R/E/P > Reason In Audio

Digital summing saturation = myth?

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Tomas Danko:
compasspnt wrote on Sun, 17 May 2009 02:04
Just for fun, try adding a hum track and a noise track to your mix.

Hum from perhaps an old radio or other device that has a steady low (60-ish) hum.

Noise from perhaps a TV set on a blank channel.

Keep them very, very low, just below where you can/can't hear them.

Then see how your 'regular' mix compares to this one with the added artifacts.

On a game I worked on that was released last year (Mirror's Edge), we put "ambient noise" very very low into the background of the audio mix and it helped making everything sound more connected/glued together.
It masked individual sounds start and endings so that they sounded more like the belonged to the soundscape instead of having an obvious "out of nowhere" transient beginning as well as abrupt decaying end that can sound unnatural.

I made a lot of 5-10 second loops in stereo, that sounded like the ambient background noise you have in halls, small rooms, large areas, air vent drums etc

Then we switched between them whenever you entered a hall, or stepped out from the hall into a small office room etc

It also gave a subtle sense of 'air' and awareness of your position in 3D space, you know like when you exit a hall and enter a large room and the noise/air changes. It was a cool little trick, with several benefits.

Noise is good.

Ian Visible:
The atmosphere in Mirror's Edge is amazing!

Your hard work definitely paid off - in my humble opinion, the game would not be the same without it!

Tomas Danko:
Ian Visible wrote on Fri, 29 May 2009 15:30
The atmosphere in Mirror's Edge is amazing!

Your hard work definitely paid off - in my humble opinion, the game would not be the same without it!

Thanks, Ian. We were five people working on the sound, not counting outsourcing (such as music composers etc).

It was a bit tricky to get the mix into the sweet spot, because we only had one mix setting to tweak for all three platforms (PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3) due to the way the Unreal 3 engine works.

And to make it worse, Xbox 360 will automatically downmix to the subwoofer while Playstation 3 will not. So in practice, PS3 runs a 5.0 setting. And in order to get enough low end thump/feel on that machine, we had to crank up the low end on certain sounds which then made the Xbox 360 version very bass heavy. Also, the fold down to stereo summing system and pan law was a tad bit different between PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation. So you can really only tweak it to be as good as possible across all systems, but it's not going to be perfect anywhere.

That's technology for you.

Nick Sevilla:
cerberus wrote on Sat, 16 May 2009 08:13
hi mark;

it's from one of the waves vintage plug-ins, seems to be mostly 60hz line noise.
there is a switch on these plug-ins which can turn off the noise; so it is easy
for anyone to experiment and perhaps discover the effect.

i recorded the noise to a 32 bit file, which i run as a daw track. i can send it
to any summing busses. in order to prevent noise  from building up in
complex chains: i run a polarity-inverted  copy, sent to alternate
busses; i tweak the exact levels carefully by ear.

jeff dinces

I hear this on the new "Eddie Kramer" collection. Quite a lot of it actually. I ended up bypassing the plugin except when it was being used. the 50 or 60 cycle hum definitely added an interesting texture to the lead vocal, and the artist was happy with the results. I now have to see if you can turn that feature off, and if not, email Waves so they can put a switch on there to turn it off when not desired.



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