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Reverb exercise
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
Reverb exercise

Hi folks'!

I'm on a long and windy road of learning and currently I'm trying to put theory into practice regarding reverb and EQ. The reason I post this thread is to ask for your advice in this very specific exercise I'm trying.

I'm trying to make a Cello recorded close (S1 close) to sound similar to a Cello recorded 5 meters away (S1).

I know that the real deal (with the natural reverberation) is more intricate than slapping a reverb and some EQ on it, but this is what I'm asking you now. If you only had the close recording and you really wanted the sound of it being further away in the same room, how'd you do it?

I'm interested in your personal little tweaks, I've got the textbooks already...
I've been playing around (S1 close mod) with EQ (some low- and highpass filters) and putting some reverb on it with a 10ms predelay and a short length of <300ms.

Have the best of days and thanks in advance
/Magnus
Attached Files

S1close.wav (4.05 MB, 242 views)

S1.wav (8.11 MB, 236 views)

s1 close mod.mp3 (1.85 MB, 331 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Owen L T's Avatar
For what you're trying to achieve, I would suggest that a decent convolution reverb - ie, something based on impulse responses from actual spaces - is most likely to help you 'place' your cello in a real-sounding space.

Most DAWs ship with a perfectly decent convolution reverb, so your best bet to get an idea for how they sound is to put it on a send in your DAW, set the send to 'pre fader' and, turn the fader on the cello all the way down so you're just hearing the reverb. This is the best way to hear the sound of the spaces themselves, independent of the dry signal, and to give you an idea of which kind of space might be appropriate - whether that's a concert hall or church type space, or something a little less reverberant.

Then start flipping through presets. These will sound very different from each other - even among broadly similar categories - so just listen out for something that you like. Simple as that.

Typically, you don't want a lot of low-end echo-ing around the place, so it's fairly common to hi-pass the reverb channel a little higher up than you would on the instrument channel itself. On the attached clip, I've hi-passed around 400Hz.

Having found a space you like, you can flip the send back to 'post fader', bring the dry signal back up, and find a balance that you like.

In the attached example, there's not a lot of dry signal and it's possible that (a) the cello sounds more than 5m away; and (b) the space itself is a lot larger than you imagined.

But it gives you an idea.

Also, it gives you an idea of what, conceptually, you need to be thinking about: ie, not just how far away you want the cello to be from the listener, but how much space behind and around the cello you want there to be. A cellist could be 5m away in a room that's not much bigger than a 5m square - or they could be 5m away, with the nearest walls another 10m behind them.

For this kind of thing, I find Quantum Leap's 'Spaces' to be excellent. It's conceived in an instrument-specific kind of way, and really delivers when it comes to "I want to put [instrument x] in [y kind of space]". (I find it great, for example, for roughly matching something that really was recorded in a live room, with something that was not.)
Attached Files

DistantCello1.wav (6.21 MB, 223 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Owen L T's Avatar
Same concept, but with a small room preset, and more direct signal. This sounds much more like 5m away (the other was probably more like 20) and obviously in a much smaller space as well. There is more direct signal relative to the reverb.
Attached Files

CelloRoom.wav (6.21 MB, 224 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
Same concept, but with a small room preset, and more direct signal. This sounds much more like 5m away (the other was probably more like 20) and obviously in a much smaller space as well. There is more direct signal relative to the reverb.
I went with even more low cut on your sample there (6dB/oct 300-400Hz in TotalMix
Old 6 days ago
  #5
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That's what pre delay is for. A tiny bit of pre delay on an ambient reverb preset should get you going. Ambient reverbs are very short room sounds and create a tunnel type sound depending on the room size.

From there you need to tweak the blend between dry and wet. You likely also need to EQ the dry instrument and the reverb separately. If you set the reverb up on a buss, then set it for full wet, then use your track send/return levels to mix with the dry track, you can put an EQ in the buss after the reverb plugin and eq only the reflection. Your track EQ will only EQ the dry signal if your pre/post effects buttons are set to the right positions.

If the instrument that was recorded at a farther distance was also recorded in a larger room you may have additional reflections captured. The ambient reverb will recreate the mic distance but you may have to layer a second reverb to create what occurs after the initial attack. You can even set up a second buss if needed and feed one buss to the other. Theres many options to use here. The trick is to think it through first then try a few out. You may even want to put the ambient reveb on the track and buss the longer reverb (if it has one) as I mentioned above.

I just cant give you a step by step because I'd need to hear it and try a few things myself. Some of it may involve tweaking the amount of gain staging too. (which may not be possible) you can gain up, but gaining down is limited. You can use compression to reduce dynamics as a more distant mic would produce. Again, I'm only guessing on what might be needed. Your chain may wind up being EQ, Compression, Short ambient reverb with short pre delay, EQ, longer reverb.

It can take time tweaking it in of course. In general, an instrument miced from farther away will loose the proximity effect of the mic so you usually loose lows and highs. Use the EQ on the dry instrument to do this and EQ the reverb as necessary.
Old 6 days ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
That's what pre delay is for. A tiny bit of pre delay on an ambient reverb preset should get you going. Ambient reverbs are very short room sounds and create a tunnel type sound depending on the room size. ..
Of course being real general here, I would offer (or counter :>) that pre delay -sometimes even the first few to several milliseconds, tends to set a source forward of the room or ambiance patch.
I found it helpful to visualize it like this.
The instrument in a room (not too small as to prevent this example), the mic rather quite a bit closer to the instrument than the instrument is to the walls.
You are the mic. In this case we hear the instrument direct sound first (and stronger) followed by the longer path of the room reflections.
A close mic'd image.
Now moving the mic back we begin to hear the reflections arriving approximately the same time as the direct path.
Two things happen (or can happen :>) The image shifts (more) to 'an instrument in a room', and 'close/short reflections/delays tend to be heard 'as one' with the a source (below or 'within the Haas delay range, 15-30ms or so.
Old 6 days ago
  #7
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Thread Starter
Thank you all so much for the tips and tricks, much appreciated!

I also own the QL spaces reverb and while I love it, for this exercise I'd like to try and stay away from it just for the reason that it makes it sound so good with so little effort on my part. I don't really get the underlying understanding of the different parameters of reverb and what they correspond to regarding acoustics!

I'm going to try the idea of using several reverbs though, havn't tried that yet! Also gonna read up more about the Haas stuff! Thanks a bunch.

Also thanks for the EQ tips, I'll try your larger cuts to see how they compare to mine!

Chugging forward, thanks folks

Kind regards
/Magnus
Old 5 days ago
  #8
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chirgwin View Post
I also own the QL spaces reverb and while I love it, for this exercise I'd like to try and stay away from it just for the reason that it makes it sound so good with so little effort on my part.
You've just described the number one reason that pieces of gear become beloved by engineers: they do the job that's asked of them!

I get wanting to understand the why, but do bear in mind that recreating this kind of 'real' space from an algorithmic reverb is a holy grail that reverb designers themselves have been chasing for 50 years - and that some of the best studios in the world still use basement reverb chambers, with a speaker hung in one corner and a microphone picking up the room sound to be mixed back in.

There are algorithmic reverbs that sound great in the mix, and can be described as both 'natural' and 'transparent', but their parameters are still just efforts to replicate the very complex proces of sound bouncing around a room - which is why convolution was so revolutionary when it appeared on the scene 20 years ago (if memory serves).

One of the Lexicon emulations (I have NI's version), for instance, has 6 discrete early reflections, which one can move in time and on an L/R plane. These, and all early reflections, approximate the first order reflections, that arrive at the listener after bouncing on a single wall, ceiling, floor. They play a crucial role in setting the distance between listener and sound source. (Pre-delay does move the tail back out of the way a little, so the natural transient come through clearer; but it really can't be used like early reflections, to move the source forwards or backwards. The difference between ER and pre-delay is night and day.)

But if your end goal is as natural-and-real sounding environment for a dry sound, you don't need to re-invent algorithmic reverb - just dial in something from Spaces!

UADs Realverb Pro, algorithmic, allows you to select different 'surfaces', which I'm pretty sure just apply different filters depending on hardness/absorbency. But I always found the range of options to be too confusing, and less helpful than the more limited control set of, say, Phoenixverb. But nothing, to me, ever produces a space that you can close your eyes and see quite like Spaces or other good convolutions.
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