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MIRx natural volume without MIRx
Last post Thu, May 26 2016 by GoranTch, 35 replies.
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Posted on Mon, May 23 2016 09:16
by LuCsa
Joined on Sat, Dec 19 2015, Vienna, Posts 126

Quote:
So for clarification: The natural Volume adjusts the volume levels as they would occur when every instrument of a live performance would be close-miked? So when applying these values without MIR I would have to further decrease the volume values of the individual sections according to how far they sit from the listening position, is that correct?

But isn't that rather a question of reverb than volume? Then, the additional offset would be unnecessary...

 

Quote:
I think you're trying to formalize all that a bit too much, guys. The Natural Volume values are a good starting point - for a pre-configured template, for example - but not a set-in-stone scientific formula for a perfect mix. Don't overthink it! If something's too loud, turn it down.

I, personally, am perfectly aware that I'm "formalizing" here, but it's important you stress that! :) However, and I can speak just for myself, my experience in this field is so little that I need such formulas for starting points. Some kind of guidance to compensate for a lack of knowledge.
If one tells me, "those are good basic settings, leave those settings untouched, because that's the way it is, but fiddle around with these to your liking", then I'm happy. (Which happened here. :P)

With the MIRx offsets, for instance, I feel that the flutes are too soft. So are the oboes and clarinets. Yesterday, I heard a rehearsal at the Musikverein in Wien and I tried to focus on the woodwinds for that matter. I could clearly hear the flute at all times but wasn't really able to distinguish the clarinet and oboe from the rest of the orchestra. My fried told me that, generally, the latter two need to be exposed and separated by the composer/orchestrator to be clearly audible, otherwise they just color the tone or merge with the violas for instance. --> turning the flutes up in my mixer would have been the right choice, possibly. But turning up oboes and clarinets maybe not (in my particular case they play in the same register as some other instruments)... do you see where this is going? :D

All the best,
Lukas

 

PS.: I LOVE this forum... :D

i7-6700K (4 @ 4.0GHz w/ HT) - 16GB RAM
Windows 10 Home 64bit - REAPER - Finale 2012 - Dorico
---
VI Pro 2 - VEP7 - MIRx Sage
SE1&2 - S-SE1&2 - SSP
Posted on Mon, May 23 2016 15:08
by JimmyHellfire
Joined on Tue, Dec 24 2013, Posts 335

Originally Posted by: LuCsa Go to Quoted Post
My fried told me that, generally, the latter two need to be exposed and separated by the composer/orchestrator to be clearly audible, otherwise they just color the tone or merge with the violas for instance. --> turning the flutes up in my mixer would have been the right choice, possibly. But turning up oboes and clarinets maybe not (in my particular case they play in the same register as some other instruments)... do you see where this is going?

Not fully sure. But the bottom line here, I think, is that ultimately this is more a matter of orchestration and arrangement, than of settings and values. Of course, Woodwinds often blend in for orchestral color, or round off the edges. But then again, they're used as conveyors of central musical ideas, exposed lines and virtuosic passages just as well. And whether they stick out or blend in - isn't it entirely up to the intention of the composer and has everything to do with the number of players, the "architecture" of the composition, if/who doubles whom and which musical function everyone else in the ensemble has been assigned to?

Woodwinds are used for all kinds of things - color, texture, melodies, solos, harmony, ostinati, ornaments, runs and flourishes ... and they blend (or don't) with other instruments to manifold effect. surely you can't follow one general rule for all these highly distinct applications and their "mechanics".

I personally use MIRx most of the time, and I do have natural volume activated across the board. But I can't remember a single project where I left CC11 as well as the mixer faders untouched - there's always something I need to change. And it's never the same either

A software can provide a reasonable starting point, but it can't "know" what music you're writing. It's helpful, it provides a guideline, but unfortunately (?) it can't keep us in safe waters until we have gained a somewhat reliable ability of judgement, or relieve us of the need for it.

So in the end it does come down to: knowing what you want to hear and what is possible/reasonable (although we may take the liberty to disregard this in the world of sampling every now and then) and adjusting settings accordingly. Which, in turn, requires a lot of listening to music, analyzing and learning. You're obviously doing that anyway.

As much as it is an annoying truism - the whole "use your ears!" engineering mantra really is the answer to a lot of questions ... well kind of

Posted on Mon, May 23 2016 16:15
by Dietz
Joined on Tue, Aug 06 2002, Vienna / Europe, Posts 7761

Originally Posted by: JimmyHellfire Go to Quoted Post
[...] there's always something I need to change. And it's never the same either  [...]

This. 

/Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Mon, May 23 2016 22:20
by tek0010
Joined on Wed, Jun 17 2015, Posts 50

Some here are confusing Natural Volume with Artistic Volume. Artistic Volume is a matter of taste. There are no rules. Use your ears. This is art, and it's all about the artists.

Natural Volume, in contrast, is not a matter of taste. It's a matter of simulation of a real orchestra in a real room. The simulation is either accurate or it's not. This is science, and it has nothing to do with artistic preference.

Posted on Mon, May 23 2016 22:55
by tek0010
Joined on Wed, Jun 17 2015, Posts 50

Beware of a bug affecting the Natural Volume feature:

https://www.vsl.co.at/community/posts/t41215-Bug--Dimension-Violins-Presets-have-wrong-setting-for-pan-in-VI-Pro#post247160

The panning of the violins in VI Pro decreases their effective volume when VI Pro is routed into MIR. So, if you use Dimension Violins Presets for individual violins and ask MIR for Natural Volume, the result is several decibels less than what VSL intended.

Posted on Tue, May 24 2016 06:40
by JimmyHellfire
Joined on Tue, Dec 24 2013, Posts 335

Originally Posted by: tek0010 Go to Quoted Post

Natural Volume, in contrast, is not a matter of taste. It's a matter of simulation of a real orchestra in a real room. The simulation is either accurate or it's not. This is science, and it has nothing to do with artistic preference.

It's accurate enough. You'll still have to use your ears - artist or not. That's just the reality of it. And we're not talking about "taste" either, but about function.

"Science" is a big word here. As well as "simulation". How accurate can the simulation of natural volume be, if the whole of the instrument in the simulation is represented by merely a few velocity layers? Just one example. There are so many factors that play into this.

Posted on Tue, May 24 2016 20:40
by MassMover
Joined on Mon, Sep 29 2008, Posts 236

Originally Posted by: Dietz Go to Quoted Post

I hardly dare to say "yes" - unless you promise not to use these values as rules, but rather as starting points for your own settings. :-)

Kind regards,

Well, of course it is only a starting point, but this information is absolutely crucial. As a rule of thumb one can say that the volume is reduced by half ( which means -6db) when the distance is doubled. So, if you sit in the 1st row and have the strings sitting 4m in average away from you while the brass is 8m apart and the tamtam 10 there would be an offset of 6db for the brass and maybe another one, totaling 7db for the percussion.

Posted on Tue, May 24 2016 23:23
by Dietz
Joined on Tue, Aug 06 2002, Vienna / Europe, Posts 7761

In reality, things are slighty more complex than that. There's some interesting, highly condensed information available on this famous site:

-> http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculatorSonephon.htm

... this is a short quote from that page that gives us something to chew on:

Quote:
"Set the volume of the radio double as loud or half as loud." Who does not know, how to do this, is a normal person. Psycho-acousticians are telling us, that it has to be 10 dB level difference. Try to cool your hot coffee to the point "half as hot" - and think it over. Your own feeling may be much different to other persons.

An increase from 6 dB to 10 dB is perceived by most listeners as "double" the volume. These sensations are highly subjective, meaning that different people will hear this in different ways, and "twice as loud" is a much harder thing to guess than something.

The human perception of loudness is perceived differently from each subject. In other words it is one's own perception of sound and it is subjective of sound pressure level SPL.

/Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Tue, May 24 2016 23:42
by Dietz
Joined on Tue, Aug 06 2002, Vienna / Europe, Posts 7761

... to add a personal note to the subject: I'm a mixing music professionally since almost 30 years now, and I've not once felt the necessity to stick to any kind of rule for finding a good balance between all the elements involved  (... "good" in the sense of: Plausible and pleasing, not according to a code).

And in those cases where the balance wasn't _that_ good in the end, a list of values wouldn't have helped a lot, believe me!   

;-)

To coin a phrase: When we talk about the "realism" of virtual orchestration (or any kind of recorded music, actually), we don't mean the raw, merciless realism of a surveillance camera, but rather the well-shaped, thoroughly designed and edited visual impression of a movie. 

Kind regards,

/Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Wed, May 25 2016 02:28
by tek0010
Joined on Wed, Jun 17 2015, Posts 50
When distance is doubled, the air pressure is reduced by half (which means -6 dB). There's nothing subjective about this phenomenon. It happens even when no human happens to be listening.

Speaking for myself, when I use the word "realism", I do mean "the raw merciless realism of a surveillance camera".

Accurate simulations are useful to me. Unfortunately, some will take my words to mean I'm limiting my final results, but that would only be a mistaken interpretation of my statements.

I want a graphics program that can draw a perfect circle. Does that mean I'm limiting my final drawings to perfect circles? Fear not, that's not at all how I work. But still, I want a graphics program that can draw a perfect circle.

When I record live orchestra, I want a mic over the conductor, recording the air pressure which nature delivers to that point in space. Does that mean that I'm limiting myself, and my final product will consist of simply that one mic perspective? No, it doesn't mean that.
Posted on Wed, May 25 2016 09:28
by Dietz
Joined on Tue, Aug 06 2002, Vienna / Europe, Posts 7761

There's a clear, undisputable formula to define a circle. There's no formula to define "the" microphone (or a human ear drum in the real world.), though. Two types of microphones will give you different results, even when they're put in the the same position. Two audio engineers will create differernt results when asked to re-create their impressions (or their idea) of an orchestra playing in a certain space.

Science and art are of equal importance for human society, but the aren't the same. Trivial, but still something to keep in mind. The concepts which MIR is based on are scientifically underpinned, but its aims are purely artistic, not technical.

Kind regards,

/Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Wed, May 25 2016 10:02
by LuCsa
Joined on Sat, Dec 19 2015, Vienna, Posts 126

I'm happy that this question makes so many people discuss and all the answers are very interesting and helpful.

@JimmyHellfire:
Thank you for your ample answer! :-) I'd need rather 10 minutes of speaking time to express my thoughts, haha!
Yours are quite appealing.

Quote:
I personally use MIRx most of the time, and I do have natural volume activated across the board. But I can't remember a single project where I left CC11 as well as the mixer faders untouched - there's always something I need to change. And it's never the same either 

When using MIRx, can I still adjust volume by using the volume faders in the mixer? Or am I limited to CC11 and CC7?

I want to stress that, in no case, I'm looking for a world formula of composing/mixing with sampling libraries! It's not possible as many of you point out and I'm perfectly aware of that. :-)

I'm quoting tek0010

Quote:
Some here are confusing Natural Volume with Artistic Volume. Artistic Volume is a matter of taste. There are no rules. Use your ears. This is art, and it's all about the artists.

Natural Volume, in contrast, is not a matter of taste. It's a matter of simulation of a real orchestra in a real room. The simulation is either accurate or it's not. This is science, and it has nothing to do with artistic preference.

All my, sometimes vague, questions, which might sound like a cry for a "world formula", are just aiming at learning to differentiate between what he/she divides into "natural" and "artisitc" volume/rules and have the first settled to learn about and work with the latter. :-) Or to keep it short and simple: Get the science right and have my "personal orchestra" at hand on which I can more or less rely - which keeps me within the bounds of realism, while exploring... :-D

Thanks to you again,
Lukas

i7-6700K (4 @ 4.0GHz w/ HT) - 16GB RAM
Windows 10 Home 64bit - REAPER - Finale 2012 - Dorico
---
VI Pro 2 - VEP7 - MIRx Sage
SE1&2 - S-SE1&2 - SSP
Posted on Wed, May 25 2016 11:45
by tek0010
Joined on Wed, Jun 17 2015, Posts 50

Originally Posted by: Dietz Go to Quoted Post

There's a clear, undisputable formula to define a circle.

Similarly, there's clear undisputable math describing the air-pressure at a spatial point some defined distance from a sound-source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_equation

These equations were settled before microphones were invented; these equations don't depend on any artist's selection of microphones.

Originally Posted by: Dietz Go to Quoted Post
Science and art... aren't the same. Trivial, but still something to keep in mind.

I try to keep it in mind (That's why I offered "Artistic Volume" as a term to describe air-pressure levels which depends on an artist's personal preference).

Originally Posted by: Dietz Go to Quoted Post
The concepts which MIR is based on are scientifically underpinned, but its aims are purely artistic, not technical.

I'll take VSL's "Natural Volume" accordingly.

I still want tools which automatically simulate the air-pressure from an orchestra measured at a specific point in virtual space. I mean this as a benign statement about myself; but at this rate, I expect some will object, and maybe some will even accuse me of seeking a "perfect mix button" -- when I'm actually seeking no such thing.

Posted on Wed, May 25 2016 20:28
by Dietz
Joined on Tue, Aug 06 2002, Vienna / Europe, Posts 7761

Mr/Mrs. tek0010, you and your IP address remind me of a certain user several months ago ... hmmm.   

But anyway:

Originally Posted by: tek0010 Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: Dietz Go to Quoted Post

There's a clear, undisputable formula to define a circle.

Similarly, there's clear undisputable math describing the air-pressure at a spatial point some defined distance from a sound-source:

[...]

... which has nothing to do with a presumed "scientific volume" of an instrument on a stage. So many variables with fuzzy definitions: Which instrument? Who's the player? What notes were played? On what stage? And: Who has been listening?

To simplify the quest for an answer to all of these questions is what MIR's "Natural Volume" feature was meant to be used for. It's based on extensive measurements of instruments, fine-tuned by ear. It should be seen as suggestion, not as a rule, because there can't be one. 

                         ******

Dear all: I think that all aspects of this issue have been covered now, and I would suggest to close this thread now, before we start runnig in circles. Thanks for your understanding.

/Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Thu, May 26 2016 12:40
by GoranTch
Joined on Tue, Mar 14 2006, Berlin, Germany, Posts 524

deleted...

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