A rant on the hiss that's in so many orchestral libraries.

OP
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Headlands

Active Member
I do believe The reason why this type of hissing noise or for that matter any type of noise does not bother composers or mixers of today is because of the noise removal tools that are available to use

Even if you have a very noisy sample in your mind its as if its not there because of these tools, izotope RX.

To day yes we can do anything so bring as much noisy samples as you like and I will just slap a noise removing tool and remove it 100%

a lot of noise is left alone as it does remind us that humans are playing the instruments and gives an organic effect that is very appealing most of the time.

Bottom line is noise should not bother any mixer or composer in any way, we just simply have a million tools at our hands to put things right or the way we want to hear our music we are drowning in make it good tools.
This is overall an ineffective means to do it however, not only because of CPU issues (RX Spectral De-Noise is a huge CPU hog because of how good it is) but also because it's just not as good as attacking it from the source. RX can remove a good amount of the noise but it will almost always affect the sound negatively (I use RX Spectral De-Noise all of the time and it's never as good-sounding when it's on, but I'm a stickler for details so what I can say). RX -- even though it's an extremely great and useful tool -- does not do the job as well that should be done from the source and/or recorded in a way that doesn't induce as much noise. "They do noise reduction but too much yields that hollowish sound" was said above, and he's totally right.

There are major libraries that don't have this excessive noise issue, so I know it can be done.
 
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OP
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Headlands

Active Member
if im not mistaken, some of these orchestral recordings not only use vintage gear like tape, old tube mics, preamps and ribbon mics, but also use a LOT of them. seeing from the spitfire info videos , there is a ton of mics i dont normally see in normal orchestral recordings. plus these low velocity articulations are in a vacuum and not in context with a wide dynamic range. in movies and orchestral recordings can be masked. and im guessing each pass contains all or several of the mics just so they can add the different mic perspectives or have a thicker sound. and the gains remains the same as to not add or reduce noise from one articulation to another and one instrument to another. they do noise reduction but too much yields that hollowish sound.
but as usualy, its not as easy. we just see it as users and each library is different. different halls, different equipment, engineers etc. and im pretty sure everyone in that chain of events understands signal flow and has heard the noise and yet had to compromise. they bring in famous recording engineers so its not like they dont know what they are doing.
I hear you and agree. Famous engineers or not, though, some libraries have a fantastic sound and don't have as much noise. I contend that a happy medium can be found that doesn't result in the excessive amount of noise with some libraries especially at soft dynamics. I've also worked with a couple of famous engineers (when I was an assistant) who made big mistakes and didn't see them, so that in and of itself doesn't mean it will be the done the best that it can be, though we would hope that it is.
 

novaburst

Senior Member
There are major libraries that don't have this excessive noise issue,
then this should be the library for you to get problem solved,

A clean mix is not always the best mix a well balanced mix is much more preferred, RX is just one tool there are many others if RX does not do it for you, we are in 2019 in the digital world any ting is possible and noise is the easiest thing to deal with
 
OP
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Headlands

Active Member
then this should be the library for you to get problem solved,

A clean mix is not always the best mix a well balanced mix is much more preferred, RX is just one tool there are many others if RX does not do it for you, we are in 2019 in the digital world any ting is possible and noise is the easiest thing to deal with
Yes, I do know that about mixing -- have been doing it professionally for a long time. This thread is more about a personal wish that would make my life (and from what I've read here, plenty of others as well) more flexible with composing and then mixing. There's no solution that works for everyone -- this is just my personal wish and rant. :)
 

halfwalk

Active Member
This bothers the crap out if me in quiet high notes on violin. I hear it in every library. It sounds like crap.
I think it's tough because there's such a fine line between "bow noise" and just plain old signal noise. So if you clean it too much, some purists will say there's not enough bow/rosin noise. But if you don't clean it enough, then others will complain the library is too noisy. Violins are just noisy instruments ;)
 
OP
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Headlands

Active Member
I think it's tough because there's such a fine line between "bow noise" and just plain old signal noise. So if you clean it too much, some purists will say there's not enough bow/rosin noise. But if you don't clean it enough, then others will complain the library is too noisy. Violins are just noisy instruments ;)
Bow/rosin noise isn't hiss of course... but yeah, noise reduction can unfortunately affect that noticeably sometimes if not done well.
 

X-Bassist

Senior Member
Yes, I do know that about mixing -- have been doing it professionally for a long time. This thread is more about a personal wish that would make my life (and from what I've read here, plenty of others as well) more flexible with composing and then mixing. There's no solution that works for everyone -- this is just my personal wish and rant. :)
I can appreaciate your distaste for the excess noise, ever since I started recording in 1985 I’ve been trying to get hiss out of gear and tape recordings.

But the real issue is the buildup of noise wih all the notes you play, even a low noise floor can add up with samples. What needs to happen is what happens with foley recordings (recorded sound effects for film/TV), where we record in a room with an extremely low noise floor, with padded air conditioning ducts, and quiet performers (I know, studio musicians don’t realize how crucial this is to quiet recordings - low dynamics - foley artists literally hold thier breath when doing quiet foley, or you get “key turn- breeeeath- key stops turning”.

On my last feature there were 40 tracks of foley (it can go much higher), without this prep (a quiet room, quiet mics, quiet preamps right into protools) many of the tracks would be useless to cut or mix, and layering them up does start to add up quickly in a quiet scene. But I have gotten the recordings to be dead quiet, so when stacked they still don’t make a noticable hiss noise in the scene.

Many times with music noise is more forgiven, except for the quietest scenes, as you say. But I agree it is time to rethink the studio space for sample recording. Super quiet rooms that still have some character to them, mics with extremely low noise floors and preamps to match. Shortest cable runs possible. Isolated and conditioned power.

Then- yes, I’m sorry to any players reading - screwing or taping things down like stands and chairs, nothing loose or wooden should be allowed in the studio (do you know every foley artist has to be stripped of jewlery, pocket items, glasses, belts, anything that might make noise- and wear light soft clothing?) It’s all to get that noise floor (and extra noises) down to a minimum.

Then they would need to take special care when recording low dynamics, no excess noise or breaths, only people that are needed in the room, etc. Measuring the noise floor in the room (on the day) and on the recording (mics/preamps/summing) then calculating the polyphony noise floor of let’s say 32 voices is possible. But it will probably take all this and more (cleaner mics, preamps, careful editing and programming) to get to a final noise floor that will make you smile.

I’d be happy at this point to just get the talking and chair squeaks out of my Spitfire/Cinesamples/8Dio samples. ;)

PS - And I did an RX pass on all the samples in Sonokenetics Carnival Organ- more hissy than any library I’ve heard- and it helped, but it does suck some of the life out of the samples -air and room- so I’m not sure I would do anything but the lightest amount on orchestral samples. I hope developers can start to realize the importance of the recording space noise floor and performance noise, regardless of how famous the room is.
 

Andrew0568

Member
I'm still pretty new to all this, but I was surprised at how much noise Metropolis Ark 2 has. The low strings patch has an incredible tone, but there's so much noise in the samples.

[AUDIOPLUS=https://vi-control.net/community/attachments/ark2-mp3.19098/][/AUDIOPLUS]
 

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halfwalk

Active Member
I'm still pretty new to all this, but I was surprised at how much noise Metropolis Ark 2 has. The low strings patch has an incredible tone, but there's so much noise in the samples.

[AUDIOPLUS=https://vi-control.net/community/attachments/ark2-mp3.19098/][/AUDIOPLUS]
This has been discussed on this forum in the past. Out of the box, all the instruments have a bunch of gain applied to them, so that you're playing pianissimo samples but at the perceived volume of at least mezzo forte. Turn it down to what it should be when playing pp dynamic, and you won't hear the noise as much. Of course, you won't hear the instruments much either, but that's kind of the point of pianissimo.

Take another library's pp layer and add 12db gain to it, and you'll likely hear the same kind of noise.
 

X-Bassist

Senior Member
I'm still pretty new to all this, but I was surprised at how much noise Metropolis Ark 2 has. The low strings patch has an incredible tone, but there's so much noise in the samples.

[AUDIOPLUS=https://vi-control.net/community/attachments/ark2-mp3.19098/][/AUDIOPLUS]
This was heavily discussed when the library was released, the same issues were discussed for Spitfire Audio's Albion V Tundra ("on the edge of silence") on it's release too- though not to the same degree as OT Ark 2.

Again, I feel this is part in due to the noise levels of the room and equipment, layered up more when you add more notes, instruments, mic positions, etc. The respective studios (Teledex and Air Studios) would have to be reworked, or switch recording to a newer studio, to get the noise down for sample recording (room acoustics, gobos, A/C work(?), electrical work, wiring, mics, preamps, consoles or summing amps or any other outboard gear...). It's a big project and unfortunately, both companies are heavily invested in sticking with the same studios (for a universal sound across libraries and the notoriety these studios have), so a change would involve rethinking their whole line.

But considering Spitfire have come up with a new studio series and both are working up brand new custom samplers, it could be time for them to rethink recording soft samples. Creating a new sampling studio (large but uber quiet) is expensive but in my mind a much better use of funds (if you want to stand out in a crowded marketplace) than creating new software or interface design, which both companies are spending big dollars on ATM.
 

Dietz

Space Explorer
I can appreaciate your distaste for the excess noise, ever since I started recording in 1985 I’ve been trying to get hiss out of gear and tape recordings.

[...] I agree it is time to rethink the studio space for sample recording. Super quiet rooms that still have some character to them, mics with extremely low noise floors and preamps to match. Shortest cable runs possible. Isolated and conditioned power.

Then- yes, I’m sorry to any players reading - screwing or taping things down like stands and chairs, nothing loose or wooden should be allowed in the studio (do you know every foley artist has to be stripped of jewlery, pocket items, glasses, belts, anything that might make noise- and wear light soft clothing?) It’s all to get that noise floor (and extra noises) down to a minimum.

Then they would need to take special care when recording low dynamics, no excess noise or breaths, only people that are needed in the room, etc. Measuring the noise floor in the room (on the day) and on the recording (mics/preamps/summing) then calculating the polyphony noise floor of let’s say 32 voices is possible. But it will probably take all this and more (cleaner mics, preamps, careful editing and programming) to get to a final noise floor that will make you smile. [...].
... sounds pretty much like the VSL sample sessions at Silent Stage, like we started them back in 2001. We even had rules about eating and drinking before especially susceptible recordings there. 8-)
 

X-Bassist

Senior Member
... sounds pretty much like the VSL sample sessions at Silent Stage, like we started them back in 2001. We even had rules about eating and drinking before especially susceptible recordings there. 8-)
Yes, although I don't recommend a room with zero reflections, it can tend to suck the life out of recordings (6K and up). Even foley rooms have diffusers and multiple surfaces, to keep the sound from being too sterile. Some early reflections and room sound can be nice (and essential on things like Percussion and Brass) but that is separate from room noise, performer noise, and equiptment/wiring noise. A great sounding room can have a character that adds life to the recordings, but also be designed from the ground up (like foley rooms) for the lowest noise possible.

Finding a decent size, great sounding room that is exceptionally quiet is not impossible, but can be expensive depending on where it is (like near a factory, highway, or train tracks) and what needs to be done (air duct/ AC work, Isolation of the floor and walls, heavy duty electrical conditioning). I think more developers will figure this out as all other factors are cleaned up and noise buildup still remains.
 
OP
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Headlands

Active Member
Yes, although I don't recommend a room with zero reflections, it can tend to suck the life out of recordings (6K and up). Even foley rooms have diffusers and multiple surfaces, to keep the sound from being too sterile. Some early reflections and room sound can be nice (and essential on things like Percussion and Brass) but that is separate from room noise, performer noise, and equiptment/wiring noise. A great sounding room can have a character that adds life to the recordings, but also be designed from the ground up (like foley rooms) for the lowest noise possible.

Finding a decent size, great sounding room that is exceptionally quiet is not impossible, but can be expensive depending on where it is (like near a factory, highway, or train tracks) and what needs to be done (air duct/ AC work, Isolation of the floor and walls, heavy duty electrical conditioning). I think more developers will figure this out as all other factors are cleaned up and noise buildup still remains.
I'm referring to hiss, though, not room tone. Room noise/tone/etc. is another consideration/issue, of course.
 

Rctec

Senior Member
Umm, there aren't that many...
Yes, there are. Every note added to a chord adds all the microphone/preamp again. We use roughly 32 microphones at AIR - straight to digital - and we still have to de-noise our samples very, very carefully. Running a constant room-tone sample in the track helps mask all that. But great sounding mics are a little bit noisy. So, a 10-note chord is 320 microphones, and if you use release samples, you double that...
 

Ned Bouhalassa

Senior Member
Trying to remember the last time excessive noise affected my compositional process/inspiration/clients’ satisfaction... nope, can’t think of one time. Oh wait, yes, it was when I could add room-tone noise, and that noise would not go away as long as the track was armed (the otherwise lovely Midnight Grand).

Maybe I have a different threshold, having played with bass/guitar amps, owning a very-fan-noisy Memorymoog+, adding noise when programming synth patches, etc.
 
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chibear

Active Member
After following this thread from the beginning, the question remains in my head (and at the user end, not the developer BTW) "Why not just EQ to attenuate or eliminate the problem completely?" My thinking may be a bit naive, but if you are hearing the hiss then it is either above the upper partials of the note or has wiped them out. Either way it can go IF it bothers you. Why should devs keep it? Because one person's poison is another's spice.