You are here

Common tools that never get used?

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:12 am

John Willett wrote:
The Elf wrote:
John Willett wrote:And would you not say that those Clannad tracks and Pink Flowd are superb performances?
I would agree that they are superb performances, but can we agree that the production takes that performance and pushes it up to an entirely new level of the sublime?!

Agreed :thumbup:

I don't say don't use the tools - but that the MOST important ingtredient is the PERFORMANCE - without a great performance the tools are just polishing a turd and I would rather polish a great piece of furniture to bring out the best, than to polish a knocked-up piece of junk ;)

Which brings me nicely to "the furniture analogy" :)

I'm not going to fill in the genres, but I'll list the furniture.

1...IKEA
2...MADE
3...Habitat
4...Heals
5...Chippendale
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3787
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
https://anthonyflynn.bandcamp.com/album/toy-town

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Bunk » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:21 pm

Well I'm finding this interesting as a spare-bedroom producer :headbang: (actually it's no longer a bedroom and it certainly isn't spare...)

Maybe it's a thing of habit with me but I pretty much always use EQ and Reverb and, more often than not, compression. In the case of EQ that's maybe because one of the first comments I got on this forum a while ago after one of the Jedis listened to one of my efforts was "you've got too much going on below 50Hz". I thought that was really helpful, so one of my defaults is pretty much use a HPF on almost everything but tweak it according to needs. My hearing skills are also almost certainly not up to those who might pick up on something like that. I certainly don't think doing that has made anything I've done any worse - I think I could tell if it did. I probably haven't got anything like an ideal set-up / room for recording though so some tweakery is, more often than, not required.

Equally, though, I sometimes think "all that stuff (plug-ins etc) is there, perhaps I should be using it?". Even as a rank amateur I suspect a lot of us fall into making that mistake?
User avatar
The Bunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1226
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 1:00 am
Location: SW London

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby CS70 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:29 pm

The Bunk wrote:Equally, though, I sometimes think "all that stuff (plug-ins etc) is there, perhaps I should be using it?". Even as a rank amateur I suspect a lot of us fall into making that mistake?

Hm, what happens when you look at your toolbox in the shed? If you suddenly start going around trying to find things to hammer, you may be in the danger zone! :bouncy:
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5280
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby John Willett » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:41 pm

CS70 wrote:Hm, what happens when you look at your toolbox in the shed? If you suddenly start going around trying to find things to hammer, you may be in the danger zone! :bouncy:

:bouncy:
User avatar
John Willett
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7089
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordshire UK
John
Sound-Link ProAudio
Circle Sound Services
Sound-Link are UK Distributors for: Microtech Gefell, ME-Geithain, AETA, HUM, Håkan, Meyer Turtle

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Ramirez » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:53 pm

Speaking of habitual high-pass filtering, the current SOS has an article that argues against this.

I must say that I often high-pass filter quite aggressively as almost standard practise. Whatms the forum wisdom in light of this month’s article?
Ramirez
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1066
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Bethesda, Cymru
Bill Withers while Tom Waits, and Stan Getz

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Wonks » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:12 pm

Ramirez wrote:Speaking of habitual high-pass filtering, the current SOS has an article that argues against this.

I must say that I often high-pass filter quite aggressively as almost standard practise. What's the forum wisdom in light of this month’s article?

My view is that if you HPF at a high enough frequency so that you can hear phase issues around the HPF frequency, then you are at too high a frequency and need to bring it down. Also, if there is a lot of low frequency noise, then you are better off getting rid of it and living with some small phase shifts, (though you would probably need very good monitors and room treatment for this to be immediately obvious). Most EQs add a degree of phase shifting, but no-one says don't EQ just because of that.

The main thing is to listen. If the cure is worse than the problem, then back off a bit or try a gentler slope. If not, I'd suggest carrying on.

If you aren't sure whether you need to HPF, then maybe try a low-pass filter at the same frequency and listen to what you will be taking out and/or whether you see needles move /indicators light up on compressors or other plug-ins to see if there are sub-sonics triggering their operation.

Obviously you won't be able to hear frequencies below your monitors' capability to reproduce, or below your ears' lower limit. But don't go by real-time frequency displays on EQ graphs, because the sampling time of the EQ display isn't long enough to show the low frequencies accurately, and you may think that there's a lot of sub-bass when there really isn't. 1/3 or 1/6 octave bar graphs are much better at showing LF content.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10883
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Elf » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:03 pm

Bracketing with HPF (and in fewer cases LPF ) is critical to removing junk that saps your headroom for no benefit.

If you can hear it working then maybe it's too much, but cutting everything below 60Hz from an electric guitar cab, for example, isn't going to hurt anything important, yet will free up low end energy that can be better used elsewhere.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14273
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Ramirez » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:36 am

The Elf wrote:Bracketing with HPF (and in fewer cases LPF ) is critical to removing junk that saps your headroom for no benefit.

If you can hear it working then maybe it's too much, but cutting everything below 60Hz from an electric guitar cab, for example, isn't going to hurt anything important, yet will free up low end energy that can be better used elsewhere.

Yes, what I’ve always done is in line with yours and Wonks’ posts. I was just fascinated to read this month’s article as its the first time I’ve really seen this challenged.
Ramirez
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1066
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Bethesda, Cymru
Bill Withers while Tom Waits, and Stan Getz

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:05 am

Ramirez wrote:Speaking of habitual high-pass filtering, the current SOS has an article that argues against this.

I must say that I often high-pass filter quite aggressively as almost standard practise. Whatms the forum wisdom in light of this month’s article?

My electronic music has very little bass information, but when I'm recording acoustic instruments here I always have a high-pass filter engaged of some sort, it's always used.
There are so many nasty things going on as we record live all in the same room, people bashing mic stands, distant traffic rumbles, but piano and tuned percussion, accordion, don't suffer too much from HPF.
As for my field recordings, a HPF is essential, I couldn't record without one.
I think over zealous use of a HPF is bad though, so many times I hear obviously bass light recordings, made for the sake of "clarity" it kills the music for me, chops it's legs off.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3787
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
https://anthonyflynn.bandcamp.com/album/toy-town

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Elf » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:00 am

Ramirez wrote:Yes, what I’ve always done is in line with yours and Wonks’ posts. I was just fascinated to read this month’s article as its the first time I’ve really seen this challenged.
For every piece of advice of advice you'll find on the Internet you'll find said same advice challenged.

One of the most difficult problems to overcome when teaching (and I'm going through one such example at the moment) is when somebody's hero - especially one with a string of impressive credits to their name - says something utterly misguided, but it is taken as being gospel - after all this guy is successful! Those received opinions take some shifting!

And that is why sponsorship exists... ;)
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14273
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:16 am

The Elf wrote:
Ramirez wrote:Yes, what I’ve always done is in line with yours and Wonks’ posts. I was just fascinated to read this month’s article as its the first time I’ve really seen this challenged.
For every piece of advice of advice you'll find on the Internet you'll find said same advice challenged.

One of the most difficult problems to overcome when teaching (and I'm going through one such example at the moment) is when somebody's hero - especially one with a string of impressive credits to their name - says something utterly misguided, but it is taken as being gospel - after all this guy is successful! Those received opinions take some shifting!

And that is why sponsorship exists... ;)

I'm just trying to think who's influenced me not to use anything? I Can't think of anyone!
But, probably like a lot of other people, I have bought stuff because I've seen it in a studio of someone I admire.
I bought a Mackie mixer many moons ago after lots of deliberation, one day I saw that Brian Eno had one, that sold it. I also bought my Eventide because he had one, it wasn't the only reason, but it clinched the deal. 'These things had potential" in my mind.
Nowadays I don't give a toss, I'll use anything, and I trust my own judgement, if anything I've gone completely in the opposite direction, I'll deliberately not use a popular instrument or technique just to see if it brings something new to things.
Buy a Yamaha PSS keyboard from a charity shop instead of that Prophet 12, you never know, it may just prove more interesting, and unusual, and if it's a failure you've only lost £20 instead of £2,000.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3787
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
https://anthonyflynn.bandcamp.com/album/toy-town

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:22 am

The third is EQ, how over rated is that! I hardly ever use that either, I just make sure the sounds coming from my instruments or mic's is OK to start with.

when I'm recording acoustic instruments here I always have a high-pass filter engaged of some sort, it's always used.

As for my field recordings, a HPF is essential, I couldn't record without one.

OK, who are you and what have you done with the real Arpangel who started this thread?
User avatar
Dr Huge Longjohns
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3584
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Gallifrey
"The performance is 99.9% of what people hear"- J. Leckie
"It's all complete nonsense, anyone who knows what they're doing can deliver great results with whatever comes to hand" - H. Robjohns

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:30 am

There are some interesting observations and suggestions in that article, but I'd be wary of taking them as 'laws of audio production'.

It's certainly true that transients play a massively important role in spatial location and instrument definition, and that they can be damaged through inappropriate use of compressors and limiters, amongst other processes.

It's also true that the phase relationships between fundamentals and harmonics can be altered by passage through EQ and filtering.

I also personally think it a good idea to minimise the use of all forms of signal processing -- use the tools because you need to tweak some aspect of the recorded sound, not just because you can, or you think you should, or you bought the plugin so you want to use it...

But all that being said, if you look back through the musical archives, a heck of a lot of fantastic sounding records were made in the days of multiple stages of transformer coupling and high-pass filtering. Massive phase shifts at the low end were not just very common, they were the norm and probably contributed significantly to the 'warm analogue sound' many now aspire to but struggle to reach with their minimalist analogue recording chains!

As far as I'm concerned, not removing unwanted low end does far more damage to the mix than the small amounts of phase shift the filtering would introduce.

So use the tools if you need to. Don't use them if you don't really need to. And listen critically to the results of every action.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27032
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:44 am

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
The third is EQ, how over rated is that! I hardly ever use that either, I just make sure the sounds coming from my instruments or mic's is OK to start with.

when I'm recording acoustic instruments here I always have a high-pass filter engaged of some sort, it's always used.

As for my field recordings, a HPF is essential, I couldn't record without one.

OK, who are you and what have you done with the real Arpangel who started this thread?

A LPF is EQ, so that might ad some confusion to my posts! I was referring to "my use" of creative EQ, in a bolder sense, or lack of it.
What Hugh says is correct, we use things where appropriate, of course, but I'm always interested in why I'm using them, or not! Am I just going along with "accepted practice" or am I doing it for definite personal and artistic reasons.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3787
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
https://anthonyflynn.bandcamp.com/album/toy-town

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:05 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:As far as I'm concerned, not removing unwanted low end does far more damage to the mix than the small amounts of phase shift the filtering would introduce.

So use the tools if you need to. Don't use them if you don't really need to. And listen critically to the results of every action.

I suspect this quote from Hugh distils everything in this thread down to one convenient quote :clap:

Of course you do have to have decent monitoring in place to listen to those low end changes in a critical fashion :beamup:


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 15626
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

PreviousNext