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Author Topic: no pop filter, mix/edit technique  (Read 8637 times)

NelsonL

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no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« on: January 31, 2010, 02:20:14 am »

I was reading the pop filter shootout thread at The Acid Test, and it got me thinking about times I've tried this technique, and some of the issues I've encountered.

First, I haven't been able to completely get away from (usually just a few) problematic plosives when I don't use a pop filter. I'm aware of 'the pencil' method, but can that possibly offer less coloration than nylon?

Later, when I'm comping vocals, sometimes I can edit around the plosives, maintaining the musicality of the vocal by using just that snippet of an alternate take. Other times, editing just that single syllable ruins the feel of the overall phrase.

After that I play with low shelf, applied just to that syllable or possibly word, and/or automation.

What tools/techniques are others using?
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KB_S1

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2010, 06:32:38 am »

I usually use Digi's EQ3.

I have a preset saved: HPF at 160Hz
This is usually a good start.

The method I use is to process a full word, then trim back to near the pop and use a x-fade.
You have to process more than you want or you cannot fade.
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grantis

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2010, 12:52:21 pm »

KB_S1 wrote on Sun, 31 January 2010 05:32

I usually use Digi's EQ3.

I have a preset saved: HPF at 160Hz
This is usually a good start.

The method I use is to process a full word, then trim back to near the pop and use a x-fade.
You have to process more than you want or you cannot fade.


160hz is really high.  Use a pop filter.
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compasspnt

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2010, 02:04:28 pm »

KB_S1 wrote on Sun, 31 January 2010 06:32

I usually use Digi's EQ3.

I have a preset saved: HPF at 160Hz
This is usually a good start.

The method I use is to process a full word, then trim back to near the pop and use a x-fade.
You have to process more than you want or you cannot fade.



Exactly the same, except I usually start about 90 and experiment upwards for best result on a word by word basis.

A pencil is sometimes partially helpful, and definitely not as destructive as the nylon (especially dual-layered nylon), or as the perforated metal.
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jetbase

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 05:32:42 pm »

I use the Wavelab DeClicker plugin's 'DePlop' function and process just the pops (in an Audio Montage). I have found this to be the most effective method, though sometimes I'll just use a HPF in an EQ plugin.
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KB_S1

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2010, 06:18:53 pm »

160Hz, who typed that then?

I meant 120, was still a bit gigged out this morning whilst trying to get to the studio!
I will qualify this, as it is still quite high, with the fact that it is rarely an issue at all so if there is pop it has been something unusual.

Interestingly some of my favourite songs from the last few years have pretty obvious pops on the vocal at some Point.
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maarvold

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2010, 06:37:45 pm »

Waves Linear Phase EQ (Lowband Mono) in AudioSuite--I have a saved preset using the Low Shelf with the square corners in the graphic (V-Slope Low Shelf)--looks like a lightning bolt.  Settings are Gain -28.0, Freq 234, Q 0.90.  According to the screen curve, I'm down only around 4 dB at 130, but WAY down on the bottom.  I select the pop, plus 1 second either side (more or less) of it, process the file, then use Equal Gain fades to join the fix region to the original.  Almost always works like a charm.  
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j.hall

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2010, 12:05:38 pm »

really?  you guys don't use a popper stopper at all?  

maybe it's the big rock i'm working on constantly, but the amount of compression applied to the vocal with tonal EQ'ing.  i can't say the popper stopper has ever bothered me.  in fact, i'm glad it's there.
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Tim Dolbear

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2010, 01:33:12 pm »

Use a popper stopper. End of story.

When I do get a mix in that was done with out, usually I have to go thru by hand and select the plosive by hand and EQ out JUST the plosive but using a Hipass set to 150-200hz.  

EQ out the whole track just to get fix the plosives is WAY more degrading than any pop filter would have been.
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compasspnt

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2010, 03:23:44 pm »

Here's something I posted somewhere here a couple of times before:

Think about the sound leaving a vocalists' mouth, and traveling towards the capsule. Ideally, what should be in between? The correct answer is nothing, if you are talking about good sound; just as in mixing (not possible usually) and Mastering (very possible; I've done it in my Mastering room) there should be nothing between the monitor speakers and the engineer's ears except for air (not a console, racks of gear, etc., etc.)

But we have practical applications to think about, not the least of which is the burst of air accompanying a "P" or other letters, or "swooshes" accompanying certain other sounds.

When the condenser microphone was first made, the plan was not for a singer to virtually "eat it" as he sang less than one inch from the capsule. The mics were designed for much more distant pickup of larger numbers of players/singers. So the design included in most cases a high boost in the frequency response, because that would give more balance from more distant sounds, and also included taking into account the physics of proximity effect, where closer instruments might have a somewhat fuller sound.

But what do we all do today, but get right up on the capsule grille cover, and bloody scream into the mic! So of course high sounds such as "S" are accentuated by the built-in freq rise. And of course the burst of air in a 'plosive is much closer, and accentuated by the naturally occurring proximity effect!

So what has been the normal solution? Why, yet one more thing (or 2, or 3...) in between (pop screen), and de-essers after the fact. Does anything seem askew with this photograph? Once again, humans are treating the symptoms, and not the causes.

Of course, the causes are not that easy to treat. The singer would have to move back, and few think they can do that (no pacifier), pops have to be removed (fairly easy now, but still not perfect) or a different type of mic must be used (ribbon? 58/S1-type? Omni?).

Anyway, getting back to that sound traveling towards the capsule, the use of the pop screen in between causes the sound waves to deflect, possibly hitting all sorts of things, and perhaps even bouncing around within the dual layers of the screen, or the grille (already grilles can be bad enough on some mics), or the stand(s), etc. The different parts of the frequency spectrum may well encounter comb filtering, causing the cancellation of certain freq's, or the potential buildup of others, and at best, may arrive at very slightly "wrong" times to the actual capsule front. None of this is very appealing if you want your sound to be "perfect," let alone "good."

The problem is exacerbated by the singer's movements. As we all know, singers will, and probably need to, move around. The cancellations may be quite different given differing positions from whence the sound has emanated.

I recently did extensive (although NOT scientific) testing of this effect, and found that, by looking at many different "sibilant" sounds on a frequency analyser, that no two were exactly the same. Often however, there was not just a rise in the high freq, but TWO rises, with a steep valley in between. The average hi-freq rise (the sibilance) might be about 5-6 dB, but the VALLEY might be as much as 12 dB! This meant that, even though the sound-not-liked was "sibilant," at least a tiny part of that disagreeable sound was caused by MISSING high frequencies, not extended ones! If using a normal de-esser, the "bad sound of the sibilant syllable" would not disappear, only get quieter. I discovered that by applying a corrective EQ, namely approx +6 to +9 of the missing freq range, at a very low bandwidth, centered on the valley's lowest point, made the formerly "sibilant" sound actually better, because, although it was still louder than normal, it was at least MORE NATURAL!

Then, and only then, and if desired, by applying a de-esser the entire sibilant sound could return much closer to normalcy.

But all of this is AFTER THE FACT TREATMENT. Prevention is a much better cure!

So the ONLY pop filters I will use now are the foam ones (as supplied with a new U-87 and some other mics). But these are subject to eventual degradation (Klaus has a Sticky about testing the foam). And this is something you may not want to use one a vocalist that "showers" the area in front of him (another story for another time). Also some complain about theoretical high frequency loss. Perhaps there is some, but I much prefer that to horrible comb filtering and massive treatment later! Also, a slight loss in broadband high frequencies is somewhat preferable to me in some cases, as it counteracts to a degree the high boost built into the mic for more distant usage...for that distant usage, where you need the boost, of course you wouldn't be using any filter anyway!

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DarinK

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2010, 04:43:27 pm »

Tim Dolbear wrote on Mon, 01 February 2010 10:33

 

EQ out the whole track just to get fix the plosives is WAY more degrading than any pop filter would have been.


No one has suggested EQing the entire track - all the above posts are about just EQing the plosive, as you recommend.

For everyone's benefit, here is a link to the thread to which the original poster referred:
http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/t/27207/11988/

Note that the test is just one person's voice from a stationary position, so some of what Terry mentions above would not be audible.
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compasspnt

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2010, 04:59:32 pm »

Any sibilance effect is of course exacerbated by loud "forced" singing, compression, etc.
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rankus

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2010, 10:01:45 pm »



As jetbase mentioned above, Steinberg products ship with a "Deplopper" pluggin that actually works quite well.

I imagine one could create a chain similar to de-essing with a side chained comp and EQ ... think de-esser but keyed for lower end.

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grantis

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2010, 10:07:17 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Mon, 01 February 2010 14:23

Here's something I posted somewhere here a couple of times before:

Think about the sound leaving a vocalists' mouth, and traveling towards the capsule. Ideally, what should be in between? The correct answer is nothing, if you are talking about good sound; just as in mixing (not possible usually) and Mastering (very possible; I've done it in my Mastering room) there should be nothing between the monitor speakers and the engineer's ears except for air (not a console, racks of gear, etc., etc.)

But we have practical applications to think about, not the least of which is the burst of air accompanying a "P" or other letters, or "swooshes" accompanying certain other sounds.

When the condenser microphone was first made, the plan was not for a singer to virtually "eat it" as he sang less than one inch from the capsule. The mics were designed for much more distant pickup of larger numbers of players/singers. So the design included in most cases a high boost in the frequency response, because that would give more balance from more distant sounds, and also included taking into account the physics of proximity effect, where closer instruments might have a somewhat fuller sound.

But what do we all do today, but get right up on the capsule grille cover, and bloody scream into the mic! So of course high sounds such as "S" are accentuated by the built-in freq rise. And of course the burst of air in a 'plosive is much closer, and accentuated by the naturally occurring proximity effect!

So what has been the normal solution? Why, yet one more thing (or 2, or 3...) in between (pop screen), and de-essers after the fact. Does anything seem askew with this photograph? Once again, humans are treating the symptoms, and not the causes.

Of course, the causes are not that easy to treat. The singer would have to move back, and few think they can do that (no pacifier), pops have to be removed (fairly easy now, but still not perfect) or a different type of mic must be used (ribbon? 58/S1-type? Omni?).

Anyway, getting back to that sound traveling towards the capsule, the use of the pop screen in between causes the sound waves to deflect, possibly hitting all sorts of things, and perhaps even bouncing around within the dual layers of the screen, or the grille (already grilles can be bad enough on some mics), or the stand(s), etc. The different parts of the frequency spectrum may well encounter comb filtering, causing the cancellation of certain freq's, or the potential buildup of others, and at best, may arrive at very slightly "wrong" times to the actual capsule front. None of this is very appealing if you want your sound to be "perfect," let alone "good."

The problem is exacerbated by the singer's movements. As we all know, singers will, and probably need to, move around. The cancellations may be quite different given differing positions from whence the sound has emanated.

I recently did extensive (although NOT scientific) testing of this effect, and found that, by looking at many different "sibilant" sounds on a frequency analyser, that no two were exactly the same. Often however, there was not just a rise in the high freq, but TWO rises, with a steep valley in between. The average hi-freq rise (the sibilance) might be about 5-6 dB, but the VALLEY might be as much as 12 dB! This meant that, even though the sound-not-liked was "sibilant," at least a tiny part of that disagreeable sound was caused by MISSING high frequencies, not extended ones! If using a normal de-esser, the "bad sound of the sibilant syllable" would not disappear, only get quieter. I discovered that by applying a corrective EQ, namely approx +6 to +9 of the missing freq range, at a very low bandwidth, centered on the valley's lowest point, made the formerly "sibilant" sound actually better, because, although it was still louder than normal, it was at least MORE NATURAL!

Then, and only then, and if desired, by applying a de-esser the entire sibilant sound could return much closer to normalcy.

But all of this is AFTER THE FACT TREATMENT. Prevention is a much better cure!

So the ONLY pop filters I will use now are the foam ones (as supplied with a new U-87 and some other mics). But these are subject to eventual degradation (Klaus has a Sticky about testing the foam). And this is something you may not want to use one a vocalist that "showers" the area in front of him (another story for another time). Also some complain about theoretical high frequency loss. Perhaps there is some, but I much prefer that to horrible comb filtering and massive treatment later! Also, a slight loss in broadband high frequencies is somewhat preferable to me in some cases, as it counteracts to a degree the high boost built into the mic for more distant usage...for that distant usage, where you need the boost, of course you wouldn't be using any filter anyway!





OK...so...if every condenser mic made isn't designed for the way vocals are tracked by almost everybody these days...would that not qualify as a design flaw by EVERY manufacturer?


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compasspnt

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Re: no pop filter, mix/edit technique
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2010, 12:57:38 am »

No.

There is a difference between a design being originally intended for one purpose, and that design being found over time to be pleasing to people when used in (yet) another way.

There is no law that says how any microphone must be used.

Manufacturers today are well aware of how people will probably use their microphones, and also are aware of what the design actually is ad does.

That cannot be considered "a flaw."

Microphones is what they is.

You might find something pleasing if you can get a singer to back up a bit, and then you increase your gain a little.

Or not.
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