re-amping entire mix

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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:10 am

This kind of stuff has been such a staple in my mixing vocabulary that I've thought of getting a really flat response PA speaker and a really clean preamp.

Somehow my Fender wedge monitors that are used in band practice tend to give everything a mid heavy, lo-fi kind of charm. Which is cool, but not as transparent.

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Post by jgimbel » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:49 pm

losthighway wrote:This kind of stuff has been such a staple in my mixing vocabulary that I've thought of getting a really flat response PA speaker and a really clean preamp.
What'd you have in mind? I've thought of the same thing, but I haven't done the research yet into what might be a good candidate. Have you come up with any goodies?

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Post by teleharmonium » Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:47 pm

Rather than buying something designed for PA use, I would suggest getting something more like an audiophile friendly hi fi stereo amp and speakers. I believe this was the usual approach in vintage reverb chambers.

I don't know what's hip or new in that realm, but there are always some low to middlin' options that give a lot of bang for the buck. You wouldn't need a lot of power, and the tube coloration from low wattage single ended triodes and horn drivers might be just the ticket to blend into a mix after being miked up in a decent room with natural sounding mics. If it were me, I'd probably look for an old Telefunken or Electrohome stereo tube amp of low wattage (these can be pretty cheap), have it recapped and retubed if need be and the tone controls (and possibly the input switching) bypassed, and then attempt to audition a variety of relatively cheap hi fi speakers with that amp and a CD player, a/b against good headphones directly from the CD player. The goal being to get something not too similar and yet not too different from the headphone sound, in the speakers.

For that matter, if the sound is good enough and you get nice even response across the whole range, you could go with a 100% wet mix.

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Post by Theo_Karon » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:05 pm

For that matter, if the sound is good enough and you get nice even response across the whole range, you could go with a 100% wet mix.
Yes!

That can be a very cool sound. L and R in separate passes and move the mic a little, as several people have already said.

When I've done this I usually end up using a high-pass that rolls in around 200 or 300 for the reamped mix and doing the opposite for the dry LR mix, because the room would get a little too muddy there and also my speakers (just used my monitors) only go down to 45 or so, but if you don't have those problems that could be awesome.

A good trick is to use a mic with a bidirectional pickup pattern facing right at the speaker; just move it closer to or further away from the speaker for easy control over your ratio of direct sound to room sound.

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Post by oldguitars » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:56 pm

Bob Clearmountain mixed my bands record some years ago and he showed me his chambers. He converted his wine cellar into 2 rooms, put a mackie HR824 in each and miced the opposite corner. He had a little door between the rooms that he could open and close to allow for more or less separation. The rooms were asymmetrical (not really intentional, but...) and painted with glossy rpaint. They sounded incredible. I don't know what mics he used, but some SDC...
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Re: re-amping entire mix

Post by PretendMusic » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:08 am

jgimbel wrote:
losthighway wrote:
Somehow my Fender wedge monitors that are used in band practice tend to give everything a
mid heavy, lo-fi kind of charm. Which is cool, but not as transparent.
What'd you have in mind? I've thought of the same thing, but I haven't done the research yet into what might be a good candidate.
Have you come up with any goodies?
I always thought that the "MACKIE SRM450"s were a really great sounding PA Speaker!
It's a Bi-Amped Active system, with a 12" woofer w/300W, and a horn on top w/150W...
I knew a woman that had a few of them, and they're trapezoidal, so she also used one as a floor monitor, too.
The PA really sounded great, though. She did use a Neumann hand-held mic, and, that, of course, made it sound better, too, but still...!
So clear. And, I could hardly believe that it was JUST a 12" woofer, and not a 15", too. (Even outdoors!) But, hey, it is 450W...!

If you ran your entire mix through one, or two, of these out in the hall, I bet that would be sweet...
But, who am I to question Bob Clearmountain...?!

BTW, "Friend" has 'em for $599, each, if that's not a problem...
(It's likely the same price, most everywhere.)
Mackie SRM450 v2 Active PA Loudspeaker
Buy New: $599.99 EA.
Buy Used: $527.99

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/pr ... sku=600652

Lots of great ideas, posted here.
Personally, I've always wanted to play/record shit in "The Armory", at the Ft. Desoto Park, in St. Petersburg, Florida...
It's this HUGE bunker of a room, with all stone walls, and just one small door. Dark as Hell, if they turned all the lights off in Hell....
For many years, I've wanted to bring a snare, a big stick, and a portable DAT, and make the old Armory just EXPLODE!!!
Now, instead of the DAT, I just saw the TASCAM DP-004 Pocketstudio Portable 4-Track Digital Multitrack, and it
might really do the trick! (It's a little $200 Flash Recorder, with built-in mics.)

I bet a "Convolution Impulse" recorded there would be quite cool, too.
Or, YOUR ENTIRE MIX... one channel at a time! YEAHHHHHH...

Peace,
-C

PS, For some reason, the "t-shirt" comments totally cracked me up! Actual LOL! It must be getting late...

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"Can I put this on a T-shirt?" -dsw
"You can put anything you want on a t-shirt!" -Theo_Karon
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Dakota
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Post by Dakota » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:47 am

losthighway wrote:This kind of stuff has been such a staple in my mixing vocabulary that I've thought of getting a really flat response PA speaker and a really clean preamp.

Somehow my Fender wedge monitors that are used in band practice tend to give everything a mid heavy, lo-fi kind of charm. Which is cool, but not as transparent.
Great goal, re-amping and room sounds with a flat frequency response. And you could also use a flat mic like an earthworks, a good pzm, or a reference mic. Still though, almost any room itself and any position within a room is not likely to be flat.

A different approach to the same goal that I've had good luck with: use whatever speaker and mic you find basically pleasant sounding. Run pure (flat) white noise out to that, on the record return from the mic bring up a spectrum analysis plug with at least 1/3 octave resolution. Then use a 1/3rd octave graphic EQ right at your send out to the amp/speaker to reverse-compensate and straighten out the average back to flat-ish. The advantage is if you do this fresh for every setup, it's trustworthy.

Inherent is that the graphic EQ will totally smear frequency-dependent phase around complexly. But as this is for re-amping and room sounds, the room reverb itself is going to be pretty phase-per-frequency randomized anyway, so it's not a worry.

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Post by Acoustikitty » Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:09 pm

I've done this kind of thing a few times in my kitchen, using a small Peavey guitar practice amp. Just for one instrument, usually a vocal. Sounds really cool if slightly distorted and then delayed to create a slapback. Obviously not for the whole mix if you're going for transparency.

Another fun one was to run a plucked acoustic guitar melody through a monitor and hold up an acoustic guitar right to the speaker, which was pretty cranked, and then record the signal from the pickup output of the acoustic as it resonated from the sound of the recording. Much like the piano spoken of earlier on this thread. Very creepy sound.

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Re: re-amping entire mix

Post by inasilentway » Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:45 pm

This technique is totally awesome and legit. But something stuck out to me about this from the OP:
green dc wrote:i'm mixing a project right now that i feel like could use some wetness to the space around everything, and i kind of hate the way processed reverb sounds in general on anything ever.
This strikes me as kind of extreme. You hate artificial reverb period? If you're lacking "wetness to the space around everything", well, that's why reverb units were invented. Before I would re-amp a whole mix, I would reach for a reverb to give me additional wetness and space (I would definitely reamp if I wanted a cool boxy sound that a guitar amp would give). For example, maybe you need to seriously drench the guitar or vocal in reverb and it will make the whole song sound wetter, or maybe sending a tiny bit of everything to a shared reverb will do it, or maybe send some elements to a short one and others to a long one. or, maybe you should re-think the way you've been using reverb (trying out different algorithms, shorter times, higher ER levels, predelay), or maybe you need a spring reverb (most of the time I will reach for one first before a digital one), or a nice-sounding dedicated hardware unit in your life.

I don't know how you mix, or what your experience has been with reverb that has made you hate it, so I can't speak to any of that. But to me, trying to mix without touching reverb is doing it with a hand tied behind your back. Sure, you can re-amp a mix, but in this case it seems like a complicated solution to a simple problem.
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Post by crookedsound » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:53 pm

Nice, good thread. Thanks for the ideas!

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Post by Dakota » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:31 am

Taking this even further, if one is going for a faux "real" room ambiance to wrap onto the whole mix: varied pre-delay before sending out to speakers and mic'ing back in. 1 to 40 milliseconds, 5 to 15 being more reliably convincing. Sound travels at around 1.1 foot per millisecond.

Pre-delay of reverb is one of the ear cues for how far away any individual thing is, and perhaps where it is. A whole mix sent out together kind of says the whole chunk is emanating from the same spot.

This could get as detailed as one wants to get, but a basic idea: put delay plugins (or clean rack delays) at 100% wet, no feedback on your tracks or main subgroups/stems. "Closer" things get shorter times, arrange a "soundstage". Vox 5ms, guitar/key/string leads 7ms, rhythm guitars/keys 11ms, bass 13 ms, drums 15 ms, strange ambient sounds up to 40 ms. Or adjust to taste, get creative. Left and right settings are good to vary for side-to-side placement. Adding a small amount of modulation to the delays can be great, makes things subtly move.

Send that out to the speakers (probably doing left and right as separate passes for more control), record back in. If the speakers were 22 feet from the mic, that's another apx. 20ms predelay on top of whatever you added, so you can take the whole room ambiance track and slide it a little earlier or later in time to adjust the total new room size, and the individual parts will retain some cues that still separate where they are. And hi-pass to taste.

Way cooler than convolution reverb.

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Post by tdbajus » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:32 pm

Theo_Karon wrote:
Wedge a contact mic between a large ride cymbal (thin cymbals work really well for this) and the stand and blast the drum mix at the cymbal through a PA, recording the output from the contact mic to another track. You need a preamp that will supply a good deal of gain. Compress or distort for extra credit.
between the stand and the cymbal? so the cymbal is resting on the contact mike, which is resting on the peg of the stand?

I don't think this is what you mean, is it? Can you be a little more clear?

Cuz it sounds like it could be a very, very good idea.
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Post by Theo_Karon » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:28 pm

Sort of. I meant between the little fabric wedge thing (not sure what they're called) that goes between the cymbal and the washer, and the cymbal. Or you can tape it to the edge of the cymbal. Put it anywhere, really, just move it around until it sounds good. I like wedging it in how I described because it barely dampens the cymbal at all- keep in mind the more mass you add, the less it will resonate. Not a big deal with a huge gong, but even a piece of tape can make a big difference on a smaller crash. It might be a good difference though.

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Post by tdbajus » Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:44 pm

The felt, right? I got you. Looking forward to trying it out. I built a binch of contact mikes a while ago...
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Post by Theo_Karon » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:35 pm

Contact mics are some of the best things, if you look at things in general. One of these days I'm going to record something only using contact mic'd drums and cymbals instead of microphones.

Edit: I mean, instead of 'normal' microphones.

Another edit: also get ready to do some crazy extreme EQ, way way way crazier than you'd probably ever use normally, since the mics themselves (especially piezo discs) tend to be so nonlinear. I sometimes use a phono preamp for this; the RIAA eq curve is just about exactly right most of the time, and will give you a lot more wiggle room later on if, for instance, you want to bring out a bunch of low end or get a darker sound.

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