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Why do mics hear more echo than ears?
Old 27th February 2011
  #61
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Jimsi's Avatar
 

the flesh in your ear absorbs the extra sound and the ears design, stick a tin funnel in your ear listen to the echos....a soft surface less reflections...using a simple equation explains it better e=mc2/3.14 X r2d2/666
Old 27th February 2011
  #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorkp View Post
I've been placing microphones in the same spot where it sounds best to my ears, but the recording sounds so different from what expected—I think because it's capturing more room reverberation than my ears do.

Why is this?
The impression you develop from what you perceive is not necessarily the raw sound entering your ears.

The human auditory system is an extremely complex analytical system. In a sense, it 'averages' sound over periods of time, integrating many normally unnoticed auditory cues and clues into a complex and ever-evolving spatial map of one's surroundings. Echo and reverberation along with differences of time and amplitude of the same sound hitting each ear are processed by the auditory system to create an impression of the acoustic environment.

And those factors are part of why our ears so often seem to 'fool' us...


If one listens carefully and analytically enough, he can train himself to derive a somewhat more accurate impression of what a mic will capture. (Listening with one ear [putting one's finger over the tab of the other, for instance] can help in figuring out what a mic will capture, but, of course, mics and ears are all quite different.)
Old 27th February 2011
  #63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimsi View Post
the flesh in your ear absorbs the extra sound and the ears design, stick a tin funnel in your ear listen to the echos....a soft surface less reflections...
This reasoning only applies to reflections that come from the ear itself or from the microphone itself, not to reflections from the room.
Old 27th February 2011
  #64
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Radiogal's Avatar
It´s called the Coctail effect.
Old 27th February 2011
  #65
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My earlier post dealt with the differences between actual listening and listening to playback of a mono recording. Despite posts to the contrary, an actual binaural recording, when played back by headphones, not speakers, will sound startlingly like the actual experience.

However, this is typically not a profoundly useful production technique for a lot of multi-track productions. One key reason is that often we are not trying to create a realistic "you are there" image, particularly one that can _only_ be recreated via headphones. Also, the actual recording environment might produce an actual listening experience that we can work in, but would not want to reproduce in the recording.

A lot of productions are mono-tracked, panned stereo productions that seek to create a "they are here" presentation that is viable for playback on speakers and headphones. This is a perfectly legitimate method of production, even though it will never create an authentic "you are there" persepective. The nearly ubiquitous use of compression in such productions will play havoc with the subtle location cues and artificially enhance the prominence of reflected sound, often rendering binaural tracks unfit for that style of production.

The exception where binaural tracking might be worth the bother is a carefully planned production, where the ambience of the location is known to be consistent with the desired result, where all the desired mix locations are planned in advance, where the dynamics of the tracks are sufficiently controlled to need little compression and the final result will be allowed to keep most or all of its actual dynamic range.

I hope that helps. There is a lot that needs to be understood regarding hearing, recording, playback and perception and it doesn't really lend itself to discussion in such a forum, without first having some familiarity with all the basic notions of the auditory system, recording methods and playback systems. One excellent basic reference is "The New Stereo Soundbook" by Streicher and Everest. Definitely a useful and accessible book that covers all the bases. They have a website, which is, predictably: www.stereosoundbook.com

Cheers,

Otto
Old 27th February 2011
  #66
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The "cocktail-party effect" ... and "echo-suppression effect" ... similar but not referring to exactly the same thing as far as I know
Old 27th February 2011
  #67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiogal View Post
It´s called the Coctail effect.
Yes, the Cocktail Party Effect. Thanks, I was trying to remember the name of it.

Cocktail party effect - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Another aspect of the cocktail party effect is de-reverberation[citation needed]. In a normal room a listener perceives much less echo and reverberation than a microphone recording does[citation needed]. The human auditory system seems to ignore most of the reflected sound, because it arrives from other directions than the direct sound."
Old 27th February 2011
  #68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
My earlier post dealt with the differences between actual listening and listening to playback of a mono recording. Despite posts to the contrary, an actual binaural recording, when played back by headphones, not speakers, will sound startlingly like the actual experience.
I can't find any posts to the contrary in this thread...

Old 28th February 2011
  #69
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Dog_Chao_Chao's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by madtheory View Post
But ya, AES membership is very useful because you at least get to read about the cutting edge stuff.
guess you´re right. we should never think that we know everything already. Have to check it out those AES guys
Old 28th February 2011
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog_Chao_Chao View Post
hum, I read tons of books and I know pretty much every mic array techniques, no matter what, no matter which way you set them, it always comes back way more reflective and distant than what we hear, and it doesnt matter if you can point out 100 reasons for it, in the end you cant find a way around it.
Trakworx, this was one example...

Cheers,

Otto
Old 28th February 2011
  #71
PDC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mowmow View Post
I think that's because human can concentrate on what you want to hear, mic can't do that.
Well thanks. My wife was leaning over my shoulder when I was reading this. The gig is up.
Old 28th February 2011
  #72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Trakworx, this was one example...

Cheers,

Otto
Oh, OK. Thanks. I think the distinction "when played back by headphones" needs to be kept in mind here. I didn't see anyone refuting that. It's more that the discussion tends to focus on "real world" situations in which we want our recordings to sound right on a variety of playback systems.

I for one am a big fan of binaural mic'ing. I use it for drum overheads and room mics. I love the natural stereo spread and phase-coherency. Even when reproduced on speakers. Even on mono. thumbsup

J~
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Old 28th February 2011
  #73
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
Well thanks. My wife was leaning over my shoulder when I was reading this. The gig is up.
Haha! Well, federal law defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. It would be illegal for her to marry a microphone! heh
Old 28th February 2011
  #74
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There are two ways we can discover truths about how we perceive our environment and one way we can't. We can't stand outside of ourselves and "figure out" what's going on because, as others have pointed out, reality is being filtered continuously and non-linearly.

1. We can do experiments where we try various micing and reproduction techniques to discover how we perceive what's recorded vs what really happened.

2. We can do experiments where we measure the brain's response to stimuli (or to injury) and try and reverse engineer the processes that result in our perceptions.

There's an excellent discussion of much of this science in "This is your Brain on Music", but suffice it to say that we're a LONG way from understanding all that goes into how the brain filters audio information and derives perception from that. For now, all we can do is work with the reproduction equipment we have and make something that's a pleasing product. Look at the original stereo records: recorded in mono with sources more or less panned hard left and right, they bore no resemblance to even an idealized version of what the band sounded like, and yet they pleased us and they prospered.
Old 28th February 2011
  #75
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Mardi Gras's Avatar
 

imagine how easy recording would be if the microphones replicated exactly what we heard at certain spots in rooms
Old 28th February 2011
  #76
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Outlaw Hans's Avatar
 

Most people underestimate the importance of a great sounding room until they start recording. Quite frankly almost any room sounds o.k or workable when you're in it. But once you hear what the mics pick up it's a different story.
Old 28th February 2011
  #77
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outlaw Hans View Post
Most people underestimate the importance of a great sounding room until they start recording.
I know that point gets a lot of attention hereabouts but, relative to this subject, set your mics up in your room and just listen for a while. Make them your ears. Try different positions and have folks mill about or converse.

Remember that we are asking our microphones to record the sound of our instruments in the room, rather than just those instruments.
Old 28th February 2011
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
Remember that we are asking our microphones to record the sound of our instruments in the room, rather than just those instruments.
I try not to record the whole sound of my room. I normally track using the Quick Sound Field, so I'm just asking the mikes to record in that space, where there are diffuse reflections that fuse with the direct sound and a reverb time of only 80 milliseconds. Consistent tracks that sound good in the mix. Helpful on vocals, instruments and particularly drums and percussion. Not really so essential on miking cabs, where close mikes mean the direct sound is much louder than reflected sound.

Cheers,

Otto
Old 1st March 2011
  #79
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
I try not to record the whole sound of my room. I normally track using the Quick Sound Field, so I'm just asking the mikes to record in that space
Just checked that out. I have seen that before and it looks pretty cool. Your mics are still recording the sound of a contrived space, though.....something which you have had the foresight to listen to and manipulate to the benefit of your sound.

Old 1st March 2011
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
Just checked that out. I have seen that before and it looks pretty cool. Your mics are still recording the sound of a contrived space, though.....something which you have had the foresight to listen to and manipulate to the benefit of your sound.
Oh, yeah, it's totally a contrived space... just a darned clever and useful one. The QSF is about the only thing even remotely "high-end" about my gear or recordings. I think it's also one of the more useful aspects of the process to really focus on doing well, i.e., creating the best possible sound at the mike.

Cheers,

Otto
Old 4th March 2011
  #81
Lek
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Everyone answered why this happens, but more importantly, what to do about it? How to place a mic?

I've listened to many engineers say find where it sounds best, and put a mic there - but where my 100 watt 68 plexi sounded perfect sounded like crap through every mic - so back the mic went right on the cab. Same thing happened with a drum set - the whole set sounded amazing at a certain point in the room, like crap through a mic. Why do so many engineers and recording books recommend this method? is there a better method (I've tried covering one ear to mimic a mic and I could start to 'hear' how the mic was hearing the room)
Old 4th March 2011
  #82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lek View Post
Everyone answered why this happens, but more importantly, what to do about it? How to place a mic?

(I've tried covering one ear to mimic a mic and I could start to 'hear' how the mic was hearing the room)
I think you have answered your own question. Covering one ear is helpful when placing mics. Or simply move the mic closer until you get what you want. If it's gtr cabs you're focusing on, I have had good results by using a close mic and a room mic on separate tracks. Be aware of potential phase issues and blend to taste thumbsup

J~
Old 4th March 2011
  #83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lek View Post
Everyone answered why this happens, but more importantly, what to do about it? How to place a mic?

I've listened to many engineers say find where it sounds best, and put a mic there - but where my 100 watt 68 plexi sounded perfect sounded like crap through every mic - so back the mic went right on the cab. Same thing happened with a drum set - the whole set sounded amazing at a certain point in the room, like crap through a mic. Why do so many engineers and recording books recommend this method? is there a better method (I've tried covering one ear to mimic a mic and I could start to 'hear' how the mic was hearing the room)
To some extent you can learn to 'hear like a mic' -- basically concentrating on what you're actually hearing as you're hearing it, rather than your impression of it. Good practice there is simply to move your head around in the sweet spot in your mixing area. Normally, you probably don't notice the sound changing much. But it does. Really concentrate as you move your head around and you will begin to hear the changes that relate to changes in angle, dispersion, side reflections, etc. Basically, you want to learn how to de-yoke your normal interpretive perception from the raw signal coming into your ears. It sounds kind of wacky, but it's not that hard. (And as a few of us including Trackworx immediately above noted, plugging one ear can help, as well.)


But... for sure... the general problem you cite is one big reason why the control room evolved. It's much easier to dictate mic placement to your second from behind the console and monitors, isolated from the actual room. (Also, of course, the control room is important so you can talk about the funny faces the band makes when they're playing and hit on the bass player's cute GF while he's otherwise occupied.)
Old 4th March 2011
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lek View Post
Everyone answered why this happens, but more importantly, what to do about it? How to place a mic?
In my experience, within the QSF, when possible.

Cheers,

Otto
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