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Hey All,

I have a tune Im working on at the moment and have a section where some sampled chimes come in courtesy of EZ drummer Latin Percussion. The chimes sound a bit lame.

I was wondering if anyone has any ideas about EQ'ing chimes to make them sound a bit better. I have been looking for some articles on this but can't seem to locate anything that talks about this subject. Also, have been looking for articles on Eq'ing a cowbell. Have only found stuff in a blogs but nothing more or less concrete.

I understand there are no magic formulas but was wondering if there are any boost/cut frequencies that seem to work for you?



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alfugazi Fri, 08/27/2010 - 10:24

I'll check it out thanks.

The EZdrummer add-on Pack Latin Percussion is great for some things but falls short in others namely the chimes. I was hoping to not have to invest in more software. Was hoping that there are some tricks/tips to making sampled chimes sound good with either low-end roll-off and/or Boosting high-end freqs above 1000 hz. Im certainly no expert when it comes to chimes.

RemyRAD Wed, 09/01/2010 - 15:24

You probably won't like this reply? Sample instruments are only as good as the instrument and recording techniques utilized. And when you are sampling any instrument, a lot of recording technique comes into play. It's not whether you are using "the best" microphones and/or preamps. You have to be using the RIGHT ones not the best ones. So if you think the samples don't sound good? You're generally stuck with lousy samples. Equalization, time delay, compression, limiting, downward expansion can effect the effect but it's just an effect which will sound like one. What you need is better samples. Don't want to spend any more money? Get out of the recording business now! Recording in general is a money pit. You haven't even begun to start spending money. I tell everybody I'm through spending money but I'm still spending money, when I have money. You have not yet begun to lose your ass.

How about this? Think about another instrument you could use instead of what you wanted. Something that sounds right, in a bad way. Bagpipes! That's it, Bagpipes! Those only sound good because they always sound bad.

I always like to take a negative and turn it into a positive. I actually repaired a Neumann U87 that way once for a client. A little trivia here. Do you folks know that Neumann released the U87 with serious typos in the schematics for that microphone? For instance: a client of mine who was a well-known local studio musician, composer, home studio owner had traded an old Ford van for a nonworking hot/stolen U87 of unknown origin. Because he was a popular studio musician he gave it to all of the other studio technicians at the large studios, in town to repair. You couldn't send the microphone back to Gotham Audio since the stolen serial number would be on record and would be sent back to its rightful owner. Well, none of these brilliant technicians could make this microphone work, not a one There was nothing wrong with the capsule. Its modular. You can swap it to another U87 body and it would work. But that 87 body didn't work, wouldn't work. Everybody had checked everything. Everything was correct to the schematic. You couldn't replace the transistor without ordering it from Gotham Audio. Along with that you would have to supply the serial number. And of course, they wanted a lot of money for their FET transistor, of which, had no model number visible. The transistor part number was painted over by Neumann back in the day when they could. In the schematic it was indicated as a P channel FET as I recall? Well, I went to RadioShack and purchased a generic N channel FET part number 2N3819. Now this was 100% the wrong part according to the schematic. Not only that, I stuck it in backwards according to the schematic (drain & source reversed). My client had told me that if I couldn't fix the microphone, I could just keep it since he couldn't do anything with it. Well, N channel instead of P channel, with the gate & drain reversed was just the ticket! Not only that but I found out a few years later that the actual Neumann part number was the 2N3819 N channel FET. And there you go. RadioShack, making transistors for U87's. So why do they cost $2500 US?? The transistor is only $.98. Now I might be lousy at math but... I returned the now operational microphone to him. Yes, the desire to keep it was there. But I'm not really hot on owning hot microphones not even a U87. Besides, why be greedy? I already own 2 U87's & 2 U 67's. No, they are not the same capsules.

Fixing things the right way, backwards.
Mx. Remy Ann David

alfugazi Wed, 09/01/2010 - 16:20

thanks for the reply. the chimes I have are buried a little in the mix so it's not out front in your face luckily. Trust me, I have spent thousands of dollars on recording equipment and probably will spend thousands more in my lifetime. So Im no stranger to laying out. I get that. Im just trying to figure out if there are any frequency ranges I should be looking at to enhance what is already there. I dont want to just dismiss what I have and plunk down more cash especially if something can be worked. I want to see if I can tweak the sound a little to make the chimes sound a bit better. I know I know...garbage in garbage out...but its like a one second clip and its buried in the mix....I dont think bagpipes will work in this particular instance however, Im open to new ideas....:)

I did something similar on a seperate track where I recorded a tambourine. I dropped in some reverb and added a 50 m/sec predelay and that thickened up the track quite a bit. I was wondering if there are any other types of tricks like this I could add to the arsenal?

RemyRAD Wed, 09/01/2010 - 18:01

Thinking about Bad Chimes. Maybe It's the Overtones or Harmonics that are not working properly for you? In hardware as in software, there are "enhancers" out there. One of the original enhancers was the Aphex Aural Exciter. There is a modern day version & similar software versions to this device. The original device generated extra second order harmonics. These second order harmonics of cores are 1 octave higher than the fundamental. And they only affected mid frequencies and upward. This device was actually intended to bring back the brilliance to tracks that had been recorded with Dolby A. It actually was an engineering mistake that created it. This might add the harmonic content to make your chimes sound more real? You probably don't need it in the low-frequency content area? But newer Exciters also may include some low-frequency enhancement which can help to add more balls along with more sheen. Of course this would affect the high low-frequencies most. I don't think you want more bite from the midrange but you might want to suck some of it out. I wouldn't necessarily manipulate the dynamics any unless you felt it was the dynamics that did not let it sit right in your mix. The time delay manipulation trick can certainly thicken most any track with a short delay under 15 ms and likely much less. A little variable à la faux LFO could modulate your time delay. This could produce a little chorusing effect making it more noticeable while keeping levels low. Phasing and/or Flanging is basically what I'm talking about. In small quantities that can be delightful in large quantities it's an effect. Those effects basically cause sweeping comb filters which makes the effects sound like an effect. Comb filtering is something that digital delays can create quite easily both steady-state & low frequency oscillator modulated. Comb filters are great at creating synthetic stereo from Mono sources and can be integrated with your samples even if they are stereo. That alone can change the character or timbre of the sound. Very short ambient room synthesis from digital reverbs may also help the situation. These would be some of the things that I would try to get something to sit better in the mix.

By the way that 50 ms pre-delay is something we use to do with an analog recorder and our EMT plate reverbs. Of course the time between record & play ahead on Ampex & Scully's were further apart than most TEAC's so our pre-delays were a little longer than 50 ms at 15 IPS. But you never would use 7.5 IPS & rarely 30 IPS before they built the delays into the digital reverbs. The good old days. And one in which I could never reproduce digitally. I was using a pre-delay from tape on a modern day Opera based upon an Edgar Allen Poe story. At the end, the orchestra was sustaining some strange dissonant notes when I started to flange the pre-delay to the reverb. Everybody thought the opera was terrific up to that point but once they heard that they thought it was great. It was like straightahead jazz and not reproducible. Of course, I think you could do it today ITB but that was 1978. You've got some talent and some brains and you'll get what you want. I can feel it in my bones.

Dammit Jim I'm not a doctor! I'm a recording engineer!
Mx. Remy Ann David

alfugazi Thu, 09/02/2010 - 05:05

Thanks Remy...your knowledge astounds me...

I appreciate the reply and will reexamine a few things to bring out the chimes a bit better. They are very tricky little buggers to mix. Luckily it's only a small clip thats buried somewhat. Ultimately, I'd love to get some chimes recorded that sound like something Santana would have - that lush and creamy chime sound without being too much in your face. I guess thats what I envisioned but these samples are killing me. EZ Drummer (latin percussion and their vintage drums add-on packs) are cool for some things. Their congas, vibra-slap, and other percussive instruments kill but the chimes unfortunately fall a bit short. If I cant make it work maybe I'll try that bagpipe thingy but play it in reverse, flange the crap out of it and add a touch of delay just to see how it sounds. You know now that I think about the whole bagpipe idea i think Im starting to warm up to that idea. LOL....Thanks so much for your reply.

Would have loved to have heard that opera back in the day...