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Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

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Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby psuorganguy » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:42 am

I'm curious if anyone has tried using a stereo mix-down of their dry sample set routed to a hardware reverb unit in order to add space to the sound. If so, is it worth it?

My organ project of 20 audio channels is going to be placed in our fairly dry sanctuary. I am trying to decide if I should go with the original wet Skinner, or the Masterworks. I am afraid that the wet Skinner would seem too out of place with all of its reverb, but I'm also not sure that the dry set will work well either. Then I had a thought. If send a 2 channel mixdown of the organ out to a reverb unit and then send only the reverb (100% wet signal) to a set of speakers, will that give the organ just enough reverb to sound alive, or will it have no effect?
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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby oliver_mayes » Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:59 am

I use the Skinner dry version with a DSP reverb unit. However I return it back to the main stereo signal since at the moment I have only the one set of stereo speakers and woofer. It works very, very well. I don't know about reverb to a separate set of speakers. Might be to obvious it's generated instead of natural since it comes from a specific location.
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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby bcollins » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:00 am

Here's what I ended up doing...

(2) Behringer C2 mics are mounted above the chamber to pick up all the air-mixed speaker output from the organ.
These run to a Behringer ULTRAGAIN PRO MIC2200 mic pre amp
Mic pre-amp -> a Lexicon MX400, which is set on 'stereo in - 4 channel surround out
A pair of Behringer A500 amps drive a total of 8 Infinity 6X9 co-axial (car audio) speakers mounted in standard 6X9 MDF boxes. These are wired in series-pairs for a total of 4 channels - (2) front and (2) rear. The speakers are placed all around the room, with the rear speakers at the front of the church (farthest away from the [gallery] organ).

I've been experimenting with settings on the Lexicon. Adding an excessive amount of decay sounds odd. I have had best results starting with a Surround setting called 'Big Ambience' - then matching the decay time to the natural decay time of my room which is 1.25 seconds. This setting has a short decay, but relatively high diffusion.

Aside from reverb, this affect helps with another problem. Non-wind instruments lack "presence" when the point source of the speakers is at one end of the room. Where-as with a real pipe organ, the sound envelopes the room. This system seems to compensate some.
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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby psuorganguy » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:06 pm

Having speakers placed throughout the room is an avenue I haven't explored yet. Another thought that I had was to treat all the surfaces inside of the speaker chambers with hardwood flooring material. I thought that this would help the sounds to blend and possible allow for a bit more life to the sound. By having bipolar speakers, the rear facing drivers would bounce all of their sound off of the hardwood.

I feel that there is an upcoming battle with others in the church regarding the acoustic space. By removing at least some of the carpet, the choir and organ would sound better, but the spoken word and other types of music could suffer.
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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby psuorganguy » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:37 pm

Maybe the question I should be asking is: Is there a better sample set to use in this kind of environment? Maybe a dry set that isn't quite so dry?

Just another thought.
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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby bcollins » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:39 pm

Maybe the question I should be asking is: Is there a better sample set to use in this kind of environment? Maybe a dry set that isn't quite so dry?

You may find this thread worth reading. particularily my long disertation :0 :wink:
http://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3408&p=21818&hilit=+Dry#p21818

That being said, you might wait to see what Hauptwerk 4.[1] brings in terms of built-in reverb. I'd hate to invest in a less-dry sampleset and then regret not getting the Masterworks Skinner later.

As far as the speaker chambers, its great that you have them! What I did was remove all the flooring down to the sub-floor, used concrete morter to screw down concrete backer-board, and tiled the floor with 12"X 12"ceramic tile that I picked up for 60 cents each at our local Habitat for Humanity [salvage] outlet. I didn't even bother with grout, 'cos who cares - it just leaves more reflection points anyway. Doing something like this you will gain mere milliseconds of chamber reflections, but every mere millisecond is precious.
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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby mdyde » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:01 pm

That being said, you might wait to see what Hauptwerk 4.[1] brings in terms of built-in reverb. I'd hate to invest in a less-dry sampleset and then regret not getting the Masterworks Skinner later.


Hauptwerk v4.0's 'VST/AU link' will actually make it very easy to apply real-time convolution/reverb with just a VST/AU host and a convolver/reverb plug-in:

http://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7028&start=15#p49548
Best regards,
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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby psuorganguy » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:13 pm

Will that great new feature be able to hanle 20 different channels of audio at once, or will Hauptwerk 4 bus the samples out through the reverb, then back to Hauptwerk where it is routed to the different speakers?
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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby bcollins » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:18 pm

Good question. I've wondered the same thing. In my case I need all 16 channels to have the same reverb applied, which is why I just went ahead and did things a bit differently - mic-ing the end product.
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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby mdyde » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:28 pm

Will that great new feature be able to hanle 20 different channels of audio at once, or will Hauptwerk 4 bus the samples out through the reverb, then back to Hauptwerk where it is routed to the different speakers?


It will allow up to 32 channels of audio (as 16 stereo pairs) to be routed to the VST/AU host (although some lightweight freeware hosts ignore all but the first stereo pair). The host then outputs the audio (it doesn't feed it back to Hauptwerk).
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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby toplayer2 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:31 pm

I tend to favor the general approach suggested by Bob Collins: pick up the air-mixed sound of the multi-channel speaker array and use this stereo signal to drive a reverb unit. I use a Zoom H4n to feed either a Lexicon MX400 or a separate PC running GigaPulse (which has fantastic multi-channel surround IRs developed by Larry Seyer). The reverb outputs are sent to a high end (B&W) surround system which also serves a home theatre.

Key points 1) use a pair of mics to pick up the dry signals from the speaker array 2) use separate speakers surrounding the listening area for the reverb. A little more trouble than routing electrically mixed signals to a reverb unit or VST plug-in, but worth it, IMO.

A listening room cannot be made too acoustically dead. Mixing reverb from wet samples or a convolver with ANY room sound will cause the brain to say "this isn't real". Of course the best reverb is to play dry samples in a real cathedral, church, concert hall, or theatre. A near-anechoic-chamber room with added reverb is the next best.

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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby pwhodges » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:37 am

toplayer2 wrote:A listening room cannot be made too acoustically dead.

I would say this is only true if you have true three-dimensional reproduction, at least of the reverb. Stereo, and even conventional 2-D surround, sounds really constrained in an anechoic chamber because of the lack of vertically-spaced cues. Anything less than complete 3-D surround (such as ambisonics can provide) is a compromise that needs the listening room to help paper over the gaps; however, as we don't listen in rooms as dead as anechoic chambers, there is a degree of practical synergy.

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Re: Are there benefits to using a mix-down for reverb?

Postby David Pinnegar » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:24 pm

Hi!

I reckon that the air-mixed sound through a mic will be good although subject to possible feedback. I do this to a small extent with the pipe organ but I have not tried it very seriously yet. Otherwise with the digital signals, I am mixing down lots of channels to stereo for reverb treatment and it's quite effective. The main problem is balancing all of the channels in the mix-down . . . so I find that some stops have more reverb than others

Best wishes

David P
http://www.organmatters.co.uk
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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