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Grainger: Mock Morris

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Grainger: Mock Morris

Postby idiotSavant » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:06 am

Mock Morris, by Percy Grainger, 1910.

https://soundcloud.com/tensivity/grainger-mock-morris-v2

Recorded with Notion using VSL Chamber Strings in MIR ORF Studio 3. This version is for String Orchestra. It is also intended for 7 strings. I think I'll attack that next.

As always, feedback is greatly appreciated!

Michael
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Re: Grainger: Mock Morris

Postby idiotSavant » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:14 pm

Well, thanks to some input from my friends at VSL I've taken a new approach to this piece. I've figured out how to use Notion to trigger Vienna Ensemble instruments. This represents a real breakthrough for me, since previously I've been using just VIPro instruments direct in Notion and it was rather limiting.

For this piece, I've created a 23 instrument string orchestra from VIPro instances in Vienna Ensemble, using 9 solo violins, 6 violas, 6 cellos, and 2 basses. The humanization function in the VIPro instruments really adds a great touch and creates beautiful layering for realism.

The whole thing was set in MIR Pro 24 Teldex Studio Berlin and recorded with 2 microphones, one for near field and detailed imaging and another to add depth and width to the stereo image. I also used MIRacle to sweeten the mix and PSP Vintage Warmer to add some warmth to the digital recording.

Anyway, I'm excited about all the new avenues this opens up. The processor on my new iMac really hums (the fan came on for the first time, and I wondered what the noise was) and Vienna Ensemble is so efficient at managing the sample loads that there's never a hint of any audio glitches even with 23 solo instruments playing with all the dynamics changes for articulations.

I'm psyched!!!

Any comments of course are welcome!

https://soundcloud.com/tensivity/grainger-mock-morris-ve-test-3
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Re: Grainger: Mock Morris

Postby Surfwhammy » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:30 am

I listened to "Grainger - Mock Morris VE Test 3" played through the calibrated full-range studio monitor system here in the sound isolation studio, and I hear the potential, but I think the only way to realize the potential is to get a calibrated full-range studio monitor system, and the primary reason is that your current studio monitor system or headphones are tricking your ears . . .

The MOTU 828mk3 Hybrid external digital audio and MIDI interface that I use here in the sound isolation studio has a nice software interface called "CueMix FX" that does varying types of analyses, and this is a snapshot of the piece where there is the most deep bass . . .

Image
MOTU CueMix FX: FFT Analysis Snapshot for "Grainger - Mock Morris VE Test 3"

This snapshot has some deep bass, but for most of the piece there is very little bass below 100-Hz, yet for the ensemble of instruments you referenced, there is deep bass below 100-Hz, even in sections where you might not think it is there, primarily because you cannot hear it when you listen to your current studio monitor system or headphones . . .

Consider this snapshot from "What's It All About Alfie" (Anastasia Barsee), where this song was produced, mixed, and mastered on what I think was a calibrated full-range studio monitor system. based on the the CueMix FX FFT Analysis . . .

[NOTE: Observe the subsonic material below 20-Hz, which is present but only is heard accurately when you listen to the song with a calibrated full-range studio monitor system that has the deep bass pushed gently into the subsonic range. It is easier to observe when you watch it continuously, but this is a representative snapshot. In particular, observe how the "dip" is handled, where the "dip" is explained later in this post, but the simple explanation is that it is so easy to hear the midrange in the "dip" that it does not need to be very loud . . . ]

Image
MOTU CueMix FX: FFT Analysis Snapshot for "What's It All About, Alfie"

"What's It All About Alfie" (Anastasia Barsee) -- Soundcloud

THOUGHTS

The reasons for having a calibrated full-range studio monitor system are explained in vast detail in my ongoing topic in the IK Multimedia FORUM, and it requires a bit of reading, but (a) it works and (b) it took me approximately 7 years to realize all the stuff in an immediately conscious way, mostly because I was trying to save money by using headphones, which does not work. I knew all the rules and acoustic physics principles, but I thought for quite a few years that I could ignore them, hence I tried everything else and only was left with "studio monitor system" on the list of things that need work after I exhausted all the other possibilities, which is fine with me, since this is how I wandered into focusing on discovering what George Martin and the audio engineers at Abbey Road Studios did for the Beatles, which is an entirely different set of skills from composing and performing songs . . .

The Fabulous Affordable Studio Monitor System Project (IK Multimedia FORUM)

Specifically, the thing that was making me crazy was doing a mix and liking the way it sounded when I listed to it with headphones or the small bookshelf monitor system I was using at the time, but when I played it on the audiophile quality car sound system or any other sound system, it sounded bad, at best . . .

There was no consistency, and consequently I could not trust my ears, which is a huge problem, so I grabbed the microscope and started examining everything in extreme detail, where one of the things I missed simply because I never gave it any attention is the fact that the low-pitch "E" string on a string bass or electric bass guitar at standard tuning ("Concert A" = 440-Hz) is approximately 41.204-Hz, and how can a studio monitor system that goes no lower than 60-Hz to 100-Hz reproduce it accurately at equal loudness with everything else?

The answer is that it cannot, and this is a huge problem when one is producing, mixing, and mastering, because the perceptual apparatus of the human mind recognizes that the low-frequency audio is missing, hence causes one to compensate for it by creating an audio illusion based on the "Missing Fundamental" audio illusion, and what happens is that you change the way the midrange and high frequency material is blended toward the goal of causing listeners to hear deep bass, which might be fine if the deep bass actually was missing, but since it most likely is present in the recorded tracks but not heard correctly, it skews everything . . .

If the instrumentation consists of a single piccolo flute, then who cares about the deep bass?

Not me!

But when there is a string bass, cello, and viola, the deep bass matters, as is the case with other instruments, including grand piano and any instrument that has the ability to create at leas at little bit of deep bass or even subsonic bass, where the latter primarily happens with a string bass, electric bass, synthesizer bass, or a string bass with a "C extension", which extends the deep bass downward to 32.703-Hz ("C1" in standard US scientific pitch notation), as well as tympani, kick drums, deep tom-toms, and some of the larger brass, woodwinds, concert harps, and bass, baritone, and tenor vocalists . . .

[NOTE: At the Independent Recording website (see link below) this chart is interactive and you can position the mouse pointer over a specific instrument or voice and get more detailed information with respect to fundamental pitch range, overtones, and so forth. There is a lot of stuff below 100-Hz, and all of it is very important . . . ]

Image

[SOURCE: Frequency Chart (Independent Recording) ]

From the perspective of arranging and producing, everything rides on top of the subsonic and deep bass, and so long as it is compartmentalized and partitioned correctly, the result is clarity, but without the subsonic and deep bass, the focus shifts to midrange and high frequency, and the most troublesome aspect when this happens involves the "dip" in midrange that maps to increased perceptual sensitivity, where the "dip" is seen in equal loudness curves, but instead of being a "dip" it actually maps to certain midrange frequencies being very easy to perceive even a low volume levels, and what tends to happen is that using the "Missing Fundamental" auditory illusion causes one to use midrange frequencies in the "dip" to compensate for not hearing the subsonic and deep bass, which overall essentially destroys a mix . . .

Image

With 6 cellos and 2 basses, there should be plenty of subsonic and deep bass, but there is nearly none, even though it is present in the sampled sounds, and the primary reason this happens is a combination of (a) not having a calibrated full-range studio monitor system and (b) intentionally removing the subsonic and deep bass because it does not appear to sound right either when listening with headphones or when listening with a non-calibrated non-full-range studio monitor system . . .

I am confident that all the information is there, but to realize it accurately you need to hear it, and this only happens when you produce, mix, and master with a calibrated full-range studio monitor system . . .

Depending on the specific bookshelf studio monitors you are using, you might be able to make them full range by adding a pair of Kustom PA112S deep bass subwoofers and then using the ARC System 2 (IK Multimedia) to push them into the subsonic range, which you can do because they are vastly overpowered for a typical studio, although this might require a separate rack-mount equalizer and real-time analyzer like the Behringer DEQ2406 Ultra Curve Pro (a personal favorite) . . .

Image
Kustom 12" PA112S Powered Sub

Image
Behringer UltraDrive Pro DCX2496 ~ Front Panel

Image
Behringer UltraDrive Pro DCX2496 ~ Back Panel

Summarizing, I can tell that everything is there and that the potential exists, but to achieve it you need a calibrated full-range monitor system, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)

P. S. This is the real-time CueMix FX analysis of a basic rhythm section for a Pop song I am developing, where the cymbals intentionally are "hot", because I need to hear them as rhythm cues, really . . .

[NOTE: If your primary focus is orchestral and symphonic music, then this song probably is annoying, but the important things are (a) to watch the Oscilloscope, Phase Analyzer (lower left) and FFT Analyzer (lower-right) as they change over time and (b) to observe that there is a lot of audio below 100-Hz, some of which occasionally goes subsonic . . . ]

"The Cock-A-Doodle-Oodle Dance" (The Surf Whammys) -- CueMix FX Analysis ~ Prototype Basic Rhythm Section -- YouTube music video

Really! :ugeek:
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Re: Grainger: Mock Morris

Postby idiotSavant » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:56 pm

SW, thanks. The problem wasn't with my ears in this example. I was using the instruments incorrectly. What I thought was a breakthrough was actually causing phasing issues and creating very strange artifacts. I am working on a different approach to correct the issues.

Live and learn.
Michael

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