Summing - What track sounds better to you?

Discussion in 'Track Talk' started by bigtree, Mar 8, 2012.

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Summing - Which Track Do You Prefer?

Poll closed Apr 7, 2012.
  1. Sum 1

    2 vote(s)
    18.2%
  2. Sum 2

    7 vote(s)
    63.6%
  3. They both sound the same

    2 vote(s)
    18.2%
  1. bigtree

    bigtree Admin Has Studio Services

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    Welcome to our new forum, Track Talk.
    I'll kick it off.


    The piano isn't the best but the player makes up for it :) I have Sage, my 13 year old playing a few bars of Tarantella for us.
    It is the exact same performance, just summed differently. Nice fast attacks for this comparison.

    What track do you prefer?


    SUM 1


    SUM 2

    NOTE: Don't read through this thread until you vote.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2012
  2. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo

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    First time trying this Dropbox....so I'm having problems getting your .wav files.
    Do I need to install and create an account (which I did) and then what.
    If I click on the .wav files in your first post it gives me an error and no file?
    Sorry for the newb question....LOL
  3. bigtree

    bigtree Admin Has Studio Services

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    shoot, its my first time too. I'll log off and see.
  4. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo

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    Cool well maybe I'm not the newb!...Haha
  5. bigtree

    bigtree Admin Has Studio Services

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    Got it, I had to make them public links. Thanks for not giving up, Don! I think this will prove to be interesting. Please try again :)
  6. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo

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    OK...that worked!
    I guess having a Dropbox account isn't needed...I clicked on the link and they downloaded...quick and easy
    So...were those stereo clips?
    I imported them into Cubase 6 and split them to separate tracks and panned them L and R.
    I guess I could have imported them to one stereo track though...right?
    I put them one after the other SUM1 then SUM2 and looped them....
    My meters indicated SUM1 quieter than SUM2.
    I closed my eyes and lost track as to which one was which
    And I liked SUM2 best....
    I'm still using the ATH-M50's.
    SUM2 was richer sounding, you can hear more of the room...
    SUM1 was just a touch lighter, but then I don't know that could be the difference in the loudness.
    Again very close....discerning ears I think would prefer SUM2....am I right?...LOL
    So what is the difference in what you're doing....different summing equipment?
  7. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo

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    Oh BTW your son plays very well!
    I think for me if you did something that was not as fast and crisp as a test, I would have an easier time hearing more detail.
    The reason I say that is while it's a good piece it is hard to focus in on anything it's all attack and little or no sustain which would give your brain some time to register and process the sound and develop a feel for it.
    With that type of piano sound, the thing you start hearing most is the tone of that piano.
    Also wondered how you mic'd that and what the signal chain was....
  8. bigtree

    bigtree Admin Has Studio Services

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    Nicely done Don. Yes, two stereo clips.

    Everyone should be able to import the stereo tracks without splitting them but either should still be fine as long as they are hard L&R. I'm new to this too. Trying to keep this as accurate as possible using two different summing system won't null perfect but I think its close enough for this test. I set the levels using a null test. Once they got as close to cancelling I left them there. There was only a slight amount left over.

    I suppose its safe to say, set the level on the track louder to where you think its balanced. Do you still have the same opinion?
  9. bigtree

    bigtree Admin Has Studio Services

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    Thanks for the compliment, its my daughter, only 13 years old. She was just picked to represent our citiy as a delegate for the 2012 Provincials held in a few months from now. She loves music.

    I will do another song later that will be much slower and involves more info. A fast attack piece is important IMO because the attacks are the first to show something important here.

    I don't want to say much more until the end of this quiz.
  10. bigtree

    bigtree Admin Has Studio Services

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    I used a matched pair of DPA 4011's, SPL Premium Mic Pre – deadly! hi-end microphone preamplifiers , RME ADI-8 QS converters into Sequoia 11. This was recorded 24/44.1 and summed differently then bounced to wave files. I never normalized them or added eq, nothing. Just summed two ways.
  11. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo

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    Well I'm looking at peak hold meters in Cubase all faders at 0db and 2 separate tracks for each wave file panned L & R.
    Those are going to a Master stereo buss metered and fader set the same way.
    I see a couple db difference in the two Waves overall and a slight balance difference L to R.
    So I don't know if the test is I like Sum2 because it's a little hotter or not.
    If I could attach a HTML or .doc file of my screen save to show you the meters I would....but I don't think I can.
    What are you using for metering when your summing these?
  12. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo

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    Sorry your daughter...LOL tell her I apologize!
    Sounds like you have a pianist there and congrats on the gig!
    I think?? I understand what you mean with the fast attack thing.
  13. bigtree

    bigtree Admin Has Studio Services

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    Nothing was mastered, never intended left or right to match the same. Shouldn't matter IMO because they are the same track summed differently. I stuck the mic's up, measured them for XY, set the pre's to where they sounded "good enough for jazz" and recorded a stereo track as is. One mic is closer to the wall so it picks up reflections more. Its the nature of the beast. But this isn't about my method as much as it is about how the two identical tracks summed in the end. At least that's how I see it at this step.

    I have know idea how this is going to play out. I'm as curious as you. We're doing an experiment.

    If I share much more, it may create a bias which I don't want to do.
  14. bigtree

    bigtree Admin Has Studio Services

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    I should mention, I'm learning here too, and you ask good questions plus I can tell you are hearing this accurate.

    One track is a recording of the other but one is summed different. I shifted and adjusted their levels until they came close to nulling. Then bounced them to a wave file.
    Did I do it accurately?

    For those feeling inquisitive, I think its safe to try and do your own null test on these, Do whatever you like to see which one you prefer. Play with the levels. I'm very curious which track you like better after you've tried everything possible. They are identical tracks but one was summed different that the other. Nothing more added.

    How am I doing?
  15. bigtree

    bigtree Admin Has Studio Services

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    Cool. I know you are listening and staying open minded. thumb
  16. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo

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    OK...I'm surprised you have like 70 views and it looks like I'm the only one who voted...LOL..which is fine by me...I'm up for more tests and discussion. I do question my hearing cuz I'm old...so this is good.
    A musician friend of mine told me he had really good hearing and I told him I didn't think mine were that great anymore and I was losing the high end.
    But then I heard some flaw in a recording we were doing and he couldn't hear it....no matter how many times I went back and forth over it....then I tested our hearing and turned out I got around 12k and he lost it at around 10k....plus it's all about how healthy your ears are...
  17. bigtree

    bigtree Admin Has Studio Services

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    Good for you!

    hehe, we are having our own party for now but others will come. I hear it exactly as you. I'm going to get my daughter to listen. I know she has better hearing than me.
    Thanks for a great start!
  18. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo

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    I've never done a null test....I'd like to try it though!
    I know you "invert" two wav files and you shouldn't hear anything....right?!

    BTW on another sidenote:
    I found you and hueseph on Soundcloud and clicked a "follow" for both of you.

    Doon
  19. bouldersound

    bouldersound

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    Okay, I wasn't going to say anything that might bias a listener, but I also heard Sum1 as marginally clearer compared to Sum2, which seemed richer. That is, Sum1 had a bit more around 4-6kHz and/or Sum2 had a bit more at 200Hz. That was with the Soundcloud versions through HD280s connected to Creative powered computer speakers driven by the stock SoundMax sound card. I listened a bunch of times, finally playing a few seconds of one then the same bit of the other repeatedly to the end of the clip.

    Just downloaded the samples and will listen again on a better system when I can. I just got through 11 sessions in 14 days plus the day job so my ears and brain need a break.

    Excellent musicianship, by the way.
  20. bouldersound

    bouldersound

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    You invert the polarity of one file and sum it with the other. The timing and levels have to be exactly the same.
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