Spectral editing

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by DavidSpearritt, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Home Page:
    This week I had a very special opportunity to record a wonderful counter tenor in a beautiful recital of Elizabethan and modern song with lute accompaniment. It was a very intimate and special concert with atmosphere to suit. I used a main pr of Schoeps MK21's and an MK4 support for the lute and guitar.

    I am thrilled with the recording, but it is marred by a few noises as such quiet and intimate material always is, but these noises are a bit special. There is some throat clearing from the singer mid song, sometimes in the tail of lute chords, and some mobile phones despite an announcement from the stage manager at the start. Sigh.

    I am soon to receive a copy of WL6 which has spectral editing in it, I think, somewhat like renovator. I can fix some of the events by using identical repeated phrases, but is this something that anyone else has done and does it work really well? Is it possible to successfully remove coughs in such a case?
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hey David -

    You get some awesome gigs! I LOVE the chamber music recording that I get, but you probably get 20 times as many as I do in any given year....Color me green with envy!

    I've used a couple varieties of spectral editing and each has its pluses and minuses.

    Here we go:

    Cool Edit Pro/Adobe Audition:
    Plus - Cost and integrated with a generally good DAW
    Minus - No backfilling such as with Algo or others. Meaning, it works like an eraser - you cut out the frequencies you don't want, but you're left with a hole

    Plus - EXTREMELY powerful. With a lot of patience and a little practice, you can remove just about anything with little to no artifacts (certainly none that are audible to 99% of listeners) - Also, unlike most or any others here, it is available as a stand alone program.
    Minus - Extremely expensive!!

    Plus - See Algorithmix - it really is almost identical. I don't know how Algo got away with that without getting sued...
    Minus - Also quite expensive - only works on a few systems (SADiE, Sonic, Pyramix)

    Magix Audio Cleaning Lab:
    Plus - Cost (Around $40 US!!!). It works VERY similarly to Algorithmix and Cedar. You find a section you need to edit, select it and hit process. It (the program) fills in the void with program material surrounding your edit.
    Minus - It operates at 24 bit max. If you intend to spectrally edit something, don't record in 32 bit float unless you're in the mood to double dither... It's not as precise as the Algorithmix. Don't get me wrong - it's awesome, and considering it's a couple thousand dollars less than Algorithmix's or Cedar's stuff, it's hardly a real complaint (the difference is truly negligible.)

    I'm not familiar which system the WL 6 will be modeled after, but if it's similar to the Magix, Algo, or Cedar stuff, you'll get amazing results and you'll start FINDING things in your previous repetoire to edit. If it's like the Cool Edit versions, you probably won't like it very much and won't find it very useful. (Unless you're doing a lot of trap set chamber works...)

    Anyway - let us know how the WL 6 version works and what your impression is.

  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    I second Jeremy's opinion on reNOVAtor. It's nothing short of astounding. I haven't seen WL6 in action, but it would be interesting to hear about it and how it works.

    reNOVAtor has solved so many problems for me since I began using it, it's hard to imagine life without it, at least for acoustic music. Yes, coughs and things - even mid-phrase or during tails - can be removed, under the right circumstances. One thing I've noticed about reNOVAtor is that it will ignore any steady-state tones within the selected area and treat it as "music", while more random, shorter (non musical) things will be removed. I have had some amazing success with removing noises over bells (an outdoor carillon, for example), and sustained string notes. (Cellos, as another example.)

    You can dial in which direction you want to take the repasted material, as well....before or after (or both) around the sound to be removed. So, if you've got a sustained note (even one that's fading), reNOVAtor is good at keeping the sustained tones and removing the junk. You can also copy/paste ambient stuff above the fundamentals, as well. (I'm still learning new tricks with it all the time, really!) WIth the highly detailed spectral view & colors, it's easy to find the offending material visually, as well. Sometimes you can go as "inside" the wav as deeply as you need to, and remove single harmonics.

    So, if you find you've got a lovely sustained note or fade out with noise in it, you can usually remove the junk in question, and if the upper harmonics affect the "Air" above the good material, you can go back and find the same kind of "Air" in a neutral/quiet passage, and replace that as well. (I know this sounds similar to just a slight-of-hand copy/paste with general ambience to cover an edit, but still....it's a great way to work INSIDE of the reNOVAtor application...you can remove the junk and cover it with similar ambience.)

    That said, I still find a few things that it won't handle well - one being accross-the board, wide-band blurts of noise or glitches. The algorithms (so far) seem unable to handle those no matter what one tries. (I'm talking about machine-made glitches, like data drops or hard drive hiccups that dump a glitch into the sound file....those things just don't respond well to any kind treatment, even declicking or reNOVAtor.)

    I've also found that if you're working with a noise on several tracks in the multitrack, it's sometimes (but not always) better to work on each track alone to remove noises, prior to mixing. Once a noise is mixed from several tracks, the profile (noise print, I guess you might call it) is now less distinct and even blurrier - some time smear, some reverb added, etc. So, more complex (mixed) noises are tougher to remove.

    Of course, we all get stuck with an ugly noise in a stereo mix most of the time, and that's where any good spectral editing tool shines. I've gone in and removed single harmonics and overtones with it, it's that good.

    Interesting, my dongle just failed for reNOVAtor, (HATE when that happens!) and I'm waiting to hear back from Algorithmix about a replacement or repair. It's great software, but something as easily damaged as a USB dongle can stop you cold. :cry:

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