Mic positions in sample library VS Early Reflections. (And some other questions)

Discussion in 'Mixing, Post-Production, and Effects' started by thevisi0nary, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. thevisi0nary

    thevisi0nary Senior Member

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    Jan 17, 2018
    I know there is a lot of information on use of reverb, and I know that it ultimately comes down to what you prefer, but it is reassuring to hear what other people do so that you are more comfortable developing a new setup or technique. So just a couple questions I wanted to ask.

    1. Mic positions in sample libraries vs Er's and spatial positioners. I've been reading a lot about putting different libraries in the same space using Er's, what I am wondering is if this is necessary if your sample library already comes with different mic positions (Close, Tree, Ambient, etc). With these mic controls is there any point to using something for early reflections? In what situation would you and why?

    2. When you try to "put things in the same room", does this matter more in terms of the tail? Or does this still apply to ER's?

    3. How often and why are you sending the parent of a group track or sending all individual tracks to a reverb bus?

    4. How much, if at all, processing such as eq are you doing on the reverb bus? What about before and after the reverb?

    Thank you for any help.
     
  2. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    1. no point
    2. this one is a little complicated. If, at the extreme, you have close-mic'd brass and far-away-mic'd strings, you'd have both an ER problem and a tail problem. But if you match mic distance and drape a little reverb over the result, you solve both problems
    3. I use reverb sends on all individual tracks* so I can use more or less, and longer or shorter reverb depending on the sound of the original samples. Not sure I 100% understand your question here. I also have at least one separate reverb for each section (strings, brass, per, choir etc) so I can deliver individual stems, but that's militated by the dub stage requirements, not a mixing preference.
    4. Many people will roll off bottom and some top (using both high and low filters, in other words) before the source hits the reverb. You roll off the lows so as not to add extra rumble to the reverb, and roll off some highs so as not to add too much sizzle. Many / all? reverbs have controls that allow you to do this on the reverb itself so you don't have to interpose EQ plugins to do it. There are no exact rules here, though some people claim there are. I have heard people argue, for example, that you want a pretty tight band for snare reverb -- you cut both highs and lows fairly aggressively. After applying reverb you certainly might put bus compression or overall mastering plugins, but it's more usual to process the signal with EQ and what-not before it hits the reverb. Not so much after

    As an overall comment I personally think a lot of people spend way too much time on early reflections and all this jabber. It is absolutely useful to try to get a natural sound by matching mic positions if that's possible, and that takes care of it.

    * By "individual tracks," I mean that I break the audio recordings of strings into about 8 stereo pairs, the drums into 10, etc. and I'm able to regulate the reverb send for each one of those stereo pairs. So, "high short strings" may need more reverb than "contrabass." I don't have a separate send for V1, V2, Vla. Timpani have a separate reverb send control from snares or ethnic drums. Some tracks, like synth bass, may not need any reverb at all.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    Joe Maron likes this.
  3. OP
    OP
    thevisi0nary

    thevisi0nary Senior Member

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    Jan 17, 2018
    Thank you very much, this clears up a lot for me.

    So in the instance of question 2, with the close miced brass and the far miced strings, you would try to put them in the same mic distance with er's or spatial positioners or the sample library included mics, and then glue them with a reverb (if I am understanding correctly).

    For question number 3 I was asking if you would send all individual tracks to the reverb bus or would you send the parent track of each group (ie sending each brass instrument or the single parent track of that group). Actually I just read your edit, thank you.

    Last question I have, are there any situations where you are automating the level of reverb send? I don't mean the reverb bus itself I mean the level of one instruments send to the reverb. If so, what type of situation would typically benefit from this? I would imagine it can't be that often.
     
  4. aaronventure

    aaronventure Senior Member

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    Apr 10, 2017
    1. Mic controls are only for the recorded space. No mic setting of a scoring stage sound will get you the sound of a hall recording. ERs, on the other hand...

    2. Well, in bigger spaces, early reflections tend to appear later and are more spaced apart because it takes the sound longer to reach the walls. It's (50%) the same as you near a wall on one side, though.

    3. I work mostly with dry(ish) libraries these days (except for percussion), so very often.

    4. It truly depends on the library. If I send a library with a sound that I like to a reverb and there's a resonance somewhere, I'll fix it on the reverb bus. If, somewhere along the way, one of the libraries sounds fine but there's a weird bump when sent to that same reverb, I'll add an EQ, route that EQ to channels 3 and 4 instead and then send channels 3 and 4 to that reverb, leaving me with no EQ on the dry signal, just on the signal being sent to the reverb.

    So yes, it depends. I have sound goal and work towards it. Clear, full-bodied and dark, whatever. Anything that's not playing along gets EQ'd.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    thevisi0nary

    thevisi0nary Senior Member

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    Jan 17, 2018
    Thank you very much for this info!

    1. Am I correct in assuming that what you are referring to here is when the goal of the song is to be in an orchestral room setting? Are there non orchestral settings you have run into where this became important to you and you wanted to use er's instead of the mic positions in the sample library? When you do use er's, do you turn everything but the close mics off in the sample library?

    2. Got it. Thanks!

    3. So you send more individual instruments to your reverb send as opposed to the entire instrument group? In a situation where you were working with less dry but not incredibly reverberated instruments, what would you do?

    4. When you encounter that resonance, do you prefer to have it eq'd before it hits the reverb? Are there any situations where you would process the reverb send after the reverb insert? And for the second part about sending to channels 3 and 4, it's funny that you mention this because I just learned how to do this from the reaper forum. It's really helpful! You don't have to make an entirely new track just to eq something before it hits the send.
     
  6. aaronventure

    aaronventure Senior Member

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    Apr 10, 2017
    No, I wouldn't use just the close mics. I would use all the mic positions I have, and depending on how they sound and what I want to achieve, I'd add just on IR reverb on top of it. Think of it like an extension of the current recorded ambience. Don't worry about it being "right" or "wrong"; the goal is for it to sound good.

    Mic positions are invaluable in creating the stereo image because of all the natural delay between the signals (sound travel time). Depending on how the library was mic'd and what I want it to sound like, I'd then add additional delay taps and re-image it, adjust with EQs, etc.

    The only situation where I would send individual instruments as opposed to a library bus is if I need different amounts of reverb on them.

    Even if the library is as drenched as Uppsala right now, as long as it has any crossfading and I detect the room disappearing on fast modwheel movements, I'll put reverb on it. Take Berlin Strings, for example. Not overly wet, but it'll still sound weird as all hell when you do a fast crossfade. So instead of putting in ambient mics, I send the whole thing to an IR reverb.

    Mostly only on IR reverbs. Sometimes, they'll have a bump here or there that I dislike, or will be missing highs, lows, whatever. It comes from the room response, the speakers used to play back the sine sweep, and then the microphones and preamps used to record the response, so if I need to reshape the frequencies, I'll use an EQ.

    Another thing I like to do is put a multiband compressor on the reverb track, slam the shit out of mids (600 Hz - 6 KHz), slam other two bands a bit less, and boost the gain to compensate for the reduction. I then dial the 'mix' down to 5-8%. It will give the reverb this very light "tapey" feel because the midrange pumping will be insane, but the whole effect will be mixed down to be barely audible at 5-8%. To my ears it sounds more like a "record" this way, than without it (because if you were to record in an ambient room and then put any compression on your tracks, you'd get similar results, albeit in a different way.

    This is by no means a "right" or a "wrong" way to treat a reverb send, it's just my own personal thing.

    Yes, Reaper routing is godlike. Everything is so simple with it!
     

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