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Calibration & Analysis Utilities


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This might interest a few of you:

http://www.hometheatershack.com/roomeq/

http://people.freenet.de/dl4yhf/spectra1.html

 

I just bought a pair of behringer ms16 studio monitors (granted the low end isn't very good) but I'm able to hear things I didn't notice before especially after calibration.

 

Room EQ wizard seems promising but I'm a little short on the details. It's extremely thorough with a lot of great analysis tools.

 

Spectrum Lab is stable & configurable. It's easy to read & there's a lot of options.

 

I also tried frequency analyzer but it's way too unstable:

http://www.relisoft.com/Freeware/index.htm

 

Fraps tends to hog the audio inputs so quit it before trying this stuff.

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Here's a nice set of tutorials:

http://www.samplecraze.com/tutorial.php

These tutorials cover acoustic treatment, headphone mixing (pros & cons, you really should read this one, Schatten), general mixing, and a bunch of other stuff.

 

I heard & read many things about mixing on headphones. They basically say you should use headphones only for reality checks. I did notice that a lot of the tdm ambient music is too heavy on the bass side.

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Here's a nice set of tutorials:

http://www.samplecraze.com/tutorial.php

These tutorials cover acoustic treatment, headphone mixing (pros & cons, you really should read this one, Schatten), general mixing, and a bunch of other stuff.

 

I heard & read many things about mixing on headphones. They basically say you should use headphones only for reality checks. I did notice that a lot of the tdm ambient music is too heavy on the bass side.

 

ahem.. my headphones give fine bass, I just have an unhealthy affinty for insane amounts of it.. and I already tried to keep it modest... sorry?

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ahem.. my headphones give fine bass, I just have an unhealthy affinty for insane amounts of it.. and I already tried to keep it modest... sorry?

The point of doing a good mix/master is to have it sound good on any system. Suppose some poor guy has some crappy pc speakers that distorts on the low end. The bass in commercial recordings may sound good because on his pc because people with the "golden ears" master the recordings with calibrated equipment (great reference monitors with a flat response & ears that can pick out frequencies that would give your dog a run for its money). If this poor guy gets a hold of the Dark Mod with your heavy bass then he wouldn't want to play because the bass distorts his crappy speakers.

 

Meanwhile people with better sound systems have their house rumbling with the TDM soundtrack. Their neighbors complain & the screws holding their pc together come loose, the pci cards slip out of their socket, the cpu pops out, then the people with better sound systems need to sell their speakers to pay for another pc because the Dark Mod soundtrack rattled things apart.

 

In other words: apology not accepted :D

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Meanwhile people with better sound systems have their house rumbling with the TDM soundtrack. Their neighbors complain & the screws holding their pc together come loose, the pci cards slip out of their socket, the cpu pops out, then the people with better sound systems need to sell their speakers to pay for another pc because the Dark Mod soundtrack rattled things apart.

 

God, that would give me a hard-on.

 

But yeah, mixing is one of my weak points. Sax excells in that, though.

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omfglol....I love bassy sounds too MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA...I use hi-fi speakers and amp for my sound and use my brother's $300 Sennheiser headphones for quality check. They are really really good.

 

I just use them to listen to the ingame crap. Thief had a heap of bass in it and it really fit the mood. Our footstep sounds are'nt very good because they're more like clicks rather then the good old bassy steps in thief.

 

That's my preference mind, not everyone's of course.

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There was a time when I was into heavy bass too :) With each car I had, with the exception of my current one (too many electrical issues), I put in a fairly big amplifier with a couple of woofers into it.

 

MIXING TIPS (eq)

I got some of this info from one the professors at Western Oregon University.

 

Go through each band of eq, turn them up until you hear a whistling sound then turn them down until the whistling goes away.

 

The result you're going for, when looking at a spectrum analysis of the sound, is silmiar to pink noise.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colors_of_noise

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Noise.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pink_noise_spectrum.png

Image36.gif

amphion-noise%20densities.gif

 

Pink noise is closer to human tolerance. White noise has all frequencies at equal levels without any regard to human hearing. So pink noise is the standard of calibration.

 

I was running sound for the production of "Victor/Victoria". The inhouse speakers were not calibrated, the mixer board had no compression/limiters for the vocals (absolutely essential for vocals), there was only three good wireless mics with a large cast while the rest of the wireless mics were on their last legs. Needless to say I had a nightmare of a setup. So the theater called a speciallist who brought in his own mixing board, calibrated the speakers, brought in a compressor for the vocals, then the theater finally rented more wireless mics (for the last two productions, btw *groan*). Things went a lot better the the last two performances.

 

Moral of the story: know your needs & get them prepared ahead of time & calibration helped cut back on the feedback.

 

In the case of TDM's ambient music, there's a generous spike in the low frequencies. If you like bass and want to emphasize it would probably be wise to use a multiband compressor.

 

Audio equipment

Things to ask/look for when purchasing audio equipment:

 

What's the frequency response?[/i[

The best equipment usually go from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz (or 20 kHz) ± 1 dB. This means it can reproduce frequencies fairly accurately. Pay special attention to the ± 1 dB specification. This means there's a variance of 1 decibel in either way. The lower this number means there's less variance & more accuracy.

I've seen some reference/studio monitors with a variance of 10 dB. That's pretty pathetic. Some do not include that dB spec. Try to stay away from those.

 

Here's a more detailed article about audio specs:

http://www.rane.com/note145.html

 

I found a good calibration article a while back but I can't find it atm so here's another one:

http://www.5dot1.com/articles/how_to_calibrate_sub.html

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Based on this thread I talked myself into getting some honest-to-goodness powered monitors and set up in my home studio tonight. They are the Samson Resolv 65a's and they actually sound really good! They were cheap, too! I was really surprised when I tried them out in the shop so I had to bring them home.

 

@Schatt: Thanks for the kind words, although I always thought mixing was one of my weaker points (along with many others). I, like you, love the low end and love to feel that "rumble" as I hear an explosion or hear a Moog style bass synth line. Your stuff always has that pro-sounding bass response that is so hard to get.

"Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid."- Frank Zappa

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