The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Tags: ,

Using compression in chamber/classical music
Old 24th June 2010
  #31
Lives for gear
 
recordinghopkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by panatrope View Post
It is part of the perceived dynamic of the station, and sets the level expectation for a piece of music, and limits the impact of say, an ff entry. The BBC did a lot of work on this (albeit in the Golden Age of Radio) to define listeners expectations of voice following music and music following voice. It is an important part of the (critical) radio listener's experience.
Can you elaborate more on the findings of the BBC, or provide reference to publications? Thanks!
Old 24th June 2010
  #32
Lives for gear
 

It was in the late '70s or early '80s, and was a BBC Research Report with a title like 'preferred levels of voice and music in radio presentation'. I recall particularly that voice following music was preferred about 2db louder and voice preceding music was preferred about 2dB softer. The operational implication was the voice level was reduced across the announcement.

While I have kept copies of some of those reports, I'm not sure I would have kept that one, and if I did, I could find it readily as those records have been 'moved' two or three times. However, we may live in hope.

However, you may have better luck searching here:

BBC - R&D - Publications - RD Reports
Old 4 days ago
  #33
Here for the gear
 
orchetect's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
let's forget the pressures at the center of a nuclear blast for a moment. But that is certainly academic as far as music recording is concerned.
NEVER FORGET

Nuclear blasts have been measured at 250dB. But more surprisingly, volcanic eruptions are even louder - around 360dB.

On a related note, remind me to sample a nuclear blast. Would probably be sweet layered with kick drum.
Old 4 days ago
  #34
Lives for gear
 
DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by orchetect View Post
NEVER FORGET

Nuclear blasts have been measured at 250dB. But more surprisingly, volcanic eruptions are even louder - around 360dB.

On a related note, remind me to sample a nuclear blast. Would probably be sweet layered with kick drum.
There ya go:



(go to 2:13)
Old 4 days ago
  #35
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I'd say, in general, like a' so:

Real life has a dynamic range of 150 decibels or so, but CD life lives in a much narrower range-- zero at the top, and when you get to -30 dB's down, that's pretty quiet.

So, it would follow that compression is an aid to squeeze the 150 dB swings into 30 dB swings.

My approach, anyways....
Yes at the airport, not in the concerthall.
Old 4 days ago
  #36
Lives for gear
 
jimjazzdad's Avatar
Wow. This just-revived thread is so old that even the reverb tail of the cited nuclear detonation has trailed off to infintely negative dBFS
Old 4 days ago
  #37
Some would say that nuclear detonations are just infinitely negative, period.
Old 4 days ago
  #38
Gear Head
Do people think that compression changes the sound? I do.
Old 3 days ago
  #39
Lives for gear
 
Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
Do people think that compression changes the sound? I do.
Yes.

And vice versa.
Old 3 days ago
  #40
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
Do people think that compression changes the sound? I do.
Yes....it can make it more like music, as experienced by those hearing it via reproduction, rather than at the event itself.
Old 3 days ago
  #41
Gear Head
When I say changes the sound, I mean it colours the sound, in a not very helpful way.
Old 3 days ago
  #42
Lives for gear
 
DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
When I say changes the sound, I mean it colours the sound, in a not very helpful way.
Whether the colouring sounds good or bad is down to the operator!
Old 3 days ago
  #43
Lives for gear
 
Yannick's Avatar
 

The answer is very simple. If chamber music needs compression to improve the sound, either the recording is flawed, the playing, or the composition.

On some orchestral recordings I can see the use to tame some peaks. I prefer to do that manually, not with a compressor.

A compressor is a great sound tool, but it does not belong in the classical toolbox.

But some will disagree passionately. My bet is, mainly the camp that does not like clean preamps.
Old 3 days ago
  #44
Lives for gear
 
Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
Whether the colouring sounds good or bad is down to the operator!
How would you feel when you practice a 600K instrument for 30 years, and then this sound engineer comes along that has some nice coloring tools ?

So no, it does not come down to the operator in this thread.
Old 3 days ago
  #45
Lives for gear
Find a handful of your favourite, dynamic, respected, state of the art CD's of chamber music...ones you would play to your peers as pinnacles of accurate and realistic reproduction of the composition. Rip it into your DAW, and examine the waveforms....report back here

Most of us can recognize an altered, compromised compressed waveform by sight...and by hearing it. In a commercially released CD, there are a few steps in the recording, mixing, mastering/replication chain. A recording engineer may hand on their pristine, maximal dynamic range master to the next step in the chain, only to find commercial pressures to produce a loud, hot disc. With purist recordings the mixing component will be omitted...bravo !

The recording engineer likely has little or no control over these subsequent steps in the production chain...and I'll suggest that the world has moved on since the bad days of the 80's and 90's when loudness was revered above clean, realistic reproduction of dynamics.

Maybe I'm wrong to hold up the CD as any sort of benchmark...perhaps it should be the HD 24/192 download now ? We can pontificate as the first links in the repro chain, but some compression or limiting has been part of the production chain from vinyl on down to CD.

If the media producers are taking their hands off the compression wheel...the radio stations are not, and never have. End of broadcast chain dynamic compression is the norm. That should be justification enough to avoid it in the recording/mastering process !

Second guessing the repro chain following our recordings can be a slippery and fraught game...and I'd prefer to retain maximal dynamic range, knowing the damage that can and often is inflicted further down the chain. If compression is going to used (poorly) later..is it better to apply it intelligently soon after source capture, to circumvent the damage ?

These are rhetorical questions, but they deserve to be addressed...sitting on a high-horse of 'no compression..never' just ignores them
Old 3 days ago
  #46
Lives for gear
 
DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
How would you feel when you practice a 600K instrument for 30 years, and then this sound engineer comes along that has some nice coloring tools ?

So no, it does not come down to the operator in this thread.
You didn't say that the "colouring" is better or worse, though – just that musicians don't want somebody else mucking up their sound. Which, fair enough.

But at some point there comes a tradeoff between the accurate representation of sound and the idea that this can be enhanced in other ways.

Look, I love my classical music, and I'm a purist even in areas where it's unfashionable (like recording vocals with small-diaphragm condensers), but I am not going to deny that sometimes the ear likes a bit of added ear-candy.

Much of the sound processing that happens in popular music (for example, drum distortion and compression, and really, multi-tracking in general) is to give the impression that the sound is louder, bigger, more impressive than the original one. Is this bad? It depends on the intention of the recording.

If a specific recording is about sounding "good", then that's down to taste. If it is about sounding "accurate", that's something else. If it is about sounding true to the musician's intentions (and often the sounds they make are at odds with their intentions), that's somethine else. And if it's about selling records, that's yet something else.

But I'll leave you with a fun thought:
If you had a button that instantly made the sound of a pristine, perfectly-recorded classical music recording sound better, in a way that EVERYONE agrees is better than the original, in a way that even the conductors and musicians all unanimously agree sounds subjectively more musical, more beautiful, just better... would you press it?
Old 2 days ago
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
How would you feel when you practice a 600K instrument for 30 years, and then this sound engineer comes along that has some nice coloring tools ?

So no, it does not come down to the operator in this thread.
Practically, I'd ask if the musician is paying the bill. If not, then whoever IS paying the bill has the final say.

Let's not forget that for decades we had this thing called tape, which was non-linear and did all sorts of things to the signal, including compression when it was saturated. And then we had vinyl, with it's characteristics, and FM with it's characteristics. All of which meant that nearly all of us are used to hearing the dynamics of recorded music being altered to fit to whatever the recording/transmission medium would support. And we called that "good".

When CDs and DDD recording came out, in general I don't feel that the dynamic range of the music was greatly expanded (though I do believe that EQ choices changed a lot). We mixed and mastered in similar ways, relying on our ears and our taste to tell us if something was "too soft" or "too loud".

And generally I think that some dynamic range reduction is usually needed aesthetically, even if not needed technically. The end result is to make the softer parts louder, whether gain-riding or compressing. How you do it is up to you.
Old 2 days ago
  #48
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
Practically, I'd ask if the musician is paying the bill. If not, then whoever IS paying the bill has the final say.
What happens when the person paying the bill has no taste, no idea, and no education in the matter?
Old 2 days ago
  #49
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
<snip>

The recording engineer likely has little or no control over these subsequent steps in the production chain...and I'll suggest that the world has moved on since the bad days of the 80's and 90's when loudness was revered above clean, realistic reproduction of dynamics.
My impression listening to today's music (non-classical) is that it's not so. I think that compression technique has gotten better, but dynamic range is still non-existent.
Old 2 days ago
  #50
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
Y
If you had a button that instantly made the sound of a pristine, perfectly-recorded classical music recording sound better, in a way that EVERYONE agrees is better than the original, in a way that even the conductors and musicians all unanimously agree sounds subjectively more musical, more beautiful, just better... would you press it?
I would not press it. I believe the original recording should stand as the final faithful reproduction of how in reality and in real life the musicians sound.

Once you start using magic buttons you are entering a quagmire.
Old 2 days ago
  #51
Lives for gear
 
Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
My impression listening to today's music (non-classical) is that it's not so. I think that compression technique has gotten better, but dynamic range is still non-existent.
The thread should be about classical of course.
My opinion of modern compression is that it has become so good, that it is now possible to completely squash the sound without leaving any notion of dynamics.

How on earth this extreme ugliness eludes most sound engineers is beyond me. Probably they never hear a "acoustic" concert, and do not even to how it sounds in the live room.
Old 2 days ago
  #52
Lives for gear
 
Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
Practically, I'd ask if the musician is paying the bill. If not, then whoever IS paying the bill has the final say.
I passionately disagree with this statement. Musicians have been screwed over and treated disrespectfully in the past, and the situation is getting worse. Now they have to pay the productions costs themselves, and still get screwed over (by the market, not by the label necessarily).

The least we can do is have respect for what they are doing and draw a line not to be crossed by those who do not understand. Even if they are paying.

Even the oldest profession in the world has more self-respect than what you are suggesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
Let's not forget that for decades we had this thing called tape, which was non-linear and did all sorts of things to the signal, including compression when it was saturated. And then we had vinyl, with it's characteristics, and FM with it's characteristics. All of which meant that nearly all of us are used to hearing the dynamics of recorded music being altered to fit to whatever the recording/transmission medium would support. And we called that "good".
I never did. I never used it. I never heard a convincing analogue piano recording because of all the flaws (distorted attacks, scewed dynamics, pitch instability, plus severe distortion).
Digital is very superior for classical. That is one of the reasons why classical labels made the switch very quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
When CDs and DDD recording came out, in general I don't feel that the dynamic range of the music was greatly expanded (though I do believe that EQ choices changed a lot). We mixed and mastered in similar ways, relying on our ears and our taste to tell us if something was "too soft" or "too loud".
You are right 98-99% of the time, because all that time most classical music remains in the comfort zone. Plus even a lot of modern loudspeakers do not show compression at the source sufficiently, at least that is my impression. (Neumann KH310 being just one example)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
And generally I think that some dynamic range reduction is usually needed aesthetically, even if not needed technically. The end result is to make the softer parts louder, whether gain-riding or compressing. How you do it is up to you.
Usually no. Rarely I make the soft parts louder, regularly I reduce a few peaks manually. If the cd master is loud enough without interfering I let it be.

I could not care less if some cannot hear soft passages while driving the car, or while sitting in a noisy environment listening on an ipad.

Get a life, take a break and really listen to music. Or not.
Old 2 days ago
  #53
Lives for gear
 
DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
I would not press it. I believe the original recording should stand as the final faithful reproduction of how in reality and in real life the musicians sound.

Once you start using magic buttons you are entering a quagmire.
May I ask in that case which microphones you're using in an orchestral situation?
Old 2 days ago
  #54
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
May I ask in that case which microphones you're using in an orchestral situation?
I haven't recorded an orchestra in a long time. Only solo piano, violin, and chamber music. Also a lot of voice (narration).

For that i use ribbon mic's, or DPA omni capacitor mic's (mostly).
Old 2 days ago
  #55
Lives for gear
 
DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurcher_lover View Post
I haven't recorded an orchestra in a long time. Only solo piano, violin, and chamber music. Also a lot of voice (narration).

For that i use ribbon mic's, or DPA omni capacitor mic's (mostly).
DPAs I get, but can we agree that ribbons are not accurate enough for your purposes, and that if you choose them instead of DPAs you're making a decision to colour the sound?
Old 2 days ago
  #56
Lives for gear
 
Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DistortingJack View Post
DPAs I get, but can we agree that ribbons are not accurate enough for your purposes, and that if you choose them instead of DPAs you're making a decision to colour the sound?
Dynamically, I tend to think that good ribbons are more accurate than excellent condensers. So, in the context of this thread I do not get what you are getting at ?

I use ribbons to have less compression.
Old 2 days ago
  #57
Lives for gear
 
DistortingJack's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Dynamically, I tend to think that good ribbons are more accurate than excellent condensers. So, in the context of this thread I do not get what you are getting at ?

I use ribbons to have less compression.
Well, it sounds like you are striving for ultimate accuracy, and absolutely no added sound, even if it were theoretically better, so I was curious as to how far you would go.

I was under the impression that high-end small-diaphragm omnis had better transient response than a ribbon? What else do you mean by "dynamic accuracy"?
Old 2 days ago
  #58
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Dynamically, I tend to think that good ribbons are more accurate than excellent condensers. So, in the context of this thread I do not get what you are getting at ?

I use ribbons to have less compression.
The ribbon mic is a lossy transducer, as demonstrated by its miniscule output (compared with a dynamic mic...which it has most in common with mechanically) whereas a condensor mic typically has an amplifier in-built, so it has a significantly larger output level than a ribbon. If we can talk in terms of motors (ie magnetic field, moving metallic ribbon within it, output voltage) then the ribbon is an inefficient, lossy motor

So the ribbon gives inbuilt dynamic compression...which many people appreciate as it can shave off transients on drum overheads, vocals, brass etc
Old 2 days ago
  #59
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
Dynamically, I tend to think that good ribbons are more accurate than excellent condensers. So, in the context of this thread I do not get what you are getting at ?

I use ribbons to have less compression.
You only have to look at the typically drooping top end response (as well as LF proximity effect when used close or similar drop off at a distance) to conclude that a ribbon mic is anything but an accurate transducer...it's one of the least accurate there is.
Old 2 days ago
  #60
Lives for gear
Yannick makes the strongest case for the wholesale sacking/employment-termination of an entire sub-class of parasitic, low-life predators in the reproduction chain of classical and chamber music.

The mastering engineer.

Why should they even be allowed anywhere near the production chain...their only raison d'etre is to EQ, compress, limit and distort the pristine dynamic range so carefully preserved by the recordist.

They'll be the first ones with their backs against the wall when the revolution comes.....who needs their disreputable contributions anyway ?
Loading mentioned products ...
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+  Submit Thread to Reddit Reddit 
 
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get instant access to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
jnorman / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording
35
SynthLine09 / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording
6
stvatt / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording
3
hannaent / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show & Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
5
Ruphus / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording
48

Forum Jump