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Microphones: Mixes and stereo width
Last post Sun, May 15 2022 by Beat Kaufmann, 9 replies.
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Posted on Sun, May 01 2022 13:21
by Pixelpoet1985
Joined on Fri, Dec 23 2016, Germany, Posts 324

Some questions:

  • The close mic is a mono signal, but why it is narrowed in the mixer? In my opinion this "destroys" the sound. Why not pan it instead of narrowing and powerpanning? I compared with some other developers, and their close microphones sound different, more like a combination of close and mids, they are never that narrow.
  • The same question for the mid microphones. But I think here it makes sense to narrow the stereo width. 
  • The decca C is a mono signal, too. Why isn't this narrowed then? In some of the percussion presets it is narrowed, though.

I know: “If it sounds good, it is good.” But I simply want to understand the microphones in the Synchron libraries. What would be a "normal" recording situation?

I often tend to use the "default" preset without any panning etc., even though I like the room mix most of the time. Except for the strings: They don't have these wide positioned outriggers (like brass and woodwinds), isn't it? On the microphone screenshots you can see that the surround microphones of strings and percussion are in the center instead on the sides. Is this true? So why do you pan the room mix by 20% and force them to be that wide? In my opinion, again, it "destroys" the sound and makes it dead.

Posted on Wed, May 04 2022 11:27
by Bastiaan
Joined on Thu, Aug 27 2020, Posts 18

My question to you is: even if you get an answer from Paul or other VSL peeps, how does it help you create better music? The mic's and their recorded samples are what they are.

I guess its nice to know if you really want to get into the technicality of the recording session.. but in the end I'd rather focus on my compositions and write music.

Posted on Wed, May 04 2022 17:10
by Pixelpoet1985
Joined on Fri, Dec 23 2016, Germany, Posts 324

What's the problem in answering these questions? I just want to understand why specific things are done this and that way. I don't question VSL's mixing engineers, they should know what they're doing, shouldn't they?

I'm interested in these technical things, because VSL is different to other developers: For example, they provide the tree signal separated in LR and C, which no other developer offer. I also know that VSL uses other microphones with a different sound, the majority of other developers uses Neumann M50s. Of course, it's great to have all the flexibility the signals offer, but on the other hand it makes things more complicated for inexperienced users.

Also: The mixes are not unified across the board, and the same is true to all the SYNCHRON-ized libraries. The mixes are done with different mixing engineers and their sonic preferences. Some use room reverb, other use plate reverbs etc. Dietz's MIRx settings sound different to the SYNCHRON-ized libraries, too. For example we have three different settings for the Appassionata strings: in the SYNCHRON-ized SE, in the SYNCHRON-ized library and with MIRx. In my opinion, they should re-work this and make everything the same. But that's another topic.

Posted on Thu, May 05 2022 05:26
by Bastiaan
Joined on Thu, Aug 27 2020, Posts 18

Don't get me wrong, its definitely interesting. I also geek out on audio engineering topics so it would be nice to read up about.

The reason why I asked is becasue I do not understand how this information helps me make more insightful choices when it comes to the composing or mixing process.

Nevertheless, would be a good read for sure.

Posted on Thu, May 05 2022 10:17
by PaoloT
Joined on Tue, Dec 27 2016, Posts 1315

Originally Posted by: Pixelpoet1985 Go to Quoted Post

The mixes are not unified across the board

Another inconsistency is how CC are assigned to the different mic sets. When making my own presets, I take care to also unify them under a coherent CC map. This makes controlling the mix from a DAW much easier to track.

Yes, some more tutorials about mixing would be a great help for the geekiest among us. I'm learning from all the references I can find in my own library or online, but there are things specific to VSL that can't find answer elsewhere.

Paolo

Posted on Fri, May 13 2022 00:09
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1942

Originally Posted by: Pixelpoet1985 Go to Quoted Post

  • The close mic is a mono signal, but why it is narrowed in the mixer? In my opinion [...] again, it "destroys" the sound and makes it dead.

First, if it is indeed a mono signal, whatever you do in the power panner is going to leave it mono.

I never thought to question this, my assumption is, yes, it would likely be mono

I tested it to see if, indeed certain of these channels which look mono are mono. My results so far have been yes. So treating a mono signal for what it is and reflecting it by a visual in a power panner does absolutely nothing to the sound. It sure appears to be a mono signal. 

The way to prove mono signal here is a tool known as a Goniometer. Here's a screenshot of it on  [Synchron Strings Pro] Vlas/close channel solo outputted to an input channel. one image is the channel in the Synchron mixer at 0%; then I open it up to 33.3%. There is no difference.

civilization 3 attached the following image(s):
CloseU0020ch.widthU00200.jpg (161kb) downloaded 1 time(s).

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Posted on Fri, May 13 2022 00:10
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1942

Now, the shot of the channel at width = 33.3%

civilization 3 attached the following image(s):
CloseU0020ch.widthU002033.3.jpg (167kb) downloaded 0 time(s).

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Posted on Fri, May 13 2022 00:16
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1942

and of course the image is exactly this with the Goniometer's MONO button pressed.

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Posted on Sun, May 15 2022 01:49
by Beat Kaufmann
Joined on Fri, Jan 03 2003, Switzerland/Brugg, Posts 1763

Originally Posted by: Pixelpoet1985 Go to Quoted Post

Some questions:

  • The close mic is a mono signal, but why it is narrowed in the mixer? In my opinion this "destroys" the sound. Why not pan it instead of narrowing and powerpanning? I compared with some other developers, and their close microphones sound different, more like a combination of close and mids, they are never that narrow.
  • The same question for the mid microphones. But I think here it makes sense to narrow the stereo width. 
  • The decca C is a mono signal, too. Why isn't this narrowed then? In some of the percussion presets it is narrowed, though.

I know: “If it sounds good, it is good.” But I simply want to understand the microphones in the Synchron libraries. What would be a "normal" recording situation?

I often tend to use the "default" preset without any panning etc., even though I like the room mix most of the time. Except for the strings: They don't have these wide positioned outriggers (like brass and woodwinds), isn't it? On the microphone screenshots you can see that the surround microphones of strings and percussion are in the center instead on the sides. Is this true? So why do you pan the room mix by 20% and force them to be that wide? In my opinion, again, it "destroys" the sound and makes it dead.

The answers to your questions regarding miking depend on practice.

Example Decca Tree. This has 3 microphones, which are arranged in a triangle. Two to the side (L and R) and one microphone at the top of the triangle. This "tip" looks into the orchestra.
Because usually in the DECCA Tree arrangement the microphones are all about 2m away from each other, using only Right and Left would create an acoustic "hole" in the stereo center. Therefore, there is a third microphone in the center (Decca Center) that you mix in so that the (hole) is naturally filled. If you use only the Decca microphones L and R and add Decca C slowly you will notice what is meant.
---------------

Why mono and not stereo?
Basically, in orchestral recordings, the main (stereo) mikrophones are responsible in the front to record the main action. In order to be able to emphasize individual instruments (e.g. quieter or more distant instruments) better in the mix, you give the individual instruments spot (support-) microphones. If a sound source (of an instrument) sounds more or less punctual - e.g. an oboe - it makes little sense to support it in stereo. If it is a wider arrangement - e.g. a trumpet ensemble - then stereo support is quite appropriate. Moreover, something that is far away is more likely to sound mono than something that is in close proximity to the listener. I haven't checked, but presumably instruments farther away are probably more likely to be present only with a mono spot microphone.

Bad luck, of course, if you want to bring such a mono-supported instrument acoustically right up to the front. But even then you can add some of the room mics (DECCA L&R) so that again some stereo effect is present or use some extra reverb.

So the engineers at VSL didn't want to make it hard for you, but did it as they always do when they record orchestras. In a real orchestra recording, where everyone is playing at the same time, it adds that each microphone has a little bit of everything on it. Those are real problems.

----------------------------------------------

So if you want to place an instrument with the microphone settings at a certain place on stage, you can do that with the panner. If there is only a mono signal for "Close" or "Mid" the panner is no problem. With Decca (not Decca-C) or/and "Room" (proportion) you can move the instrument arbitrarily back and forth in depth. Even if it may not always sound perfect, you can hardly hear it later in the overall mix.

All the best

Beat

www.musik-produktion-createc.ch (Konzertaufnahmen, Musik mit Samples)
at www.beat-kaufmann.com : MIXING an ORCHESTRA - TUTORIAL
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