Is MIR still a useful tool with so many "reverbed" libraries out there?

I have a question, a fairly basic (hopefully not stupid) one:
Since most libraries these days have several mic positions and therefore include the reverb and the positioning of the instrument (section) within the orchestra - is there still use for a tool like MIR?

Would it add anything to my mix if I, for instance, use all Spitfire Symphonic samples?
As I see it the panning is included in the samples, and I can move it backwards/forwards by tweaking the reverb mix within the instrument.
What possibly could MIR add to that? Does anyone use MIR in combination with "reverbed" samples??

(btw: I'm asking because VSL offers a discount for MIR during November.)
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
MirPro is an amazing product. There is quite literally nothing else on the market that does exactly what it does and with the level of quality. The technology it uses with ambisonic encoding of stage positioning on numerous real world locations, is matched by nothing else.

Spitfire stuff has its own stage positioning and if you're happy with the ambience built into Spitfire, then you don't need Mir. MirPro is more about having total flexibility and adjust the room as you want it. You actually need dry, mono samples fed into Mir for it to do what it needs to do. If spitfire does not include close dry samples without panning, then you are already going to be a little compromised, though you can certainly find a way to dial back the reverb of Spitfire and you can also mono-ize it using other plugins, before sending to MirPro... But MirPro ideally works best with dry, closely mic'd instruments, without panning info.

I personally love MIrPro and I bought all the room packs. So I have a few dozen rooms to choose from, then after choosing the room there are a lot of parameters I can use to effect the way the room sounds. You have one main mic array, which you can move around to any location in the venue, and you can choose different kinds of mic arrays and configurations, with different mics and mic response too.. And there is a secondary main mic array that you use also to place further back in the venue and capture the lovely reverb of the space. then you can position the players around on the stage wherever you want, and it basically all goes through the ambisonic engine to create the panning, the distance, the width, etc of each player/section, as well as blend in the reverb of the room through the main and/or secondary mics. You have almost as much freedom and control as a real engineer would have if they were recording the musicians at the venue for real.

I bought MirPro because I also bought VSL libraries, which were all dry and needed something like this, but I have been so impressed by MirPro in general, it might be the best product VSL makes actually IMHO. Its truly amazing. But its not inexpensive and its not going to sound gorgeous out of the box with the click of two buttons. You will have to spend some time learning how to set it up and get the sound you want. Its not that bad once you get the hang of it, but numerous people have gotten it and then felt unable to get the sound they wanted. That is in contrast to something like Spitfire, where you just turn it on and it sounds amazing. But you have very little flexibility to change the room sound of Spitfire, so there is that.

I started out with just MirPro, then ended up buying the Synchron room pack because everyone said it was their favorite, but in the long run I just ended up getting them all and truly there are gems in every pack. There are some churches in there with gorgeous blooming reverb tails to play with and useful spaces, and also some small recording studio style rooms which you could use for any purpose at all including rock mixes or anything else.

MirPro is a killer product, but its not for everyone. In order to make use of it, you'll need to commit to the process a bit see where it gets you.
 
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Dewdman42

Senior Member
another strong reason to consider MirPro... If you are mixing and matching a lot of different sample libraries, then their built in room/stage ambience will not be matching. It can be very hard to intermingle stuff from different libraries. With a tool like MirPro, you basically run all the libraries as dry/mono as possible and mix them all through MirPro, then suddenly you have your libraries in the same room, with the same room acoustics and they will often blend very well together that way.

So for example, I use primarily three libraries: VSL, EWHO and Kirk Hunter. When I want to intermingle them in a project, I run EWHO with the close mics only, I turn off reverb in Kirk Hunter, and they blend together extremely well in the same project. Its also a way to make something like EWHO sound totally different. The room that was recorded with EWHO is absolutely fantastic for what it is...big hollywood sound. But if I want to use it for some reason in a more intimate or classical sounding scenario, I can run it though MirPro and suddenly it sounds more like a classical concert venue.
 
Haven't used MIR Pro, but I quite like Altiverb for orchestral stuff (I wasn't sold on it initially, but now I 100% am). It has a stereo positioner that you can use that works quite well. You need to be careful using impulses that are too close to the stage, or you can run into phase issues placing the instruments at the front of the stage, but it works quite well for me.

As a bonus, it's got a lot of post verbs that are more intended for audio in film (like IRs of the insides of cars). These aren't necessarily intended for music, but there's nothing to stop you from using them as such.

I generally bus my groups to sends for each section, position them on stage, and then sneak the return in under the "dry" audio. Usually fiddle with the mics in most of my samples for more close, some stage, and less to no far mics. Then you can EQ each section's reverb separately. Adds a touch of depth without completely blurring everything.

This is my most recent approach I've taken to reverb (extremely recent). Seems to work a lot better than what I was doing before. YMMV.
 
MirPro is an amazing product. There is quite literally nothing else on the market that does exactly what it does and with the level of quality. The technology it uses with ambisonic encoding of stage positioning on numerous real world locations, is matched by nothing else.

Spitfire stuff has its own stage positioning and if you're happy with the ambience built into Spitfire, then you don't need Mir. MirPro is more about having total flexibility and adjust the room as you want it. You actually need dry, mono samples fed into Mir for it to do what it needs to do. If spitfire does not include close dry samples without panning, then you are already going to be a little compromised, though you can certainly find a way to dial back the reverb of Spitfire and you can also mono-ize it using other plugins, before sending to MirPro... But MirPro ideally works best with dry, closely mic'd instruments, without panning info.

I personally love MIrPro and I bought all the room packs. So I have a few dozen rooms to choose from, then after choosing the room there are a lot of parameters I can use to effect the way the room sounds. You have one main mic array, which you can move around to any location in the venue, and you can choose different kinds of mic arrays and configurations, with different mics and mic response too.. And there is a secondary main mic array that you use also to place further back in the venue and capture the lovely reverb of the space. then you can position the players around on the stage wherever you want, and it basically all goes through the ambisonic engine to create the panning, the distance, the width, etc of each player/section, as well as blend in the reverb of the room through the main and/or secondary mics. You have almost as much freedom and control as a real engineer would have if they were recording the musicians at the venue for real.

I bought MirPro because I also bought VSL libraries, which were all dry and needed something like this, but I have been so impressed by MirPro in general, it might be the best product VSL makes actually IMHO. Its truly amazing. But its not inexpensive and its not going to sound gorgeous out of the box with the click of two buttons. You will have to spend some time learning how to set it up and get the sound you want. Its not that bad once you get the hang of it, but numerous people have gotten it and then felt unable to get the sound they wanted. That is in contrast to something like Spitfire, where you just turn it on and it sounds amazing. But you have very little flexibility to change the room sound of Spitfire, so there is that.

I started out with just MirPro, then ended up buying the Synchron room pack because everyone said it was their favorite, but in the long run I just ended up getting them all and truly there are gems in every pack. There are some churches in there with gorgeous blooming reverb tails to play with and useful spaces, and also some small recording studio style rooms which you could use for any purpose at all including rock mixes or anything else.

MirPro is a killer product, but its not for everyone. In order to make use of it, you'll need to commit to the process a bit see where it gets you.
apparently you are not familiar with SPAT, which does need a bigger wallet but is according to its user base much better.

It has its own challenges because of its routing back into your DAW, but its sound / positioning is of higher quality.

PS: I don’t have it but there’s enough to be found here in past posts

But for the OP: if you use spitfire product recorded in Air studio or the newer bbcso I would say that mir pro or spat are unnecessary and Would even disrupt the sound. And using the close mikes only from spitfire products would be ‘strange’.
 

re-peat

Senior Member
(...) Since most libraries these days have several mic positions and therefore include the reverb and the positioning of the instrument (section) within the orchestra - is there still use for a tool like MIR? Would it add anything to my mix if I, for instance, use all Spitfire Symphonic samples? (...)
No.

There is not a single good argument to use MIR(Pro) — or SPAT, for that matter — with Spitfire libraries, at least, those that were recorded in Air Lyndhurst.

MIR, like all spatializers, is, as was already pointed out earlier, at its best when fed dry or dry-ish sources with a not too wide stereo-image. (SPAT is a bit less fussy about what kind of sources it is happy with, but its best results are also with signals that don’t have too much reverberation baked in already.)

So if you’re thinking of combining Spitfire with MIR(Pro), you would have to make a choice: do I want to get the best out of the Spitfire samples, or do I want to get the best out of MIR? Because you can’t have both. If you opt for the latter, that will mean mutilating the Spitfire samples — stripping them of as much Lyndhurst as you can, and narrowing their stereo-image; a process that will all but ruin their sound (and their sound is, I assume, one of the reasons you bought these libraries for) — before sending them into MIR. And if you decide on the former approach, then MIR is a totally pointless addition to your mix anyway.

MIR (or SPAT) only makes sense if there are prominent parts in your music for instruments from VSL, Sample Modeling, XSample and suchlike. If, on the other hand, you work mostly with libraries from Spitfire, Cinesamples, OrchestralTools, etc. … then MIR(Pro), or any other spatializer, is of no use at all.

Andy Blaney’s demos for Spitfire offer several good lessons: apart from the fact that they’re all masterclasses in composition, orchestration and programming, a very valuable (and strangely often ignored) lesson is also the fact that Andy never messes with the samples or the space these samples were captured in. There’s a bit of unavoidable processing happening in his mixes, yes, but certainly nothing that alters the recorded integrity of the samples or their spatial definition. And that is one of the big reasons, next to his remarkable skill and musicianship of course, why his work sounds so good.

_
 
OP
xanderscores

xanderscores

Member
There is not a single good argument to use MIR(Pro) — or SPAT, for that matter — with Spitfire libraries, at least, those that were recorded in Air Lyndhurst.
Not even the argument stated above by Dewdman42 (putting several libraries in one room)?

I didn't buy Spitfire because of the reverb, but because of their expressiveness which I think VSL samples lack. However I don't intend to make my compositions all about Spitfire samples.

If you would use Spitfire alongside other libraries, what would you do to put them in one room? Is there another (convenient) way besides MIR to achieve that?
 

Henu

Senior Member
Is there another (convenient) way besides MIR to achieve that?
Yes: VSS, SPAT...all these. Which do all the same thing. Because all these are built for convenience in order to spare people from learning how to do it manually.

In case you don't want to use the products intended for the purpose, there is not a convenient way to do this. There's only hard work, testing, trying and learning. But trust me, when you get a grip on that, it opens a ton of different possibilities and windows for your production chops.

While I understand the usual mantra of "but I'm a composer, not a mix engineer" and "these things are supposed to help the composer to actually compose instead of fighting with technical issues", it shouldn't mean we shouldn't aim for higher knowledge on things that we need every day. Even if we liked it or not, today's composers need also to be producers and mixing engineers and by learning the stuff instead of having to rely on constant 3rd party shortcuts will make us to achieve even better and more flexible results in the end for our music.

The thing also is that the "putting everything to the same room" is even more about the EQ, volume and panning than reverbs, on which people tend usually get really fixated about. When using different libraries, correct mic positions combined with correct EQ'ing and volume takes you already 90% there without any additional reverbs, which is just the icing of the cake, really.
 

re-peat

Senior Member
Not even the argument stated above by Dewdman42 (putting several libraries in one room)?
No, not even that argument. Others may disagree, but I’m of the opinion that, if you combine different libraries with different spatial characteristics, you should pick one library as the one that will define the space of your mix, and leave that library spatially untampered with. (Which also means: not messing with its stereo-image.) That way, you’re assured of one integer, uncorrupted space for the core material of your mix. And then it’s simply a matter of adding whatever needs adding (or changing whatever needs changing) so as to make the other libraries compatible with the space of your chosen library. Which is much easier than people often suggest or believe it is. (You get yourself a decent reverb, you learn how to work with it — which is what a lot of people tend to overlook, it often seems to me — and you’re ready to tackle whatever spatial challenges any imagineable combination of libraries might throw at you. Seriously.)

If anything from Spitfire Lyndhurst is among the libraries you work with, it is wisest — still in my opinion — to pick that one as the space-definer of your mix, as these libraries have got such a pronounced (and difficult to ignore) spatial imprint to begin with.

See, it’s either that, or destroying the sound and the space of your libraries, and for the life of me, I can’t see why anyone would be prepared to do that. I mean: you buy great-sounding stuff, then you destroy that sound (spatially and timbrally) in order to send ‘suitable material’ into MIR — to have the satisfaction that all your ruined sound will now happen in one and the same space, I suppose — and after that, when you hear all that unpleasant sonic porridge come gulping out of MIR (*), you’re faced with finding extremely difficult solutions to restore, hopefully (but highly unlikely), some degree of audio and spatial quality to that mess? Why would you wanna work that way? When a much-much-much better sound is much-much-much easier to achieve.

(*) Just to be clear: MIR is not to blame here. It simply isn’t being given a chance to do something good with this way of working.

_
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
There are other ways to places players in rooms besides MirPro. The OP asked about MirPro because its on sale right now. so a couple points in response to the last few posts...

Spitfire sounds wonderful and the room is a huge part of its sound. And definitely if you are working on a project that needs that particular room and no other sample libraries involved, then you don't need MirPro, or SPAT or any other complexity. That is the whole reason Spitfire recorded it that way. Super simple.

Its when you want a different sounding room and still want to use that library...or other libraries...or combine several libraries....and you need them to sound like they are all in the same room.. That's when a tool like MirPro or SPAT or some others too, can help.

In addition to MirPro and SPAT, there is VirtualSoundStage, and there is Eareverb, and there are other solutions too and you don't even need to buy a solution, it can actually be done, if you know what you're doing with simple tools already provided by your DAW, though that is quite involved.

The OP's question was about MirPro. As far as I know, MirPro is the only product that uses Ambisonic information, captured from real rooms, so that you can place your players and mics in the room's space and recreate what would have happened if you were actually there at that space with the mics in your hand. I don't actually know how SPAT works, its way too expensive for me anyway, so I won't be getting it, but I do not think its using Ambisonics. The lovers of SPAT all like to get into arguments about what sounds better and I have no idea, maybe SPAT does sound better, it ought to since its so expensive, but still I do not think it has the convenience that MirPro has to basically change the sound of your mockup by moving players around on virtual stages, moving mics around, changing which real-world room you want them in, etc. I don't know of any other product that can do this to the level that MirPro can, because of the way it was created using ambisonic encoding.

it is quite simply a fantastic product! Some people may grunt and say they can get by without it because they know what they are doing. Ok.
 

re-peat

Senior Member
I do not think it has the convenience that MirPro has to basically change the sound of your mockup by moving players around on virtual stages, moving mics around, changing which real-world room you want them in, etc.
Dewd, except for the real rooms, SPAT offers all that. And *A WHOLE LOT* more. (I made a couple of videos about SPAT a few years ago. If you're interested, I'll see if I can find them.)
And as for those 'real rooms': I really don't see the appeal of that flimsy slice of reality, if what you're sending into MIR is as compromised as a library that either has been sonically and spatially tampered with (and thus had to say goodbye to quite a lot of its recorded reality), or a library (I'm thinking of the products of one of the three developers which you mentioned earlier) that sounds, to my ears anyway, completely unrealistic and quite bad to begin with.

_
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
I don't wish to debate with a SPAT lover about it. I'm glad you love what you're using! I won't be using SPAT and I don't need to see your videos.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
It wouldn't think about putting an ambient source through MIR (or any other tool that does spatializing, tampers with the stereo image etc.)
 
OP
xanderscores

xanderscores

Member
This has already been a very informative thread for me. Thanks to you all for your insights!
I guess I'll take a pass on MIR then and see what I can do with my Spitfire libraries as a core component. I'm new to using them, so one step at a time. :)
 

ptram

Senior Member
Another perspective is that of using Spitfire libraries with their own natural placement and reverb, and place dry libraries (or acoustic recordings) in a similar space with a spatializer.

Paolo
 

mikeh-375

old school
Dewd, except for the real rooms, SPAT offers all that. And *A WHOLE LOT* more. (I made a couple of videos about SPAT a few years ago. If you're interested, I'll see if I can find them.)
And as for those 'real rooms': I really don't see the appeal of that flimsy slice of reality, if what you're sending into MIR is as compromised as a library that either has been sonically and spatially tampered with (and thus had to say goodbye to quite a lot of its recorded reality), or a library (I'm thinking of the products of one of the three developers which you mentioned earlier) that sounds, to my ears anyway, completely unrealistic and quite bad to begin with.

_
@re-peat I'd love to see those videos and would certainly appreciate a link. I've been a MIR user for many years, but ever since the trend for baked-in ambience started I've been a little unsteady about combining it with MIR. I do get results, but the whole process feels a little flawed. As you have suggested that SPAT has MIR's capability and more, a perspective from a composer would be very welcome.
I missed out on the earlier versions of just the Spat reverb and regret that knowing now that if I want it, I'm gonna have to also fork out much more for stuff I wont use.