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Choir recording

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by docvlak, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. Cucco

    Cucco Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    MMMmmm... Dynamic Range.

    For peaks, it's perfectly acceptable to use a limiter. However, I'll qualify this quite a bit.

    Only on extreme peaks should the limiter be hit. Otherwise, you will want most musical peaks to remain under the threshold of the limiter.

    Personally, when I mixdown a live recording here are a few of the guidelines I use for dynamic range.

    1. I like my room noise floor on the recording to average at around -65 - -70 dBfs.
    2. I like my loudest selection to hit 0dBfs. Any "non-musical" peaks such as extreme cymbal crashes (not to say cymbals aren't music - simply, they can be excessively loud and if not tamed, can cause the recording to sound too soft. This goes for occassional BD hits, Tam-Tam, picollo, brake drum, etc.) may be limited or gain-riden down to a more moderate level.
    3. I like my lowest sounding articulation to start as low as -50dBfs or lower. Of course, this seriously depends on the type of music. A disc full of Sousa marches just won't have this kind of dynamic range. The Mozart Requiem would have even more.

    In general, I try to make it sound as dynamic as the concert/performance. You would think this would be easy - set the volume so you don't clip and you're cool, right? Nope, a little bit of gain riding here and there is essential. Most the time that conductors sit in as producer, I constantly hear "can you make that section quieter?" Musicians under the influence of concert adrenaline will have a tendancy to make things louder than usual. Including pp sections that really need to be super soft.

    Very rarely do I ever use a compressor. Occassionally, I'll use it on wind ensemble/bands and just recently, I had to use one on orchestra. The pic was so forward and bright, I had to use a multi-band carefully tuned to tame her down.

    Other than that, minimal dynamic processors are required.

    I hope this helps.
  2. docvlak

    docvlak Guest

    Yes it helps. I'll give it a go. Thanks
  3. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    I work with extreme dynamics manually. I will insert long crossfades (linear) and then gradually change level as needed.

    Beyond that, for classical work, parallel compression can work well as well as gentle limiting.

  4. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    I always "Test out" any limiting I do to check if I can hear bad stuff creeping in before I commit. Usually, cymbals, plosives, even mouth-ticks (if it's a close-mic'd situation) often create useless peaks that should be tamed.

    I'm just working on a jazz quartet piece that's just gorgeous; starts out small and quiet, and builds......and builds.......and builds, to something that's actually TOO big, so I have to tame the drummer a bit, separate the music track from the applause at the end, and GENTLY (with limiting) reduce the peaks that are making the dynamic range too wide and in general not usable for much in the "Real world".

    If I can get those peaks tamed WITHOUT tampering with the overall sound, or messing up the rest of the transients, then it's a "go".

    I usually use a very fast attack & release, and set the limiting for a brick-wall peak that I don't want to exceed. Then I process and listen, a/b to the original. Working in 24 bits or 32 float, this usually works quite well, and there's rarely any artifacts when done properly. In the worst scenarios, I'll use a multiband instead. Once I'm happy with it, I bring up the track to my nominal levels and move along to the next issue. :cool:
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