FORUMS: list search recent posts

Good audio levels in an environment with big speakers (An event with a stage)

COW Forums : Audio Professionals

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Brandon Lanski
Good audio levels in an environment with big speakers (An event with a stage)
on Jan 11, 2020 at 6:27:13 am
Last Edited By Brandon Lanski on Jan 11, 2020 at 7:10:10 am

Hey all!

So here's where I'm at today. Last time I did a project for these people. they were happy with the levels online but when we went to play it in the context of an event, they said the music was a little too loud. (more specifically, it was making it hard to understand the speaker)

I never got to see it for myself but here's my theory.

I thought about it and I feel like dynamic range probably plays out a little differently in the context of a large, loud room than on headphones or regular speakers, and that my sounds likely aren't separated as best as they could be.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about or have experience with this kind of scenario?


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: Good audio levels in an environment with big speakers (An event with a stage)
on Jan 11, 2020 at 3:14:18 pm

Hello Brandon and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Sure. There's this thing called the Fletcher-Munson Curve. It describes how NON-linear our hearing is.

You see "loudness" switches on old receiver amps. Sometimes the circuitry is just built in. When playback volumes are low, our ears don't hear so much of the low end and high end. As the volume increases we hear more linearly. The loudness switch increases the low and high ends at low volumes so we hear more linearly.

The playback system has EVERYTHING to do with this. A big PA probably has big bass cabinets and/or subwoofers. They will accentuate the low end of the music, creeping up on the voice. You may also have PA operators using equalizers. For Live PA, graphic equalizers are very common. Each frequency band gets its own fader. For some reason, some people automatically go for what's called "a smiley face EQ" with a graphic equalizer.

That's a boost to the lows and highs, otherwise known as "bump and sizzle." The voice frequencies are in the middle, so "Smiley Face EQ" pushes the voice down in the mix. It could be something as simple as asking for a flat EQ in the PA, or even if the equalizer is set flat, tuning the graphic equalizer to pump the voice up slightly. Those voice frequencies are typically 1 kHz to 5 kHz, with frequencies around 3 kHz being the main ones.

You might want to check the calibration of your studio monitors. Could be they are accentuating the voice frequencies and they don't "translate" well to some other systems. More likely, I'd bet on the PA being pumped up.

How's that?

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader.

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


Return to posts index

Brandon Lanski
Re: Good audio levels in an environment with big speakers (An event with a stage)
on Jan 12, 2020 at 4:12:42 pm

TY, please stop being this damn impressive all the time, you get me too hyped up! haha just kidding,

This is very helpful to me but it makes me wonder:

Does this mean that the difference between the music and the voices should be exaggerated or does it mean that I should get their sound guy to do a sound check? It sounds like the only way to be sure the audio is going to be clear is to have my music rest around -20 and my dialogue as close to -6 as possible and hope they have a compressor?


Return to posts index


Ty Ford
Re: Good audio levels in an environment with big speakers (An event with a stage)
on Jan 12, 2020 at 4:28:17 pm

Brandon,

Sorry, I'll try to be more stupider in the future.

I have a friend who prepared mixes for displays at the Smithsonian.

He told me that you can do all you want for a great mix in the studio, but when you take it to the Smithsonian and play it back over the system it's expected to be played over, you may well hear some differences. In some cases, they went to the "Smith" and did a mix over the specific system to solve problems.

In your case...................................hmmmmm...............did you mix a lot of bands in live venues during the 80s when vocals were typically buried? If your client says the music is too loud in the big rooms and over the big systems and my suggestions haven't worked, then you need to re-examine your audio brain for its prevalence to bury the vocal. Your solution to separate the vocals and music and then (hope to) compress may or may not work.

NOTE: I have a client for whom I mix radio spots and music. When we are using ambient beds and/or music, I'm aware that he likes voices higher than i would normally mix. I just mix the voices higher. done.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


Return to posts index

Richard Crowley
Re: Good audio levels in an environment with big speakers (An event with a stage)
on Jan 27, 2020 at 6:43:05 pm

Perhaps not relevant to this original situation, but.....

Last week I watched on YouTube several episodes of a TV series featuring James May on the topic of children's toys from our earlier lives. Here are some examples:
















There were several places in the various shows where there were ambient sound and/or music at above-average levels, and they just buried the dialog. When I looked at the YouTube comments, there were MANY complaints from ordinary viewers (not apparently production professionals) about the sound mix.

There was one response from the person/organization who uploaded the video to YouTube. They stated (guessed?) that when they created the YT video, they mistakenly included the effects and music stems IN ADDITION to the full-mix. So that, essentially, the effects and music stems were added into the mix TWICE (+3dB). And I believe that is exactly what I was hearing. At least it sounded convincing to me.

But I have personally experienced the problem of the mix sounding fine in the control room, but unsuitable for the system/acoustics where it was to be deployed.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2020 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]