you have a standing wave causing a null or boost, trying to eq that problem just makes it worse.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
There’s a saying in acoustics - “you can’t fix a time domain problem in the frequency domain”.

Which means you can’t EQ your monitors to fix a fundamental problem with the room - ie if you have a standing wave causing a null or boost, trying to eq that problem just makes it worse.
agreed - except the very last part (making problems worse): when recording on location, gear sometimes need to get crammed into places with horrible acoustics, without any other way of adjusting issues other than in the frequency domain (and listening on headphones); for this reason (and because i hate listening on headphones/inears for extended periods of time), i'm bringing a lake lm44 to almost any gig and use it to adjust fr as needed - far from ideal but better than nothing (not worse)!
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Here, instead of some of you "art'sies" trying to play smart - a simple video made by someone who is smart.


Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
agreed - except the very last part (making problems worse): when recording on location, gear sometimes need to get crammed into places with horrible acoustics, without any other way of adjusting issues other than in the frequency domain (and listening on headphones); for this reason (and because i hate listening on headphones/inears for extended periods of time), i'm bringing a lake lm44 to almost any gig and use it to adjust fr as needed - far from ideal but better than nothing (not worse)!
I won’t deny that room correction software can help - on occasion being the icing on the cake of treatment.

I won’t pretend to know how it works - only that if you have a null at 100Hz, boosting 100Hz with an eq will only pump more energy into that frequency area, possibly making it worse!
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I won’t deny that room correction software can help - on occasion being the icing on the cake of treatment.

I won’t pretend to know how it works - only that if you have a null at 100Hz, boosting 100Hz with an eq will only pump more energy into that frequency area, possibly making it worse!
true: boosting (on nulls) is bs, cutting (on nodes) helps though - it can only achieve results within limits (which is why i don't like the term 'room correction': all it allows to do is to get a different fr (well, and to align subs) and therefore should only get used after all options in terms of (mechanical) room treatment are exhausted (or as in inpreviously mentioned situations).
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
true: boosting (on nulls) is bs, cutting (on nodes) helps though - it can only achieve results within limits (which is why i don't like the term 'room correction': all it allows to do is to get a different fr (well, and to align subs) and therefore should only get used after all options in terms of (mechanical) room treatment are exhausted (or as in inpreviously mentioned situations).
yeah that all makes sense!
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Interesting enough when thiniking about time domain I visualize time on the x axis and stuff like ADSR, etc.
Translating to mastering I would simplify It as nailing the use of compressor as it operates on how the signals develops over time. I would consider an eq a typical frequency domain tool (yes I know about phase shift, still).
The exact opposite of many posts before mine.
Now I go check wiki.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
One thing's for certain, whoever created that animated graph on the Wikipedia page is a genius!
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