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Removing headphone click track (or other) bleed
Old 3rd June 2020
  #1
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Removing headphone click track (or other) bleed

Many of us can find ourselves in recording situations where a click track is used by musicians for any number of reasons. Even with earbuds, closed back headphones (and certainly with open-backed cans !) the leakage of a click track into the recording mic (say vocal mic, or overheads for a drummer) can be a real hassle...at best committing you to some careful Rx-ing removal time, and that's not always successful either ?

Here's an alternative which might help (I may have read this years ago and forgotten it...or never read it, the memory plays tricks....)

It's mentioned in the context of headphone bleed generally, so it may work for leakage of other than just clicks ?

"The other thing to watch out for when you’re recording at home is headphone bleed. Far too often I receive home recordings that have clearly been tracked with open-backed headphones (ones that don’t have
a solid outer shell).

These can render audio recordings unusable for several reasons. Firstly, given that there will nearly always be compression added to an instrument later on – whether that’s by you or someone else – this will tend to exacerbate the level of bleed (do I detect a recurring theme here?).

If this consists primarily of things like click tracks, guides and other superfluous ingredients, you’ve potentially got a serious problem on your hands that’s difficult to solve… except by you, right now.

If you only have open-backed headphones, try putting a couple of layers of Gaffa tape over the areas that leak sound, to at least dull the spill. Every bit helps!

Failing that, there’s another, slightly more complicated trick involving a second channel and a polarity flip. After you’ve recorded your vocal performance, let’s say, and now you’ve discovered that the guide guitar and click track have spilled into the signal, all is not lost.

Here’s what you must do: open a second recording channel immediately, stand (or sit) exactly where you recorded your successful take, and using the exact same headphone cue, track the performance again, this time without making a sound.

What you’re doing here is recording the headphone bleed again, only this time on its own. Now add the two signals together, with the polarity (phase) of the second channel flipped. This should all but kill the spill stone dead, or at the very least, reduce it"

The biggest problem might be getting the musician to sit still for the duration necessary (ie the second recording pass, to capture cans bleed) ??

If you've tried this, and found it to work..or not...feel free to contribute your findings here.

The source article : https://www.cxnetwork.com.au/home-alone-too/
Old 3rd June 2020
  #2
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Regarding using a click track, have you considered using a visual "click track?" Looking at a LED or small bulb flashing device is a fabulous way to deal with it. Been doing this with some drummers for decades.

I prefer using a small monitor speaker strategically placed behind the microphone instead of headphones in front of the mic, especially when they like to listen to playback way too loud.





Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Many of us can find ourselves in recording situations where a click track is used by musicians for any number of reasons. Even with earbuds, closed back headphones (and certainly with open-backed cans !) the leakage of a click track into the recording mic (say vocal mic, or overheads for a drummer) can be a real hassle...at best committing you to some careful Rx-ing removal time, and that's not always successful either ?

Here's an alternative which might help (I may have read this years ago and forgotten it...or never read it, the memory plays tricks....)

It's mentioned in the context of headphone bleed generally, so it may work for leakage of other than just clicks ?

"The other thing to watch out for when you’re recording at home is headphone bleed. Far too often I receive home recordings that have clearly been tracked with open-backed headphones (ones that don’t have
a solid outer shell).

These can render audio recordings unusable for several reasons. Firstly, given that there will nearly always be compression added to an instrument later on – whether that’s by you or someone else – this will tend to exacerbate the level of bleed (do I detect a recurring theme here?).

If this consists primarily of things like click tracks, guides and other superfluous ingredients, you’ve potentially got a serious problem on your hands that’s difficult to solve… except by you, right now.

If you only have open-backed headphones, try putting a couple of layers of Gaffa tape over the areas that leak sound, to at least dull the spill. Every bit helps!

Failing that, there’s another, slightly more complicated trick involving a second channel and a polarity flip. After you’ve recorded your vocal performance, let’s say, and now you’ve discovered that the guide guitar and click track have spilled into the signal, all is not lost.

Here’s what you must do: open a second recording channel immediately, stand (or sit) exactly where you recorded your successful take, and using the exact same headphone cue, track the performance again, this time without making a sound.

What you’re doing here is recording the headphone bleed again, only this time on its own. Now add the two signals together, with the polarity (phase) of the second channel flipped. This should all but kill the spill stone dead, or at the very least, reduce it"

The biggest problem might be getting the musician to sit still for the duration necessary (ie the second recording pass, to capture cans bleed) ??

If you've tried this, and found it to work..or not...feel free to contribute your findings here.

The source article : https://www.cxnetwork.com.au/home-alone-too/
Old 3rd June 2020
  #3
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
Regarding using a click track, have you considered using a visual "click track?" Looking at a LED or small bulb flashing device is a fabulous way to deal with it. Been doing this with some drummers for decades.

I prefer using a small monitor speaker strategically placed behind the microphone instead of headphones in front of the mic, especially when they like to listen to playback way too loud.
Yes those are all valid ways of either using a different sense modality (visual vs auditory) or the nulling capacities of a mic. Depends a lot on the willingness of the musician to engage with it I guess (and in the case of the LED flash, of a singer not reading the lyric sheet at the same time )

Another tactile modality is the sort of small vibrational pulses that some smart watches, Fitbits and similar handworn devices can generate...I could imagine putting one of those on a drummer's ankle or above the elbow maybe, and then dialling in the appropriate bpm ?
Old 3rd June 2020
  #4
IEMs help a lot to block the bleed. One problem is a lot of drummers like to keep on ear open but wear headphones meant for two ears so the "off the ear" headphone bleeds audio into the microphones. An IEM on one ear prevents that from happening. I always thought attaching one of these to the drummers throne would be a great idea for a drummers click track. See https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0052AXFKK...v_ov_lig_dp_it

FWIW
Old 3rd June 2020
  #5
Lives for gear
 
emrr's Avatar
Then of course there’s RX7 de-bleed, which can work pretty well for all sorts of things.
Old 3rd June 2020
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
Then of course there’s RX7 de-bleed, which can work pretty well for all sorts of things.
That's what I'm expecting the go-to solution would be, once headphone leakage is recorded..it would be interesting to know if it's more effective (or time consuming) than the re-record and phase reverse method outlined in the first post ?
Old 3rd June 2020
  #7
Lives for gear
 
emrr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
That's what I'm expecting the go-to solution would be, once headphone leakage is recorded..it would be interesting to know if it's more effective (or time consuming) than the re-record and phase reverse method outlined in the first post ?
Good question. I have done what you describe in the distant past. I've also done something similar to match bleed in an overdub.
Old 4th June 2020
  #8
Lives for gear
A friend just told me today of a tactile (buzzing sensation on skin) metronome watch, which would give you silent but perceptible pulses on your forearm...so there's another alternative to 'the click'
Old 4th June 2020
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
IEMs help a lot to block the bleed. One problem is a lot of drummers like to keep on ear open but wear headphones meant for two ears so the "off the ear" headphone bleeds audio into the microphones...
Right. And if they have both in-ears inserted correctly, they can't hear their own selves and finesse goes out the window. Not just drummers, everyone. Recording live gigs where they're also shooting video is the worst, because they want everyone on in-ears for the look.

I miss mixing live shows but I sure don't miss that.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Lives for gear
Thinking about the "record bleed again and invert it" technique, it's obvious that the musician's head must perfectly replicate what they did during the performance (whether perfectly still or moving). Is there any chance of that happening in reality?

Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris661 View Post
Thinking about the "record bleed again and invert it" technique, it's obvious that the musician's head must perfectly replicate what they did during the performance (whether perfectly still or moving). Is there any chance of that happening in reality?

Chris
The idea, according to the person who outlined the method, was that "this should all but kill the spill stone dead, or at the very least, reduce it"

So he's after a substantial, noticeable reduction...rather than a theoretically perfect nulling. How big the difference between those might be...who knows ?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
if they have both in-ears inserted correctly, they can't hear their own selves and finesse goes out the window.
bs alert! you obviously haven't been mixing live in a long time?! there are lots of performers who are enlightend to finally hear every nuance and that details no longer get drowned in a huge stage wash!

but yeah, it takes a bit more than a static mix to please the artists wearing inears...

oh, and ever used the klangfabrik? it's worth to download the app and try it a bit, even if you have no intent to ever buy the engine.
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