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The lessons of a beeping watch

 
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joelpatterson
carpal tunnel


Joined: 10 Jun 2003
Posts: 1732
Location: Albany, New York

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:30 am    Post subject: The lessons of a beeping watch Reply with quote

I must have dozens of these "mantras" or "parables" I've arrived at-- curious how many of them involve a beeping watch.
For one whole era, I was using beeping watches as soundchecks: working on mixing down a concert, unabsolutely certain whether I'd gotten it quite right, and then I'd hear a watch beep from the audience-- and do the last little tunings so as to render those beeps with ultra-realistic clarity. It was like a reality check-- the violins and cellos could sound any way I wanted them to, there was no way to tell what they had "really" sounded like-- there was a range of believability. But the watch-- we all know what that sounds like. Or doesn't.
My latest wristwatch's alarm is stuck at announcing 8:10 in the morning, there isn't any way to disable it, it's like a damn rooster or something. Sitting on the desk infront of me right here, I was stunned-- it was doing its usual meek beeping, but when I turned my head, it suddenly was so LOUD! I experimented for the 60 seconds that it tolls, and sure enough: frontally, its chime is wispy and mutish, but directly addressing either ear, it's like, six or seven times louder.
This phenomena, the way micro-shrill sounds are so angle dependent... must be military applications, I'm thinking....
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Scodiddly
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 10 Dec 2003
Posts: 3262
Location: Libertyville, IL, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:16 pm    Post subject: Re: The lessons of a beeping watch Reply with quote

Pure sine wave tones are *extremely* hard to locate. I remember being in the kitchen at somebody's place and we were all trying to figure out where the beeping was coming from... turned out to be the dishwasher.

Joel, did you play in orchestra as a kid at all? The sample CD you gave me sounds great on the classical stuff, but if you say can do almost anything to strings... I played in orchestra in school as a kid, and it definitely helped me because I still know how all the instruments sound up close and in an ensemble. Now there's no question at all - it either sounds right or it doesn't.
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joelpatterson
carpal tunnel


Joined: 10 Jun 2003
Posts: 1732
Location: Albany, New York

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:31 pm    Post subject: Re: The lessons of a beeping watch Reply with quote

No orchestral child-like experience... I did take piano lessons, though, and after the official session was over, my teacher would let me crack my Cat Stevens and James Taylor songbooks, and she'd show me how the chords would be fingered, that kind of stuff... Aida MacDonald, beautifully sweet lady, very heavy on the theory side, I trace an unbroken line from those afternoons in her front room to sitting where I am today...

I agree with you-- classical music has to sound "completely right," but when you're staring at a multi-track with all these stereo pairs, like I always am, it can be hard to find your footing... I take the view that the final product is a complete fabrication-- the summed total of the EQ and compressor choices you make in mixdown. You "create" what it sounds like.

Every pair of mics is giving you their "opinion" of what they heard, and each has a degree of legitimacy, but you always need to jiggle everything until you arrive at "what God heard," assuming God was listening to that particular concert.

Hey, thanks for the kind words!
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