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Author Topic: Some turd polishing help  (Read 1840 times)

Nishmaster

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Some turd polishing help
« on: January 21, 2005, 08:03:11 PM »

Well, a real turd landed in my lap today. Somebody came in with a jazz project that had been obviously recorded in a rock type setup (a poor one at that). The drums were recorded completely close miked, not a single room mic. Instead of overheads, both ride cymbals were close miked as well. So, it sounds like somebody hitting the side of a garbage can.

The upright bass was recorded with a direct and some super mud-tastic bass type mic (something like a d112 or beta 52) which, as anyone who records jazz knows, doesn't really work all that great, except for only lows of the upright. The only thing coming from the direct is some nasty mids of the instrument. No definition whatsoever.

The only redeeming quality is the fact that the piano was recorded fairly decently. The sound of it is a little cold, but that's nothing I can't tweak. My problem is trying to get all of these things to sound like they came from the same room. It's like trying to put together a working car and all you have are some legos and superglue. It might work eventually, but it will be ugly as hell.

Any suggestions?
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Matt Nischan
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Lee Tyler

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2005, 09:37:21 PM »

Nishmaster wrote on Fri, 21 January 2005 20:03

Well, a real turd landed in my lap today. Somebody came in with a jazz project that had been obviously recorded in a rock type setup (a poor one at that). The drums were recorded completely close miked, not a single room mic. Instead of overheads, both ride cymbals were close miked as well. So, it sounds like somebody hitting the side of a garbage can.

The upright bass was recorded with a direct and some super mud-tastic bass type mic (something like a d112 or beta 52) which, as anyone who records jazz knows, doesn't really work all that great, except for only lows of the upright. The only thing coming from the direct is some nasty mids of the instrument. No definition whatsoever.

The only redeeming quality is the fact that the piano was recorded fairly decently. The sound of it is a little cold, but that's nothing I can't tweak. My problem is trying to get all of these things to sound like they came from the same room. It's like trying to put together a working car and all you have are some legos and superglue. It might work eventually, but it will be ugly as hell.

Any suggestions?


Perhaps you could throw up an R.S.D.A. high bitrate MP3 snippet for review??  (Representative Snippet Damage Assessment) Very Happy   ---Lee
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Nathan Eldred

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2005, 10:02:33 PM »

Any chance of doing a little bit of reamping?  Maybe get a happening mix of the drums going and put up a pair of X-Y, Blumlein, spaced pair omnis, or M-S mics.  Blend those in with the close mics.   You could mono reamp anything else too, with EQ to taste...i.e. rolling the mud out of the bass, and remicing with a quality setup.  Then at least you have some options.  It all depends on the quality of your room and speakers too.  Reamping in a boxy dry room through NS-10's won't be any better.  I've done it very successfully a few times, my room is relatively ambient, and I used ADAM S3-As.
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Jon Autry

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2005, 11:06:10 PM »

Nathan Eldred wrote on Fri, 21 January 2005 22:02

Any chance of doing a little bit of reamping?  Maybe get a happening mix of the drums going and put up a pair of X-Y, Blumlein, spaced pair omnis, or M-S mics.  Blend those in with the close mics.   You could mono reamp anything else too, with EQ to taste...i.e. rolling the mud out of the bass, and remicing with a quality setup.  Then at least you have some options.  It all depends on the quality of your room and speakers too.  Reamping in a boxy dry room through NS-10's won't be any better.  I've done it very successfully a few times, my room is relatively ambient, and I used ADAM S3-As.


great advice.

i don't know what your setup is (if it's just a mix room or if you're using a DAW, or what) if reamping isn't an option and you're using a DAW, you might try using a convolution reverb with a decent room IR and send a little of everything to it, to taste.

Take care,
Jon Autry
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Nishmaster

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2005, 12:25:33 AM »

Thanks guys.

I have been using that IR trick you speak of Jon, and it does help quite a bit. Unfortunately it seems to remain a turd, albeit a much shinier one.  Razz

I'll pull an Asia: Here is the then.

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Matt Nischan
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Nishmaster

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2005, 12:27:19 AM »

And now. Not quite where I'd like it, but it's a step it the right direction, I think.
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Lee Tyler

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2005, 01:37:23 AM »

First off, I am not a Mastering Engineer/Recording Engineer. I don't even play one on TV.  Rolling Eyes  Secondly, I do not think the turd that has been placed in your lap is either as huge, stanky', runny or voluminous as you might suspect. (like I have qualifications to make such a statement Rolling Eyes...NOT) But, these ole' ears of mine work kinda well and have been around, so I tried to prove my point about the level of turtitude of your original snippet. Thanks for taking the time to post both for all of us by the way, Nishie! Wink  This is how I would like to hear this turd ...uh...burnished.  Very Happy  ---Lee
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Nishmaster

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2005, 02:27:32 AM »

Thanks Lee, for the helpful audio suggestion. I do like what you did with the audio sample provided. However, the direction the artist would like to go requires that the drums become more defined, i.e. rounder snare sound (more of the ghost notes as well), less tinny cymbal (I know the drummer and his tone is nothing like that), that type of thing. The musicality of straight ahead jazz is in the minute elements, and to me they are all buried and/or improperly tracked.

Is the direction I'm going at all sounding better so far? I noticed a few people downloaded the tracks but I have yet to see any constructive criticism. Even destructive criticism; if it blows chuncks, by all means say so!

As an aside, Lee, you're only the second person ever in my lifetime to call me Nishie.  Cool
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Matt Nischan
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canada

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2005, 03:32:43 AM »

Just because it would be an interesting (yet unoriginal) experiment...

 Bribe a local jazz club owner into letting you use his club during off-hours. Get a good mix of the kit going. Setup your best monitors on stage. You can see where this is going!

  Obviously there will be some reflection issues, however.  But some of the most kickin jazz records ever made were recorded with one or two mics in a room.
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Lee Tyler

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2005, 07:05:24 AM »

Nishmaster wrote on Sat, 22 January 2005 02:27

Thanks Lee, for the helpful audio suggestion. I do like what you did with the audio sample provided. However, the direction the artist would like to go requires that the drums become more defined, i.e. rounder snare sound (more of the ghost notes as well), less tinny cymbal (I know the drummer and his tone is nothing like that), that type of thing. The musicality of straight ahead jazz is in the minute elements, and to me they are all buried and/or improperly tracked.

Is the direction I'm going at all sounding better so far? I noticed a few people downloaded the tracks but I have yet to see any constructive criticism. Even destructive criticism; if it blows chuncks, by all means say so!

As an aside, Lee, you're only the second person ever in my lifetime to call me Nishie.  Cool



I always get "seconds".  Smile  Well, getting the drums out louder, hearing more plucking on the bass, hearing the snares/toms/kick, not to mention the "skin" on those drums, would take a gee-neeus....not untypical of a few of the inhabitants/characters/misfits/mad scientists that are fellow members of this forum. Fixing this may be in the order of reaching into a finished baked cake, and pulling out the flour...ONLY!  Shocked The artist needs to mic and track this with a little more care, and give you a better product with instruments that are discreetly heard and more juducuiously mixed, IMHO. Life would be easier I suppose to have more freedom to actually master, than to restore stuff. BUT......The mics WERE there...and they DID capture most of the info occurring at that moment, IMO. Mo' bass definition, give me some more snare/tom/bass with a side order of skins. BTW.....I like the way those cymbals sounded in my "train wreck" rendition of the original piece, LOL. What's in your monitoring equipment? Best of luck and it will be interesting to follow the responses.....and they will come in, Nish. Best of luck with your client and good luck!  ---Lee-Shie




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Nishmaster

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2005, 02:00:26 PM »

I think, Lee, you are under the impression that the only thing I have to work with is the final mixdown. I'm actually doing a remixing and mastering session with this artist. That's why I wanted some comments on the second mix, as I redid the whole thing.

In this case it's like trying to bake a cake and missing something like baking soda.
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Matt Nischan
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Lee Tyler

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2005, 03:57:40 PM »

Nishmaster wrote on Sat, 22 January 2005 14:00

I think, Lee, you are under the impression that the only thing I have to work with is the final mixdown. I'm actually doing a remixing and mastering session with this artist. That's why I wanted some comments on the second mix, as I redid the whole thing.

In this case it's like trying to bake a cake and missing something like baking soda.


You are right Matt, I was. Wink Suggestions as I stated still stand. Best of luck. Smile --Lee
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Lee Tyler

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Re: Some turd polishing help
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2005, 12:16:51 PM »

Nish, I A/B'd both MP3 samples, and this is what I observed. The drum kit is most obviously the "problem child" in both mixes. Despite the increased presence/volume of the kit in the second mix, the boxy sound of the toms is real obvious, for exapmle at the 19:00 mark. The snare needs a re-visit too. Hopefully you have the tracks to achieve this. Upright bass sounds boxier and thumpy in the same way on mix #2. Although the overall increased brightness is apparent in the mix #2, I think the kit needs to needs to be worked on as this seems to me to be a weak point as you originally stated. The bass needs to be re-worked as well. I like the fullness of the bass on the first mix, but it lacks the high end "finger on string/wood" definition that is most likely there, but is hidden. The keys seem to be decent to me. Would love to hear from the experienced ears here on what THEY hear, and what their suggestions are. Maybe everyone is in Anaheim at NAMM??? Anyhoo, I'll keep checking in. Please post subsequent mixes. All the best, Lee.
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