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Help! My violin tracks are killing my ears.

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I just got these violin tracks from a remote recordist. They obviously weren't recorded in the most ideal way, and I'm trying to figure out whether they will be useable or if they will need to be re-tracked.

 

The problem with them is that they're harsh as hell and make my ears hurt within two minutes of listening. That doesn't give me a lot of time to play around with them and try to figure out how to treat them so that I can listen further and keep working with them.

 

Can someone take a listen and tell me what you think? Are there some obvious things I can do to get these tracks to work, or should I just start over? I tried a notch with a wide 'q' around 3k, but it didn't help enough to keep from bothering my ears, so I had to quit.

 

Can EQ alone make these work or will it take something more like re-amping?

 

Here's the clip:

 

https://clyp.it/5zpkoaia

 

Thanks!

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It sounds a bit thin. Try adding a bit of reverb with some pre-delay. That may take off the edge a bit and some room.

 

However, the players tone is not something you can address but you knew that already...

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Whether it's usable or not depends on the context. It might work, or it might not, but you're the only one that can tell that. At least give it a chance.

 

It sounds like violin close-miked from the top, which, in general is the wrong place for a mic if you want a recording that sounds like the violin. All of the vibrating parts of a violin are designed to work together so that the instrument projects a balanced sound out toward the listener a few feet away, not up in the air. It's what makes orchestras work.

 

In contemporary recording, however, it's not at all uncommon for instruments in a mix, when soloed, are intentionally recorded or processed to just let through a certain element of the sound. In this case, the listener will know that there's a violin, but it doesn't get in the way of other elements in the mix.

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I agree with Mike - it's going to come down to how the part works in context. I can't EQ something, or make EQ recommendations without knowing the context.

 

Besides being a bit thin, and a touch bright, I didn't find the recording to be too egregious - but again, I don't know what context it's going to be used in.

 

I tried a notch with a wide 'q' around 3k, but it didn't help enough to keep from bothering my ears, so I had to quit.

 

If it's bothering you that much, try using a shelving filter at ~1kHz and just gut the mids and top end with a huge cut. Work backwards from there. It really shouldn't be hurting you that badly to where you can't even work with it for more than two minutes... but if that is indeed the case, try turning down the monitoring volume a bit, then killing all the highs, and slowly add them back and see if you can make it work that way.

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Agreed with the others. The violin definitely sounded thin -- of course, the player was playing a high part -- but you couldn't hear much body. Also, I noted that the sample posted was gated for some reason. That might work in the mix (or might not) but it makes it sound peculiar soloed. I suspect someone was trying to cut out room reverberation (a violin can really light up a small room with unwanted reflections) but if that was done by the remote violinist, he probably wasn't doing you any big favor. Next time, I'd ask him to give me the raw track -- if possible recorded in a room with suppressed reflection from somewhat farther away to capture more of the 'whole' sound of the violin. (Or, alternatively, in a big room or small hall with nice reverberation.)

 

PS... like Phil, the sound sample -- while certainly 'too' thin sounding for soloed purposes and probably many others -- didn't really hurt my ears that much on my reasonably decent monitoring. It may be that your own monitoring situation is accentuating part of the already emphasized upper region of the sound. (That said, I listened to the one part a few times. Fatigue, per the name, takes a while to kick in. ;) )

Edited by blue2blue
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Doesn't sound that bad at all to my ears, certainly within the range of fixable with EQ. As others have said, do it in the context of the mix.

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Actually, come to think of it, James ^^ has a pretty nifty box (coming to market) for working with instruments with piezoelectric pickups, the ToneDexter. Not going to help here -- and more about taming piezos for stage work, but of possible interest to violinists and acoustic guitarists wanting to warm up their piezo-electrified instruments.

Edited by blue2blue

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Doesn't sound that bad at all to my ears' date=' certainly within the range of fixable with EQ. As others have said, do it in the context of the mix.[/quote']

 

+1. Try it in your mix and then go from there.

To be honest though, that clip didn't sound NEAR as bad as you were describing it. I was expecting something that was clipping horribly like a blind barber, with all sorts of junk in it.

 

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